California Mid State Fair

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California Mid State Fair 

July 17-28th, 2013

Paso Robles, CA

Yeehaw! It’s that time folks. Who doesn’t love a good fair? We’re huge fans of the California Mid State Fair and all it has to offer. There are HUGE concerts this year… did someone say Tim Mcgraw and Van Halen?! We can’t go without a special shout out to a personal and old friend of ours who is a GIANT name in music and we can’t believe that they were able to get him to perform too- you may have heard of him… Adam Lambert! Oh yeah, Keb’ ‘Mo and Matt Nathanson are playing FREE too, among others! There are big names playing Pay-to-see and Free concerts this year. We couldn’t be more excited.

The fair isn’t just about concerts, it’s about highlighting all that our region offers and excels in. Yup, agriculture all over the place. AgriCULTURE is what SLO County is all about. From cowboys to heirloom farming, the fair has it covered. Top it all off with food that shouldn’t be fried but tastes oh-so-good and you have yourself a grand ol’ time.

Click HERE for more fair info.

Enjoy a SLO Weekend… Central Coast Lavender Festival

Saturday, July 13, 2013 from 10 am to 5 pm in Paso Robles Downtown Park – FREE and family friendly

We’ve been so excited to attend the Central Coast Lavender Festival because we, absolutely, adore lavender! The smell is relaxing and it tastes fantastic in all forms. There will be local vendors with lavender infused everything, as well as food and local and handmade goods. This Saturday will be sunny and beautiful in the North County “valley” of SLO and a perfect day to get out and enjoy the festival.

local eats… Batch



1108 Broad Street

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

I am addicted to ice cream, to my hips’ chagrin, and can’t pass up an ice cream sandwich. My husband and I are from L.A. and were religious followers of the ice cream sandwich truck (that are now national trucks and have a landlocked location) COOLHAUS. So, we were excited to stumble upon Batch during a Downtown SLO Thursday Night Farmers Market outing. We were pretty impressed with the cookie and ice cream choice the first time around, although we’re not huge fans of Doc Burnstein’s ice cream. Unfortunately, in South SLO County, you don’t have a choice but to eat Doc’s if you want anything on the good side other than a half gallon from the grocery store.

On our recent visit I even asked if they were still using Doc’s and the employee said YES quite enthusiastically. I hope that they’ll make their own ice cream one day, that would make this place the cat’s meow. This time around I had a rocky road cookie with strawberry ice cream. I didn’t quite like the thinness of the cookie doubled with the chewy, stick behind your teeth texture.  I was a sticky mess by the end. A mess. My husband had chocolate chip cookies and birthday cake ice cream. He liked his cookies but wasn’t a fan of the ice cream. We just don’t enjoy Doc’s as much as everyone else, I guess. Good thing that Doc’s is going into the old Coldstone location Downtown, eh?! Insert sad face here. Back to the awesomeness of BATCH-  They always have about 5 choices of cookie, 5 of ice cream and sorbets, and they even have “toppings” that they can roll the sides in. I haven’t tried mine rolled yet, but I have my heart set on some potato chips with my ice cream next time…mmmmmmmm!

Summer and Batch seem to go hand in hand, so we’ll be seeing a lot of them. If you check in with Yelp, they have a good check in deal of about 75 cents off of your ice cream sandwich. Make sure to let them know in time, I forgot and didn’t get the deal. Oh wells. What combination would you try?



  • Quality of cookies
  • Good price for a treat
  • Service is always friendly
  • Fun choices, it’s hard to pick!


  • Parking downtown…bring quarters!
  • Small indoor seating and one bench outside

Enjoy a SLO Weekend…Lopez Lake Events- Nature Boat Cruise & Bats Campfire Show



Did you know that Lopez Lake, near Arroyo Grande, offers great events all year round? The lake isn’t just for fishing and camping, it is also for discovering the uniqueness of SLO nature. The Park Rangers are more than happy to show you everything that the Lopez Lake Preserve has to offer. This Saturday isn’t any different and there are 2 cool events for the whole family. We try to make our Enjoy a SLO Weekend feature a showcase for FREE events in the area but sometimes a small fee is worth it. So, if you want to escape the “city” head to Lopez Lake for a morning, evening, or all day nature feast.

Nature Boat Cruise 9:15 to 10:45 am  $6/adults $3/kids and $10/Park Entrance

Reservations required- (805) 788-2381

The 2 hour cruise covers the natural history, fauna, flora, etc.


All About Bats Campfire Show 8:30 to 9:30 pm   FREE event just pay $10/Park Entrance

local eats…Redwood Cafe

redwood cafe

Redwood Cafe

2094 Main St, Cambria, CA 93428
(805) 927-4830

In April we went to Cambria to celebrate my birthday and enjoyed a full day of Moonstone Beach, Downtown Cambria, and a lovely night. We were really excited to have a wonderful and local breakfast before heading back home. Well, we made the choice to hit up Redwood Cafe and we were so surprised. The place was definitely an old-school and local loved joint. Our server was fantastic and she knew her customers. Both she and another man were so welcoming. When we placed our order 7 whole minutes must have passed before we were served with lumberjack sized platters.

I enjoyed the vegetarian benedict (I can’t remember the actual name) more than I did anywhere else. I really love all vegetable benedicts because they make me feel less guilty for indulging in hollandaise sauce, another obsession. What pushed their benedict over the top? The garlic sauteed tomatoes. Oh. My. Geez. You have NO idea. The side potatoes weren’t that great but the hollaindaise was so creamy that I didn’t even care about the potatoes. Okay, I just cared a little less but I was still bummed. My husband had the pancakes, eggs, and bacon dish. The pancakes were superbly balanced between sweet and savory and hit the mark on density and fluffiness.

Really? Stop reading this and JUST GO. Honest, you won’t be disappointed.


  • Quality of food
  • Affordable prices
  • Ample free parking
  • Outdoor patio seating
  • Service is fast and friendly


  • A little hard to find- parking is sunken and the cafe is in the middle of a strip that’s hard to see from the street

local eats… The Rib Line


Rib Line

228 West Grand Ave

Grover Beach CA 93433

(805) 474-0123

Wow. Really, wow! We were told by a couple locals, that say that they like bbq, to not go here because “It’s too expensive and isn’t that great.” So, we were hesitant to try it but after a few of their suggestions were flops, we thought we’d give it a shot. Boy, were they wrong. The first time we tried them out, we didn’t have a menu and when we called we had to ask for, basically, an oral run through of their offerings. The girl that helped us was really nice but they laughed at us when we asked if we could have it delivered. We figured that they closed in 30 minutes and they are about a quarter mile from our house so they should be able to accommodate a delivery. Not that time, I guess.

Our craving was getting ridiculous and we had to get back. This time, we opted to dine in. The crowd was a mish mash of locals, bros, fresnoids, and bakos. The meal was incredible. I had the tri tip sandwich and baked beans. The tri tip was cooked perfectly, as tender as can be with flavor to spare. I like it SLO style and that means bbq sauce not salsa. The bbq sauce was well balanced and I, easily, could have spread that sauce on a box and would be happy. Now, the beans. Holy bananas. I mean, c’mon. The baked beans are “slap yo mama” good; sweet, smoky, and the beans aren’t overcooked and mushy. My husband had the beef ribs and the fact that his eyes rolled so far back in his head, I knew they were good and he said they were out of this world. He had pasta salad and potato salad, both of which were just okay.

We asked the server what the specials were, before the meal, and he told us about the mac n cheese of the day. It was something with bleu cheese, which I love, and I asked if I could get some as a side. He told me that the cooks could make it happen. I asked him how much the side would be and he said their sides are $4.95. Well, after he dropped off our entrees he came back with a plate full of the mac n cheese. When I asked if that was a “side” he said yes and told me it was $9.95. What?! I told him that I wouldn’t pay 10 bucks for a side and asked him to take it away. He then asked me “So, you want me to take it off your bill?” Ummmm, yup. I do. Our server proved to be, well, the dullest tool in the tool shed. He was a nice kid and you could tell he wanted to provide quality service and he thought that he was but he, obviously, fell short. When we were checking out we asked him how far and how late they delivered. He said that it just depended on what everyone felt like that day. Seems about right.

All in all, this place is immensely delicious. Like, drool-the-whole-way-there delicious. Our friends from out of state ate here when they came for our wedding and they crave it all the time. Lucky for us, we can feed the craving whenever we want. By the way- they are totally not as expensive as other famous SLO bbq joints. They have affordable meals for 2 or families and offer salads as well.


  • Bang for your buck proportions
  • Options for food


  • Parking can be hard to find when they’re busy because they’re in a plaza and share the parking with residents
  • Delivery isn’t always available
  • Service can leave you wanting more

see & do…Beach Boardwalk Trail

beach boardwalk

The Grover Beach “Beach Boardwalk” Trail is great for everyone. The SLO State Parks department rates it as a moderate trail and it is ADA accessible. There are a couple benches along the path for you to sit and enjoy the gorgeous views and after our walk, we went back and sat there for an hour. We had a great time checking it out as newbies! There is a golf course on your right when you first start out, little sand dunes covered in pretty plants and flowers on your left, ocean views almost the entire time, and beautiful views of the mountains ahead. The trail is 2 miles round trip and you can tack on more if you continue onto Pismo Beach.

How to get there: Go West on Grand Ave. from Highway 1 or from Highway 101. Take Grand Ave. until it (almost) ends at the Oceano Dunes entrance. Park in the lot on the right (you’ll see a seafood restaurant). Parking is free! The trail is located right behind the public restrooms, if you’re looking north from the parking lot.

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local eats…Jocko’s


125 North Thompson Avenue

Nipomo CA 93444

(805) 929-3565


This place hasn’t changed since the 70s and it hasn’t had to. Cowboys and ranch hands still grab a pint after work (and at lunch!) and the locals dine on the barbecue they will, happily, defend. Don’t expect any frills or terribly great service as Jocko’s is all about great SLO bbq. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner to quench your Jocko’s craving. No joke, you mention this place to a local and they’ll tell you it’s the bees knees. You have your choice between SLO bbq (bbq sauce) or Santa Maria bbq (salsa on the side) and it’s all served with a breadstick/cracker basket and salsa (to dip the crunchies, of course).

The last time we were there we enjoyed their sandwiches for lunch and the meat was cooked perfectly and on a grill you can see through the large windows. Steak that is tender and flavorful between garlic bread? YES, PLEASE! This is quintessential SLO eatin’ and it always hits the spot. At dinner you can order a “small” steak that covers the entire plate. Our favorite part of watching our dinner being cooked? Seeing the outdoor grill covered in meat with ribs, a la the Flintstones,  hanging off the sides. Your server may be a bit salty but that could be due to the awesome Jocko’s Mix steak seasoning they sell, perhaps it has worked it’s way into their veins or because she’s worked there for 30 years. Either way, she’ll deliver the best steak for you to enjoy after you fill up on the breadsticks, crackers, salsa, and salad that comes with your meal! Thinking of coming for dinner Thursday through Sunday? MAKE A RESERVATION!!! It isn’t uncommon to wait 2 hours for a seat at dinner.


  • Bang for your buck proportions
  • Interesting ambiance
  • Options of meat cuts and sizes
  • Cowboy sightings


  • Long wait for dinner without a reservation
  • Service may leave you wanting more (but you’ll forget it once you bite into your steak, promise!)
  • Parking in the dirt lot when there aren’t any more spots in the paved lot


James’ SLO Life…Adventures in Gardening

garden june

Vegetable Garden Image courtesy of Simon Howden

As we creep into June, many of us have our garden in full swing. Last year was my big “learning year” with my garden. Having lived in L.A. my whole life, I got used to being able to grow a garden with almost no effort and much like South County SLO, the thermal belt helps to keep the temperature at a pretty consistent average.  Now that I live in North County SLO, I was confronted with a whole slew of new situations.

To start it off, I had to decide how to plant.  My intention was to plant straight into the ground but unfortunately the landscaping of my neighborhood was done with probably the cheapest fill I have ever seen.  It is about 70% rocks in a place that should be 50% sand. I decided to build a garden box to house the majority of our produce to get the benefit of the insulation factor of the ground without all the rocks. By the way, gophers are a problem up here so always line the underside of your box with chicken wire to keep them out. Also, i don’t recommend combining tomatoes with anything else in the planter box. Tomatoes will grow as wide as you allow them room and will take over so I suggest either straight into the ground or in a bin.

Just driving up the Cuesta Grade, the climate changes drastically. From November until May, the risk of frost is very prominent. Most plants will completely die off in the winter (especially if planted in bins) and will need to be replanted next year. Come April, planting can start on some types of plants but will need to be covered and protected from freezing at night to survive. I picked up 7 different varieties of tomatoes from Cal Poly Tomato Sale mid April but waited til May 1st to permanently plant them outside in bins. Once Summer is in full swing, now the risk is frying the plants.  We pretty much have an 85 degree difference between Winter and Summer up in North County so from the beginning to the end of the growing season, you will be changing up your game plan a couple times. At the beginning, watering in the morning only seems to be the best since the water will freeze at night if watered too late in afternoon.  In the Summer, I am competing against 100+ degree weather with super intense sun, so I am watering a few times a day to keep my plants cool.

This brings me to my next issue I learned about, Water. Water in North County is a big concern as of late. Paso Robles has mandatory water rationing in effect this year and everyone is gonna feel the effect. Water is life, but can also kill your plants. With the intensity of the sun up here, any droplets of water on your plants will act as a magnifying glass and burn your plants. So because of this problem and the drought problem, I recommend a drip system.  They are moderately cheap and easy to set up and will save you loads of money on water since its going straight to the roots and not running off into the weeds (or wildflowers if still Spring). I set up a watering schedule set on a timer that waters for 15 minutes in the morning, 10 in the middle of the afternoon to cool down, and 15 minutes in the evening right as the sun is setting and my plants seem to be quite happy with lots of foliage, fruit starting to grow and minimal leaf burning.

Produce ain’t cheap, and feeding a family the right amount of fruit and veggies can get expensive.  Once underway, the cost of your groceries should reduce dramatically while the benefits and joys of backyard produce is amplified now that the new local ordinance has passed allowing unlicensed sale of non perishable goods such as produce and eggs. Giving friends and family produce is great but it is kinda cool to be able to get some cash money as well as appreciation for all your hard work. In a couple more weeks, I should be bringing in about a plate of produce a day and will be enjoying the fruit of my labor (pun intended) and highly recommend anyone with the interest to give it a try. With a little practice and research, anyone can turn themselves into a regular Dr. Greenthumb.

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