Favorite Places & Spaces Along the Central Coast

The central coast of California is nothing less than a gem along the coastline. From the thriving wine countries to the beaches, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Here are six of my absolute favorite places and spaces along the Central Coast that you have to visit if you're in the area. Enjoy!

1. The Station, San Luis Obispo

An old gas station transformed into a wine shop, market and event space. That's what The Station is.

You'll find carefully curated wines from across the globe that aren't readily available anywhere else. Peruse the shelves, buy a bottle or have a glass of wine they're pouring and take it into their open space to enjoy.

The Station also has a variety of great gifts from Stumptown Coffee and small-batch bitters and shrubs, to other specialty goods.

This spot also hosts its own events (such as an art bar, blind tastings and seminars) and has local food trucks swing by during the week (currently The Grilled Cheese Incident and Granada's Raw Bar that has a rotating menu of oysters on the half shell).

So visit The Station and grab a glass or a bottle (because wine not) of wine you won't find anywhere else in SLO.

The Station, San Luis Obispo

2. Centrally Grown, Cambria

Secluded along Highway 1 right across the Pacific Ocean is a place where you can enjoy lunch and dinner, take a free yoga class, have some drinks, and shop around the market. Centrally Grown is a unique happy place where you can take in all the Central Coast has to offer.

The restaurant is upstairs and overlooks the ocean, giving you a beautiful view as you enjoy a meal that features fresh and contrasting flavors that blend beautifully together. The vibe is comfortable and cozy yet fun and vibrant.

The Centrally Grown grounds also feature edible gardens and ocean view patios for you to relax in. There's plenty of seating throughout the grounds so you can grab a couple glasses of wine from the market and enjoy lunch or a snack outdoors.

Centrally Grown, Cambria

3. Sycamore Springs and Resort, Avila Beach 

Escape and relax at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa nestled in the hills right before you hit Avila Beach. You can choose to stay at the resort if you're spending a couple days in Avila, but for those who are just looking for an hour of relaxation, visit their hot springs.

Sycamore has 23 naturally heated hillside mineral spring tubs that you can reserve by the hour. You can unwind with a drink in the hot springs and enjoy the hills surrounding your secluded mineral spring tubs. Sycamore's hot springs are open year round until midnight with the last reservation at 10:45 pm.

Friendly tip: Make a reservation beforehand.

4. Ember Restaurant, Arroyo Grande

Enjoying a meal at Ember Restaurant is a must while in the Central Coast. Featuring a seasonal menu that changes monthly, Ember offers authentic food and an impressive wine list where local wines reign.

Each dish is fresh, honest and served beautifully. Ember also features an open kitchen setup and a wood-fired brick oven where amazing pizzas (and other dishes like Wood Fired Octopus served with padron peppers, baby frisee, pancetta vinaigrette and lemon aioli) are cooked.

Ember Restaurant, Arroyo Grande

5. Thursday Night Farmer's Market, San Luis Obispo 

Thursday night's in San Luis Obispo are known for a farmer's market that brings life to downtown SLO from 6-9 PM. Higuera Street is taken over with the smell of BBQ, fresh produce and the sounds of people dancing, cheering and enjoying the night.

With over 120 vendors at the Farmer's Market, you don't want to pass it up. Of course you'll find the many booths of flowers and fresh produce from local farms as you walk along Higuera, but you'll also find an incredible amount of food. From the tri tip and mini donuts to kettle and roasted corn, surely you will find something for dinner or to snack on as you walk through downtown.

Don't miss a chance to experience a lively and fun stroll through San Luis Obispo's popular Higuera Street on Thursday nights for Farmer's.

6. Black Hill, Morro Bay

Enjoy the outdoors and hike Black Hill in Morro Bay. The hill is a 661-foot volcanic peak and is part of the Nine Sisters of San Luis. The Nine Sisters are a group of nine ancient volcanic mountains that extend in a line from San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay.

Black Hill is a fairly easy and short hike at 0.6 miles round trip but you get a stunning view of Morro Bay and the surrounding coastline.

Black Hill, Morro Bay

By |November 15th, 2015|Categories: Food, News|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Recipe File: Fig Galette

I love seasonal fruit and flowers (peonies anyone?) so when I saw figs at Trader Joe's last weekend, I instantly reached for them.

Stuck on deciding between the black Mission figs, Tiger figs and green figs... I chose the green figs to try something different. Green Kadota figs are a little less sweet than their cousins but reach the perfect level of sweetness when paired with mascarpone and honey.

In addition to snacking on fresh figs with some prosciutto and thinking about the several things I could do with them (fig jam, roasted figs and honey, bacon or prosciutto wrapped figs...), I settled down and decided to make the easiest of desserts - a galette.

Recipe File: Fig Galette | Chicisms

Recipe File: Fig Galette | Chicisms

Recipe File: Fig Galette | Chicisms

What you'll need:

  • Pie dough (I cheated and used store-bought pie dough I already had in the freezer)
  • 1 pound of fresh figs
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Cane sugar to sprinkle on top


  1. Prepare your pie dough, whether you're making it yourself and grabbing a pre-made one.
  2. Wash your figs and cut them lengthwise in 1/4-inch thick slices.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together honey and water (you can warm up the honey beforehand in the microwave so it's easier to blend).
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a baking sheet, roll out your pie dough into a circle. Top with figs in concentric circles, leaving about an inch and a half border. Fold dough edges over the figs.
  5. Brush the figs and dough with the honey and water mixture. Sprinkle cane sugar on top.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the fig juices begin to bubble.
  7. Let cool for about 15 minutes. Enjoy warm or at room temperature!
By |August 9th, 2015|Categories: Food|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Recipe File: Mini Cherry Tarts

Summer hasn't been kicked off until the first cherries are in season. While the bright and shiny fruits make for an easy summer snack to simply eat out of a bowl, don't be afraid to incorporate them into your favorite recipe.

Here's a cherry-filled summer dessert to get started with: mini cherry tarts.

Recipe File: Cherry Tarts

Recipe File: Cherry Tarts

Recipe File: Cherry Tarts

What you'll need:

  • 1 pie crust (store bought or homemade)

For the filling...

  • 1 pound (3 cups) cherries, halved and pitted
  • 1/3 cup sugar (P.S. these are the cutest measuring cups).
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the crust:

  • Egg wash
  • 1/2 tablespoon Cane sugar or Turbinado sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. For mini cherry tarts, separate your dough into 5 sections. Roll out into circles on a floured surface. (If you decide to make one large cherry tart, simply roll out your dough into a large circle and continue with the below instructions.
  3. In a large bowl, combine halved and pitted cherries with sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice.
  4. Transfer your circles of dough onto a greased baking sheet.
  5. Spoon your filling into the center of each circle, leaving about an inch and a half on the edge. (If you're a crust-lover, leave about 2 inches of dough around the edge). Fold up the edges so your filling feels loved and is snug.
  6. Brush the edges with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
  7. Bake for an hour, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Let cool then enjoy!
By |June 7th, 2015|Categories: Food|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Sunsets in the Vineyard

Friday evening was spent enjoying good wine, good food and laughs with the best people at Wolff Vineyards, in San Luis Obispo's wine country.

Throughout the summer, the family-owned winery has an event on the last Friday of the summer months called "Sunset in the Garden". From 5:30 pm to 8 pm, you're able to enjoy Wolff's wine by the bottle or glass and eat delicious food whipped up by local chef Dave.

If you're in the area, be sure to visit Wolff Vineyard for a fun night enjoying great wine, food and SLO summer sunsets on June 26, July 31, August 28 and September 25.

Wolff Vineyards, San Luis Obispo

We sipped on Wolff's popular Petite Sirah and enjoyed crab cakes, a warm tuscan white bean salad with smoked sausage, and red, white and blue cake cups for dessert. All while enjoying a beautiful view of San Luis Obispo's Wine Country.

Sunset in the Garden, Wolff Vineyards

Sunset in the Garden, Wolff Vineyards

Wolff Vineyards is located at 6238 Orcutt Road in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

By |May 30th, 2015|Categories: Food, News|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Recipe File: Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Homemade cookies are always a treat - the aroma wafting from the oven as buttery cookies cook never fail to brighten and warm a home, especially during the holiday season. So here's a delicious raspberry thumbprint cookie recipe to try.

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

What you'll need:

  • 1 cup butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 2 cups and 2 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • Raspberry jam (or any flavor jam you prefer)


  1. Using a mixer, soften the butter in a bowl until creamy.
  2. Add the sugar and vanilla to the softened butter. Combine well.
  3. Pour the flour into the mix. Combine until a soft dough is formed.
  4. Press the dough down to compact it and cover it with plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 3 hours (or, chill in refrigerator for 1.5 - 2 hrs then chill in freezer for 15 min).
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and begin rolling the dough into 1-inch balls. Place on a greased baking sheet. (Note: if the balls feel sticky and/or soft after rolling, place the dough back into the fridge for about 15 min or until the dough is firm).
  6. Make an indent with your thumb into each ball. If the dough ball cracks on the side, feel free to smooth it out with your fingers.
  7. Fill each indent in each ball with jam of your choice.
  8. Bake the shortbread cookies until the edges are slightly golden, around 14-15 minutes.
  9. Let cookies cool for about 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Happy baking and happy new year! 

By |December 30th, 2014|Categories: Food|Tags: , , , |0 Comments