Thanksgiving 2006 was spent — just the three of us — in San Luis Obispo County, a 3-hour drive north of Los Angeles. Having woken at 4 a.m. on Saturday, we sped through LA before heading towards Santa Monica and then through Ventura — well worth the extra time to meander through these two towns. Headed into Santa Barbara for some breakfast, shopping and wine purchases at Cellar 205, a co-op winery in downtown SB that my crazy sister-in-law Linda told us about. Highly recommended is the Oreana 2004 Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara).
Under the Oaks Cottage, Paso Robles
Next it was off to our home-away-from-home in Paso Robles. Daytime temps in the mid to high 60s F provided us with the warmth for walks to local coffee shops, wine tastings, olive oil tastings, kid shoe shopping and gentle drives through the vineyards and farm lands. No complaining here. The wineries certainly worth visiting or seeking out their wines are Turley (really good reds, especially Zinfandel), Tablas Creek Vineyard (famous for their Rhone style whites) and Adelaida Cellars, which quite frankly blew both Sue’s and my socks off with the quality of their reds.
At Tablas Creek
A side trip into San Luis Obispo town confirmed all the guide books raves. Downtown SLO is walking-friendly having grown around the mission, and the neighbourhoods run right up to the “city” center. One store of interest to us, seeing we were slap-bang in wine country, was Taste — a state-of-the-art tasting room that bills itself as the gateway to local SLO County wineries. You purchase a computerized tasting card and then peruse the shop tasting the wine of choice by inserting the card into a reader. Samplings are automatically dispensed — swirl, sniff, sip, swallow etc. This makes for a non-pressured environment as you pay for each tasting and walk around unhassled by staff. Regardless, Sue and I still walked out with a couple bottles.
Taste Wine Shop
Tau is now the proud owner of his first pair of Vans (Size 6). Having hit the local outlet mall in Atascadero, the white Nikes recommended to us by the sales assistant were brown with 30 seconds of the young man crawling away from us in his version of hide and seek. We settled on the black Vans for practical reasons of color and velcro straps.
Tau also visited his first Zoo in Atascadaro — the Charles Paddock Zoo. Despite my initial scepticism of a one-year old actually getting anything meaningful out of the experience, he appeared to enjoy himself and found the Jacob’s Sheep and Vietnamese Potbellied Pigs especially fascinating. I am thinking that this intelligent one-year old made an astute epicurean connection between the latter and the carnitas he had devoured the previous evening!
The final three days were spent down at Cayucos , a small beach town 4 miles north of Morro Bay. While Cayucos was well worth the stay with its quiet town atmosphere and wide sandy beaches, the cold and cough that Sue had been battling for over a week finally overtook all three of us. Our nights were punctuated by coughing spells and Tau spent the days battling with the arrival of a couple molars. [Note his rosy cheeks in the Tablas Creek pic — no he hadn’t been partaking.]
On arriving home, Tau shot off across the lounge floor to enthusiastically greet his pile of toys. That night he slept 11 hours straight with his pride of lions.