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Wine and Chocolates?

What do you think about pairing wine and chocolates?

broken earth chocolate pairing

We’ve recently discovered a winery that makes a specialty out of pairing chocolates uniquely crafted to their wines. Interested? Heck yes – I was! But, call me a chocolate lover. I must say, I even convinced Yule to give this pairing a try.

Yule’s friend is a tasting room associate at Broken Earth, a winery on the East side of Paso Robles. He encouraged us to visit Broken Earth and try their wines, cheese plate and chocolate pairing. On a day off, we did just so and found a winery we had little known. From 20 years ago this was the turf of Arciero Winery, with the high gloss spectacle of his Italian racing cars. Things have changed and Broken Earth is making a go of it. They offer a dynamite cheese plate for $12 and a nice little cafe offering salads, sandwiches and Australian Pot Pies. On Saturday’s they bring in the music for their guests to enjoy the ultimate comfort of Wine, Music and Food.

Wines are a value buy, up to their reserves. I took home a Petite Syrah and enjoyed it thoroughly – a new value wine or me! 

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Thomas Hill Organics has a new offering that I want to share with all our friends – their “Raw Bar”.

One of our favorite restaurants in Paso Robles is Thomas Hill Organics, led by owner, Debbie Thomas. Debbie has a knack for creating food and experiences on the cutting edge of “cool”. Her new Raw Bar is just such an example. 

Offerings for fresh, raw seafood has always been hard to find in Paso Robles. Enter Thomas Hill Organics! Their new Raw Bar offers a top line experience to experience the ambience of the restaurant while also offering a raw bar experience with thoughtfully curated sakis.

I took mom to their opening event and we enjoyed fresh oysters on the

Thomas Hill Organics

half shell (my favorite) and amazingly tasty ahi. We ordered champagne and saki – which we shared along with our food items.

Let me break to the chase: this is a cool, relaxed and delicious take on a light dinner, or a place to hang for the freshest raw seafood. Stop by and park yourself on their comfy bar and enjoy!

Thomas Hill Organics is located at 1313 Park Street in Paso Robles. The Raw Bar has select hours, mostly over the weekend. Visit their website to check out your options. www.thomashillorganics.com

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What to do in the middle of winter?

MaryAnn’s Wine Bags

To everyone’s good fortune, Mom is busy making wine bags! Yep, most of our friends know we are a family affair, and mom’s a big part of our business. She does everything from catering, to cake baking to occasionally leading one of our tours. Add to the list, making these awesome wine bags!

I can’t think of a classier way to present your Paso Robles wine than in one of her custom crafted wine bags.

Imagine doing a family reunion here and having her craft wine bags of the same material for all the guests – you wine visit will be long relived through these wine bags which will inevitably be shared and passed along. Maybe engagement o wedding parties will want to memorize their event through a custom crafted wine bag.

wine bags

Get even more creative and provide her with the fabric from your daughter’s childhood for a special gift. Well, you get the idea. Here’s some shots of bags she has ready made.

Mom is taking orders for these amazing wine bags. Call her and see what she can do for you. Reach her at mrutshaw@yahoo.com or give her a ring at 805.550.6825. Ask for Mary Ann – she’s the best!

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How could one NOT have a wonderful weekend in Paso Robles? 

Paso Robles Wine Weekend

Paso Robles Wine Weekend

This last weekend we were honored to host a birthday party of 21 guests. I mean, really, how fun that these guys got it together to gather all their friends for two days of celebration in Paso Robles. “Rose” the lady behind this incredible troupe of individuals has my enduring admiration for her ability to pull off this birthday extravaganza. 

While most of our Boutique Paso Robles wineries are stretched to manage a tasting for a group this large, we worked the odds and ins to make it happen. I am happy to say that our wine tastings were nothing short of exceptional! We visited Tablas Creek, Epoch, Vina Robles, Still Water, Cass, and Chateau Margene – and each offered a new and different experience.

Saturday night we hosted a special catered dinner at Carriage House B&B, catered by Chef Mary Ann and music by Mike Swan. The setting was beautiful, the food delicious, and the music delectable! I’m so happy to have these capable partners!

Thank-You Rose for trusting your most special weekend to us! 

How great to see my beloved Paso Robles Wine Country getting the attention it deserves! 

Paso Robles Wine Country

Paso Robles Wine Country

Just recently, three well-known authorities of travel were all in agreement: Paso Robles is the “must-see” place to be. Hint – Hint: if you have yet to discover this amazing realm of great wine, fabulous food and astounding natural beauty, now is the time!

It always surprises me when people who genuinely know and enjoy outstanding wines, are just discovering Paso Robles Wine Country. I mean, I know how great these wines are – I guess I just thought everyone else did too. 

First, Paso Robles is recognized by Trip Advisor as a destination on the rise. Yes, I’d say Paso Robles has hit its stride. Read more here: Destinations on the Rise.

Second, here’s a “Shout Out: to the AAA’s travel magazine! I’ve read the magazine and it is a good source for new adventures. Nice to be included as one of  ” 8 Great Places to Visit in 2018

Third, happiness planner and traveler, George Stone, surveyed locations across America looking at everything from healthy eating habits, to community engagement, to the satisfaction of inquisitive minds to develop his list: These Are the Happiest Cities in the United States. Access to green space, destination bikeability and premier culinary experiences all fit the mold for what he found led to happy people. 

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Marinated Cabbage Salad

MARINATED CABBAGE SALAD

This is sort of a weird and funky salad, though definitely delicious and addictive!

cabbage Ramen salad

cabbage ramen salad

Thanks to Chef MaryAnn for sharing this recipe with us! The recipe that follows is the foundational recipe for the salad. There are all sorts of goodies you could add to it to reflect the season or your particular tastes.

For example, if you are feeling creative and are familiar with our local flavored olive oils and vinegars from Panolivo, I’d encourage you to experiment with both the oil and vinegar to make the salad even more distinctive.

Ingredients:

4 TBS Toasted sesame seeds

1 Cup Toasted almnds

1 Large head of cabbage – shredded

6 Green onions

2 Pouches of Chicken flavored Top Ramen

1 TBS sugar

1/2 Cup of oil

10 TBS red wine vinegar

Process:

Chop the cabbage into thin slices, slice the 6 green onions.

Assemble the Dressing: Add 1 TBS of sugar, 1/2 c of oil, 10 tbs of red wine vinegar  and the 2 flavor packs of seasoning from the ramen noodles. Mix well.

Put the dressing into the cabbage bowl and mix well. Leave in refrigerator 12-24 hours to marinate.

To Serve:

Toast the almonds and sesame seeds in a pan over the stove – be careful not to burn.

Add the almonds, sesame seeds and finely broken ramen noodles to the marinated cabbage and mix well.

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You might have guessed from my missing blog entries that I’ve been off doing other things. Much needing an

Texas

Texas

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.

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Avila Beach

We at Central Coast Food Tours have a special part in our hearts for Avila Beach.

Avila Beach

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.

Pasolivo Olive Oil

It’s no secret that we at Central Food Tours loves Pasolivo Olive Oil!

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!

Hearst Castle

Built by the famed publisher William Randolph Hearst, Hearst Castle is the jewel of the Central Coast.

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle

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