Happy New (food) Year! It’s time for a fresh start and a whole new round of tastings and nibbles. Every Friday and Saturday this January, folks will be lounging at LXV in downtown Paso Robles while sampling a seductive range of Tantric Bites, like black truffle pâté on a petite toast with cornichon (a.k.a. sour French pickles) paired with the winery’s bold 2013 Secret Craving, a blend of cab franc, syrah, and merlot (lxvwine.com). If that sounds good, remember: There are three other gourmet pairings to choose from throughout the month! … I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again … and again, and again: Restaurant Month is upon us, and a bevy of awesome SLO County eateries are offering up to four courses for $30 to $45 per person. Beat that deal! Also, wineries across the region will slash prices and offer special goodies, so be sure to check out this first-time addition to the annual promotion (visitsanluisobispocounty.com). Happy dieting, everyone.
It’s a slow month for many tasting rooms, but Asuncion Ridge Vineyards in Paso Robles isn’t hearing any of it. The winery will be featuring rockin’ live music by local musician Dan Daniel on Jan. 2 and the Americana crooner Kirk Nordby on Jan. 3 (free concert; tasting fees apply; asuncionridge.com). … As you may have read in my Flavor section as of late, Baywood Ale House is a little slice of hangout heaven. Catch a sunset while taking in the calm bay, then stop by the ale house for a rainbow of local and national craft beers paired with fresh, locally-sourced snacks (690 Santa Maria Ave. Baywood/Los Osos). … I have been loving San Diego’s Modern Times brews, from their snarky descriptions to their light-weight cans. My fave, their Belgian-style saison Lomaland, is on tap at Luis Wine Bar at the moment, adding to the already plentiful reasons why you should stop by the downtown SLO haunt (1021 Higuera St.; 762-4747).
Nautical Bean is killing it with their acai bowls, made with sumptuous Greek yogurt, homemade granola, acai berries galore, and tons of bananas all atop a beautiful chalice. It almost makes it worth fighting my way for a table amid the sea of stressed out college students (11560 Los Osos Valley Road, SLO; 543-3559). … Who doesn’t love fresh herbs in their eggs? And who doesn’t want a pair of amazing scissors that will go from snipping backyard bunches to chopping them up, all in one swift move? Find that precious tool, along with a slew of local olive oil, honey, and artisanal vinegars, at General Store Paso Robles (841 12th St., Paso Robles; 226-5757). Full disclosure: I had to wait quite a while for my quiche at Sally Loo’s Wholesome Café the other day (also famous for their acai bowls), but by God, was it worth it. Rich, creamy, filled with veggies, and served with a side salad—strange but amazing—I highly recommend ordering a big fat slice on your next morning visit (1804 Osos St., SLO; 545-5895).
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