Recipes from Paso Robles Wine Country: Kiler Ridge Gazpacho

by Audrey Burnam

Looking for a great way to use those delicious tomatoes and cucumbers that are so abundant in our local farmers markets? We have a solution for you! Try this delicious, creamy gazpacho which will become a huge hit with your end-of-summer guests. Remember to use a high quality, local, extra virgin olive oil in the recipe because it really makes a huge difference in the taste and quality. I also recommend heading out to your local Farmer’s Market for some fresh-from-the-garden, organic veggies and fresh, local herbs.

Kiler Ridge Gazpacho

Makes about 4 cups
*Adapted from recipe in Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food, by Mogannam & Gough

1 cup of extra virgin olive oil (we recommend Kiler Ridge Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1/8 cup Spanish Sherry Vinegar
1/2 tsp Tapatio sauce
1 tsp Kosher flaked salt
1 small clove garlic
1/4 medium red onion
Handful of parsley sprigs
Handful of basil leaves
1/4 cucumber (I recommend Armenian or English cucumbers) and a bit extra to use for garnish
3 medium to large and very ripe tomatoes (feel free to mix up all kinds of tomatoes, including heirlooms)

Peel and cut cucumber into chunks. Core and cut tomatoes into chunks. Put olive oil, vinegar, Tapatio sauce, and salt in food processor and blend until mixed (about 30 seconds). Continue blending, and slowly drop vegetables and herbs into the food processor, in the following order: garlic, onion, parsley, Kiler Ridgebasil, cucumber, tomato. Blend until smooth consistency.
Chill for at least 2 hours. This soup will keep in refrigerator for 2-3 days. Serve cold, garnished with chopped cucumber (peeled and seeds removed), and olive oil croutons.

To make croutons: Cut french bread into 3/4” cubes. Put the bread cubes in a large bowl and toss generously with extra virgin olive oil and a little sea salt. Spread bread cubes onto a cookie baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Stir halfway through baking.

Cheers!

Audrey Burnam and Gregg Bone are the co-owners of Kiler Ridge Olive Farm located on the west side of Paso Robles, just two miles from the Downtown Square. Kiler Ridge specializes in Italian varietals of olive trees and produces award-winning, green/grassy and robust extra virgin olive oils.

Classic Films Return to he Big Screen in Paso Robles

Vintage Film Guest blog Bogart w Bacall 2by Chris Weygandt Alba

Classic films return to the big screen twice a year in downtown Paso Robles, thanks to the Downtown Paso Robles Main Street Association and the city’s downtown movie complex, Park Cinemas. These Sunday-evening classics, offered in September and February, are hugely popular with vintage movie buffs, boasting a $10 ticket price that includes popcorn and soda pop. It’s for a good cause, too, benefiting the local Main Street program that is devoted to the preservation and vitality of Paso Robles’ historic downtown.

On Sunday, Sept. 9, Main Street’s “Pajama Party” fundraiser features one of the greatest cinema romances of all time: the 1946 film-noir classic “The Big Sleep,” starring Humphrey Bogart and his sizzling new love, Lauren Bacall, in a devious mystery spun by masters Raymond Chandler and Howard Hawks.

“The Big Sleep” ranks in cinematic history as a classic work of film noir. Bogart—rated the greatest male star in the history of American cinema by the American Film Institute—plays the iconic hard-boiled detective Philip Marlowe with wicked cleverness, as he weaves through the lurid underbelly of 1940s L.A. glamour in a plot of blackmail, murder, and deceit.

The film is historic for another reason. “The Big Sleep” is Bogart’s second film with young Lauren Bacall, who is about to become his lifelong partner, and before your very eyes, the camera captures the deepening love affair between the icon and the ingénue. After filming wrapped in early 1945, scenes were re-shot and parts of the film revised to capitalize on their chemistry, and they married before the movie was released in 1946.

Seating is limited and advance tickets are advisable because previous events have sold out. They can be purchased in advance only through the Downtown Paso Robles Main Street Association. To use a credit card, call the office (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at 805-238-4103, or visit the office at 835 12th St., entering around back in the Norma’s Way alley.

The show begins at 7 p.m. on Sept. 9 at Park Cinemas (1100 Pine St.), but arrive much earlier for best seating. Main Street volunteers will have a table outside the cinema entrance if tickets are still available Sunday evening before showtime.

Chris Weygandt Alba left a magazine career in Southern California a dozen years ago for the greener pastures of her childhood home. Now she writes for a local magazine, profiling the many intriguing characters who make their home in northern San Luis Obispo County.

Santa Barbara Receives Travel Awards and Accolades

Wine Tasting by Bike in Santa Barbara

It appears to be the unofficial travel editorial awards season and Santa Barbara is the proud recipient of a variety of notable mentions and magazine highlights. The callouts are exciting testaments to both travel writers’ and readers’ love of this favorite coastal destination.

The Los Angeles Times audience voted Santa Barbara the Best Getaway in the 2012 Travel and Entertainment Readers’ Choice Awards! This was followed by two more editorial accolades, including:

  • Departures Magazine: World’s Most Bikeable Wine Regions – This mention talks about Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone—the section of city located between the Pacific and Highway 101 that has given rise to a variety of artisan winemakers, galleries and boutique hotels—which is home to the Urban Wine Trail. Made up of 17 Santa Barbara County tasting rooms all within blocks of each other and the beach, the Urban Wine Trail provides the perfect path to enjoy some quality pours mixed with easy pedaling or a ride in a pedicab!
  • Travel + Leisure Magazine: Best Hotels in California – Two of Santa Barbara’s esteemed hotel properties proudly made this list. The San Ysidro Ranch, which is a 500-acre property offering 27 rooms and 14 vine-covered cottages in a secluded setting near downtown Santa Barbara, was JFK and Jackie Kennedy’s choice as a honeymoon spot. Additionally, the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara was chosen for its Spanish Colonial style and dream-like coastal expanse along Montecito’s waterfront.

Santa Barbara and other Central California gems continued their time in the spotlight with this month’s issue of the Wine Enthusiast, which ran the article, California’s Highway 1, The Wine-Lover’s Route. From the Urban Wine Trail to the Sideways highlights of the Santa Ynez and Solvang valleys, the article takes the reader on a virtual tour of some of the Central Coast’s best tasting rooms.

Pick up your copies today or read the articles online! For updated information on Santa Barbara happenings, news and events and special offers, make sure to follow Santa Barbara on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or check in with us on FourSquare!

Santa Barbara—Your Summer Festival Destination

It isn’t without good reason that Santa Barbara likes to celebrate year-round. There’s plenty to be happy about when one happens upon such an iconic aspect of California’s Central Coast, including over 300 days of sun per year, rolling waves that roll into rolling hills that provide a variety of coveted wines and fresh produce, not to mention a downtown that is just as much hopping with excitement and activity as it is an epicenter of inviting, leisurely patios and decks.

With so much to enjoy, it’s no wonder that the community wanted to share the bounty and encourage others to join in the fun as far back as 1924 when Old Spanish Days Fiesta was founded. Today, the festival is one of many Santa Barbara summer soirees that has grown to include a variety of live performances, food, community celebration and more. Here is your list of not-to-be-missed summer festivals in Santa Barbara:

Santa Barbara makes the invitation even more enticing with its special offers on arts and culture, dining, hotels and hideaways, shopping, sports and recreation, tours and wineries! Don’t miss out on the unbeatable summer lineup of celebration in Santa Barbara.

Feast of Lanterns in Pismo Beach

Images: Feast-of-lanterns.org

If you’re looking for a dose of culture along California’s Central Coast you’ll find it in Pismo Beach from July 25-29. Based on a long tradition, the Feast of Lanterns is an affair that was born from the area’s Chautauqua Assemblies (a movement focused on cultural and educational activities including speakers, music and art).

Pismo Beach’s event history runs deep, but the event welcomes all types of visitors who love fun new experiences. Join in on the festivities, including delicious food banquets, parades and dancing.

Check out the Feast of Lanterns Schedule for more information.

Agritourism is a Summer Must-Do in Paso Robles

By Caroline Beteta, President & CEO, Visit California

Barbeques, pool parties, fun in the sun. To many Americans these are iconic summertime experiences.  And while summer in California is filled with lazy days on the beach and fun splashing poolside, the Golden State holds so much more for summer travelers. As visitors learn more about California and its diverse offerings, more and more choose to head out of the cities to explore many expressions of the California lifestyle. This hunger for all things California forecasts a big boom for agritourism in Paso Robles this summer.

Californians are free-spirits, trend setters and innovators, but are also in touch with their roots. The curiosity about how food is grown and the desire for new experiences attract visitors to enjoy farmers’ and ranchers’ lands and livelihoods. Visit California, the state’s official tourism marketing board, sees agritourism as a valuable sector that supports the local and state economy by providing jobs and revenue. Continue reading

AgriTourism Adventures at The Abalone Farm

by Tina Swithin

For the past 28 years, I have been in awe of the many wonders of the Central Baby AbaloneCoast.  San Luis Obispo County never ceases to amaze me as there are hidden gems waiting to be discovered at every turn.

This week I was invited to tour The Abalone Farm in Cayucos and to be perfectly honest, I went into the experience wondering, “What exactly is an abalone?”  I’ve tasted this delicacy in restaurants but didn’t really think past the delicious morsels dancing on my palate.

I arrived at The Abalone Farm to the site of hundreds of raised abalone tanks overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Morro Rock.  I am thoroughly convinced that these little sea snails have one of the most stunning views around. We were quickly greeted by Brad Buckley, Sales and Marketing IMG_3387Manager, who, as it turns out, is somewhat of a legend in the abalone world.  He was delightful from start to finish and nothing short of a walking encyclopedia on abalones.

We were told that The Abalone Farm happens to be the largest aquaculture facility (18 acres) of its kind in the country and it produces over 100 TONS of California Red Abalone each year. Continue reading