Everyone familiar with wine tasting in the collection of funky tasting rooms known as the Lompoc Wine Ghetto understands that there's no food within walking distance of the east side industrial park.
While tasting rooms in Los Olivos, Solvang and Santa Barbara are surrounded by delis and sit-down restaurants, Lompoc's Ghetto lacks food — unless one wants to venture into Old Town. In other words, don't arrive for tasting also hungry for lunch or a snack.
Two residents of Lompoc may have a solution, however. Robert Flores and Conrad Gonzales Jr., both professional caterers, have literally set up camp outside various tasting rooms and sold delicious food from a limited menu.
When I met the two Saturday, Jan. 11, the two were behind tables outside Arcadian Winery. Their menu that day included three items: roasted "Santa Ynez" Tahitian squash soup, topped with toasted pepitas, $4; a braised pork belly sandwich, $9; and a petite cheese plate with charcuterie, $12.
Then sandwiches featured grilled ciabatta bread and caramelized fennel and mustard greens in a red wine balsamic reduction. I bought two for a friend busy at a nearby tasting room, and Flores offered me a sample of the soup, which was rich and creamy.
Gonzales said a particular tasting room recently requested the duo make tacos for its guests, but that in general, he and Flores are flexible and hope to create a standard menu with something for everyone.
While they've teamed for the Wine Ghetto adventure, both men cater for both large and small events. If you would like to reach them, contact me here and I'll share their e-mails.