|Photo by Freeimages.com/Hannah Gleghorn|
San Luis Obispo County, located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on California's Central Coast, offers a culinary assortment of locally sourced food and drinks throughout Restaurant Month, which begins January 4, 2016.
During the annual event, participating restaurants offer special menus of three courses at $30-$40 per person.
A wide variety of new and interesting farms and fisheries across San Luis Obispo County specialize in unique foods including shellfish, meat, produce and dairy products supplying local restaurants and markets. Visitors have the opportunity to sample fresh farm fare from the producers below at one of San Luis Obispo County's restaurants or farmer's markets.
- Morro Bay Oyster Company: Morro Bay has a long-standing history as a thriving seaport with ocean views and a tranquil yet productive estuary. The company harvests Pacific Gold Oysters by hand, which are then sold to local restaurants and to the public at farmers markets and off its barge in Morro Bay harbor.
- The Abalone Farm: The largest aquaculture facility of its kind in the country, The Abalone Farm Inc. produces over 100 tons of California Red Abalone each year.
- Adelaida Springs Ranch: Sustainable grass-fed beef and lamb are the specialties of the ranch, and the company also offers tours that provide participants with information on the areas geography history.
- Rinconada Dairy: Cheesemaking at this Santa Margarita dairy evolved from 25 years of organic gardening and a passion for producing healthful and delicious food.
- Stepladder Ranch: The family-owned ranch in Cambria features Hass avocados, sub-tropical fruits, forest-raised pork, fresh goat cheese and a luxury vacation rental.
- Windrose Farm: Located east of Paso Robles, Windrose Farm cultivates vegetable rotations including tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, green and dry beans, along with offering special tastings in partnership with FARMstead Ed.
San Luis Obispo County is also home to dozens of craft olive and walnut oil producers including Pasolivo, Olea Farm, Kiler Ridge Olive Oil, and Limerock Orchards.
Along with evolving foodie trends, the craft spirit industry in San Luis Obispo County has grown rapidly over the last several years.
At Pendray's Distillery winemaker Steve Glossner began production of brandy for fortification of its ports, and has since expanded to brandy and grappa, while at Wine Shine, co-owners Mark Sahaydak and Patrick Brooks operate a small still house specializing in flavored moonshines, brandies and whiskey.
For craft beers in San Luis Obispo County, there is a plentiful range of IPAs, porters, sours. Drop by a few of the following craft breweries to toast and sample some local creations.
- BarrelHouse Brewing Compnay’s portfolio of beers includes BarrelHouse Blonde, BarrelHouse Rye IPA, Barrelhouse IPA, and BarrelHouse Stout on draft a22oz bottles.
- Firestone Walker Brewing Company: Based in Paso Robles, Firestone Walker utilizes a patented system in its oak barrel fermentation process and is known for producing hoppy ales. The brewery was World Beer Cup Champion Brewery for mid-sized breweries in 2004, 2006, 2010, and 2012.
- Bristols Cider: Made in Atascadero from select varieties of local apples, Bristols' ciders are 100 percent apple juice and fermented on the native yeasts of the fruit in different casks, including retired Bourbon casks, retired white wine barrels and stainless steel.
Travelers are encouraged to sample these selections throughout January, during Restaurant Month, when the crowds are reported to be light and the weather is mild. In addition, Restaurant Month menus can be paired with local, award-winning wines, or brews, from Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo wine country.