WHOLE ROASTED CHICKEN

PHOTO CREDIT: KENDRA ARONSON.

“If there was ever a single ingredient that I felt deserved a consistent spot on our menu, it was local chicken. Chicken is cheap, underappreciated, and underutilized by most Americans. People assume it can’t be spectacular. Game on!”—Chef Jensen Lorenzen of the Larder Meat Co. 

CHICKEN
whole chicken
salt
buttermilk
water
8 oz. unsalted butter
8 oz. canola

 

RECIPE CONTRIBUTED BY
Jensen Lorenzen
Formerly: the Chef of The Cass House
Currently: the Owner of the Larder Meat Co. 

CHICKEN

Make a brine based on the weight of the whole chicken with the following ratios: 2% kosher salt, 2% buttermilk, 96% water. Submerge the whole chicken in the brine; refrigerate for 24 hours. Once brined, allow chicken to air-dry in the refrigerator for 1-2 days on a wire rack.

Preheat oven to 475°F.

Place the chicken on a wire rack in a roasting pan. Roast for 40 minutes, basting and rotating every 20 minutes. Tip from Chef Jensen: “The quantity of the baste is pretty arbitrary. You just need enough to baste the chicken a few times, the drippings from the chicken will also add to the amount, use approximately 8 ounces of melted butter and 8 ounces of canola. Basically you are just making a butter based baste with the heat resilience of canola. This keeps the butter solids from burning too quickly, without having to clarify the butter, plus the little bits of caramelized fat solids from the butter are tasty!”

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and finish roasting, approximately 20–30 minutes. The probe thermometer should read 145–150°F at the thickest part of the breast. Allow chicken to rest in a warm area for at least a half hour prior to portioning.

WANT MORE DELICIOUS RECIPES?

AVOCADO CHIMICHURRI & STEAK GRILLING TIPS

PHOTO CREDIT: KENDRA ARONSON.

PHOTO CREDIT: KENDRA ARONSON.

 

Every month the menu changes at Ember to reflect the seasons and their culinary creativity, yet one mighty dish has remained a permanent fixture since opening night: their incredible rib eye steak with avocado chimichurri!

 
 

AVOCADO CHIMICHURRI
3 T shallots, minced
1 T lime juice
1 t. red wine vinegar
1 large Hass avocado, diced
½ cup cilantro, minced
¼ cup Italian parsley, minced
1 t. garlic, minced
2 T jalapeño, charred, skinned, seeded, and minced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (approximately)
sea salt and pepper

STEAK
Rib eye steaks
 

RECIPE & TIPS CONTRIBUTED BY
Chef Brian Collins of Ember Restaurant
Arroyo Grande, CA

 

AVOCADO CHIMICHURRI

Place the shallots in a mixing bowl; pour the lime juice and vinegar over them. Lightly season with salt and let them macerate for fifteen minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and fold them together, making sure the avocados don't get mashed. Season to taste. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the flavors to meld for about one hour prior to serving.

STEAK TIPS FROM CHEF BRIAN COLLINS OF EMBER

“To select a nice steak I look for good marbling. Marbling is the subtle presence of fat in most meats; marbling is the threads that run between and through the muscle meat. If you are unsure what to look for, simply ask the butcher working behind the counter and they could point out the steaks with the best marbling for you. Since we cut each rib eye steak at our restaurant by hand we also take the time to trim off any overabundance of fat from the "tail" and "fat cap". Leaving the right amount of fat in the right places on the steak is important because during the grilling process it will render and become golden-brown, crispy, and delicious.

For the actual cooking of the steak, I believe that a wood fire and embers produce the best flavor. Before building the fire there are a couple of things I do to the meat that I think are very important:

1. I always have the steaks at room temperature before cooking. A cold steak cooks less evenly and the fat on the inside (assuming you are cooking the steak to rare to medium) does not warm up or melt away like it should.

2. I season the steak with sea salt and coarse ground fresh black pepper. Seasoning an hour or so ahead of time allows the seasoning to get inside the steak.

For the actual cooking, I make sure that I am grilling the steak over glowing, red-hot embers or coals. You want to cook the meat with intense heat. This searing heat will caramelize the outside of the steak, giving it a nice crust. Depending on the thickness of the steak you will need to adjust the grills' proximity to the coals; the thicker the steak the closer you want it to the heat. The steak should be turned a few times so that both the coloring and cooking are even.”

 

WANT MORE DELICIOUS RECIPES?

CROSTINI WITH SUNGOLDS, PADRÓNS, ZUCCHINI, BREBIS, & SPICY PISTACHIO PESTO

PHOTO CREDIT: KENDRA ARONSON.

PHOTO CREDIT: KENDRA ARONSON.

This dish was inspired by a summertime Saturday morning market run—freshly baked bread, eye-popping sungolds, spicy padróns, bright green zucchini, farmstead cheeses, and crunchy nuts! A perfect appetizer for a late afternoon BBQ.  

 

PADRÓNS
padrón peppers
flake sea salt

CROSTINI
zucchini, sliced and grilled
ciabatta, sliced and grilled
sungold tomatoes, halved
fresh brebis (or chèvre)

SPICY PISTACHIO PESTO
⅓ cup spicy roasted pistachios
⅓ cup hard sheep’s milk cheese
2 cups fresh basil leaves
5 cloves of garlic
red pepper flakes (optional)
½  cup olive oil
salt and pepper

 

RECIPE CREATED BY
Kendra Aronson

PADRÓNS

Heat up a cast iron skillet over a medium-high flame. Once hot enough, add some olive oil and throw in the padrón peppers. Blister and blacken the peppers, remove from heat. Sprinkle with flake sea salt.

CROSTINI

Carefully slice the zucchini on a mandolin to get thin ribbons, drizzle with olive oil and grill until tender. Once done, remove from heat and set aside for assembly. Halve the sungold tomatoes, set aside for assembly. Slice the ciabatta bread (and grill if desired).

SPICY PISTACHIO PESTO

In a food processor, combine the pistachios, cheese, basil, and garlic. Pulse until combined into a paste. Add pinches of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Blend together and slowly drizzle in oil as it forms into a smooth sauce. Taste for seasoning and spiciness, adjust accordingly.

Time to plate! Top half of the crostini with a generous amount of fresh brebis—this French word refers to sheep’s milk, whereas chèvre refers to goat’s milk—and halved sungolds. Top the other half of crostini with a spoonful of spicy pistachio pesto and the thinly sliced grilled zucchini.

Serve alongside salty padrón peppers, extra whole sungolds, and pistachios in their shells.

Kendra’s suggestions, if possible use:
Fresh brebis and La Panza Gold sheep’s milk cheese by Rinconada Dairy
Basil by SLO Grown Produce
Olive oil by Lone Oak Olive Oil
Ciabatta by La Migliore Italian Bakery

 

EDIBLE SLO HOLIDAYS 2015 ISSUE: THE SAN LUIS OBISPO FARMERS' MARKET COOKBOOK

The Holidays 2015 issue of Edible SLO came out today! I had the privilege of writing about my inspiration behind the cookbook. In addition to my article, Edible SLO also gave a shout-out to my cookbook and my tote bags in their holiday gift guide! I'm really honored and flattered by their support. Please pick up a free copy around town!

"Be sure to share a copy of Kendra Aronson's The San Luis Obispo Farmers' Market Cookbook with all the aspiring cooks in your life. It's full of beautiful photos, tasty recipes, and year-round inspiration. She also offers farmers' market tote bags that showcase the market map for all of SLO County."

edible-slo-holiday-gift-guide.jpeg

THE SAN LUIS OBISPO FARMERS’ MARKET COOKBOOK:
A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN COOKBOOK
CELEBRATING THE CENTRAL COAST

 

My name is Kendra Aronson, so nice to meet you! I'm the writer, photographer, designer, and self-publisher of The San Luis Obispo Farmers’ Market Cookbook: Simple Seasonal Recipes & Short Stories from the Central Coast of California. Three years ago, I embarked on this creative journey to create a community keepsake that would inspire folks to shake hands with their SLOcal farmers, to cook simple seasonal recipes, and to support restaurants that share the farm-to-table mission.

Like any huge endeavor, it takes a village. In order to self-publish the cookbook, I ran a month-long campaign to raise funds for the up-front printing costs. $26,714 was raised on Kickstarter, an incredible crowdfunding platform that brings creative projects to life. This cookbook would not exist without these generous pledges and pre-order sales. I am truly blown away by the outpour of support—if you financially backed this campaign I can’t thank you enough for believing in my cookbook!

With over 120 vendors each week, the downtown Thursday farmers’ market is one of the finest, most established, and longest-lasting markets in the nation. Additionally, San Luis Obispo County boasts 20 weekly farmers’ markets with hard-working folks committed to bringing only the freshest and most delicious produce, meats, fish, cheeses, breads, and more to County residents. This was the catalyst that compelled me to create a SLO farmers’ market cookbook that celebrates both the weekly bounty and the stories of these producers.

As I frequented the other SLO city markets—the Saturday morning market off Dalidio Drive and the Tuesday afternoon market on Broad Street—I began to get to know the amazing people who provided such tasty, nourishing ingredients for my weekly seasonal meals.

There was Julia Gomez of Julia’s Juices who sources her fruits and vegetables from her husband Javier’s farm, Red Barn Farm (formerly Suave Jave), and her cousin’s farm, Bautista Farms. Oftentimes the produce is picked early morning, juiced mid-morning, and sold at market that same afternoon or evening. You’d be hard-pressed (pun intended!) to find a fresher farm-to-glass juice operation anywhere.

Then there was Philip Langston of SLO Grown Produce who grows the most beautiful, bright, juicy tomatoes year-round. As a Cal Poly Crop Science major in the 80s, Philip had dreams of working for NASA to grow plants in outer space—he was fascinated by seed germination in simulated weightlessness. He grows multiple varieties of tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber, and basil in his half-acre greenhouse. He is able to grow so much by scaling up vertically on vining tracks rather than horizontally in the ground, and by utilizing hydroponics as a method of growing his precious produce. It’s truly a sight to see!

SLO County also hosts a huge array of world-class dining. The chefs that prepare these feasts rely on the freshest ingredients locally available to create their dishes. Multiple times a week I see Market Manager Matt Kubat whose full-time job is to buy for Robin’s Restaurant, Novo Restaurant and Lounge, and Luna Red. Crates upon crates brimming with freshly-picked produce are delivered to these three fine establishments on a daily basis—and sometimes twice a day to keep up with the demand of these high volume restaurants. Brandon Manuele of Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe and Brian Collins of Ember Restaurant are also frequent market shoppers seen sourcing the week’s harvest. It’s incredible to see all the dedication that goes into upholding a true farm-to-table mission.

It’s stories of farmers, food artisans, and chefs like these that I want everyone to hear. My cookbook features 196 pages of 60 seasonal recipes, and 40 short stories about these fine folks that play a significant part in bringing food to our tables. The recipes are organized by seasons (15 recipes per season) and are sub-divided into five categories: breakfast, light bites, lunch, dinner, and dessert (3 recipes per category).

In the spirit of collaboration, the majority of the recipes are provided by the food growers and chefs around SLO County to showcase the true taste of the Central Coast. To snag your copy (or multiple copies—they make great gifts!) for the holiday season visit www.slofarmersmarketcookbook.com this December 2015!

SLO FARMERS' MARKET COOKBOOK KICKSTARTER IS LIVE!

Hello friends, family, and folks!

I need your help to make this cookbook a tangible reality. 


As a young self-publisher the up-front printing costs are quite expensive; so I’m rallying you, my fellow foodies and farmers’ market goers, to help me crowdfund the printing costs of this cookbook. Check out my Kickstarter video and pre-order your copy of the cookbook:

If all goes to plan, I anticipate having the cookbook in my hands (and yours!) this holiday season! I embarked on this creative journey to create a community keepsake that will inspire folks to shake hands with their SLOcal farmers, to cook simple recipes with the season’s bounty, and to support restaurants that promote the farm-to-table mission. 

I hope you will be part of this journey with me by pledging your support today,
Kendra Aronson

 

P.S. Want to help spread the word? 

Thanks a bunch for your support!

SLOCALLY MADE MARKET

I'll be participating in the SLOcally Made Craft & Arts Fair this Saturday, come visit!

"SLOcally Made is a brand new monthly craft and arts fair. This craft fair is being created for San Luis Obispo County. We are featuring local handcrafters and artisans to showcase and sale their wares. We want to buy local and support local. SLOcally Made will be raffling a gift basket containing a unique array of handmade items from our vendors as well as items donated by local businesses. Proceeds from the raffle will benefit a local non-profit." 
—Erin Newman, creator of SLOcally Made Craft & Arts Fair


Saturday, May 16, 2015 • 10–4 p.m.
The Grange in San Luis Obispo
[2880 Broad Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401]
admission + parking = FREE!
 

I'll be selling my shop items—market map, market tote bag, and thank you cards
Stop by my booth and say hello!

follow along: @kendraaahhhhh

NEW YORK TIMES TRAVEL: 36 HOURS IN SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIF.

So exciting to see San Luis Obispo featured in the NEW YORK TIMES this week! I'm super excited to report that a few weeks back Matt Pearce of Old San Luis BBQ contributed his recipe for Santa Maria style BBQ and salsa which has a huuuge spotlight in the video (0:55-1:27) below. I was over the moon that he was willing to contribute that killer recipe to the SLO Farmers' Market Cookbook



Below are their picks from their interactive map, check it out! So many good picks!


PASO ROBLES


BARRELHOUSE BREWING COMPANY This big, beautiful brewery turns out everything from unfiltered BarrelHouse IPA to Sunny Daze, a seasonal blonde ale infused with clementine oranges and local honey. The backyard has picnic tables and a 1933 Dodge flatbed truck that serves as a stage for live music on weekend evenings. 3055 Limestone Way, Paso Robles. barrelhousebrewing.com

DAOU VINEYARDS If you can visit only one vineyard in the area, visit DAOU, which sits on a hill and offers wonderful wine, olive oil and views. 2777 Hidden Mountain Road, Paso Robles. daouvineyards.com

FIREFLY GALLERY You’ll find an eclectic assortment of housewares, beautifully embroidered tea towels, coffee table books and local crafts, as well as clothes for women and children. 839 12th Street, Paso Robles. thefireflygallery.com

GENERAL STORE The General Store is a one-stop shop for picnic-goers and culinary souvenir-seekers. 841 12th Street, Paso Robles. generalstorepr.com

J DUSI WINES One of the valley’s oldest winemaking families recently opened its elegant, barnlike J Dusi tasting room; look for a faded blue ’40s pick-up on Route 46. 1401 California Highway 46 West, Paso Robles. jdusiwines.com

PASOLIVO OLIVE OIL Indulge in a free tasting at this 45-acre olive orchard that produces exceptional organic oils from nearly a dozen varietals of olives. 8530 Vineyard Drive, Paso Robles. pasolivo.com

RE:FIND Re:Find is a distillery that makes vodka and gin with spent grape skins as a base. 2725 Adelaida Road, Paso Robles. refinddistillery.com

STUDIOS ON THE PARK Housed in a former 1940s-era car showroom (there’s still an antique Hudson with its headlights on in the entrance), this collection of artist studios are open to the public on the first Saturday of the month. 1130 Pine Street, Paso Robles. studiosonthepark.org

SUMMERWOOD WINERY & INN This nine-room B&B has custom-made pillow-top mattresses, private balcony or patios and complimentary wine tasting. 2175 Arbor Road, Paso Robles. summerwoodwine.com

VINA ROBLES AMPHITHEATRE Check the schedule at this 3,300-person venue set in the vineyards of the Paso hills, where performances are few and far between, but sometimes feature the likes of Tony Bennett and Willie Nelson. 3800 Mill Road, Paso Robles. vinaroblesamphitheatre.com


ATASCADERO


WHISKEY & JUNE This down-home dive bar was recently bought by Daniel Green, who grew up in the area and has returned from New York, where he worked at three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park. 5950 El Camino Real, Atascadero. View website


HARMONY


HARMONY GLASSWORKS Watch the glassblowing at the Harmony Glassworks.  harmonyglassworks.com

HARMONY POTTERY Shop for handmade ceramics at Harmony Pottery.  harmonyca.com/HarmonyPottery

 


MORRO BAY


TOGNAZZINI'S DOCKSIDE RESTAURANT Try oysters from the bay, barbecued with garlic butter or raw on the half shell. Sit on a deck beneath a striped umbrella and watch the sea lions. 1245 Embarcadero, Morro Bay. View website


BAYWOOD/LOS OSOS


ELFIN FOREST NATURAL AREA A wooden walkway winds through a sand dune landscape of wild hyacinths, succulents and rare horned lizards.

LOS OSOS OAKS STATE NATURAL RESERVE Walk through sage scrub and gnarled, centuries-old coastal live oaks dripping with Spanish moss.

MONTANA DE ORO STATE PARK Montaña de Oro State Park is a rugged playground of remote beaches, wild flower meadows, canyons and the 1,300-foot Valencia Peak.


SANTA MARGARITA


THE RANGE One of the premier steakhouses of the Central Coast. 22317 G Street,  Santa Margarita.


SAN LUIS OBISPO


GRANADA HOTEL & BISTRO This 17-room boutique hotel in downtown San Luis Obispo has exposed brick, Persion rugs, Fili d’Oro linens and fireplaces in deluxe rooms. 1126 Morro Street, San Luis Obispo. granadabistro.com

OLD SAN LUIS BBQ COMPANY Opened two years ago by a nuclear engineer-turned-pit master, this ultra-casual, student-friendly restaurant is the place for Santa Maria-style barbeque. 670 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo. oldsanluisbbq.com

SAN LUIS OBISPO MUSEUM OF ART Though it was founded as a community arts organization in the 1950s, a recent name change and expansion has brought downtown SLO its newest museum: the small, contemporary art-focused San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. 1010 Broad Street, San Luis Obispo. sloma.org


SCOUT COFFEE An immaculate, mom-and-pop cafe where you can grab a quick espresso and pastry. 1130 Garden Street, San Luis Obispo. scoutcoffeeco.com

SIDECAR There is a bohemian flair here that’s well suited to long boozy brunches. Sundays bring bloodies and benedicts, with five takes on poached eggs-and-hollandaise (including the Sidecar, with crab cakes) and five riffs on the Bloody Mary. 1127 Broad Street, San Luis Obispo. sidecarslo.com

SILVER BAR The carpeting is floral pink and the décor is charmingly gaudy, and it is a great place to stop for cocktails, dessert or coffee. 100 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo.  madonnainn.com/silverbar.php

SUNSET DRIVE-IN THEATER This 1950s-era theater plays blockbusters beneath the stars. 255 Elks Lane, San Luis Obispo. (805) 544.4475


SHELL BEACH


CENTRAL COAST KAYAKS Central Coast Kayaks, on Pismo Beach, will take you through the surf and out to sea, passing through kelp forests and beneath the stone arches at Dinosaur Caves Park. 1879 Shell Beach Road, Pismo Beach.  centralcoastkayaks.com


PISMO BEACH


SPLASH CAFE Splash Café is beloved for its clam chowder, which can be ordered with extra clams, bacon, seafood, cheese or green onions. 197 Pomeroy Avenue, Pismo Beach splashcafe.com/pismo.php


ARROYO GRANDE


EMBER Chef Brian Collins, who trained under Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, has a Mediterranean-influenced menu that makes excellent use of the area’s bounty. There’s a wood-fired oven, exceptional pizzas and ambitious dishes like abalone from nearby Cayucos with crispy pork belly, pickled ginger, avocado and Meyer lemon hollandaise.  1200 East Grand Avenue, Arroyo Grande. emberwoodfire.com

FRUTILAND LA CADE DEL SABOR In Arroyo Grande, the tiny, unpretentious yellow-and-green Frutiland La Casa del Sabor offers food that could compete with some high-end Mexico City restaurants. 803 East Grand Avenue, Arroyo Grande.


NIPOMO


JOCKO'S One of the premier purveyors of the Central Coast's Santa Maria-style barbecue. 125 North Thompson Avenue, Nipomo. View website


NEW YORK TIMES TRAVEL:
36 HOURS IN SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIF.

Occupying a dramatic stretch of coast midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo County is nothing if not well-positioned. It has the Pacific to the west, the fertile San Joaquin Valley to the east and a delicious Mediterranean climate. It is here, on an isolated hill overlooking the ocean, that William Randolph Hearst built his bizarre, opulent castle (worthy of a visit), and it was here that the construction magnate Alex Madonna erected his own kitschy, faux-Alpine landmark, the Madonna Inn, a decade later. Like California itself, San Luis Obispo (SLO, as it’s called here) is both a place and a lifestyle. Sprawling and rural, it sits at the intersection of surf culture, cowboy culture and California cuisine. And that is a fine place to be.

Friday

1. Take a Hike | 3 p.m.

From the town of San Luis Obispo, drive out on Chorro Street, which passes the city’s 1772 mission, through a neighborhood of lushly landscaped Craftsman and Spanish-style casitas. Take Foothill Boulevard west to Los Osos Valley Road, winding out through artichoke fields, cow pastures and rocky peaks toward the small beach community of Los Osos. Stop at Los Osos Oaks State Natural Reserve to walk through sage scrub and gnarled, centuries-old coastal live oaks dripping with Spanish moss. For pygmy forests, head across town to the Elfin Forest Natural Area, a preserve where a wooden walkway winds through a sand dune landscape of wild hyacinths, succulents and rare horned lizards. A more ambitious hike can be found at the 8,000-acre Montaña de Oro State Park, a rugged playground of remote beaches, wildflower meadows, canyons and the 1,300-foot Valencia Peak.

2. Seafood Snack | 4:30 p.m.

Drive north to Morro Bay’s Tognazzini’s Dockside Restaurant for oysters from the bay, barbecued with garlic butter or raw on the half shell. Sit on a deck beneath a striped umbrella and watch the sea lions in front of the 576-foot “Gibraltar of the Pacific.” Then, take Highway 41 over the golden coastal mountains and through Los Padres National Forest to Atascadero. Skip the county’s best-known brewery, Firestone Walker, in favor of BarrelHouse Brewing Company, a big, beautiful brewery that turns out everything from unfiltered BarrelHouse IPA to Sunny Daze, a seasonal blond ale infused with clementine oranges and local honey. The backyard has picnic tables and a 1933 Dodge flatbed truck that serves as a stage for live music on weekend evenings. This summer BarrelHouse will open BarrelHouse SLO, a 15-tap speakeasy-style basement taproom in a 100-year-old building in downtown San Luis Obispo.

3. Worth the Drive | 7 p.m.

Conventional wisdom calls for dinner at a Paso Robles restaurant, where organic ingredients reign and the local wine lists are excellent. But a new restaurant, Ember, is worth the drive to Arroyo Grande, an underappreciated town about 45 minutes south. Opened last year by Brian Collins, who trained under Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, the restaurant has a Mediterranean-influenced menu that makes excellent use of the area’s bounty. There’s a wood-fired oven, exceptional pizzas and ambitious dishes like abalone from nearby Cayucos with crispy pork belly, pickled ginger, avocado and Meyer lemon hollandaise ($20) and prosciutto-wrapped artichokes with burrata mozzarella and an arugula-farro salad ($12).

4. Rural Night Life | 9 p.m.

For a quintessential West Coast college town experience, find a prime spot at the Sunset Drive-In, a 1950s-era theater that plays blockbusters beneath the stars. Afterward, go for coffee, dessert or cocktails at the Madonna Inn’s retro Silver Bar, where the carpeting is floral pink and the décor is charmingly gaudy. Or head to Vina Robles Amphitheater, a 3,300-person venue set in the vineyards of the Paso hills, where performances are few and far between, but sometimes feature the likes of Tony Bennett and Willie Nelson. For exceptional cocktails in an unexpected setting, try Whiskey & June in Atascadero. This down-home dive bar was recently bought by Daniel Green, who grew up in the area and has returned from New York, where he worked at three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park.

Saturday

5. To the Sea | 8 a.m.

Grab a pastry and espresso breakfast at downtown SLO’s stylish Scout Coffee. Then drive down to Pismo Beach, where the beachfront promenade has been renovated and where a guide from Central Coast Kayaks will take you through the surf and out to sea. You’ll paddle along the rocky coast, passing through kelp forests and beneath the stone arches at Dinosaur Caves Park (2.5 to 3 hours, $75).

6. California Classics | 11:30 a.m.

In Arroyo Grande, the tiny, unpretentious yellow-and-green Frutiland La Casa del Sabor offers food that could compete with some high-end Mexico City restaurants. The menu is deceptively simple, with over two dozen varieties of tortas (sandwiches big enough for two, starting at about $10) and six types of tacos, all served on house-made blue corn tortillas (about $8). The standout taco is the Azteca, a dried red chile relleno with salsa, queso fresco, onion and cilantro. The aguas fresca (fruit juices) include cucumber, guava and cantaloupe. For the spice-averse, Splash Café in Pismo Beach is beloved for its clam chowder ($7.50 in a sourdough bread bowl), which can be ordered with extra clams, bacon, seafood, cheese or green onions.

7. Wine Road | 1:30 p.m.

With over 100 wineries in the county, deciding which to visit can be agonizing. If you have time for just one, make it DAOU Vineyards, which sits on a hill and offers wonderful wine, olive oil and views. One of the valley’s oldest winemaking families recently opened its elegant, barnlike J Dusi tasting room; look for a faded blue ’40s pick-up on Route 46. For a different take, drop by Re:Find, a distillery that makes vodka and gin with spent grape skins as a base.

8. Pit Stop | 3 p.m.

Indulge in a free tasting at Pasolivo, a 45-acre olive orchard producing exceptional organic oils from nearly a dozen varietals of olives — all grown and milled in the stunning hills of Paso Robles.

9. On the Square | 4 p.m.

Downtown SLO can at times feel a bit like a mall with palm trees. Smaller Paso Robles has fewer offerings, but more character. Set around the historic town square are a number of shops, like the mother-daughter-run Firefly Gallery, which sells an eclectic assortment of housewares, beautifully embroidered tea towels, coffee table books and local crafts, as well as clothes for women and children. Next door, the General Store is a one-stop shop for picnic-goers and culinary souvenir-seekers (one specialty: Paso-centric gift baskets). Across the park, a former 1940s-era car showroom has been converted into artist studios, Studios on the Park, which are open to the public on the first Saturday of the month.

10. Santa Maria Style | 7 p.m.

The Central Coast’s Santa Maria-style barbecue is a hand-me-down from the region’s original Presidio settlers. Among the premier purveyors of this regional specialty are places like Jocko’s in Nipomo and The Range in Santa Margarita. But there are also new entrants to the scene, like the ultra-casual, student-friendly Old San Luis BBQ Company on SLO’s main drag, opened by a nuclear engineer-turned-pit master who has won praise from even the most traditional old-timers.

Sunday

11. Bloodies and Benedicts | 10 a.m.

Sidecar opened in 2011 as an offshoot of one of SLO’s most beloved institutions, Kreuzberg Coffee Company, but has since gone independent. It has a bohemian flair well suited to long boozy brunches. Sundays bring bloodies and benedicts, with a few takes on poached eggs-and-hollandaise (including the Sidecar, with crab cakes, $13) and several riffs on the Bloody Mary. Try the Bang! Bang! (jalapeño vodka and chile rim, $12) or the Caveman ($12), with chipotle vodka, spicy bacon and pickled brussels sprouts.

12. Arts & Crafts | 1 p.m.

Though it was founded as a community arts organization in the 1950s, a recent name change and expansion has brought downtown SLO its newest museum: the small, contemporary art-focused San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. After visiting, take a drive up Highway One to tiny Harmony, which is not so much a town as an old creamery turned artist’s colony. Watch the glassblowing at the Harmony Glassworks or pick up handmade ceramics at Harmony Pottery. For a sandwich, espresso or gelato for the road, there’s the closet-size, Italian-owned Harmony Cafe.

Where to Stay

A 17-room boutique hotel in downtown San Luis Obispo, Granada Hotel & Bistro (1126 Morro Street, San Luis Obispo; 805-544-9100, granadahotelandbistro.com) has exposed brick, Persion rugs, Fili d’Oro linens and fireplaces in deluxe rooms. Rooms from $199.

Re-opened in 2013 after a major renovation, Paso Robles’s Summerwood Winery & Inn (2175 Arbor Road, Paso Robles; 805-227-1365; summerwoodwine.com) is a nine-room B&B with custom-made pillow-top mattresses, private balcony or patios and complimentary wine tasting. Room from $300.