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...

My photo
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.

Friday, October 31, 2014

San Luis Obispo County Sparkling Wine Guide


Although you don't need a special occasion to drink Champagne or sparkling wine, tis' the season for bubbly. 

The holidays are imminent, and Cali Coast Wine Country comes to the rescue with the first-ever San Luis Obispo Sparkling Wine GuideFinding festive wines made in San Luis Obispo County for end-of-year celebrations is now effortless.

Their wine guide includes all of SLO County's fizzy spots, where wineries like Vina Robles, Claiborne & Churchill, and Laetitia produce California-made bubbly in diverse geographic regions of the county. 

Download and print their sparkling wine guide any time of the year...and enjoy the glitter of the holiday season!


San Luis Obispo wine country sparkles year round!


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Shari's Berries: Wine and Fall Flavors Pairing Guide


When I lived in Sacramento, I distinctly remember Shari's Berries fancy dipped strawberries
plump, juicy berries, elegantly swizzled in crunchy, sweet chocolate

Recently, when someone from their community outreach contacted me to share their Wine and Fall Flavors Pairing Guide, I gladly agreed.
 Following is their easy-to-use guide for marrying the flavors of autumn desserts and wine. 

Just in time for the holidays. 

Wine and Fall Flavors

Sunday, October 19, 2014

San Luis Obispo County: Slipping into Fall

A dazzling autumn Avila Beach sunset
During the year, San Luis Obispo County expresses itself through plenty of regional traits: sun, fog, wind, (occasional) rain, surf, sand, sunsets, seasonal crops, wine and festivals—to name just a few. 

These Central Coast idiosyncrasies help us define the SLO Life, and this time of year the signs of autumn are everywhere. Wine grapes are crushed, fall harvests are plenty, scarecrows line the streets of Cambria, and chilly mornings are the norm. Although warm days still linger, clouds are once again journeying to the sky, providing the perfect backdrop for glittering ocean sunsets. 

Following are a few videos with recent footage from around San Luis Obispo County; showcasing two splendid days this fall. The first, a very windy day at the end of September, and the second, a hot afternoon in October when the giant surf gave us something to ogle. 



Enjoy this season while it lasts. 








Tuesday, October 7, 2014

2014 Cambria Scarecrow Festival

Although the California drought rages on, whimsy runs rampant along the Central Coast. 

Once again, the unconventional town of Cambria is hosting its annual month-long scarecrow festival in San Luis Obispo Countybringing out the kid in everyone.

In its sixth year, hundreds of offbeat characters line Cambria's east and west village streets, front the hotels on Moonstone Beach Drive, and stretch along the businesses in the pastoral region of San Simeon.  

Cambria, hard hit by the water shortage, brings a timely message to the scores of ogling slocals and visitors via their mischievous scarecrows: Save water! 

The sage advice—drink more wine and beer instead of water, wash your hair with Chablis, bathe or shower with a friend—makes perfect sense. 

Water shortage or not, October calls for a celebration doused in great community spirit. 

For a glimpse of Cambria's rogue characters, please view the photo adventure below. 
To visit these free spirits in this idyllic spot on the globe, click here for more details. 




Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Cayucos: Ruddell's Smokhouse

Inspiration comes in many forms. Over the weekend, my idea for a new apple recipe stemmed from a visit to Ruddell's Smokehouse

This tiny smoke shack, tucked neatly away on the northern end of San Luis Obispo County in the unassuming, historic beach town of Cayucos, is located just steps from the Pacific Ocean. With colossal tidal views, Ruddell's smokin' seafood and meat keeps slocals and tourists coming back time and time again.  

Their menu includes salads, sandwiches, and my personal favorite: soft tacos. Thick, warm flour tortillas, packed with savory smoked choices such as shrimp, albacore, salmon, chicken, pork loin (or just plain veggie), are layered with a creamy sauce and sweet chunks of apple, shredded carrots, and crunchy celery. The perfect big bite for a day on the beach. 

During my visit I purchased a whole smoked chicken and was lucky enough to take home a half pound of smoked shrimp—shellfish is something they don't normally shrink-wrap and sell with other specialties due to lack of quantity. 

I transported these spiced edibles home, mulling over my refrigerator full of apples recently acquired from my adventure along the Avila Valley Apple Trail. I devised the following recipe, heavily influenced by Ruddell's tacos, and selfishly thrown together to cater to my own taste buds. 

I hope the following savory-sweet dish stimulates your own palate as much as it did mine. 


APPLE SALAD RECIPE WITH SMOKED MEAT OR SHRIMP
Serves 2 - 4

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups smoked shrimp or chicken
Substitute cooked shrimp or chicken if you can't get your hands on some smokin' meats.
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers 
Red, orange or yellow are fun colors of the rainbow
2 cups chopped apples 
Sweet or tart variety—you choose
1 head of green leaf or bib lettuce, washed, cored and leaves left whole

Dressing:
1 cup Greek yogurt
Juice and zest of one lime
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Salt & pepper to taste

STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS:


Prep your ingredients and plop the Greek yogurt, chopped shallot, and lime zest into a glass mixing bowl. 

 Drizzle with the olive oil, apple cider vinegar and honey, then sprinkle with parsley, salt & pepper.   

Give your creamy medley a big stir. Taste and adjust for seasonings.

Throw in the bell pepper and celery and stir yet again. 

Lastly, add your crisp, crunchy apples. I used Red Yorkings that I picked up at Glen Gopher Apple Farm.

Fold all ingredients together, cover, and marinate in the fridge for 2 - 4 hours. 

When you're ready to eat, spoon the apple salad on individual lettuce leaves and top with the shrimp or chicken. 
Top with a little parsley to make your presentation extra special.

I paired this dish with Claiborne & Churchill's newly-released 2013 Pinot Blanc. A beautiful choice from a local vintner. 


A big splash of Cayucos inspiration!

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