Sometimes the best travel advice comes from the least expected sources.
One day, while walking the treacherous trails of Montaña de Oro State Park, I overheard a conversation between a dad and his three kids. They were determined to beat the gray skies and cool breeze by picnicking in one of the many coves located within the park boundaries. Their gleaming faces and vivid conversation were impossible not to notice.
One of the girls said: “Oh, I just love those salty cookies”.
Her brother agreed by nodding his head and saying: “I know which ones you are referring to”.
The girl yelled to her father who was a bit behind: “Dad, how are those cookies called?”
The father frowned for a few seconds. Then, after recovering from various tongue twisting mutterings, he said: “Brown Butter Sea Salt Cookies”.
Hmmmm, the combination of cookies and salt sounded appealing to me. Therefore, I registered the information in one corner of my brain.
The next day while driving from Cambria to Morro Bay thru the Pacific Coast Highway (CA-1), I saw a sign indicating the following: “Welcome to Cayucos, Home of the Brown Butter Cookie Company”.
After reading that, I told my husband: “Take the next exit”. I have to admit the town looked beautiful from the highway. But, but, but, I wanted to find those cookies.
We started by taking a stroll around the beach and pier. Blue seas, spectacular cloud formations, the Santa Lucia Mountain Range behind us and the Morro Rock standing tall in the distance. What else can you ask from a beach town?
After that, we started to walk on Ocean Avenue, the main drag in town. At one point, I told my husband: “I heard some kids talking about sea salt cookies in Montaña de Oro. I think they sell them somewhere in here”.
My husband said: “I heard them too”. Whooaaa, now we were two on the hunt.
Next thing I know, I saw this gorgeous, brightly painted red and white building. It had olive green and tan “Brown Butter Cookie Company” signs all over it.
We ran across the street and saw another sign on the sidewalk: “Home to the Original Brown Butter Sea Salt Cookies”. I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I found the needle in the haystack”.
When I entered the store, I realized this was a special place. The sweet aroma permeated every spot. As soon as I put one foot on the store, the gentle employees greeted me and offer me a sample. I tried the original flavor first. Yummy!
Think about a shortbread cookie but with a rich and nuttier flavor because of the brown butter (butter browned in the stove-top before using it in the batter) used in the preparation. A pinch of thick sea salt is added to the mixture (or top of the cookie, I am not sure) to create a unique sweet and salty contrast. The cookies are smaller and fatter when compared to well-known Sandies.
After tasting the original flavor, I also tried the espresso and key lime versions. The cookies come in other flavors too: bourbon, cocoa, cocoa mint and granola.
The Brown Butter Cookie Company is a local, small business started by two sisters. All the products offered are made in town. You can see the ladies at work when visiting the store. They also ship within the United States. Check their website for more information: http://www.brownbuttercookies.com.
The cookies were great. However, I really liked this place because it symbolizes what dreams are made of. Imagine having your own business in one of California’s coolest beach towns, presenting to the public a great product, doing what you love everyday and having great success. The story behind this company is awesome. I love to discover places like this on road trips.
Come for the cookies and stay for the beach. Cayucos is a low-key, charming town. In 2009, Budget Travel Magazine chose it as one of the “Coolest Small Towns in America”. So, there is something about this town that has to be experiences (it is not easy to describe it with words).
Does the combination of brown butter, salt and cookies sounds appealing to you? Let me know in the comments section below.