Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Night with San Luis Obispo

California is world famous for our wine-growing. Did you know that we are fourth in the world for wine production? Only Italy, France, and Spain produce more than our state, and of course, those vines have a few hundred years or so on our grapes! 

Most wine aficionados are familiar with the big guys: Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles, and Santa Barbara, but there are new wine countries seeming to appear every year. Located in the Central Coast, San Luis Obispo has long been a beautiful, peaceful beach destination. However, many are beginning to learn about their vibrant wine and beer scene, as well as the wonderful restaurants in town. 

Last Friday, I was invited to see what this new wine country was all about, and I have to say, the experience was sublime, with delicious wines and food. San Luis Obispo, or SLO, to use the abbreviation, is an up and coming area where the food is carefully prepared with local ingredients, and the wine and beer are experimental and amazing.

We were hosted by the gorgeous Pan Bon in Little Italy, and I have to say, what a glorious space! The atmosphere is simple and elegant, with amazing lighting! I will certainly return for a full meal of their delicious food.

We started with some tastings from the local wineries and breweries of SLO: BarrelHouse, Tolosa, Libertine, Claiborne & Churchill, Biddle Ranch, and Sextant.

Pan Bon provided an amuse bouche of prosciutto crostini with horseradish cream on toast. It was a great bite to start off the night, and a nice foil to the unoaked chardonnay from Tolosa.

Rib Line, a SLO eatery helmed by Chef Brian Appiano, catered most of the event, and started us out with a deep-fried sweet potato ball stuffed with applewood-smoked bacon, jalapeno, cheddar cheese, and injected with house-made ranch dressing. Served on a bed of coleslaw to keep everything nice and healthy. ;) It was like nothing I've ever tasted -- very creative and a perfect mixture of haute cuisine and bar grub.

Our next course was a charred corn, tomato, and avocado salad, tossed lightly with a simple jalapeno and pineapple olive oil. The simplicity of the dressing made all of the freshness of the vegetables stand out. It honestly needed nothing else to be ambrosial.

Next, we had an oyster with black truffle butter, served on a slice of tri-tip, then topped with candied bacon. Wow! Such a mix of rich foods that somehow, totally worked and was exquisite.

Another salad course prepped us for the main: a mixed greens with berries and honey. Again, quite simple, but because the ingredients were fresh and top notch, the food was flavorful and appetizing. I don't believe that I've ever had a better fresh salad.

The main course for the night was a rosemary pork chop served atop a medley of root vegetables and apples. Pork and apples just go together, and the tender pork chop was flavored well with the sweet apples. So tender and delicious!

Dessert was just a few bites, which was perfect after such a huge meal! A tiny financier cake with fruit sauce, courtesy of Sidecar of San Luis Obispo. Sidecar is not only a kitchen, but also serves hand-crafted drinks from a mobile cocktail trailer.

I have a sneaky suspicion that a wine trip to San Luis Obispo is coming up soon for my family! I really enjoyed the delicious wines and food. Combine that with the lovely scenery of the Central Coast, and I think it's a winner vacation. For more information on SLO and their wine country, visit

May 29, 2016 / by / 0 Comments

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