Between Los Angeles and San Francisco is a town that is known for its viniculture and brewery. Just off highway 101 in the Central Coast lies Paso Robles a small town with the charm of Napa Valley without the large crowd of tourists. As I walk through the downtown area locals greet you with a smile and a hello. As I visit the local farmers market talking to vendors and farmers I learned about the rich history of winemaking that is unique to the area. With 200 wineries, the climate here has been compared to the Rhone region of Southern France producing world-renowned wines that’s worth visiting. If you are more a beer consumer there is the Firestone Walker Brewery company that produces the famous 805 beer. Here you can sample different batches of beer that are only offered at their brewery.
Two of the wineries I visited on this trip were Justin winery and Daou winery. Both wineries produce exceptional varietals and offer a tasting menu for the guests. Because of Covid-19, the tastings are done in the outdoor patio of the vineyard. Because I’m in the industry, as a chef and owner of a catering business, I handed my business card to the server who gave me 30 percent off on all wine purchases and waived the tasting charge. So, if you are in the same hospitality service industry don’t be shy about asking for a discount. The view at both wineries was spectacular as I sat there sipping on wine and enjoying the conversations I have with the staff.
Known as Santa Maria BBQ, along the central coast they specialize tri-tip steaks grilled over red oak. At 8:00 in the morning, Cregors Deli starts their day grilling tri-tip for their lunch service. Located right of on Spring street close to downtown you can get delicious sandwiches on the go. Ask for chef Roberto, he can help you with your orders and food suggestions.
Paso Robles is the alternative to Napa Valley if you are looking for a low key experience and small-town vibe. The locals are friendly, the spirits are amazing and the food is great.