For better or worse, here I am—trapped in paradise. As long as I continue to live in this vital, inimitable spot on the globe,

I will continue to seek out the unique…the delicious…the innovative products, services and traditions of San Luis Obispo County.

Stay posted for a few of my favorite things.

About Me...

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A wanderlust at heart... captivated by the California Central Coast. Join me on my culinary and vino-infused adventures as I explore and discover the regional novelties of San Luis Obispo County that make living here...easy to stay...and hard to leave.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

SLO Elixir

Ah, the joys of civic duty. Thursday I found myself on the road to Los Angeles (180 miles one-way from San Luis Obispo) because I was lucky enough to be randomly selected to potentially serve as a federal juror in the the U.S. District Court. I did as I was told per my call-in instructions, making the long haul so that I could report to jury duty at promptly 8:00 a.m. on Friday. At approximately 8:05 a.m. on Friday, I was relieved of any potential duties, because apparently the trial scheduled for that day had been cancelled.

Wow, 360 miles round-trip and a good use of my time. Thank heavens the governnment will reimburse me for my excursion and pay me for showing up. Tax payers' dollars hard at work! And...I might get called back again next week (although Friday afternoon I received conflicting automated messages from the court). Apparently the right hand isn't quite in synch with the left!

Needless to say, I returned to SLO exhausted; all those cars on the road really wore me out. So, this morning, there was only one thing to do: escape to the hills. This time, I needed a luminous challenge of my own accord, one where I could push myself to my own limits without the government telling me what to do. Bishop's Peak was calling my name.

Standing at about 1,546 feet at its highest point, this volcanic remnant is the tallest of the "Nine Sisters" in SLO (a chain of volcanic peaks stretching to Morro Bay). I chose the steep route (see picture below), accessible by parking on the gravel lot and ducking through a fence on Foothill Boulevard. Apparently the official entrance, the longer (and less steep) 2.2 mile route to the summit, begins on Patricia Drive. But I clamored for a vertical confrontation with the mountain.

And I got it. Even though I went up early, this brilliantly warm spring day heated up quickly. By the time I reached the summit after hoofing straight up, scrambling on rocks and feeling like I'd never get there...finally, I did. The cool breeze and grand views rewarded me, and I realized with every step I took, the hillside absorbed the big, and little, stresses of my week.

San Luis Mountain loomed across from its sister, covered in green velvet.

Rocky trails and stunning viewpoints provided a welcome respite.

Birds soared above, where these rocks jutted from the highest point on the mountain.

High on the peak, a new recipe sprang to mind, one that was inspired by the lime basil I picked up at the farmer's market that morning. This refreshing elixir further strengthened my body and spirit, offering a cooling, alkaline effect and invigorating, thirst-quenching end to a long, hot trek and an arduous week.

SLO Limeade Smoothie

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups ice
  • 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 medium lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 medium limes, juiced
  • 10 small lime basil leaves—about 1 tablespoon, chopped (if you can't find this varietal, use any fresh basil leaves and add zest of 1 lime)
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey (I used Stoltey's mixed floral for its deep, rich taste)
  • Slightest pinch of salt

Directions couldn't be more simple.

In a blender, add all ingredients and pureé.

Serve, sip, relax.

Life is good.


Jo said...

The smoothie sounds delicious! Too bad about the jury duty!

Also, you blog is wonderful!

Fresh Local and Best said...

Ugh! That's a major pain, most people just have to worry about going downtown, not 3 hours away and another 3 hours back! Boo to that!

I love the pictures you are sharing of SLO, it gives me an idea of how serene and picturesque life is out there.

Are there fresh strawberries at the Farmer's market already?
This looks like a fantastically refreshing smoothie, love the integration of lemon basil!

Elizabeth in SLO said...

Yes, the strawberries were from the farmer's market. Not sure, but I think they grow them in hothouses in Santa Maria.

winefan said...

Ugh, so sorry about the jury duty trek, but that smoothie looks fantastic. Reminds me, minus the strawberries, of a lemon, mint, and basil sorbet I make. I'll send you the recipe.

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