The Maker Menagerie, a modern craft fair

craft show logo-page-0There’s a new show coming to town this November and it’s going to be awesome! They are currently seeking vendors, volunteers, and bands to play at the event. This is going to be a heavily marketed show with high anticipation. The event is all about staying local and that means SLO, baby! Here’s a blip from their site…

The Maker Menagerie, a modern craft fair, is a lively event that embraces “staying local” and features local makers of fine crafted goods! The event benefits local non-profits and will be set to the tunes of local bands throughout the day. Spend the day enjoying the music, shopping from our wonderfully curated craftsman, and supporting local non-profits by eating the delicious plate lunches and other yummy food and drinks. Bring the whole family for a great day out in the community and get a head start on your holiday shopping! 
Saturday, November 9, 2013
11 am to 5 pm
FREE
Filipino Cultural Center
885 S 13th St
Grover Beach, CA 93433
For more information, please visit their website HERE.

James’ SLO Life…Templeton Concerts in the Park

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This week kicks off my favorite event each Summer, Concert in the Park. Each city seems to have their own, so practically everyday, somewhere in SLO county, there is live music playing in a park.  Even before living in Templeton I would frequent their concerts because that is where my fellow crew members at Trader Joe’s would gather together. Concerts are held on Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30 and covers a whole spectrum of musical tastes but seems to focus on blues and rock this year. If you are planning on attending, I suggest arriving early as seating is first come first served on the grass and the later you arrive, the further away you will have to park.  Bring a blanket for the ground and one for cover since the evenings can get cool as the sun sets. This also seems to be the only time no one is paying attention to open container laws as half of the people there are drinking wine and carrying on, but keeping it under control and cleaning up after themselves to avoid losing that privilege. If you have kids, this is a great place to bring them. Once the music starts, you will be hard pressed to find a group of kids not moving their feet and dancing with each other to the great tunes coming from the band. Food is a must if planning on being there the whole 2 hours. Even if you think you won’t be, once you are having a good time you see everyone else munching on goodies, you are going to want snacks as well. The last thing I suggest bringing is a flashlight.  Templeton has very little street lights and it gets pitch black on some nights while walking back to the car and the risk for tripping is very high due to badly paved streets in that neighborhood.

These concerts are a great opportunity to get out into the community and meet your neighbors and if with kids, an opportunity to meet potential play dates. Families abound and your kid is going to meet someone they enjoy playing with while there. Also, each show is sponsored by local businesses (including TJ’s) and is a great way to promote and find out about your local options for goods and services to help your community grow. Most importantly, there is great music.  These bands tend to be some of the best local musicians in the area and they all play their hearts out for the 2 hours they are up there. Come support local music and you never know, you may stumble across your new favorite act, and find out that the guitarist lives next door to you. These concerts are great fun for the whole family and are great ways to get to know your community further. So check out your local concert in the park and let’s listen to some great music together.

2013_Summer_Concert_MATTERS_AD_7 5X9 75

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local eats…Branch Street Deli

branch street deli

Branch Street Deli

203 E. Branch St.

Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

(805) 489-9099

We are repeat customers at this great restaurant. It is the most consistent place to eat in the Arroyo Grande Village and is affordable to boot. They have a great outdoor dining area that you can rent out for parties and they also have live music every now and then. Inside the restaurant are a lot of tables and a couple TVs to watch sports. The burgers and sandwiches are huge. You can, easily, share an entree with someone but you don’t have to! I don’t! The burgers are super juicy and not greasy. The sandwiches are loaded up on fresh bread. I’m not too into the fries and onion rings as they aren’t anything special. They do have great potato salad and offer entree salads that I haven’t tried yet.

The service is quick and friendly. My favorite part of sitting outside would be the Hawaiian music they pump out, it makes for such a serene setting. Be aware that between 2-4 the middle schoolers and high schoolers come to hang out. Yup…a lot of tween and teen convo and rowdiness. Oh no…I knew this would happen…now I’m in a deep craving for Branch Street Deli…

Pros

  • Quality of food
  • Affordable prices
  • Ample free parking in the public lots throughout the Village
  • Outdoor patio seating
  • Service is fast and friendly

Cons

  • Kids on the patio when school lets out

 

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Enjoy a SLO Weekend…30th Annual Strawberry Festival

I cannot explain in words how excited I am about this weekend. I grew up coming up the coast to the Arroyo Grande Strawberry Festival every year and looked forward to spending the weekend with family and devouring all things strawberry. My grandparents, mom, aunt, uncle, cousins, and I would all spend the weekend eating strawberry shortcake, playing games, and enjoying the live music. As I got older, we didn’t come up the coast annually and eventually, not at all. Everyone has said that the festival isn’t like it used to be, bustling and large, but I don’t care. My husband can tell you that I talk about it all the time and in all the years we’ve been together we were never able to make it up as we planned.

Please come out and support this great event. I would love for it to return to its grandeur. I can promise you that you’ll have an amazing time and you’ll eat some heavenly treats! The village is beautiful and the weather will be absolutely perfect. Hope to see you there!

local eats…Guest House Grill

guest house grillGuest House Grill

8783 El Camino Real

Atascadero, CA 93422

(805) 460-0193

After visiting Charles Paddock Zoo we stopped in at Guest House Grill in Atascadero for lunch. The day was so nice that we chose to sit outside in their covered patio area. They newly renovated the patio area as well as an area just a few steps down that is uncovered and has a neat rock feature. Finding the restaurant was difficult because it is in the rear portion of an older retail set up that has rows of “strip mall” type structures. We were looking for signs and, luckily, we had 2 sets of eyes in the search because these 2 newbies would have been lost and SOL.

We tried the meatloaf sandwich and the bbq burger. They were okay, better than some other burgers we’ve had in the county but the meatloaf sandwich was super salty, lacked flavor, and the bbq burger needed…well…more bbq sauce (easy remedy). We started with water to drink but it tasted like hay and immediately ordered a couple sodas. The sodas tasted like hay as well and we deduced that the ice was the wheaty culprit. Perhaps we should have had some whiskey neat, next time. Our server was okay but she seemed to be the only one for the place and although it wasn’t slammed the service was slow and at times nowhere to be found. Looking over the menu, lunch is affordable but dinner seems a bit pricey, especially for the area.

The setting was really nice and we are going to give this place another chance. They had a small tiny stage inside and we were told that it gets pretty hoppin’ when the live music is playing so that’s when we’ll come back for dinner. If we’re happy with dinner then we’d seriously contemplate having a party in their new outdoor space because it is really nice. If you were getting married in Atascadero, I would look into celebrating your rehearsal diner in this new space.

Pros

  • Setting and Ambience
  • Different food choices
  • Ample free parking
  • Outdoor patio seating
  • Service is polite and helpful when available

Cons

  • Service can be lacking if not staffed properly
  • Food seasoning needs a bit of adjusting
  • Hard to find the first time