Lindsay on Location has made its way to San Luis Obispo, right in the middle of Central Coast, California. The views in wine country in California are hard to beat; principally with those giant rolling hills plastered right next to the Pacific Ocean. Driving north from Los Angeles, it will take about three and a half hours to get to SLO, and the drive itself is worth the trip alone.
We have the luxury of being digital nomads and can work anywhere, so we headed north during the weekday. It is always a plus avoiding the weekends, especially when it comes to wine country. With SLO being right in the middle of San Francisco and Los Angeles, Californians love their road trips and wine towns fill up quickly on Friday and Saturdays.
The first time we visited SLO a few years ago, we fell in love with their Mediterranean climate, a walk-able downtown, great restaurants, and being a centrally located, marvelous home base to visit all the great vineyards in Edna Valley. Whenever we want an escape from L.A., we pack up the car, head north and enjoy the ride.
Staying central in town is always essential, so we checked into La Quinta which is a seven-minute walk from downtown SLO. The property has a fitness center, strong WIFI, a fireplace, and a pool on the rooftop, therefore we are set to work and relax when we are there. There’s nothing like soaking in a hot tub, feet next to the fire and having rooftop views after a day of jaunting around the vineyards.
Do you like having the best experiences of your life? We do, too. Sidecar Tour and Wine Tasting has a fleet of tandem sidecars, which take you on a tour all around wine country.
It was a great pleasure to meet Shepherd who is a driver for Sidecar Tour and Wine Tasting. The concept is pretty genius. One of their drivers picks you up at a set location and drives you from vineyard to vineyard. The wine tastings are included in the tour, so you do not have to worry about paying at each location. And, you never feel rushed because they give you about 45 minutes to enjoy your wine tasting.
The package that we experienced started at Wolff vineyards, which is known for their Red Blend. Shepherd picked us up at Wolff and we hightailed it. Being in the open air and cruising through wine country is something that everyone needs to experience. The great feature with Edna Valley is that vineyards are not that far from each other and therefore you get to taste amazing wines in a short amount of time.
Claiborne & Churchill, known for their Pinot Noir, and Saucelito, known for their Zinfandel, rounded out our wine tasting for the day. Be careful. The temperature was about 65 F/18 C and we still get a bit red from that central coast sky.
One of the best specialties of SLO is having the ability to get out of the car and explore. The area gets about 310 days of sunshine, has a Mediterranean marine climate and it is best to take full advantage. The Terrace Hill Loop is just a 20-minute walk from downtown and is an 0.8 mile hike to an obstructed plateau where you can sit for a while and enjoy the city below. Not only can you see the city below, you can see the green hills, sprawling vineyards, and being above it all.
One of our favorite ways to explore a place is by bike. It is one of the best ways to be outside and really explore the area. There are miles of back-country roads that cyclists and hikers can safely use.
If seeing beautiful landscapes and hiking under a mile ain’t your thing, you can stroll around the downtown area. SLO has some amazing restaurants, a great coffee scene, cozy wine bars and a farmer’s market every Thursday, which showcases all that the area has to offer.
The dining options are bountiful in SLO, but we had some favorites for all different reasons.
The aesthetic concept is a bit amazing. We were seated outside, next to the river that runs through town. The ambiance is enhanced by the soft sound of the water, lights strung across the trees, soft music in the background and some soft wind coming through the trees.
We ordered a mix of everything: Ahi Nachos, Ribeye steak, King Salmon and some great central coast wine to pair with it.
Chef Nicola Allegretta has done a terrific job making this Peruvian restaurant into his own. He and his team truly capture the spirit of Peru and splashes in their heritage with the Italian, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese influence.
Nicola was kind enough to come out and explain the passion behind his dishes. We put our trust in his hands and did not disappoint. We were served Chalaco, a creamy ceviche, Chuncho, prime beef ribs with rice and cacao bibs, and Tacu Tacu de Atun Criollo, seared ahi tuna togarashi served over rice and beans.
There is a chocolate specialty shop inside Mistura that is run by an Italian and we devoured some delightful masterpiece chocolates.
If you are into a combination of great food and a nostalgic soundtrack, this is the place in SLO. Their rotating cocktail list is pretty hard to compete with, and they are all inspired by legendary rock songs. We went with the L.A. woman, being a Gin and a Doors fan, and the Rebel Rebel, being a lover of Tequila.
The food equally matches the quality of their drink list. We ordered the Highwater well, a beef wellington, and the pickle plate.
The combination of the Americana music decor, amazing food, and some delicious cocktails is all you need after a day out in SLO.
This eatery is great if you want to pop in for take-away coffee, a sit-down meal, or to enjoy a glass of wine with a chat. With daily and weekly specials you can expect something different every time you step through the doors. We stopped in for brunch, ordered some Colombian drip coffee and a breakfast bowl of rice, avocado, eggs, and an assortment of vegetables.
To make it even more appealing, SLO Provision has local artists featured every week for you to purchase their work. The art pieces are displayed all around their store and gives local artists’ work to be seen.
SLO has always been one of our favorite places, and I know once you check it out for yourself, it will be one of your favorites too!
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