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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

SLO Wine Country's 25th Annual Roll Out the Barrels

A spring view of the Edna Valley region and the Santa Lucia Mountains. 
April 1 isn't just for pranksters. This year, the day of fools belongs to oenophiles and locavores in San Luis Obispo County.

SLO Wine Country's 25th Annual Roll Out the Barrels begins on the first day of April, kicking off a month-long celebration of their member wineries' special events. Throughout the month, residents and visitors can eat and drink SLO-style, visiting wineries in San Luis Obispo and the Edna Valley region for vinous festivities like comparative tastings, vineyard tours, barrel sampling, a farm-to-vineyard luncheon, a blending seminar, and a bottling run demonstration. 

The spirited event culminates at the end of April with their annual Barrels in Mission Plaza in downtown SLO, where wineries and local chefs playfully pair festive bites and sips. The next evening their collaborative winemaker dinner at a local restaurant features the region's cool-climate varietals like chardonnay and pinot noir. 

I won't give away all of the upcoming shenanigans, so click here to visit SLO Wine Country's website for their entire event line-up. 

Eat and drink playfully all month long—like a slocal!

A glimpse in time of the San Luis Obispo/Edna Valley vineyards last fall.
Regardless of the season, this spirited area of the globe is no joke. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

San Luis Obispo County: Islay Hill Wildflowers

In the midst of the drought and recent heat wave, San Luis Obispo County's velvet green hills are fading fast. But in spite of this unusual summer-like weather, spring wildflowers are thriving. 

This past weekend I traipsed up the open space trail on Islay Hill—the dome-shaped volcanic plug that lies just a few miles south of downtown SLO—and passed by parched wild grasses that practically screamed for water. But as the dusty pathway wound steeply around the hillside, spring beckoned. 

Patches of vibrant wildflowers carpeted various niches of the landscape, providing plenty of reasons to stop and stare, point and shoot. I captured a few glimpses of this kaleidoscopic moment in time.

This seasonal oasis of colors will be gone all too soon. Enjoy it while you can!

A shadier spot on the north side of Islay Hill provides the perfect growing grounds for lush grass and colorful wildflowers. 

Just about every color of the rainbow is currently thriving on Islay Hill. 

All shapes and sizes of seasonal blooms line the pathways. 

The blue-purple lupines are divine, but will be gone too soon. 

For more information about Islay Hill and how to get there, click here

"May all your weeds be wildflowers." ~Author Unkown

Sunday, March 22, 2015

2015 Central Coast Craft Beer Week

A few of Bang the Drum Brewery's invigorating creations. 
San Luis Obispo County might boast over 300 wineries, but beer is the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage in the world.

The California Central Coast is home to several craft breweries, and over a dozen of them have proudly banded together to form the Central Coast Brewers Consortium. Today this community of brewers kicked off Central Coast Craft Beer Week, an eight-day celebration of local suds.

From northern San Luis Obispo County all the way down to Buellton in Santa Barbara County, this week beer geeks can swig and swill at events like tap takeovers and beer dinners. Click here for a complete schedule of events.

In celebration of SLO County's locally-brewed beers, this afternoon I visited the ever-popular Bang the Drum Brewery for a taste of some of their fermented creations. I found this watering hole comfortable and relaxed, the customer service friendly and knowledgeable, and the selection of beers spirited and tasty.

Celebrate the innovative!

Bang the Drum Brewery is located at 950 Orcutt Road in San Luis Obispo

Open every day except Tuesday, follow them on facebook for live music and special event updates throughout the week. 

 Sip inside or outside; it's all good!

When you visit Bang the Drum Brewery, consider choosing four samplers of their recently-brewed beers. My selection included the French-style Saison (I didn't catch the alcohol content but can report that the nuances were light and citrusy), the El Dorado Pale Ale (5.2% with light hops and a grapefruit finish), the White Stout (7.3% with a deceptive light appearance yet bold coffee nose and taste), and the Draca—a chipotle smoked porter (5.6% that reminisced of chewy cacao nibs and a smoky finish).

See you on the local beer trail!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

San Luis Obispo County: Boucher Trail

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that the earth laughs in flowers. 

San Luis Obispo County is currently grinning from land to sea, with splashes of wildflowers springing up everywhere. Over the weekend I went in search of these sprightly blossoms along the Boucher Trail. 

Located on Highway One, just a few miles north of San Simeon near the Elephant Seal Rookery, this coastal trail winds along the bluffs near the highway, leading to the Piedras Blancas Light Station

Along this 3-mile out-and-back hike, wispy grasses blanket the landscape, the ocean laps against the rugged coastline, and the Northern Elephant Seals take refuge in the protected coves. During this exceptional time of year, wildflowers begin their golden ascent.

With SLO County's recent warm winter weather, now is the perfect time to get out for some fresh air, explore the California Central Coast, and enjoy a few splashes of color. 

Guaranteed to make you smile!
Boucher Trail's entrance is located directly on Highway One, about four miles past the entrance to Hearst Castle. 
Park in the northernmost lot of the Elephant Seal Rookery and look for this sign at the trail's entrance.  

The hike is mostly flat, well marked, and easy to follow. 

On a clear day, it's easy to spot the Piedras Blancas Light Station
The lighthouse dates back to the late 1800s and guided tours allow access on certain days. 

This time of year, cheerful pops of color adorn the coastal slopes. 

The Santa Lucia Mountains loom in the distance, and friendly critters like this white crowned sparrow live in this pristine habitat. 

Throughout the year, thousands of elephant seals breed, birth, molt, and rest along these protected California Central Coast shores. 

Wildflowers and waves: The planet is laughing out loud!

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