Wine tasting is fun but I hesitate to squander our beautiful Central Coast days inside. Happy to report that my recent oh-so-pleasant Sunday happened at Brecon Estate Winery. Our hosts Damian from Wales and Amanda from Australia make excellent wine plus they are impressively both ‘cavers’ and park rangers in their home countries. Absolutely loved their chic indoor/outdoor tasting area! “Aussies love to drink outside” Amanda reminds, so the setting is perfect Central Coast. We will definitely go back for the wine but also the lively conversation and soothing views of our ancient oaks and vines.
Love having more outdoor dining choices for our great summer evenings! Owners of Pappy McGregor’s just opened a new ‘Baja style’ Mexican food at the corner of 13th and Pine. They are focusing on fresh fish and vegetables much like you would see in Cabo or San Diego. That bar looks like it will be quite a lively place as well…..Tequila flights with over 85 to sample! I am going to try the ceviche but I bet my son’s is better! http://www.fishgaucho.com/
Red Soles Winery out off Highway 46 West on Oakdale Road is a beautiful little winery with warm and inviting owners and staff. Maybe it is because their motto is ‘living the dream’ but the atmosphere brings out the best in everyone as it always feels more like visiting a home than a business. Love their wines for sure…..my favorite summer white is ‘Heart and Sole’ and I LOVE that they are always cleverly thinking up fun names for their wines. Now they have started some yummy (potent!) distilled beverages like California Hooch and soon to arrive Temptation Limoncello – sipping this one will really going bring memories of a trip to Tuscany! www.resoleswinery.com
Since 1942 Paso Robles has favored a no frills restaurant called Vic’s Café. Vic’s is one of those treasured American diner-style places which is still found right downtown on 13th near Pine. The employees are friendly, efficient, tending toward slightly vintage and refreshingly accommodating! Even better, you just might be able to time how fast and hot the food comes out. My family’s favorite is breakfast, which is served most of the day. Vic’s is not necessarily on the healthy side but they do serve quality standard breakfast fare in generous proportions plus many yummy specials. French toast is a true treat, their yummy thick bacon makes me drool and homemade baked goodies will make you swoon and take just one more bite! Try it……..seven days a week starting at 6 am.
Holy Cow this is a fun place to be in the summer! It’s hard to find a day without a music, food and wine event…….hard when you have to fit work in, that’s for sure. My new found fun for a Friday evening is the once-a-month Train Wreck Friday at Pomar Junction Winery. Of course that competes with music in beautiful Paso Robles downtown park….big dilemma at times. Castoro Winery puts on music on Sunday afternoons. This Sunday is a local Fleetwood Mac tribute band. Also on Sundays is Central Coast songwriters who perform at Sculptura Winery…………very hard to choose between those two. And of course the big time talent that is now coming to Vina Robles…..this week is Lyle Lovett and he puts on a fab performance! If you haven’t heard Incendio, they are at the park in Templeton this evening. So many events, so little free time!
Downtown Templeton isn’t big but it sure is mighty. And there is always a certain healthy vibrancy and energy in the air plus plenty of darn good places to eat and drink in the few short blocks. 15Degrees Wine Bar recently re-opened in their new location at 624 S Main. You can’t miss it…..typically Templeton in design, it looks like a chic barn with a pleasant outdoor patio area and plenty of seating inside. I always enjoy their tapas and can’t wait for the warm weather to return for outdoor happy hour!
Music lovers thrill to find cozy, relaxed places to hear live music. Last Sunday at Lombardi’s wine bar on 11th and Park in Paso was one of these special settings. Wally Barnick brought his handsomely fluid voice, obvious love of music and his guitar in from Big Sur. From old-time cowboy tunes to Buffalo Springfield and John Sebastian, Wally knows music. Perfect evening but then something extra special occurred about halfway through the evening when the deep and dreamy voice of Monte Mills could be heard in harmony. Of course it didn’t hurt that we were sipping yummy local red wine and spoiling ourselves with the comfort of Liz’s fab food….my favorite is the Gorgonzola Pesto Pizza with her house salad. Don’t know if this evening can be repeated but Wally will be back this Thursday (12/13) from 5:30 to 8:30 and Sunday (12/16) from 5 to 8pm. Call (805) 237-7786 for more info.
This Saturday, November 6th, the Paso Robles and Atascadero Boosters hold their annual Boosters BBQ and Pep Rally at high noon at Paso Robles the Food For Less. Once a year these groups join forces to benefit the athletic programs at both schools. They expect to serve over 3000 meals this year and all the food is generously donated by Food For Less. Parents and students do all of the work, marching bands and cheerleaders provide entertainment and atmosphere! It is also a chance to meet the mayors of both Paso and Atascadero, County Supervisors, coaches and………….most importantly…….the worth high school sports teams that are enhanced by the event. So come on out and get a great lunch, see some of the excitement and know that you are doing a little bit more for kids in your community!
Promising myself that I would experiment with cooking more fresh and interesting foods, I headed into Nature’s Touch Market in Templeton. It all started with a glass of wine at 15Degrees Wine Bar (near Trader Joe’s) and a yummy tapa of blistered shishitos sweet peppers – tasty, simple and good for you! To my delight, Natures Touch now has added Windrose Farms produce inside this foodies’ paradise. Not only can you find fun things to cook but help with your experiments in the way of cook books, suggestions and – my favorite – Chaparral Gardens tasty (guiltless) vinegars. The most helpful Gail H suggested a couple of recipes and I spotted a couple she had posted for some of their less common produce and I couldn’t help but try them all. My version of the shishitos peppers was a big hit at a friends house for dinner later in the week. Make a trip to this wonderful food emporium…….you will not be dissappointed!
Atascadero has a new restaurant that gets this foodie’s vote! Fig or Fig Good Food – a tiny place with big flavors. Cute place with a few tables inside and then some outside seating, both front and back. All dishes looked wonderful but my choice was the ‘Frenchie’ sandwich that has a surprising combo of fig chutney, brie, greens on foccaccia (heated – sort of pannini style – to my thinking). Yum, quite memorable and well done up for not a huge amount of cash. They have homemade dishes including take out/eat in rotisserie chicken, pasta dishes, assortment of main dish or side salads, soups, and inviting deserts……..a bit of everything. It’s just down Traffic Way a block or so from the Carlton and is co-owned by two very nice people who are friends that are married to different people – Greg Perello and Christine Dillow. Try it but only during the week from 11 – 7. And if the thought of what to cook for dinner brings you to your knees, just stop by on the way home for their take out chicken with some wild rice or herb roasted potatoes…..heaven after a long day! One more plus for those of us who are thinking green……their plasticware is biodegradable!