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Monthly Newsletter | July 2024

Welcome to the July 2024 edition of our newsletter!

Welcome to our summer edition of our monthly newsletter! As the sun shines brightly and the days grow longer, it’s the perfect time to explore the many treasures our beautiful region has to offer. This month, we’re excited to take you on an invigorating hike through one of the county’s most scenic trails, introduce you to a charming restaurant where you can savor delightful seasonal dishes, and visit a winery that’s perfect for those warm summer afternoons.

In addition, our featured local chef has crafted a refreshing new recipe that’s sure to become a staple in your summer dining repertoire. Plus, we’re shining a spotlight on two fantastic local events that capture the vibrant spirit of SLO County during this sunny season. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, we hope this newsletter inspires you to get out and make the most of the beautiful summer days in San Luis Obispo County ☀️



HIKE OF THE MONTH

LEFFINGWELL LANDING

Leffingwell Landing State Park in Cambria, CA, is a picturesque coastal destination that offers visitors stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, diverse wildlife, and ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. Located along Moonstone Beach Drive, this park is a favorite among locals and tourists alike for its serene atmosphere and natural beauty.

One of the main attractions at Leffingwell Landing State Park is its hiking trails, which provide a range of options for outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels. The trails meander through a variety of landscapes, including coastal bluffs, sandy beaches, and verdant forests. Hikers can enjoy breathtaking ocean vistas, encounter a rich array of plant and animal life, and experience the tranquility of the park’s natural surroundings.

For those seeking a more challenging hike, the Bluff Trail provides a moderate workout with its undulating terrain and occasional steep sections. This trail offers spectacular views of the rugged coastline and the chance to spot marine wildlife, such as sea otters and harbor seals, frolicking in the waves below. The Bluff Trail is a perfect choice for hikers looking to immerse themselves in the park’s coastal scenery while enjoying a more vigorous walk.

In addition to the main trails, Leffingwell Landing State Park also features several smaller paths that lead to secluded beaches and tide pools. These offshoots from the primary trails allow hikers to explore the park’s diverse marine environment up close. The tide pools, in particular, are a highlight for visitors, offering a glimpse into the vibrant underwater world of starfish, anemones, and crabs.

Beyond hiking, Leffingwell Landing State Park offers numerous other activities for visitors to enjoy. The park’s picnic areas are ideal for a relaxing lunch with family and friends, with tables and BBQ grills available for use. Many of these picnic spots are situated in shaded areas, providing a cool respite on warm days.

The park’s coastline is also a popular spot for fishing, with several rocky outcrops offering prime locations for casting a line. Anglers can expect to catch a variety of fish species, including rockfish, perch, and surf smelt. For those interested in water activities, the calm waters of the park’s coves are perfect for kayaking and paddleboarding. Rental equipment is available nearby for those who do not have their own gear.

Wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate the abundance of animals that can be seen in and around Leffingwell Landing State Park. The park is home to a variety of bird species, including pelicans, cormorants, and gulls, making it a great destination for birdwatching. Additionally, the park’s coastal waters are frequented by marine mammals such as dolphins and whales, particularly during the migration seasons.

Leffingwell Landing State Park is a gem of the Central Coast, offering visitors a chance to connect with nature and enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities. Whether you’re hiking along the scenic trails, exploring tide pools, or simply relaxing with a picnic, this park provides a memorable experience for all who visit.

RESTAURANT OF THE MONTH

pismo fish & chips

Pismo Fish & Chips is a beloved dining spot in Pismo Beach, CA, known for its classic fish and chips offerings and friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Established in 1969, this family-owned restaurant has built a reputation for serving fresh, high-quality seafood in a casual and relaxed setting.

The story of Pismo Fish & Chips begins with its founders, who envisioned a place where locals and visitors alike could enjoy traditional fish and chips prepared with the finest ingredients. Over the decades, the restaurant has remained true to this vision, becoming a staple in the community and a must-visit for seafood enthusiasts.

The menu at Pismo Fish & Chips features a variety of seafood dishes, with the fish and chips being the standout item. The fish is lightly battered and fried to golden perfection, served with a side of crispy fries. The restaurant also offers other seafood favorites such as clam chowder, shrimp, and calamari, all prepared with the same attention to quality and flavor.

One of the key elements that sets Pismo Fish & Chips apart is its commitment to using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The seafood is delivered daily, ensuring that every dish is made with the freshest catch available. This dedication to quality is evident in every bite, making the dining experience truly memorable.

The restaurant’s ambiance is another aspect that keeps customers coming back. With its casual, beachside vibe and friendly staff, Pismo Fish & Chips provides a comfortable and enjoyable setting for diners of all ages. Whether you’re stopping by for a quick meal after a day at the beach or enjoying a leisurely dinner with family and friends, the welcoming atmosphere makes you feel right at home.

In addition to its famous fish and chips, Pismo Fish & Chips offers a variety of other menu items to cater to different tastes. From hearty sandwiches and salads to delicious sides like coleslaw and onion rings, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The restaurant also provides a selection of beverages, including local beers and wines, to complement your meal.

Pismo Fish & Chips is not just a place to eat; it’s a part of the Pismo Beach community. The restaurant has a long-standing tradition of supporting local events and charities, reflecting its deep connection to the area. This sense of community involvement adds to the restaurant’s charm and appeal.

For those looking to enjoy Pismo Fish & Chips at home, the restaurant offers takeout options, making it easy to savor their delicious seafood wherever you are. The convenient location and ample parking also make it an accessible choice for both locals and tourists.

Overall, Pismo Fish & Chips is a testament to the enduring appeal of good food, friendly service, and a commitment to quality. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a first-time visitor, a meal at Pismo Fish & Chips is sure to be a delightful and satisfying experience.

WINERY OF THE MONTH

CASTORO CELLARS

Nestled in the picturesque landscape of Templeton, California, Castoro Cellars stands as a beacon of exceptional wine, vibrant culture, and community engagement. Established in 1983 by husband-and-wife team Niels and Bimmer Udsen, this winery has grown from humble beginnings into one of the most celebrated destinations in the Paso Robles AVA. Castoro Cellars is not just about producing outstanding wines; it’s about creating an experience that blends fine wine, music, art, and a sense of belonging.

The Winery

Castoro Cellars, named after the Italian word for beaver (a nod to Niels’ nickname “Beaver”), is situated on a sprawling estate that showcases the natural beauty of the Central Coast. The winery’s commitment to sustainability and organic farming is evident in every aspect of their operation. They have over 1,400 acres of vineyards, many of which are certified organic, reflecting their dedication to preserving the environment and producing wines that are a true expression of their terroir.

The Wines

Castoro Cellars produces a diverse range of wines that cater to a variety of palates. Their portfolio includes classic varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, and Chardonnay, as well as unique offerings like Malbec, Tempranillo, and Primitivo. One of their standout wines is the Zinfandel, particularly the “Zinfusion,” which is a robust and flavorful representation of this varietal, showcasing rich berry flavors and a hint of spice.

Another noteworthy wine is their “Blind Faith” Syrah, which consistently earns high praise for its depth and complexity. For those who enjoy white wines, the “Balena” Albariño is a crisp, refreshing choice with bright citrus and floral notes. Castoro Cellars also produces a variety of blends, each meticulously crafted to highlight the harmonious interplay of different grapes.

The Wine Tasting Experience

Visiting Castoro Cellars for a wine tasting is an experience that goes beyond just sampling wines. The tasting room, known for its warm and welcoming atmosphere, is set against the backdrop of the vineyards and rolling hills. Guests can choose to taste a flight of wines either indoors, where they can appreciate the rustic charm of the tasting room, or outdoors on the scenic patio, where they can soak in the breathtaking views.

The staff at Castoro Cellars are knowledgeable and passionate about their wines, eager to share the stories behind each bottle and the winemaking process. This personal touch adds a layer of connection and understanding that enhances the tasting experience. Whether you’re a seasoned wine enthusiast or a curious beginner, the team at Castoro Cellars ensures that every visitor feels comfortable and engaged.

Food and Live Music

Adding to the appeal of Castoro Cellars is their commitment to creating a lively and enjoyable environment for their guests. The winery offers a selection of food options that pair perfectly with their wines. From artisanal cheese and charcuterie boards to seasonal dishes crafted with locally sourced ingredients, the culinary offerings at Castoro Cellars elevate the wine tasting experience.

One of the highlights of visiting Castoro Cellars is their live music events, particularly on Sundays. The winery has become a local hub for music lovers, hosting talented musicians who perform a variety of genres, from jazz and blues to folk and rock. These events create a festive and relaxed atmosphere, inviting guests to unwind, enjoy great music, and savor exceptional wine.

Commitment to Music and Arts

Castoro Cellars’ dedication to music and the arts is woven into the fabric of their identity. They believe that wine, music, and art share a profound connection, each enhancing the enjoyment and appreciation of the others. This philosophy is evident in the winery’s numerous art installations and the regular music events they host.

The amphitheater at Castoro Cellars is a testament to their commitment to providing a platform for artists. This outdoor venue, surrounded by vineyards, offers a unique and intimate setting for concerts and performances. The winery’s support for the arts extends to local artists, whose works are often displayed and sold at the tasting room, further enriching the cultural experience for visitors.

Whale Rock Music Festival

One of the most anticipated events at Castoro Cellars is the annual Whale Rock Music Festival. Held every September, this two-day festival has become a staple in the Central Coast’s cultural calendar. What began as a small gathering has grown into a major event that attracts music lovers from all over California and beyond.

The Whale Rock Music Festival features a diverse lineup of artists and bands, showcasing a range of genres from rock and reggae to folk and blues. The festival is named after the iconic whale-shaped rock located on the Castoro estate, adding a unique touch to the event’s identity.

In addition to the stellar music performances, the festival offers a variety of activities and attractions. Food trucks serve up a delicious array of dishes, from gourmet tacos to wood-fired pizzas, ensuring that there is something for everyone. Craft beer and wine from Castoro Cellars are available, allowing attendees to enjoy their favorite beverages while soaking in the music.

The festival also emphasizes family-friendly fun, with a dedicated kids’ area featuring activities like face painting, arts and crafts, and games. This inclusive approach makes the Whale Rock Music Festival a truly community-oriented event, where people of all ages can come together to celebrate music, art, and the joys of life.

Castoro Cellars in Templeton, CA, is more than just a winery; it is a cultural haven where wine, music, and art converge. From their commitment to sustainable and organic farming to their diverse portfolio of wines, every aspect of Castoro Cellars reflects a dedication to quality and community. The wine tasting experience is enhanced by the welcoming atmosphere, knowledgeable staff, and delicious food offerings.

Live music events, particularly the Sunday performances, add a vibrant and dynamic element to the winery, creating an enjoyable and memorable experience for visitors. The annual Whale Rock Music Festival stands as a testament to Castoro Cellars’ passion for music and the arts, bringing together people from all walks of life to celebrate and connect.

Whether you are a wine enthusiast, a music lover, or someone seeking a unique and enriching experience, Castoro Cellars offers something special. It is a place where you can taste exceptional wines, enjoy great music, and immerse yourself in a community that values creativity, sustainability, and the simple pleasures of life.

CHEF’S CORNER

ROASTED CHERRY CROSTINIS

By Chef Candice Custodio

Chef Candice Custodio

A Cal Poly Alumni, Chef Candice Custodio is a Los Angeles native now permanently residing on the Central Coast. She has held various positions as an Executive Chef, Restaurant/Menu Consultant, Private Chef, and has been featured on the Food Network’s Chopped. She is currently the Chef at Kindred Oak Farm in Paso Robles.

SPECIAL EVENT SPOTLIGHT

MID-STATE FAIR

The California Mid-State Fair, a beloved annual event in Paso Robles, has been a highlight for locals and visitors alike since its inception in 1946. Known for its lively atmosphere, the fair offers a rich mix of entertainment, agriculture, and culture that captures the spirit of California’s Central Coast. This year, the fair runs from July 17 – 28, promising twelve days packed with fun and excitement.

One of the major draws of the California Mid-State Fair is its impressive lineup of concerts. Each year, the fair attracts top-tier talent from various music genres, making it a significant event on the summer concert circuit. This year’s lineup is no exception, featuring a diverse array of artists sure to please music fans of all tastes.

In addition to its stellar concert lineup, the California Mid-State Fair offers a plethora of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. The fairgrounds are a hive of activity, featuring carnival rides, games, and a variety of food vendors offering everything from classic fair treats like funnel cakes and corn dogs to more unique culinary creations.

Agriculture remains at the heart of the fair, with numerous exhibits showcasing livestock, produce, and 4-H and FFA projects. Visitors can explore the agricultural buildings to see prize-winning animals, learn about local farming practices, and even watch live demonstrations. For those interested in arts and crafts, the fair hosts a range of exhibits displaying everything from quilts and paintings to woodworking and photography.

The California Mid-State Fair is more than just an event; it’s a celebration of community, tradition, and the vibrant culture of Paso Robles. With its blend of top-notch entertainment, rich agricultural heritage, and wide array of attractions, this year’s fair promises to be one of the best yet. Mark your calendars for July 17 – 28, and get ready to experience all the fun and excitement that the California Mid-State Fair has to offer.

OUTDOOR SUMMER CONCERTS

San Luis Obispo County offers an array of vibrant outdoor summer concerts, perfect for enjoying warm evenings. From SLO to Paso Robles, you’ll find local and touring artists performing in beautiful venues. The Concerts in the Plaza series in downtown SLO features diverse genres every Friday night, while Atascadero, Templeton, and Paso Robles host local musicians in the park, the ideal setting for a memorable summer night out. Grab a picnic blanket and savor the music all summer long.

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NEXT MONTH

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading our newsletter! ❤️

We’ll be back next month with even more ideas to hike around SLO County; a new bar, restaurant, and winery of the month; another extra special recipe from Chef Candice Custodio; and more special events you don’t want to miss! 

See you next month!

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