I enjoyed my cold bottle of Rabbit Ridge’s Paso Pure craft root beer on a handsome day at Centrally Grown in Cambria. Overlooking the seaside cliffs, chowing down on a killer Santa Rosa sandwich (with pickled onions and grilled chicken), and hanging out with my husband and mom, I can’t remember the last time lunch was so nostalgic and carefree. You don’t have to go to such extravagant lengths to enjoy this spicy-sweet, herbaceous soda—although, hey, go for it, if you have an afternoon off! With pure cane sugar and natural ingredients, it will bring you back to childhood without all the icky dyes and syrups. Makes me wonder if they can make an “artisanal” version of Yoo-hoo.
A girl can dream, can’t she?
• Rabbit Ridge Paso Pure Rootbeer—$4 per bottle; $20 for a six-pack; go to allurederobles.com for locations.
By now, we can all agree that Ember in Arroyo Grande is amazing, no? The food, the ambiance—it’s hard to believe this was once the little café that my friends and I used to play gigs at so long ago (who else remembers catching local bands at SLO Down Pub?) I wanted to give a shout-out to the staff and, in particular, one very friendly bartender who suggested this 2012 Rhone blend. See, we weren’t sure what we were going to order yet, but we knew it had to go with everything from abalone to pork belly. And I am happy to report that this savory blend of grenache, syrah, and mourvedre totally did. With aromas of wild cherry and hints of smoked meat and lavender, it’s light like a pinot noir, but substantial enough to stand against the best steak I’ve had in a long time. Don’t tell Jocko’s I said that, OK?
• Qupe Winery’s 2012 Los Olivos Cuvee—About $28 at Ember: 1200 E. Grand Ave., Arroyo Grande; tasting room at 2963 Grand Ave., Los Olivos.
What childhood drinks do you wish they’d make an adult version of? Send your faves to email@example.com.