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A Winery in Paso Robles, CA

A Winery Tour in Paso Robles, CA

It’s June 1st, and wine enthusiasts are literally flocking to our beloved Paso Robles Wine Region. Perhaps it’s the recent article in Wine Enthusiast Magazine naming Paso Robles “Wine Region of the Year.”

Actually, I’m a bit surprised that it’s taken people so long to catch on to the wonders of this most special place. But hey, let’s not forget our big brother “Napa” who led the way with the California Wine Scene. Lots of attention (and rightfully so) is focused on the wonderful Cabs that Napa consistently turns out.

While we (Paso Robles) always considered ourselves the “red-headed step-sister” of our much more sophisticated Napa … seems to be that these red locks of ours are aging into a gloriously ‘strawberry blond’ effluence of accumulated wisdom, and well- won recognition for our current day vintages, and perhaps most importantly – the low-key authenticity shared by the people who grew up in this area, learned to make amazing wines, and are so very grateful for the opportunity to share their success.

We (Central Coast Food Tours CCFT) just started offering private wine tours. If you desire a most special tour for you and your friends, please don’s hesitate to contact us to see if we might be able to create a special tour for you.

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Planning a visit to California’s Central Coast? You surely must be wondering what to do in San Luis Obispo.

Food Tour in San Luis Obispo

Food Tour in San Luis Obispo

Join us on our San Luis Obispo Food Tasting Tour! Let’s face it, chances are one of the reasons you’re visiting SLO is for the amazing farm fresh and artisanal foods & wines being made in the area. What better way to kick start your vacation than by a tour where you’ll try 4 different awesome restaurants, learn all about our olive oil industry (and taste the goodies, too) and get our insider take on where to go, what to do, and otherwise experience the area as only a local could?

Where will be take you…. well we don’t want to ruin the surprise but rest assured that you’ll sample some of the best organic chocolates, taste what real (homemade) Mediterranean food tastes like, and sample other goods that mostly locals know of.

Visit Central Coast Food Tours Downtown SLO Food Tour page for all the details.

You’re going to love it!!

DISCOVER OUR PASO ROBLES BRUNCH AND WINE WALK
Our friends may not have heard, but we are now offering a most delicious Paso Robles Brunch and wine walk.

Mother's Day Brunch Tour

Mother’s Day Brunch Tour

What a great way to start off your wine country travels, or finish up on a high note!

We tried many of the local Paso Robles brunch offerings (and there are many fine ones) but our favorite is the brunch at the Paso Robles Inn. We start the brunch off with free-flowing champagne or mimosas, then head on over to the buffet for fresh King Crab Legs, giant shrimp, juicy prime rib, omelets made to order, and a truly breath-taking bevy of delicious brunch specialities.

Eat up! Because after all this great food we head out for a walk and on to the tasting rooms of Downtown Paso Robles. We’ve selected three of our favorites to share with you. You’ll taste some of the best whites and reds the region has to offer.

This tour operates only on Sundays and can be booked from the website – it’s a fabulous deal at $69 p/person which includes your brunch and all your tasting fees – plus, one of our great Central Coast Food Tour guides!

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Finally rain! And, a chance to cook my new Paso Robles Mac n’ Cheese. We’ve been in the midst of a terrible drought and after the first sprinkles of rain I decided I had better grab this opportunity to enjoy the rain and do some cooking. I know all my vineyard friends must be doing their crazy rain dances among the vines – so needed is this rain.

In celebration, I’m hunkering down in the kitchen with my favorite foods (yes… the fireplace is actually “on”) and at last I get an opportunity to enjoy winter cooking. I’ve been saving my comfort food recipes for the last 4 months waiting for that ‘rainy day’ – so, here we go!

Who can resist the creamy cheesy luxury of old fashioned Mac n’ Cheese? We’re all trying to add more ‘healthy’ foods to our diet, so I improvised here to lower the fat content of the milk and cheeses and add in some favorite vegetables that I hope to add flavor without taking away from that luscious creaminess that makes this dish so addictive.

Laura’s Paso Robles Mac n’ Cheese

Ingredients:

3 cups of non-fat milk (use whole milk if you don’t care about the fat)
2 cups of white wine – chardonnay

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It’s Winter and time for a little Paso Robles Wine Country Soup. This potato, crab and gorgonzola soup will serve 10.

Crab-soup

Crab-soup

I love potatoes and seafood…. do I hear Chioppiono calling? Maybe yes – maybe no. Wow, even being on the Pacific coast, seafood is very expensive. I came across this recipe from the “New England Soup Factory” and thought it was a sure hit. I changed some of the ingredients and directions…and the end result was nothing less than phenomenal.

Here are the ingredients:

3 TBS of butter
4 Whole garlic cloves, peeled and diced
1 large spanish onion, peeled and diced
3 ribs of celery – split and diced into small portions
6 Large Yukon Gold potatoes = peeled and cut into chunks
6 cups of stock – the recipe calls for Lobster stock, but I made the soup with lesser stocks, such as clam juice and vegetable/Chicken. It’s really up to you – add the stock that you have around in the house.
1- 8 oz can of tomato paste.
2 Cups of Sherry.
2 Bay leaves.
1 tsp of celery salt.
2 cups of heavy cream.
1 lb. of cooked crabmeat.
1 cup of gorgonzola cheese ( save 1/4 the amount to drop on the top.)
5 dashes of worchestershire sauce..

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We love living in Paso Robles Wine Country and want to share our homes with our returning guests.

vacation rental on Balboa Rd. in Atascadero

Wine Country vacation rental

If you are reading this you have likely taken a tour with Yule or me (Laura). We have been so overwhelmed with the kindness and ‘connection’ we feel with our guests that we’ve decided to explore a home exchange or offer our home as a wine country vacation rental with our prior guests.

As owners of the San Luis Obispo Food Tour and the Paso Robles Food and Wine Tour, you already know we are total ‘foodies’. Mom has joined the party (have you tried her lavender shortbread cookies?) and she is now doing all the catering for our private wine tours, our “Sip and Sail Tours” and our “Sip and Zip-Line Tours.” Calling her food wonderful is a shortfall, as mom thrives on learning our guests’ tastes and preferences and making menus just for them.

At any rate, we all talked about this and decided we wanted to balance our work with Central Coast Food Tours with opportunities to travel and see new places. We never want to get “stuck” in our perceptions of the treasures of the Central Coast. Getting away for a few days to a week serves to reinvigorate our outlook and creative juices.

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Autumn is time for my favorite Paso Robles food – Popovers! With the cooler weather I love to make soups, and our favorite partner are these “popovers”.

 

Popover bisquits

Popovers

These are super easy. If ever you are looking for a good bread accoutrement to a hearty dish, but don’t have time to cook a loaf of bread – try these.

Preheat oven to 380 degrees. Once you’ve greased your muffin pan, put it in the oven to heat it up. You will want a really hot muffin tin to pour the popover mixture into.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of sifted all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp. of salt

2 or 3 eggs

1 cup of milk

I like to make these in extra large muffin pans. Be sure to grease the muffin tins generously with real butter.

Heat oven to 380 degrees.

In a mixing bowl sift the flour and salt.

In another bowl, beat the eggs slightly with the milk – not too hard.

Add the flour mixture to the egg and milk mixture. Hand beat to make the mixture somewhat smooth – actually, do not worry too much about the bumps the flour presents.

Take the heated muffin tin out of the oven and pour your ingredients into the cups – 1/3 to 1/2 full.

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Paso Robles Food – Naan

Paso Robles food is delicious – especially when it comes out of your own kitchen. Delight in making home-baked Naan Bread!

According to the literature, this bread was introduced to India by the Moguls who came from Persia via Afghanistan. The word “Naan” means “bread” in Persian.

Naan Bread

Naan Bread

This is a great bread to make with kids or as part of a low-key kitchen party. I mean, really… what doesn’t it compliment? It’s a wonderful dipping bread.

Here’s the recipe:

2 C of flour

1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 oz of fresh yeast

4 TBSP of warm milk (not too hot or it will kill the yeast)

1 TBSP of olive oil

2 TBSP of plain yogurt

1 egg

2-3 TBSP of melted butter (ghee)
Bread making is always a ‘personal thing’ – some people use bread machines and others prefer the old fashioned pleasure of working the dough. Let me cut through all the literature and give you a few hard learned hints/lessons:

Making the Dough:

Most important is making sure your yeast is fresh (check the date on the pkg.) And, then allowing the yeast to mingle with the ingredients to rise.

(1) Sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix the yeast and warm milk.

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Central Coast Food

Central Coast food is wonderful! We have so many talented Chefs on the Central Coast that our Central Coast Food is simply amazing. This is the time of year that I call on my Chef friends to share their spoils with the rest of us.

Basque Food

Basque Restaurant in San Miguel

This recipe features Chef Dallas Holt’s Basque Potatoes – one of this top “go to” specialties. Believe me when I say I took a busload of 36 people into his intimate (and now crowded dining room) and folks were fighting forks over these luscious potatoes. Yes, we had more on the menu (Chef Dallas is never one to under-feed his guests) but the potatoes were an all out winner!

Here’s his recipe:

Serves 6

4 med. unpeeled russet potatoes
1 large peeled yam

1 1/2 TBS paprika

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp course ground black pepper

2 TBS cooking oil

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 tsp salt

1/2 C of mayonnaise

4 tsp chopped garlic

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash russet potatoes and cut into bite sized pieces. Peel and cut yam into bite sized pieces. Place potatoes and yam into baking dish and add the oil.

Mix together the paprika, onion, and garlic powder, coarse ground pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt into a spice mixture. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the yams and potatoes, and then fold everything together making sure all the potatoes and yams are well coated with the oil and spices. Cover and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 3/4 hours.

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Paso Robles Food and Wine

Paso Robles Food and wine is some of the best available. I tell all our Paso Robles food tour guests that the town of Paso Robles is the Crown Jewell of Central Coast cuisine – and it’s true! I happen to think it’s a factor of the 200+ wineries and tasting rooms surrounding our little food and wine mecca. I mean, really… you’ve got all this outstanding wine and how is one to appreciate it …. but with finely crafted food, of coarse!

Prime Rib Sandwich

Prime Rib Sandwich

While the players change over time in the downtown square, it’s much like the theory of “Natural Selection” – only the strongest survive. So be assured the food to be enjoyed is likely that much better than the establishment it replaced last year, or the year before last. We’ve got a highly competitive collective-kitchen on the hum in our downtown, and the food being crafted just keeps getting better and better. Frankly, I can’t think of a better time to offer a Paso Robles Food Tour than now – or perhaps a year from now will even be better!

Let me share some of my favorite finds and why I enjoy them so much:

(These are not listed in order of preference)

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