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APRIL, 2013


EARTH DAY Food & Wine 2013

(pg. 5)


LET IT BE Templeton Rock ballet

(pg. 5)


Paso's newest tack store takes stock


Living the North County country lifestyle is easy at The Tack Room Jennifer Best


he North County prides itself on its Western heritage, from the grapes introduced by the padres to the cowboys who still bring in the herds. Paso Robles' newest riding and farm supply store, The Tack Room, celebrates that country life with new and used supplies for the horseman, cowhand and working country folk. Owners Kathy Rutsky and Laurie Ridgeway opened The Tack Room doors on Saturday, March 16 in the Lowe’s Shopping Center on Golden Hill Road just off Highway 46 East in Paso Robles.

Their initial stock includes a selection of farm supplies from dog and cat food to English and Western tack, helmets and veterinary supplies to trailside first aid necessities. "We're here for people who love horses, but who can't afford to have them, which is most of us," said Ridgeway . The paint was barely dry, and decorating had just begun when friends and neighbors stopped by for a preview party late last month. Local artist Whitney Milby was eyeing the blank walls where her oil and acrylic horse paintings would soon hang. "Ultimately, I want to offer See TACK pg. 5

UNCORK THE FUN Photo by Hayley Thomas

Owners Kathy Rutsky and Laurie Ridgeway opened The Tack Room doors late last month in the Lowes Shopping Center on Golden Hill Road just off Highway 46 East in Paso Robles. Their initial stock includes a selection of farm supplies from affordable dog and cat food to English and Western tack, helmets and veterinary supplies to trailside first aid necessities.

Bianchi & cupcakes (pg. 7)


Building brighter futures Let’s get ‘Bee Wise’ ‘College Trips’ business helps local students forge pathway to success

The buzz on honey bees and all their benefits

WATER WISE Planting tips (pg. 3)


Courtesy photo

LOOKING FORWARD — Paso Robles and Templeton High School students explore Pepperdine University during a recent College Trips tour.

Natasha Dalton


ll Vacaville High School athlete Aaron Cantrell knew for sure was that he would recieve a sports scholarship upon graduation. As a star wrestler, several universities

were looking to recruit him. Subsequently, Cantrell was invited on five recruitment trips — including one to Stanford, which he found to be too intimidating to accept — and ended up choosing Cal Poly — because it provided nice ac-

Jandy Jones

BUSY — Honey bees live up to a “busy standard” for good reason: The insects travel thousands of miles visiting numerous flowers to make just a few pounds of honey.

Jandy Jones



ees tend to illicit unease and fear in people. For Bren Randolph, it’s just the opposite. Randolph strives to create sanctuaries for “wayward bees.” Randolph is still new to the beekeeping world — he has only been working in it for a year — but one

would never guess. Randolph enjoys his hobby of honey bees because he understands the value of their presence. “If there are no bees left, we have four years left of the human race,” he said. Randolph started beekeeping after a swarm relocated into his owl box. See BEES pg. 4

PAPPY’S Menu boasts killer seafood & more (pg. 4)

Paso Robles Press P.O. Box 427 Paso Robles, CA 93447 Postal Customer Paso Robles, CA 93346

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April 2013 North County Life

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April is here and so are the fantastic flowers, baby chicks and honey bees (pg. 4). Discover the guitar talents of Paso Robles musician Adam Levine (pg. 3), revisit a local pub favorite (pg. 4) and maybe even celebrate with a few champagne-infused cupcakes crafted exclusively for the spring season (pg. 7). Hayley Thomas

Published monthly by the Paso Robles Press and Atascadero News www.YourNCL.com

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Paso Robles Press 829 10th Street Paso Robles, CA 93446 (805) 237-6060 www.PasoRoblesPress.com Atascadero News 4401 El Camino Real Atascadero, CA 93422 (805) 466-2585 www.AtascaderoNews.com PUBLISHER Jeremy Burke publisher@pasoroblespress.com EDITOR IN CHIEF Hayley Thomas community@pasoroblespress.com STAFF WRITERS Audrey Johns; Gerald Burke Jennifer Best; Natasha Dalton; Jandy Jones ADVERTISING Cassie Verley cassie@pasoroblespress.com Matthew Verley matt@atascaderonews.com Janine Lloyd janine@atascaderonews.com Carmen Burton carmen@atascaderonews.com

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North County Life April 2013

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Making sense of music

April In the garden:

Paso Robles guitar teacher Adam Levine helps the stars and locals alike

Water with care

Natasha Dalton


aul McCartney’s dad encouraged his son to learn to play an instrument so that he’d get invited to parties. Adam Levine’s dad bought his son a guitar to study it as a father-and-son project. “Dad turned me on to the art of bossa nova, which is related to jazz,” said Levine, who resides in Paso Robles. “He played the melody, and I backed him up. It forced me to learn chords and keep the rhythm going.” “Teachers matter,” Wynton Marsalis likes to say. And Levine—a talented local guitarist, who can play anything with equal ease—was fortunate to have exceptionally good teachers. His first teacher was Steve Dorff, who since became one of the most successful songwriters in the nation. “He taught me the mechanics of music,” Levine said, “what’s a scale, what chords go together, what’s the structure of a song.” Later on, at the Berklee College of Music, Levine took classes with Pat Metheny. “The whole fusion of rock and jazz was just beginning to happen, and I got to see that in its infancy,” Levine comments. He names Eric Burdon, Chick Corea, and groups like Weather Report as his early inspirations. But it was in Los Angeles where he met the musicians who influenced him most. Ted Greene taught Levine “to figure out why the guitar is tuned the way it is, and how to discover things on the fret board without a chord book.” At 27, Levine, who at the time was pursuing the career of a session musician, began teaching at Valley Arts Guitar.

Photo by Gerald Burke

USE LESS — Zinnias are one of several classes of flowers that get by with less water in the summer.

Gerald Burke

Courtesy photo

STAR POWER — Paso Robles guitarist Adam Levine is pictured with country superstar Carrie Underwood during a recent show in Fresno. Levine’s former student is a member of Carrie Underwood’s team.

“It was basically a music store—but a great music store, because all those session musicians who were my heroes frequented it,” Levine said. “One day Larry Carlton walks in, then Steve Lukather from Toto…you name a name, and they’d be there.” Eventually, Levine became the Director of the Guitar Program at the renowned Grove School of Music, where he now had the privilege of booking the big music stars for the workshops at the school. Dick Grove, a film and TV composer who worked on the Julie Andrews’ Show, could bring in the likes of Henry Mancini, Dizzy Gillespie and other famous artists to teach and do seminars. Getting acquainted with the upper echelons of Los Angeles’ musicians enabled

Levine to get into such popular shows as Cheers, Wings, and the Merv Griffin Show. It also helped him develop his own teaching method. “I feel that I bring to my teaching that whole world of what it takes to be a professional musician, and what it is to play in different styles,” Levine said. “I like to break things down to the smallest pieces possible, and then put them back together for my students.” He does it by assembling single pages of “everything you’d learn in a year of studies of, say, Harmony-101.” Each page holds a lot of information, but it can still make sense to someone who’d never taken Harmony before. “It’s not that you just take a page, and you know everything,” Levine said. “I have to

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guide my students through it, but I’ve seen huge success in teaching by using this method.” “Adam doesn’t just teach you a song,” musician Grant Chase said. “He has a systematic approach. My studies with Adam allowed me to skip most of the basic classes at Cuesta and get right to composition.” It’s not hard to find someone to show you the chords or to run you through a song book. But it takes a brilliant teacher like Levine to recognize students’ talents and tailor the classes to their interests and potential. It’s no wonder that so many of Levine’s former students became professional musicians. Some, like Adam Levy, Shawn Patterson and Pierre See GUITARIST pg. 5


he old saying: “April showers bring May flowers” doesn’t have much application to our Paso Robles climate. And this year, we didn’t get our share of rain in December and January so we’ll be looking at a dry year again. For those of us who garden, that means watering with care, mulching to preserve moisture in the soil, and planting cultivars that get by with minimal water. So what to do? For starters, till the soil well and incorporate as much organic material as possible. This is quite important in Paso Robles where our topsoil is often a problem. Second, try to plant as much drought tolerant-plant material as possible. For shrubs and trees, that means native plants will do best, and your nursery person, if he or she is a good one, can advise you on drought

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tolerant varieties for this area. For vegetables and flowers, the problem is a little more difficult. Many of the flower varieties we plant each spring for summer bloom, need water. But some need less than others and some of the best classes will do well with careful irrigation. For flowers, tall and dwarf zinnias get by with less water, while tall and dwarf marigolds need a little more. Other good flowers for a dry summer are cosmos, celosia, all the coneflowers, geranium, lupine, osteospermum, older petunia varieties, portulaca, rudbeckia, dwarf sunflower, and vinca. For drought-tolerant vegetables, try parsnip, beet, carrot, older varieties of cantaloupe (like Hales’ Best), Black Seeded Simpson leaf lettuce, mustard greens, okra, older, or heirloom varieties of tomatoes and watermelon. All of these classes of flowers and vegetables get by with minimal watering, but

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Aprril 2013 North County Life BUSINESS FEATURE

A menu worth a second look: Pappy McGregor’s Pub & Grill Seafood, signature coctails and local wine make this Irish pub a neighborhood favorite Hayley Thomas


hat’s the difference between a bar and an Irish pub? If you ask Donovan Schmit, it all comes down to that perfect mix of welcoming atmosphere, lively conversation and killer comfort food. Now, what’s the difference between Pappy McGregor’s and any other Irish pub? Well, try finding any pub that sells Thai curry mussels and fresh cioppino alongside award-winning lobster mac and cheese. Schmit owns Pappy McGregor’s — a.k.a Pappy’s — alongside cousin Troy Larkin, who operates their second, San Luis Obispo location. Both owners reside in Paso Robles, but the story of their partnership begins on the coast: at Schooner’s Wharf in Cayucos. At Schooner’s, Larkin worked his way up from busser to server, and Schmit manned the bar. About two years into working at the restaurant, it came on the market. With a little help from family, the 20-somethings were suddenly in the restaurant biz. This decision changed the trajectory of both their lives. “We knew nothing about management or owning a restaurant — we just jumped in,” said Schmit. That was back in 2001. Three years later, the duo opened an Italian café next

door. Fast forward another three years, St. Patrick’s Day of 2006, and the cousins were celebrating the grand opening of Pappy McGregor’s Pub & Grill at 1122 Pine St. in Paso Robles, then known as The Crooked Kilt. Two years ago, Schmit and Larkin sold their two coastal restaurants to open a second Pappy’s at 1865 Monterey St. in San Luis Obispo. “We opened [Pappy’s] here in Paso Robles because we absolutely love Irish pubs, and we knew that there wasn’t much here in the community as far as that goes,” Schmit said. “Pubs are so fun and lively — everyone’s having a good time. Strangers get together and meet and fall in love with the place.” However, Schmit said he and Larkin never got in the pub business to serve up the same old Guinness and potato skins. After experiencing a range of Irish pubs in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas, they set the bar high. Signature cocktails — like their popular bloody mary and federali martini — are served alongside a respectable selection of draft beer and Irish whiskey. Then, there’s the food. “We have a diverse menu, from your typical Irish pub fare to some incredible seafood items, like our oysters Rockefeller, calamari, fish and

BEES Continued from pg. 1

He carefully extracted the comb and relocated it to another box. “A swarm is when the hive gets cluttered,” Randolph said. “They will lay a queen cell and — once the new queen is born — the old one takes off and looks for new space.” Once Randolph collects his wayward bees, he offers them new homes in boxes around the county. In exchange for housing the boxes, homeowners get beautiful flowers and gardens and maybe some tasty honey. The honey flavor is based on what the bees are feeding on. Popular flavors are sage, wildflower and orange, he said. “I get such a positive response from people who want bees,” Randolph said. “I have had compliments on how their flowers look and their overall gardens.” The flying gardeners go from flower to flower collecting nectar as well as pollen. Zooming from plant to plant creates cross-pollination. The end result is beautiful flowers, bountiful gardens or orchards and knowledge that you are keeping the planet going. Randolph takes this environmentally-friendly approach a step farther by

“Any day, you can come up to the bar and make new friends and chat. That’s the great thing about the pub. That’s what we fell in love with.” — Donovan Schmit, Pappy McGregor’s co-owner

chips to the halibut tacos,” Schmit said. Pulling from their years at Schooner’s, it’s not hard to understand why the menu is 25 percent seafood. On the flipside, patrons looking for a beefy dining experience can order up a juicy, Kobe beef burger with fried egg on top or a Hearst Ranch prime rib strip steak cooked to perfection. “The menu is so broad, but it’s also small,” said Schmit. “We try to focus on 25 things and do them perfectly well.” The menu changes every three-to-four months, giving locals a little something to try out. However, some food will never die. Case in point: Pappy’s chili, awarded Best Chili at the Cal Poly cook-off in 2010, or the infamous lobster macaroni and cheese, which took home second-place at the Mac and Cheese Fest last year. Pappy’s offers exclusively Paso Robles wines and partners with local fruit, veggie and seafood producers.

recycling the honeycomb he collects. He places the pieces inside the boxes and the bees eventually rebuild and add on to it. If all goes well, they fill it with honey and then cap it off with bees wax. When the pieces are full, Randolph takes and scrapes the wax off and places it in a centrifuge to get the honey out. This allows the comb to remain intact while getting out the sweet treat. It takes happy bees to make honey though. Randolph spoils his bees by keeping the boxes clean, feeding them well and watching out for diseases. It is just like any other animal, including genetics. “Beekeepers do all this research and genetics on bees,” Randolph said. The bees are bred to tolerate heat or cold and even to have a mild temperament. The Italian queens are the ones Randolph prefers. Unfortunately, he has encountered aggressive colonies and he was required to kill the queen. However, with a carefully timed process he was able to introduce a new queen and the hive continued to thrive. Beekeeping requires skill, patience and some caution. Too many stings can cause an allergic reaction. The bee is just trying to protect its home and self. If you encounter an angry bee, slowly

“People don’t come to Paso for Italian or Napa wines, we’re right here in wine country, so why not?” said Schmit. “We’re a local business and we like to team up with local establishments.” Whether you order the spicy buffalo wings, a pot pie made to order with lobster or chicken, or halibut and chips with curry sauce, Schmit said it’s all about offering “simple food done amazing.” Chefs and brothers Chris and Marty Beckett have been working with the owners since the old days in Cayucos — more than a decade. Together, they’ve created a menu that’s become cherished by locals of all ages and walks of life. All family members are welcome during lunch and dinner hours. “Recently, we had an 8year-old girl who came in for the oysters Rockefeller,” Schmit said. “Her mom was telling me the story, that when she picked her daughter up for school, all she wanted was the oysters. They were sitting right next to two grandmas in

Photos by Jandy Jones

SWEET HONEYCOMB — The honeycomb sits at a 17 degree angle so the honey won’t drip out. Once the cell is full, the bee will cap it with wax.

turn your head away from it and place your hand between it in your face, Randolph suggested. Do not swat at it, this only makes it angrier, he said. Honey bees are an influential part of the environment and as long as they are buzzing around, Randolph will continue to find them homes. For more information, contact Randolph at 286-0492.

Courtesy photos

MEATY — The blarney burger, featuring your choice of USDA, free-range Hearst Ranch or Kobe beef, topped with thick cut bacon, crispy onion rings, barbecue sauce, Irish cheddar, lettuce, tomato and onion on a brioche bun.

their 80s having a martini lunch with fish and chips.” It’s that casual, welcoming feel that Schmit said brings people back. “Any day, you can come up to the bar and make new friends and chat,” he said. “That’s the great thing about the pub. That’s what we fell in love with.” Pappy McGregor's Pub & Grill is located at 1122 Pine St. in Paso Robles and open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. The San Luis location is situated at 1865 Monterey St. near Grand Ave. Happy hour takes place twice a day: Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. and

Sunday through Thursday, 9 p.m. till 2 a.m. Music and dancing are available Fridays and Saturdays with a DJ spinning from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. April through October, and enjoy live bands Thursday through Saturday. Sundays and Monday nights, locals get 25 percent off their food and military members always get 25 percent off food seven days a week. In April, enjoy free pub trivia at 8 p.m. on Thursdays. Show up 15 minutes prior to get a table. Pick a team name and win a range of prizes.

North County Life April 2013

page 5

“Adam Levine is the one who made the guitar make sense to me; you couldn’t ask for a better teacher.”


— Adam Levy, Guitarist with Norah Jones and former student

Get involved, see, taste and play WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3

GUITARIST Continued from pg. 3

Gauthier, made it big. Most continue to keep in touch. “My students live all over the world,” Levine said. “And I feel like I’ve become a part of their lives. I love teaching and helping people find the gift of playing music.” For more information, email Adam Levine at Gui tarplayer5310@gmail.com or call 237-1135.

TACK Continued from pg. 1

the community a choice. Not everyone can walk in and buy high-end stuff. We'll carry quality products for everyone from the 4-H member to just getting into horses to seasoned competitors," Rutsky said. The mother-daughter duo also brings to the store horse sense developed through decades of hands-on experience. They established Grand Illusion Farms and began breeding Andalusians and Arabians in Southern California in 1985. "I've been schooling, breeding and training. You name it, I've done it, from circus to racetrack and everything in between," Ridgeway said. In 2009, after Rutsky sold her insurance brokerage ostensibly to retire, they moved the entire operation, including two dozen horses, four dogs, and both households, to Paso Robles. "We found a lot of feed stores, but there was only one other tack store. We found the prices were

Courtesy photo

MUSICAL POWERHOUSE — Paso Robles guitarist Adam Levine performs widely on the Central Coast. His students range from local performers to celebrities.

astronomical. We decided we could do better. There's no competition for what we're offering here," Rutsky said. As visitors noshed on sandwiches, strawberries, beer and wine at the preview party, Ridgeway proudly showed off the new digs. She pointed out price tags and a variety of brands more often seen on the East Coast. "The goal is to have the entire pet section stocked with products made in the U.S. Nothing made in China. We offer a large variety of dewormers, shampoos, fly sprays and other products so everyone can find their favorites," she said. In addition to brand new products, The Tack Room

plans to sell quality used tack for all riding disciplines. "If you have something and we like it, we'll buy it outright rather than have it sit here on consignment for two or three months," Rutsky said. A small selection of boots and apparel already hangs on the racks. Eventually, Ridgeway would like to see the store offering used show clothes, chaps and coats. "We're still developing the store and some ideas,” said Ridgeway. “Eventually, I'd really like to have show clothing rentals, and we're working toward an extensive vet section complete with breeding supplies for collection and insemination.”

Photo by Jennifer Best

Laurie Ridgeway, at left, and her mom, Kathy Rutsky, are the proud founders of The Tack Room in Paso Robles.

NORTH COUNTY NEWCOMERS CLUB North County Newcomers Club is open to all residents who have lived in the North County for two years or less. Monthly general meetings are held the first Wednesday of the month from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. For more information, go to www.northcoun tynewcomers.org.

FRIDAY, APRIL 5 ALMOND COUNTRY QUILTERS' GUILD The Almond Country Quilters' Guild will hold its April meeting on April 5 at the Atascadero Masonic Lodge, 2607 Traffic Way, Atascadero. Social time begins at 6:30 p.m. At 7 p.m., Joy Lily will speak on the topic "Be a Carefree Quilter." The general meeting will follow her presentation. For further information about the guild, check out our website www.almond countryquilters.org.

SUNDAY, APRIL 7 SYMPHONY OF THE VINES CONCERT The Symphony of the Vines will host a romantic evening concert with Schumann and Prokofiev, which will feature a special performance by renowned pianist Torsten Juul-Borre on Saturday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 7 at 3 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, 940 Creston Road, Paso Robles. Tickets are $20 and $30, and are available online at www.symphonyofthevines. org or at BooBoo Records in San Luis Obispo or Matt’s Music in Templeton. Students with ID receive a 50 percent discount.


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GRANGE BREAKFAST The Paso Robles Grange will hold its monthly breakfast the second Sunday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the Paso Robles Grange Hall, 627 Creston Road in Paso Robles, from 7:30 to 11 a.m. This month's breakfast will be held on April 14. Pancakes, eggs, bacon, orange juice and coffee will be served. For more information, call Lester Rougeot at 238-2340 or 8011766.

NORTH COUNTY WOMEN’S SHELTER TRAINING North County Women’s Shelter/Sexual Assault Recovery & Prevention Center will hold volunteer crisis counselor training from Monday, April 15 through May 18 on Monday and Wednesday nights and every other Saturday. Call 226-5400 for more information.

MONDAY, APRIL 18 LET IT BE “Let It Be” will bring its unique mixture of live band, Beatles songs and dazzling dance display to the Templeton Performing Arts Center April 18 – 20. Tickets are $25 for adults, $19 for children (12 and under) and seniors (65 and above) by going to w w w. b r o w n p a p e r t i c k ets.com/event/342017. For more information, go to www.northcountyperformin garts.com or call 610-7570.

FRIDAY, APRIL 19 EARTH DAY FOOD & WINE The seventh annual Earth Day Food & Wine Festival — a weekend celebrating the very best of the Central Coast — will be held over the weekend of April 19 through 20. The feature event will be held on April 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Pomar Junction Vineyard and Winery, where more than 200 growers, vintners and chefs will come together to serve pairings of awardwinning wines with one-of-akind dishes made with locally-sourced fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, olive oils, chocolates and more. Purchase tickets at w w w. e a r t h d a y f o o d a n d wine.com or call 466-2288.

SATURDAY, APRIL 20 SHOW N SHINE CAR SHOW Once again, Heritage Ranch residents will be opening up their hoods and polishing up their paint jobs in preparation for the second annual Show ‘n’ Shine Car Show on April 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event kicks off at the Oak Hills Center, 2150 Heritage Loop Road and features a presentation by Cappy Culver School youth as well as a 50/50 raffle and barbecue.

PLANT SALE Celebrate Earth Day by joining the Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District for its second annual Plant Sale on April 20 at Templeton Community Park from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. during the Templeton Farmer's Market. The selection of native and drought tolerant plants are not only low-maintenance but will add beauty to a yard or garden. Plants sell fast so make sure to show up early or fill out a pre-order form, available at www.usltrcd.org to reserve plants today. For more information, contact Jillian Cole at 434-0396 ext. 5. BEARCAT SERENADE The Paso Robles High School Band Backers proudly present the Bearcat Serenade at Pear Valley Winery on April 20 at 4900 Union Rd. in Paso Robles. Come and join them for a night of incredible food by Berry Hill Bistro, delectable wine by Pear Valley Winery and beautiful music by the PRHS Jazz Ensemble and Percussion group. The show is from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets cost $50. Funds raised will help sustain the band program for the coming year. Contact Lisa at 237-9264 for ticket information.

TUESDAY, APRIL 23 CHAMBER BIZ EXPO The Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce will hold the 2013 Business Expo, on Tuesday, April 23 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Paso Robles Event Center. Visit more than 100 exhibitors and take advantage of the opportunity to network with those on the cutting edge of Paso Robles Business. Visit www.pa sorobleschamber.com to register now. For more information, contact the Chamber office at 238-0506.

SATURDAY, APRIL 27 WILD WEST CASINO Support the youth of Paso Robles at the Paso Robles Youth Sports Council’s Wild, Wild West Casino Night Barbeque Dinner Fundraiser on Saturday, April 27 at 6 p.m. at Centennial Park in Paso Robles. Tickets are $45 for a tritip dinner, two drink tickets, entry into the casino and chips for gambling. The evening will also include music and raffle prizes. Visit www.PRYSC.org.

page 6 COLLEGE TRIPS Continued from pg. 1

commodations on the trip, and because it looked “really pretty.” Obviously, good landscaping matters, but it shouldn’t have been the major factor in choosing a college. At seventeen, Cantrell wasn’t even sure what he wanted to study, let alone where. Looking back at his decision process, Cantrell describes it as “irresponsible”—which is not to say that he was irresponsible: coming from a blue-collar family, he simply didn’t know how to go about selecting a college. Seeing his students struggle with the same problems, Paso High teacher Cantrell founded College Trips with the idea of helping young people understand their options. “What’s a good fit when it comes to a college?—It’s a combination of 40 things,” Cantrell chuckled. “It’s ahead-and-a-heart thing. It’s how it looks on paper, and how it feels, and where it is, and how much it costs. It’s informed consent.” Cantrell warns against getting fixated on the cost and losing the bigger picture. He likes to remind his students that the elephant’s trunk is not the whole elephant, however distinctive that trunk might be. “Say, I find a Victorian house on the Internet,” he said.

April 2013 North County Life “It’s looking like a good deal: $10,000 for 6,000 square feet. But then I look closer, and see that it’s in Detroit; people are living in it already, and there’s a hole in the driveway…” Similarly, choosing a college based on the looks of its gym or landscaping is likely to backfire just as surely as it would with house-hunting based on Internet ads alone. College Trips are meant to educate. During each trip, students spend three hours on every campus. The itinerary combines an official program with ‘guerilla tours’, which include meeting local alums and learning about their experiences. “Students tell what they like and what they don’t like,” Cantrell said. “When the students on the tour say, ‘The college tour guide told us blah-blah-blah.’ Is it really so?” It’s not uncommon to

hear back: “‘Not exactly.’” On the last trip, 10 UC Berkeley students from Paso exchanged e-mail addresses with those on the bus. “That’s a part of your investigation,” Aaron Cantrell told his high school group. “Each of them knows 15 other students who can tell it how it is.” Cantrell believes that it’s never too early to begin a family conversation about college selection: what is a good college versus a bad one; what’s a good fit versus a place just to get a degree, etc. “ M y daughter (a sophomore) and I put in almost 12,000 miles checking out colleges,” he said. “When I take my daughter on these trips, it’s about getting the feel for the school, seeing if it might be a good fit for her.” Ultimately, it’s all about the due diligence. There are

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED Come make a Difference! Call today or check online about our volunteering programs.

www.centralcoasthospice.com P: 805-540-6020 F: 805-540-6025

many factors that need to be considered. Seeing a college and getting a feel for it is not all there is to it, but it’s an important part of the process. “I wouldn’t say that visiting colleges should replace any other research, but it isn’t trivial,” Cantrell said. “Obviously, the financial aspect is one of the most important pieces of the discussion, but it alone isn’t the most important piece.” As with everything else, simply knowing what you want helps you get it. While shopping for a couch, you can just walk in and ask: “I’ve got $7,000. What can you sell me for this amount?” With colleges, it’s more complicated. If you want to get the best out of your college years,

GARDEN Continued from pg. 3

they will need some moisture to grow and produce. For those of us who have little space and want to conserve water too, try container gardening. Large containers will produce many flowers and vegetables well and will take less water than a large open, in-ground garden area.

you need to do some work first. On April 29 through 30, College Trips will visit Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Davis and Sacramento State. For more information, visit www.CollegeTrips.org or Facebook.com/CollegeTrips.

Use a good soil, or growing mixture, one that will hold moisture, and use plenty of organic material at the top of the container to help hold moisture in. Many flowers and vegetables will grow reasonably well in containers that are at least 12 inches across and 12-to-15 inches deep. The Home Garden Seed Association, www.ezfromseed.org, has an interesting article

Courtesy photo

A HIGHER CALLING — Paso High School teacher Aaron Cantrell, pictured below, founded College Trips with the idea of helping young people understand their higher education options.

on pollinators in its Spring 2013 issue. We sometimes forget that bees and other pollinators are important to a healthy and growing garden, so you might access this article at the above site to learn more about bees and butterflies. Apparently bees have been disappearing, and we, as gardeners, need to learn more about protecting them.

North County Life April 2013


AUDREY JOHNS Health blogger at Lose Weight by Eating


ianchi’s wines have recently become popular in Hollywood. Chosen by Chef Gordon Ramsay, their 2009 Petite Sirah and 2010 Chardonnay were paired with his lavish menu for Sir Elton John’s 2013 Oscar party. Stars caught sipping Bianchi’s wines have included Heidi Klum, Sean Penn, Steven Tyler, Bono, Jenna Elfman, Christina Hendricks, Katy Perry, Naomi Campbell, Dave Grohl, Taye Diggs, Miley Cyrus and Brittany Spears. “It was at every table and every bar — not too bad for a small family-owned winery in Paso Robles,” Beau Bianchi said. “I guess the word is getting out.” The Bianchi family has been in the wine industry since 1974. Their first vineyard — located in the California Central Valley — utilized the most advanced farming and production technologies and soon became an industry leader. In the pursuit of crafting the perfect wine, Glen Bianchi purchased 40 acres in Paso Robles in January 2000 and has been creating amazing wine ever since. Proud of his lifelong work, Glen Bianchi — Beau’s father — said, “We support the belief that it is vital to grow only those varieties of grapes which are best suited to the particular aspect of the land: such as soil, exposure and climate. That is why the Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah and Merlot are planted in the winery's sloping vineyards. These varietals make up our sought-after Heritage selection.” Glen believes this so strongly that their signature selection wines are made from grapes purchased from premium growers in and around Paso Robles and the Central Coast. The winery has combinined the best of both worlds — or shall we say — grapes. Always in search of a beautiful picnic spot, I came across Bianchi Winery recently and immediately fell in love. As you

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BIANCHI & CUPCAKES Your favorite cocktail, now available in delicious cupcake form


arrive at the gates, you’re whisked away to a new world. A driveway lined with purple-topped trees greets you as you arrive — behind them are rows of vines ready to produce next year’s crop. Pulling open the nearly twostory tasting room doors, you enter a building that takes full advantage of their surroundings and view. A wall of glass doors opens to the lake and a fantastic picnic area. Inside the tasting room, a fireplace lounge, stone walls and a wooden ceiling with steel beams add a virtual feast for the eyes. I took my family to Bianchi on a sunny Sunday afternoon and we bought a bottle of their California Champagne. We sat by the lake, and as I sat there — with a glass of their bubbles in my hand and a slice of birthday cake next to me — I was instantly inspired to combine the two together. Bianchi’s California Champagne is a lively and fruity style bubbly Brut that adds complexity to these miniature cakes. I encourage you to use only a bottle of sparkling wine that you would enjoy drinking, as the flavor of champagne is strong and you want to choose something really delicious. Bianchi’s California Champagne is incredibly delicious and reasonably priced at $16 a bottle. Be warned: You will use almost an entire bottle for the cupcakes, so I recommend purchasing two when you visit Bianchi. This way, you have one to cook with and one to drink with dessert. What could be better?

Photo by Audrey Johns

SWEET IDEA — Try Audrey Johns’ edible take on a mimosa or Chambord and champagne. These cupcakes are full of bubbles and topped with orange and raspberry butter cream frosting.

Courtesy photo

GET OUT OF THE HOUSE — Enjoy spring from the patio at Bianchi in Paso Robles. Take a picnic and enjoy a bottle of their wine for a picture-perfect afternoon. For more great picnic-style recipes, visit www.loseweightbyeating.com.

Champagne cupcakes with raspberry buttercream frosting WHAT YOU NEED: 2 cups flour 3/4 cup sugar ¼ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda 2 cups California champagne ½ cup unsweetened apple sauce ¼ milk

FROSTING: 5 strawberries quartered ¼ cup orange juice 1/4 cup white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil GET COOKING: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter 24 muffin tins, unwrap your butter, put it on a plate and use the wrapper to butter your tins. If you want to use muffin liners use baking

■ Photo by Audrey Johns

CELEBRATE — For a tasy, bubbly treat, use Bianchi Signature Selection Champagne to create the delightful cupcakes, pictured above.

spray on them. Otherwise, the cake will stick.

blespoon of warm water at a time until proper consistency.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Slowly add champagne so it does not bubbly over, then add apple sauce and mix together. Do not use a mixer, use a spatula or spoon otherwise it will bubble over. Once it’s mostly combined add the milk and mix until there are no lumps.

■ Take half of the cupcakes out of the fridge and with a frosting piper or a spoon cover with raspberry topping. After they sit for a couple minutes you can top with fresh raspberries and move back to the fridge for 30 minutes to help the frosting set.

Bake for 14 to 18 minutes until they are firm to the touch. Let cool in the tins as they will continue to cook in them. Once cooled place in fridge for 20 minutes while you make the frosting.

■ Make the orange frosting the same way you did the raspberry, substituting the liquor for warm water. Cover cupcakes, let sit for a minute top with orange slices and place back in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.

■ Use the whip attachment on mixer

■ Sip on the glass of champagne left

and whip ¼ cup, 2 cups sugar, 1 tablespoon of raspberry jam and liquor until it just starts to ball up on the attachment. If needed add 1 ta-

in the bottle while the cupcakes set up, later serve with Bianchi’s California Champagne.

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April 2013 North County Life

Profile for WatsNews LLC

North County Life - April 2013  

North County Lifestyle is dedicated to informing, connecting and enlivening our readers with news and features fresh from the source.

North County Life - April 2013  

North County Lifestyle is dedicated to informing, connecting and enlivening our readers with news and features fresh from the source.