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, October 22, 2016

San Luis Obispo County Public Art Festivals


Creativity is contagious throughout San Luis Obispo County. As we “moove” into the autumn season along California’s Central Coast, 101 life-size fiberglass cows stand gleaming in various locales around the county. 

CowParade, an international public art event that raises money for local non-profits, brings sponsors and artists together to create expertly crafted bovines. One-of-a-kind works of art such as “The Vineyard Diva,” “Dia de Los Toros,” “Moo with a View,” “Joie de Vivre,” and “Cow-a-fornia Cow” are on display until May 2017, when they will be auctioned off to charity. 

To track down SLO County’s embellished cattle, visit CowParade’s website for a trail map.

While you’re out exploring the cow trail, consider heading north on Highway 1 to visit the offbeat coastal community of Cambria. The annual Cambria Scarecrow Festival unleashes the power of imagination during the entire month of October. Over five hundred whimsical scarecrows greet visitors outside Cambria and San Simeon businesses, where folksy creations like “Queen of the Sea,” “Barb-B-Crow,” and “Buttercup,” are definitely not your average straw decoys.
If scarecrows and cows can transform into public art, then why not surfboards? The sleepy seaside town of Morro Bay is hosting its third annual Surfboard Art Festival. Used surfboards are revamped into artist canvases, and almost 30 boards are on display in various sponsoring Morro Bay businesses. Click here for a map to find where these swell boards will hang through the beginning of December. You can bid on these tubular works of art at their December 3rd auction, with proceeds benefitting Morro Bay in Bloom.
Hopefully you’ll find time to visit these amped up San Luis Obispo County public art festivals, where imaginative cows, scarecrows and surfboards display artist’s visions, create community spirit, and ignite your creative senses. Enjoy!
"Dia de Los Toros"
Artist: Brandy Maynard
Sponsor: Oso Libre Winery

"The Vineyard Diva"
Artist: Mary Clark-Camargo
Sponsor: Cambria Tourism Board
"Cow-a-fornia Cow"
Artist: Kerry Donlan-Bowen
Sponsor: Ranchita Canyon Vineyard
"Joie de Vivre"
Artist: Debbie Gedayloo
Sponsor: HWY 101 Communications

Friday, January 29, 2016

2016 New Year

Morro Bay Jetty, January 2016
My divulgence for the New Year: I don't know that I'll be continuing this blog. Later this year I'll be launching a site dedicated to spirited travel, where I'll be sourcing writers, editing and sharing their work, as well as contributing my own stories. Since I have always fit writing ventures into the nooks and crannies of my free time—while making a living doing something completely different—I just don't have time for everything.

Once I introduce my new blog to the world, you will be the first to know. In the meantime, you can follow my visual pursuits of California's Central Coast at Elizabeth White Photos.

I hope one day I'll be able to continue my chronicled food and wine exploits around San Luis Obispo County, as I am always inspired by my flavorful surroundings. Until then, I leave you with one last experimental recipe: crock pot short rib ragu, the perfect meal for a brisk winter day. 

Slow cooked to perfection, the rich tomato broth—augmented by the nuances of orange zest, Italian herbs, locally-grown carrots, red wine and garlic—envelops seasoned beef ribs that cook for several hours until they melt off the bone. Serve this robust wintry dish over a bed of pasta along with a glass of your favorite red wine.

Enjoy!

SHORT RIB RAGU RECIPE
Serves 4 - 6 people

Ingredients:

  • 2 - 3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 4 - 5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped in large pieces
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut in large chunks 
  • 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup red wine (use wine that you like to drink)
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 12 oz. dried pasta of your choice
  • Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

Instructions:

Season your short ribs liberally on all sides with salt and pepper. 

Heat butter and olive oil in a skillet on medium heat and plop in your short ribs. 
Don't crowd the ribs or they will steam and resist crisping. 
Let them sizzle for a few minutes on each side until they lightly brown. 

Meanwhile, peel carrots and layer them on the bottom of
 your slow cooker and turn the setting on high. 

Get your your onion and garlic peeled and chopped.


When the short ribs are browned, place them on the carrots. 

Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the pan over medium heat, sitrring frequently for about 10 minutes until the onions soften and start to slightly caramelize. 

Add red wine to the pan, stirring occasionally for 5 - 10 minutes, 
until the liquid reduces by half. 

While the onions are finishing, zest your orange. 

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth 
and the Italian seasoning with the orange zest. 

Pour the tomato medley into the slow cooker, covering the short ribs. 

Add the onion-wine mixture to the crock pot and adorn with bay leaves. 
Put the lid on and cook for three hours on high. 
Then turn the heat to low and cook for another five hours. 
Since this recipe melds for a total of eight hours, you'll want to start it early in the day.

When you're ready to eat, boil some pasta water and cook pasta al dente.  

Turn off your slow cooker, grab some tongs and place short ribs on a plate. 
The meat will be so tender it will fall off the bone!. 
Use a fork to shred the meat, and discard any fat.

Use a spoon to gently skim any fat off of the top of the ragu, 
then place the shredded short ribs back in the slow cooker and stir. Remove the bay leaves.

Serve up your pasta and ladle with the rich, warm flavors 
of this savory slow-cooked short rib ragu. 


Or better yet, throw together a melt-in-your-mouth lasagna.


Until we meet again—eat hearty and healthy, drink merrily in moderation, 
live life thoroughly with plenty of local and exotic zest!

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