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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 | 2017-04-17T15:28:18+00:00 November 15th, 2015|Categories: Food, News|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 glass or bottle 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 | 2017-04-17T15:28:18+00:00 May 30th, 2015|Categories: Food, News|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Santa Barbara Public Market – A Place Filled With Treasures

If you happen to find yourself on the Central Coast of California, be sure to stop by the Santa Barbara Public Market.

Santa Barbara Public Market

Walking into the Santa Barbara Public Market, you're greeted with a bright and beautiful interior. The Market is bustling with people trying samples of Chocolate Orange Bread at Crazy Good Bread Co. and enjoying lunch at Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar. Organic produce and drinks line one wall while the rest of the Market is filled with individual businesses offering something unique.

As you take a lap around the Public Market, you will find everything from delicious cupcakes, an indoor wine and beer bar, and fresh seafood (the oysters caught my attention). And that's not even half of it.

The LEED certified market opened on April 16 of this year in downtown Santa Barbara, just blocks away from great shopping. On their website, Santa Barbara Public Market states that "with an ardent focus on local farms and artisanal ingredients, the Public Market will present Santa Barbara residents and nomads alike with a very well-stocked pantry for their daily foraging." And that they do.

In addition to organic produce (in a location that they wonderfully call "Foragers Pantry"), the Santa Barbara Public Market features a collection of unique "purveyors" who each bring something different to the Market. Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar features authentic noodle bowls inspired from Thai and Taiwanese cuisine. Pair cheese and salumi from The Culture Counter Co. with handcrafted loaves of bread at Crazy Good Bread Co., then take it to the Wine + Beer Bar. Sustainable and humanely-raised meats can be found at Belcampo Meat Co., freshly made pasta at The Pasta Shoppe and fresh seafood at Santa Monica Seafood. Try olive oils and vinegars from il Fustino.

For non-alcoholic drinks, Green Star Coffee offers coffee from 100% organic fair-trade coffee beans roasted locally. JuiceWell also offers fresh pressed vegetable and fruit juices.

For dessert, make sure to grab unique and delightful cupcakes from Enjoy Cupcakes and/or organic ice cream from Rori's Artisanal Creamery.

Santa Barbara Public Market has something to offer everyone, whether you are just looking for organic and fresh produce or are looking for a bite to eat.

The Public Market is located at the corner of West Victoria and Chapala streets and opens at 7 a.m. daily, though hours may differ for each shop.

Enjoy Cupcakes, Cupcake Flight

The cupcake flight of the week from Enjoy Cupcakes. This week's flight was (from left to right, back row first): Strawberry Orange Creamsicle, Chocolate Blackberry Syrah, Salted Caramel Bailey's Cream, Maple Cookies and Cream, Ginger Peach Chardonnay, and S'mores.

I absolutely loved each and every one of these cupcakes. They were light, not too sweet, and tasted so great. It's too difficult to pick just one favorite so my top three are Ginger Peach Chardonnay, S'mores and Chocolate Blackberry Syrah.

Enjoy Cupcakes also offers cakes, mousse cups and cake puddings. Yum!

Culture Counter Co.

 

Culture Counter Co. offers a curated selection of cheese and salumi from the U.S. and a mix of cheeses from around the world. What's neat is that they offer "Culture Cones" which are cones of either meats or cheeses. Talk about a great snack to have as you wander through the Market!

By | 2017-04-17T15:28:18+00:00 May 19th, 2014|Categories: Food, News|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Gourmet Cheese Shop Fromagerie Sophie Brings a Little Piece of Paris to SLO

Right in the heart of San Luis Obispo, Calif., you'll find a new gourmet cheese shop that is bringing a little bit of the beauty (and delicious-ness!) of France to SLO.

Fromagerie Sophie (French for "Sophie's Cheese Shop") isn't just a cheese shop. It's a gourmet cheese shop that offers cheeses and other select items from around the world. Sophie Boban-Doering opened Fromagerie Sophie just a couple of months ago in November 2013.

Walking into the gourmet cheese shop, you'll notice a glass case filled with an amazing selection of cheese, charcuterie, olives, pates, and other select items. Each cheese has a placard that has a little bit of info about the cheese: the name, where it's imported from, a brief description of the cheese, the price per pound, and a beer/wine pairing.

If you're new to cheese or already just an avid lover of great cheese, Fromagerie Sophie will satisfy you. Their staff is friendly and knowledgeable about the products they offer. They will help you explore their offerings with samples and provide suggestions for what may tickle your taste buds.

While you'll find cheese imported from all over the world (Italy, France and Switzerland, to name just a few countries), Fromagerie Sophie also offers cheeses from local creameries.

Fromagerie Sophie SLO



Selection of Cheese at Fromagerie Sophie
During my first visit to Fromagerie Sophie, my friend and I were welcomed by a friendly staff member who quickly asked us if we would like to try a sample. What's great about Fromagerie Sophie is that you don't need to worry about knowing what kind of cheese you're looking for. You can wander in, have a lovely conversation with a staff member, experience the cheese, and walk out knowing a little bit more about cheese with a delicious cheese in hand.

The first cheese I tried at Fromagerie Sophie was Brillat Savarin-Plasse from France (seen below). I don't know how else to describe it besides simply saying that it was amazing. The Brillat Savarin-Plasse is a triple cream cheese with a hint of nuttiness that is very light and extremely creamy. It happily melted in my mouth and I could imagine spreading it on a baguette slice and eating it all the time. (I wish I was kidding).

I then tried a sample of Shallots Confit (also seen below). I loved these. The shallots confit were sweet with a hint of tartness. Sandy, an employee at Fromagerie Sophie, suggested pairing the shallots confit with cheese and a baguette.

My first visit to Fromagerie Sophie was also the first time I tried pâté. I tried two types of pâté and I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor and texture of both. I am now a pâté lover.

Overall, there is no doubt I will be visiting Fromagerie Sophie to pick up some cheese, pâté, a baguette, and maybe everything else.

Fromagerie Sophie SLO


Wander into 1129 Garden St. in San Luis Obispo, CA and experience a little bit of France with a great selection of delicious cheeses and a friendly staff. The fromagerie is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am - 6 pm.

Happy cheesing! 

xx, Leila

By | 2017-04-17T15:28:18+00:00 February 3rd, 2014|Categories: Food, News|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Worth Visiting: Scout Coffee Co. in San Luis Obispo, CA

Hi everyone! I'm introducing something new on chicisms. As someone who loves fashion and is a self-proclaimed foodie, I couldn't keep myself from not writing about food. That's why I've decided to begin incorporating my food adventures into chicisms. I hope you enjoy!

If there was ever a coffee shop to fall in love with, it would be Scout Coffee Co. in San Luis Obispo, CA. The employees here are friendly and obviously love their coffee, the atmosphere is open and inviting, the coffee is delicious, and the branding as well as the interior design is beautiful.

Scout Coffee just opened in downtown SLO yesterday and it is, without a doubt, my new favorite coffee spot. Everything is absolutely lovely about this local coffee shop and their cappuccino brightened my morning.

The specialty coffee shop is owned and operated by husband and wife team Jon and Sara Peterson. In addition to the delicious Verve coffee Scout offers, you'll find  teas, milkshakes, house made sodas, and homemade baked goods.

You can visit Scout at 1130 Garden St., San Luis Obispo, CA  93401.

Scout Coffee SLO

Scout Coffee SLO

Scout Coffee San Luis Obispo



If you're looking for good coffee and a great atmosphere, I suggest Scout Coffee Co. Let me know what you think of it!

 

xx,

Leila

By | 2017-04-17T15:28:18+00:00 January 21st, 2014|Categories: Food, News|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment