You might have guessed from my missing blog entries that I’ve been off doing other things. Much needing an
adventure, I’ve been wanting to land in San Antonio, Texas and check out what I hear about their Texas Hill Country wines. I had planned to stay several months, so decided I needed a job in the industry to really get the insider take of the Texan wine culture in Fredericksburg and along the wine highway that connects to Austin.
I was incredibly lucky to score a tour guide job in San Antonio that allowed me to learn all about the Alamo City as well as the not too distant Hill Country (approximately 70 miles from San Antonio). It sounds crazy but I loved learning all the historical details of San Antonio, wielding a microphone and working on their “Double Decker Tour Bus”. Let me tell you I KNOW San Antonio, and in the short period of time I was there came to love this historical city. Imagine: they will be celebrating their 300 year anniversary in 2018! I got to learn all about the 300 year old missions which are now a UNESCO World Heritage site. I attended a mariachi mass in one of the missions and came to have tremendous respect for the culture and customs of San Antonio and South Texas. And in the short 3 months I was there met two women who will become my lifelong friends – Jinny, who became my tour mentor, and Deborah, who was a guest of the tour and has become a most special friend. What a stroke of luck to meet 2 such special people in my short time in San Antonio. The gossip is true: Texas people are truly as friendly as rumored and I met many more friends than I can mention here.
We at Central Coast Food Tours have a special part in our hearts for Avila Beach.
The Avila Beach community has much to offer to curious tourist!
The white sand beaches and sparkling blue water is a real draw to beach lovers. And those with children will enjoy the gymnastic equipment on the beach. The views are gorgeous as you look out over Avila beach and bay and view the sea.
Hungry? Then take a short walk through the town and stop in at many of the delicious restaurants. If you choose to head over to the pier, you find Fat Cats (yum) and a wharf with fresh catch unloaded daily. The Fishmongers are a great source for fresh local seafood – give it a try!
I invite you to discover this beach and all it has to offer.
It’s no secret that we at Central Food Tours loves Pasolivo Olive Oil!
Pasolivo Olive Oil
Direct from a 160 acre ranch with more than 6,000 trees, Pasolivo Olive Oil presents some of the best olive oil to be experienced and enjoyed. With 4 different flavor profiles of their extra Virgin oils, they also offer 2 herbaceous blends and 4 citrus blends – enough variety here to please even the most discerning palate.
In addition to the fresh, pure flavor of the olive oils, I especially enjoy the employees’ practice of mixing fresh blended herb combinations with each of the flavored olive oils. Every time I visit, I learn about some new way of blending a herb or spice blend with these oils to produce extraordinary dinners.
If you are out wine tasting, stop by the ranch on Vineyard Rd. or if you are in town in Paso Robles, they now have a new store on Park Street between 13th and 12th streets.
Enjoy this olive oil!
Built by the famed publisher William Randolph Hearst, Hearst Castle is the jewel of the Central Coast.
Hearst was known for his love of collecting priceless art and artifacts and modeled his home to highlight these delightful treasures.
Built by Julia Morgan, there are sweeping views, gorgeous gardens and breathtaking architecture. Offered to visitors is a IMAX film documenting the build of the castle. It is a MUST SEE. In addition to a number of daily tours there is also a free museum of artifacts and exhibits on Hearst’ life.
For more information on the Hearst Castle and its variety of programs please visit www.hearstcastle.org
As many of you know, Central Coast Food Tours offers a wonderful walking tour in San Luis Obispo.
Our San Luis Obispo Downtown Walking Tour finishes up about 4:40 – 5:00 p.m. Our guests are always wondering if the trolly is operating – or not.
It always seems the trollies are operating – then they aren’t…what exactly is the schedule? First of all you can visit www.slotransit.org to get an update on their ever-changing schedule. Meanwhile, they’ve just posted their most recent schedule. Here it is:
Thursdays: 5:00 pm – 9 pm All year round
Fridays: 5:00 pm – 9 pm June through Labor Day
Saturdays: 5:00 pm – 9 pm April through October
We’re in April right now, so we can count on the trolly Thursdays and Saturdays from 5:00 pm – 9 pm.
Come join Central Coast Food Tours at the 5th Annual Templeton Wine Festival. The festival is always a good time but this year the festival will include the best wineries, plus breweries and cider producers pouring unlimited tastes, specialty food samples, food vendors, boutique shopping and live music by Joy Bonner.
The Templeton Wine Festival takes place on Saturday, May 6th from 1:00 – 5:00 pm. Tickets are $35 presale and $40 at the door.
Contact the Templeton Chamber of Commerce for more information on purchasing tickets at 805 434 1789.
Come and join Central Coast Food Tours for the 14th annual Paso Pinot & Paella Festival! The Pinot and Paella festival is taking place in the Templeton City Park on Sunday, June 4, 2017 from 2-5 p.m.
The festival promises to be a great and delicious day with 20 Paso Robles Pinots and 1 dozen unique paellas. In addition to the delightful setting, the delicious food and wines there will also be live music.
Tickets are now on sale at www.pinotandpaella.com. 100% of the proceeds are donated to local youth arts foundations.
Get your pinot on and get on over to the festival! It’s good eats for a good cause.
Most people who visit Paso Robles head for the glitsy or larger wineries in the area. While these places have something to offer newbies to the region, Anglim wines is where I hang my hat.
We’ve featured Anglim wines on both our food and wine tours and have yet to be disappointed. I hate to let the secret out, as these folks produce only a limited quantity of wines, but “ssshhhh, this is where locals “in the know” buy their wine.”
Steve (the winemaker, and husband to Steffanie) and Steffanie (the tasting room guru) are a dynamite team. Steve crafts sophisticated blends, and brings out the best in his single varietals (need I mention his Mourvedre and Grenache … and then there’s his Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon…. yikes, too many to mention!)
So beloved are Steve’s wines that my daughter wanted them at her wedding, which was 1,5oo miles away in Park City, Utah. For what it’s worth, we took out the back seat of our car and drove these wines from Paso Robles to Park City over Labor Day 2011. Murphy’s Law prevailed, and as we hit Las Vegas for our overnight stop, the temperature tilted at 114 degrees. Not to let these wines spoil, we hefted this nectar all the way up to our air conditioned room on the 24th floor. Little did my daughter know all that went into getting her Anglim wines to her wedding.
I love Central Coast Food Tours recipe for French Onion Soup – especially on a cold, rainy day. And, I just heard that we have more rain in the forecast for the later week and weekend. The soup’s warm savory broth with the caramelized onions is just the right mix of savory and sweet. This soup is just as much fun to make as it is to eat – just plan on hanging around near the kitchen so you can stir your onions every 10-15 minutes to prevent burning.
Central Coast Food Tours French Onion Soup
4 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
6 TBS. of butter
4 TBS. of flour
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 Cups of beef broth
1 cup of red wine
1 cup of gruyere cheese
1 tsp. of thyme
1 tsp. of Italian seasoning mix
Salt and pepper
Loaf of crusty bread
- Slice the onion into thin threads and saute along with the butter. Saute the onions on med-low heat until the mixture is caramelized – this can take some time and you don’t want to hurry the process. Add a little water if the mixture starts to get dry. When the mixture is nicely caramelized, add the garlic and cook for 5 more minutes. Set aside.
Here’s Central Coast Food Tours’ Recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
We’ve all tasted Panera’s version and love it – but I wanted to do a lower fat, more vegetable-oriented version (but just as tasty!) This recipe includes broccoli, carrots, onions and parsnips – and it’s delicious!
This is a generous soup and encourages your crafting and contribution. If you prefer cauliflower or some other vegetable – you can adapt it. Get creative: consider all winter vegetables and use your favorites. Go with a theme of a single vegetable and taste along the way, adjust per your preferences.
- 2 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 medium chopped onion
- 1 medium chopped parsnip
- 1⁄4cup melted butter
- 1⁄4cup flour
- 1/2 cup half & half cream
- 1 1/2 cup of low fat milk
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 lb. fresh broccoli (chopped into bite size pieces)
- 1 cup chopped carrot
- 1⁄4teaspoon nutmeg
- 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper
- crusty bread
- Sauté onion, carrots and parsnip in butter. Set aside.
- Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and add the half & half and low fat milk.
- Add the chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the broccoli. Cook over low heat 20-25 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper. I like to Purée in a blender to make for a soothing, smooth soup. Return to heat and add cheese. Stir in nutmeg.