The Real SLO County

By Klenow, Erin | Sunset, September 2015 | Go to article overview

The Real SLO County


Klenow, Erin, Sunset


Top-tier wineries, screensaver beaches, plus Sunset's very own foodie festival. Say hello to California's Central Coast.

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Midway between L.A. and San Francisco, pretty San Luis Obispo has it all: kick-back wineries, one-of-a-kind shopping, and rock-star music venues. Two locals show you how to go SLO.

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SOPHIE BOBAN DOERING Owner, Fromagerie Sophie (fromageriesophie.com)

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RYAN DEOVLET Winemaker, Deovlet Wines (deovletwines.com)

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START THE DAY

Scout Coffee

1130 Garden St.; scout coffeeco.com.

[SOPHIE BOBAN-DOERING] They have great espresso and pastries, but it's the teas I can't resist. Their organic mint tea is just so soothing and refreshing, and the environment is perfect: very clean and open and peaceful. I love going in there.

BEST DAY HIKE

Bishop Peak

1 Highland Dr.

[RYAN DEOVLET] It's maybe 45 minutes to the top. You pass under oaks, chaparral, and wild sage, then keep switch-backing before finally you've got to climb some boulders to get to the peak. At the top, you're hovering over downtown with amazing views of the coastline and the vineyards. To the north, you can see The Nine Sisters that form the volcanic ridgeline you're standing on, which runs all the way to Morro Rock.

TAKE ME SHOPPING

Ruby Rose

1235 Monterey St.; ruby rose805.com.

[SBD] never know what I'm going to find in this shop. The owner does a terrific job curating vintage and repurposed housewares and furniture. The clothes are great too. She has a way of presenting things that allows you to see their infinite possibilities, whether it's a bicycle from the 1940s or a paint-by-numbers painting of Jesus. I bought half of a plastic rocking horse and turned it into a light fixture for our backyard!

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Luna Rustica

2959 Broad St.; luna rustica.com.

[RD] This furniture shop feels right at home here. The owners import from artisans in Mexico, India, all over Asia. It's stuff you don't see anywhere else. I picked up a wine rack from Indonesia that's made of weathered wood faded to almost pastel colors. Beautiful.

CASUAL EATS

Thai Boat

$; 3212 Broad; thaiboat slo.com.

[RD] It's hidden in a small strip mall, but as soon as you step in, you feel like you're in Asia. The owners spend a couple of months each year in Thailand, and they often come back with a cool new piece of art to hang on the wall. The spicy noodles are fun, and they make delicious curries plus authentic pad Thai, so not sugary-spicy. The ingredients are spot-on: basil and mint and fresh kaffir lime leaves. But beware, their food has a spicy kick; their medium is most restaurants' hot.

Cafe Roma

$$; 1020 Railroad Ave.; caferomaslo.com.

[RD] Your quintessential Italian family joint. It's been around for 30-plus years. The matriarch, Maria Rizzo, and her sons are in there daily; you'll see them sitting at the bar eating dinner together. They make all kinds of great pastas, but I go for the house lasagna, with a meat sauce and a bechamel base, not inundated with cheese. It has a density to it without being weighty.

SHOW ME THE WATER

Cayucos/Morro Rock

[RD] My go-to spot is 18 minutes west, in Cayucos. If I'm surfing, I can paddle out, turn around, and see horses on the beach. It's incredible! The 7 miles between Morro Rock and Cayucos are home to some of the best beaches on the coast, in my opinion. More of the salty-dog kind of beaches, though, because the water's cooler, the weather more unpredictable. If you're not a surfer, hit the Embarcadero at Morro Bay and see Morro Rock. It's as powerful a landmark as anything you'll find on the Central Coast.

Montana de Oro State Park

3550 Pecho Valley Rd. …

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