SLO LIFE Magazine Apr/May 2020

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LIFE SLO magazine

CENTRAL COA WINE & FOOD

SEASONAL FAVORITES

TAKING IN THE VIEW

UPCOMING HAPPENINGS LOCAL ARTIST NOW HEAR THIS

ON THE

RISE BEH THE SCE

NEWS BRIEFS APR/MAY 2020 SLOLIFEMAGAZINE.COM

TIM

HEALTH TRENDS

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MEET

TAN MARISA BLOCH GAY TAKING CHARGE & P L A N T IN G R O O T S APR/MAY 2020

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CONTENTS 30 Timeline 32 View 34 Q&A

10 PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE

12 Info 14 Sneak Peek 16 In Box 20 Contributors 28 Briefs 6

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NOW HEAR THIS | APR/MAY 2020

Volume 11 Number 2 Apr/May 2020

38 MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR


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| CONTENTS

72 Real Estate

90 Kitchen

76 Health

92 Wine

82 TASTE

48 ARTIST

54 Family 56 On the Rise 58 Dwelling 8

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96 BREW


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| PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE

A little more than a decade ago, I washed up on the shores of San Luis Obispo a broken and busted heap, bruised and bloodied. The Great Recession came out of nowhere and snatched everything from us: our business, our building, our home, our cars, our money, and our pride. Although the sun was shining, it was always dark. The talking heads cried out in terror each day, “The Dow Jones dropped another 500 points!” Somber-faced politicians wrung their hands. They had no answers. For the first time in my life, I thought about buying guns and water purifiers. Today, I am a ten years older. Maybe a little wiser. The news now is much worse. This time, the talking heads are not just reporting on the stock market, but also mortality rates. Everyone is feeling pain. All of us are paying a price, both large and small. For many, the invoice will not arrive until later, after the tidal wave recedes. When I think back on the Great Recession, I count it as one of the best things that has happened in my life. The lesson I learned was one I already understood in my head, but not in my heart: It’s people that matter most. After interviewing thousands of locals for this magazine over the past ten years, that lesson has been reinforced on a daily basis—it has been codified and sequenced in my DNA. I am often asked about our title, SLO LIFE Magazine, particularly by people who do not live here on the Central Coast. Why do you call it SLO Life, what does that mean? My answer is always the same: SLO Life is not a place, it’s an idea. Yes, we have the best beaches, the best small towns, the best trails, but it’s really about the people—a community of doers and makers, hopers and dreamers, who are passionate and steadfast and fiercely committed to belonging to this place, and to one another. This magazine was founded upon the concept of meeting your neighbor, and it is the name of our cover article. The idea for that feature dates back to our first issue, but it was sparked by a memory formed during our first days here. I was feeling depressed and defeated as I pushed my trash can, then overflowing with dirty diapers and nasty collection letters, to the edge of the curb. I turned to my right and there she was, my neighbor. She waved as she called out, “Hello!” She told me her name was Sue Waterbury. I asked her the question that has begun all of my interviews for this magazine since. “So, tell me, where did you grow up?” Over the years, until she passed away, Sue became a surrogate grandmother to us. We called on her in a pinch when we ran out of eggs or milk, and when my wife went into labor in the middle of the night. Before we brought our new baby home, our two other little ones woke up greeted by Mrs. Waterbury, who also happened to be their Tiny Tigers preschool teacher at SLO High. Our Meet Your Neighbor article is the conversation which takes place at the end of every San Luis Obispo driveway. And that is what makes it all so difficult now—the driveway is closed. No hugs. No handshakes. Six feet. In some ways, it would be easier if it had been an earthquake or a fire instead. At least we would meet our neighbors and bake casseroles and be with one another now. Instead, we are “sheltered in place,” trapped with the talking heads who only tell us how bad it is. How it will only get worse. But I know better—because I know you. And I know this place. We all have to dig deep. We have to keep faith in this community. In one another. When my kids complain about the situation, I tell them they are perfectly justified in doing so. Flag football was canceled. So was dance. And swimming, too. This sucks. All of it. There is no amount of lipstick for this pig. But I also tell them they are living through history. I tell them to not hold their breath and squeeze their eyes shut in fear, but to open them and fully experience it. Life is about living, even when the days are dark. FDR talked about “fear itself,” and he was right. I have no doubt that a decade from now, I will be thinking about how important this time was for me in becoming the new and improved ten-year-older version of myself. I will look back on it and miss those endless days with my family, the phone calls and video chats with neighbors and friends. My kids sitting around the kitchen table with their computers trying to figure out how to do this distance learning thing as they laugh and talk and argue and negotiate their way forward. My wife coming up with new and creative uses for the canned food hiding in the dark corners of our pantry. As for me, I am again putting my faith in you, and this place we share, this idea—SLO Life. On behalf of everyone here at SLO LIFE Magazine, I wish you and your family, friends, and neighbors health and resolve. Live the SLO Life!

Tom Franciskovich tom@slolifemagazine.com 10

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LIFE SLO magazine

4251 S. HIGUERA STREET, SUITE 800, SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA SLOLIFEMAGAZINE.COM info@slolifemagazine.com (805) 543-8600 • (805) 456-1677 fax PUBLISHER Tom Franciskovich

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CREATIVE DIRECTOR Sheryl Franciskovich CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Libbie Agran Charlotte Alexander Jeff Al-Mashat Aimee Armour-Avant Lauren Harvey Paden Hughes Zara Khan Cindy Lambert Jaime Lewis Heather Muran Brant Myers Jessie Rivas Shawn Strong CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Suzi Bliss Amy Joseph David Lalush Vanessa Plakias Jay C. Winter CONTRIBUTIONS Have some comments or feedback about something you’ve read here? Or, do you have something on your mind that you think everyone should know about? Submit your story ideas, events, recipes, and announcements by visiting us online at slolifemagazine.com and clicking “Share Your Story” or emailing us at info@slolifemagazine.com. Be sure to include your full name and city for verification purposes. Contributions chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations. ADVERTISING If you would like to advertise, please contact Tom Franciskovich by phone at (805) 543-8600 or by email at tom@slolifemagazine.com or visit us online at slolifemagazine.com/advertise and we will send you a complete media kit along with testimonials from happy advertisers.

Nicole Pazdan, CSA,

SUBSCRIPTIONS Ready to live the SLO Life all year long? It’s quick and easy! Just log on to slolifemagazine.com/subscribe. It’s just $24.95 for the year. And don’t forget to set your friends and family up with a subscription, too. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! NOTE The opinions expressed within these pages do not necessarily reflect those of SLO LIFE Magazine. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher.

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Letters chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations.

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True Community Banking “You never know what the future holds, but I do know if I need financing in the future, that American Riviera Bank and Jay will be my first call.” — Chris Dorn, Merseas Restaurant owner

Stephanie Marden and Jay Beck, American Riviera Bank, with Merseas Restaurant owner Chris Dorn, on the Avila Beach pier

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| ON THE COVER

A S NE AK P EEK

behind the scenes W I T H M A RISA BLO CH GAYTAN

BY VANESSA PLAKIAS

I met Marisa at Pasolivo and I was hoping we’d have a beautiful sunset, and was happy to see a gorgeous setting sky. The timing worked out perfectly for how I envisioned our shoot.

We walked to the back to see how it all was processed and stored. She explained how they grind up the olives into a paste, and then the olive oil naturally separates. And, unlike wine, the fresher and younger the oil, the better.

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g room. I e around the tastin Marisa showed m was and r favorite olive oil asked her what he w.” no pouring it right she said, “Well, I’m

I asked Marisa about this old red car that was parked nearby. She said it’s an old Land Rover that belongs to the ranch. I asked her if it was too dusty to sit on so we could take photos, and she said, “I work on a ranch. Dirt doesn’t bother me.” SLO LIFE


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| IN BOX

Take us with you! Hey, SLO LIFE readers: Send us your photos the next time you’re relaxing in town or traveling far and away with your copy of the magazine. Email us at info@slolifemagazine.com

ARGENTINA

PUERTO VALLARTA

JANET and CRAIG CARLSTROM with TERI and RON ANDRS SALLY and JIM BROOKS-SCHULKE at Punta Tombo Magellan penguin colony.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS

MIKE and NANCY TEJADA celebrating Nancy’s 40th birthday at the Sandals Royal Bahamian Private Island. 16

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TOWER BRIDGE, LONDON

RIDLEY and PACEY


RAJA AMPAT, INDONESIA

GRAPEVINE LAKE, TEXAS

JEFF HERTEN, DEBBY LYON, NIKKI, STEVEN, KENZIE, and KADIE CASTLEBERRY

BIG ISLAND, HAWAII

RICH KRUMHOLZ

CHINA PEAK ROSH WRIGHT and MADDY SINCLAIR

SAO MIGUEL ISLAND, AZORES

TONY and CINDY MCCOWN

MELISSA LATIMER, CRISTINA MACEDO, and ALAINA MCBRIDE at Ski Patrol—most importantly, everyone was A-OK! APR/MAY 2020

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| IN BOX

SLO LIFE travels! BROOKLYN BRIDGE

DAN, KACEY, MADISON, JORDYN, GAVIN and ALEX COHEN with MATT, KIMBERLEY, SPENCER, PEYTON, and CLAUDIA WORMLEY and KEN FINNEY

NEW CALEDONIA, SOUTH PACIFIC

DEATH VALLEY

AL and RITA NIETO with SALLY and JIM BROOKS-SCHULKE

LOS ANGELES

JACKIE POPE, LAURA HEIDEN and APRIL CLEATH brought SLO LIFE Magazine to the Oprah 2020 Tour.

Please send your photos and comments to info@slolifemagazine.com Follow SLO LIFE on Facebook: Visit facebook.com/slolifemagazine Visit us online at slolifemagazine.com Letters may be edited for content and clarity. To be considered for publication your letter should include your name, address, phone number, or email address (for authentication purposes). 18

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LEARN BY DOING WAS BORN HERE CAL POLY AND LEARN BY DOING HAVE BEEN RESIDENTS OF THE CENTRAL COAST SINCE 1901.

Cal Poly students provide free tax preparation for low-income community members of the Central Coast as part of the Volunteer Tax Assistance (VITA) program. VITA is sponsored by the Cal Poly Accounting Area, California Franchise Tax Board and the IRS. Cal Poly student volunteers have prepared over 33,000 tax returns since the program began in 1992.

See more Learn by Doing stories at

GIVING.CALPOLY.EDU PHOTOGRAPH BY CAL POLY STUDENT JUSTIN SHARER (FOURTH-YEAR BUSINESS MAJOR) AD DESIGN BY CAL POLY STUDENT LAUREN WENSTAD (THIRD-YEAR GRAPHIC COMMUNICATION MAJOR)

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| CONTRIBUTORS

JEFF AL-MASHAT writer

CHARLOTTE ALEXANDER writer

Reading I just finished “Evicted,” by Matthew Desmond. In my other life, I work for ECHO as the Director of Homeless Services for Paso Robles. This book focuses on stories of income inequality and onerous rental laws.

Reading “Plainsong” by Kent Haruf (again),”The Night Fire” by Michael Connelly, “Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris (again), “Silver City and Other Screenplays” by John Sayles

Playlist Right now the stuff really in my head is from the documentary “Echo in the Canyon,” where Jacob Dylan, Jade, Beck and other current artists recreate songs from the Byrds, the Beach Boys, and others from southern California’s late 60s/early 70s era.

Playlist Artists: Lyle Lovett (always), Bob & Wendy, Louie Ortega; Songs: “The Sound of Silence” performed by Disturbed, “Uptown Funk” performed by Bruno Mars, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” performed by K.D. Lang

Podcast I loved the first season of “Slow Burn.” I thought I knew the Watergate story pretty well, but I said, “I never knew that,” after every episode.

What advice would you give to your younger self? Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Funniest practical joke? When I was studying art history in France, we had a day in Rouen and we were supposed to write a journal entry about Joan of Arc. On the bus home, I convinced some undergrads, who spent the whole day in the bars and needed material for their journal entries, that Joan was Noah’s wife and that she is the one who designed the Arc that carried the animals in the flood. What would make San Luis Obispo a better place? An Ethiopian restaurant.

Who has been your biggest inspiration? Former Cuesta College President Dr. Grace Mitchell and her husband (a former community college president himself ) Dr. Ernie Berg (both now deceased). They were kind, gracious, and unfailingly supportive mentors to me, both personally and professionally. They inspired me and others to follow our passions and put heart and soul into whatever we do. What’s the closest thing to magic? Sitting in a darkened theatre watching a good play unfold before your eyes.

LAUREN HARVEY writer Reading “The Third Hotel” by Laura Van Den Berg. I picked it up at a Little Free Library. I recently finished “Don’t Let Me Go” by Catherine Ryan Hyde, it was wonderful! Playlist Little Dragon. I’m also a big fan of classic rock; Creedence Clearwater Revival and Neil Young are among my favorites. Podcast “The Morning Mindset.” I listen to it near every day. It keeps me grounded and focused. Do you have a secret talent? I play electric bass with my husband who plays drums. It’s actually how we met. What advice would you give to your younger self? Slow down, enjoy the moment. All those things you think you’ll do in the future, do them now. What would make San Luis Obispo a better place? A Brazilian steakhouse, like Fogo de Chao! 20

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PADEN HUGHES writer Reading “Girl Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis Playlist “Everything I Wanted” by Billie Eilish and “How Do You Sleep?” by Sam Smith Podcast “The Goal Digger Podcast” with Jenna Kutcher. She is authentic, inspiring, and really puts practical topics out there for female entrepreneurs like me. Do you have a secret talent? I practice Byron Katie’s Inquiry method of questioning my long held beliefs and flash judgments and it’s a practice that has brought a lot of peace, happiness, and growth in my life and relationships. Thoughts I love San Luis Obispo so much because I believe every one of us has sacrificed something to be here and call this place home. It brings a special energy. Everyone has skin in the game about how we grow and evolve as a community. Let’s not lose that in arguments, but use that to find solutions. Sending gratitude to every reader and I’m so very thankful to every person who invests in bringing value and their perspective to our community.

ZARA KHAN writer Reading “Steve Jobs” Playlist It’s always Country music for me; Luke Combs right now. Podcast “Skimm’d from the Couch.” I enjoy their interview style and variety of guests. It’s a great combination of educational, inspiration, and entertainment. I originally discovered them as a news source, The Skimm. What’s a food you haven’t eaten, but want to try? Thai tea cheesecake. What advice would you give to your younger self? Patience, patience, patience.

DAVID LALUSH photographer Reading “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell Playlist Ben Howard Podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” What’s a food you haven’t eaten, but want to try? An authentic Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich. What advice would you give to your younger self? Travel the world as much as possible.

What did you want to do when you grew up? A talk show host—I wanted to have a show called “Tea with Z.”

Who has been your biggest inspiration? With my background in architecture and design, one of my biggest inspirations is Donald Judd. He was a huge influence for minimal design as an artist, furniture designer, and architect.

What is something that would make the world a better place? Learning more about other cultures, faiths, and ideas.

Do you have a secret talent? Woodworking. APR/MAY 2020

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| CONTRIBUTORS

JAIME LEWIS writer Reading “Normal People” by Sally Rooney Playlist Sylvan Esso, Khruangbin, Cass McCombs, Durand Jones & the Indications Podcast For news, I like “The Daily” from the New York Times, and for a funny spin on the news, I like “The Daily Show Ears Edition.” For meditation, I love Tara Brach. For food, I like “Good Food” from KCRW and “The Splendid Table” (and “CONSUMED,” ahem). And for stories, I like “This American Life,” “Hidden Brain,” and my favorite, our hometown hero: “Your Own Backyard” (though I might be biased). What’s a food you haven’t eaten, but want to try? Ramen burger. What advice would you give to your younger self? Less cocktails. More investing.

BRANT MYERS writer Reading Bob Woodward’s “Fear” and Ronan Farrow’s “Catch and Kill.” As an avid political news and podcast consumer, it was fascinating to take a deeper dive on the two biggest issues of the past few years.

HEATHER MURAN writer Reading “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” with my daughter Clare. I’m also catching up on some John Grisham and I’m reading “The Racketeer.” Playlist Grace Potter—I heard her recently on “Live From Here with host Chris Thile” and I absolutely love her voice. Podcast I really enjoy “This American Life” with Ira Glass, and also “Stuff You Should Know” with Josh Clark and Charles W. “Chuck” Bryant. Many random topics covered—right now I’m listening to “How Disco Works.” What did you want to do when you grew up? I loved astronomy and I always wanted to become an astronaut. I grew up in a rural part of California and my family had a telescope. There were no street lights which made it possible to see craters on the moon and even several planets. What’s the closest thing to magic? The Ocean! It has so much life, beauty and healing. We spend a lot of time at the beach and being in the ocean is like magic for our family. 22

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What’s a food you haven’t eaten, but want to try? I just saw a story that a Montana man was selling homemade jerky for years in his small shop. Turns out, it was from humans, and I gotta say, what would that be like to eat people without knowing? I know I would tell the story at every cocktail party for the rest of my life. Also, teriyaki or original? Do you have a secret talent? I think my eyes might have super powers. I can read 800 wpm, have 8/20 vision, and can blow smoke out my tear ducts. Though the last one will cost you a pint to see. What would make San Luis Obispo a better place? I’ve been to over forty countries on six continents and there is no better place than San Luis Obispo.

JOE PAYNE writer Reading Ever since high school, my favorite book has been “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien. Yes, all three, which originally Tolkien wanted to release as one. Tolkien passed on to me a sense of wonder concerning words, a love of descriptive writing, and an unapologetic long-windedness and tendency to overwrite. Playlist Mississippi John Hurt. One of America’s founding bluesmen, Hurt’s iconic fingerstyle guitar playing was formative in my relationship to the guitar, my second instrument after piano. At the time of this writing, I am preparing for a concert on Hurt’s birthday at a local winery where I will perform many of his iconic folk/ blues songs like “Pallet On Your Floor” and “Stack O’ Lee.” Also, Randy Newman, because Randy Newman is my spirit animal. Podcast “Moby Dick Energy” by Talia Lavin, a Brooklyn-based freelance writer who spends most of her time focused on politics. She just started this side project, which includes her and different guests breaking down Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” chapter by chapter. Melville was also notorious for his long-stretching pen and vocabulary, which Lavin and her guests revel in much to a nerdy writers’ satisfaction.


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| CONTRIBUTORS

VANESSA PLAKIAS photographer Reading “Daisy Jones & The Six” for my book club. It captures the magic of the 70’s music scene. Feeling some Fleetwood Mac vibes with this one. I was recently asked to sing “Dreams” with a new band. By chance, I started practicing the song as I started reading the book. Great timing! Playlist Linda Ronstadt’s “Blue Bayou.” I used to sing along with this song on our avocado ranch when I was seven. I will sing this someday, yes I will! Maybe with my ukulele. That steel guitar lead though, so good! Who has been your biggest inspiration? My boys. My youngest inspires perseverance and unconditional love; my oldest inspires thoughtfulness and patience; and my hubby inspires adventure and love of life. All three inspire humor, music, and giving.

Dr. Arnie Horwitz

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JESSIE RIVAS writer Reading “Talking to Strangers” by Malcolm Gladwell. Not all good reads for me are happy go lucky. This book is honest and blunt. Exactly why I enjoy reading Malcolm. Playlist Leon Bridges; soulful and easy to listen to. Podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience.” Always interesting topics and always willing to see both sides of an argument. What’s a food you haven’t eaten, but want to try? Oysters Rockefeller. I can’t believe I haven’t had this yet. What would make San Luis Obispo a better place? Give, donate, and volunteer what and when you can. Just care and let it be known that you care.

SHAWN STRONG writer Reading “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi. Not the happiest book, I’ll be honest, but the strength and insight that the writer maintains in the face of his mortality is nothing less than inspiring. I’ve also been reading some of H.P. Lovecraft’s short stories. The guy had a questionable personality at best, but could he ever write a scary story. Sheesh.

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Playlist Recently been listening to the song “El Guero” by Grupo Firme featuring Marca MP nonstop. Heard it in a commercial like a week ago and haven’t been able to listen to anything else. Definitely recommend checking it out. What advice would you give to your younger self? Get some real work experience and a little cash in your pocket before heading to college. You’ll be a lot better off if you find a career you’re passionate about before spending four years pursuing it.


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ARROYO GRANDE SAN LUIS OBISPO MORRO4BAY Featuring two homes, this charming and inviting bed/3.5 bath 2,224 sf home with remodeled Nestled at the top of a valley, this updated home

property is 7,169 sf. The 1,351 square foot 3 kitchen featuring beautiful granite counters, new is situated on 2.5 private acres showcasing 1 bathroom main and house features a soft close and a roll out spice cabinet. A atimmaculate andhome ocean views. Featuringbedroom, two homes, this charming inviting 4 bed/3.5 bath 2,224cabinets sf home with remodeled Nestled the top of apanoramic valley, thishillside updated kitchen, open floor plan living uniquebeautiful spiral staircase, built with pier a Theonremodeled kitchen new Granite property remodeled is 7,169 sf. The 1,351 square foot 3 room kitchen featuring granite counters, new pilingsisissituated 2.5 private acresfeatures showcasing of potential amplefeatures windows aallowing conversation starter! The cabinet. great room the countertops, bar,ocean pantry,views. ample storage bedroom,with 1 lots bathroom mainand house soft close cabinets and a roll out spice A onimmaculate panoramic breakfast hillside and for kitchen, maximumopen light.floor The quaint Guestroom Suite in the floorbuilt is light and pilings airy boasting ocean and stunning Withnew a wall of windows remodeled plan living unique spiralsecond staircase, with pier is a The remodeled kitchen views. features Granite hasand it’sample own entrance, approximately The security of a newer new forced air overlooking theample livingstorage room also has a lots backyard with of potential windowsisallowing conversationviews. starter! The great room roof, on the countertops, breakfastthe bar,valley, pantry, 584 light. sf and a beautifully remodeled and newocean paint insideand and stunning woodviews. burning andwindows sliders to for the maximum Thefeatures quaint Guest Suite in the second floorunit, is new lightwater and heater airy boasting Withfireplace a wall of Website: 1828Johnson.com out is anofadded bonus. 345Island.com oversized deck. 1090FoxCanyon.com backyardbathroom. has it’s own entrance, is approximately views. The security a newer roof,Website: new forced air overlooking the valley, theWebsite: living room also has a 584 sf and features a beautifully remodeled unit, new water heater and new paint inside and wood burning fireplace and sliders to the TERRY GILLESPIE 805.458.0010 CONNOR STORLIE STANLEY CRAIG 345Island.com 805.235.0514 bathroom. Website: 1828Johnson.com805.459.2022 out is an added bonus. Website: oversized deck. Website: 1090FoxCanyon.com REALTOR®, LIC. #02060307

Broker Associate, LIC. #00995466

STANLEY CRAIG

Broker Associate, LIC. #00995466 Better Homes and

805.235.0514

CONNOR STORLIE

REALTOR®, LIC. #02060307 Gardens Real Estate Haven Properties

547 Marsh Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 805 Main Street,Real Morro Bay,Haven CA 93442 Better Homes and Gardens Estate Properties 1401 Park Street, Paso Robles, CA 93446 547 Marsh Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 805 Main Street, Morro Bay, CA 93442 1401 Park Street, Paso Robles, CA 93446 26

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805.458.0010

REALTOR®, LIC. #01815083

TERRY GILLESPIE

REALTOR®, LIC. #01815083

805.459.2022

BHGREHAVEN.COM 805.592.2050 BHGREHAVEN.COM 805.592.2050


DISTINCTIVECOLLECTION COLLECTION DISTINCTIVE

1475 LITTLE MORRO CREEK ROAD, MORROBAY BAY 1475 LITTLE MORRO CREEK ROAD, MORRO

1475LITTLEMORROCREEK.COM 1475LITTLEMORROCREEK.COM

Positioned at the highest point in the Little Morro Creek Valley and offering sweeping views of Morro Rock and the Pacific horizon, this 2,908 sf, 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom single level home is Positioned at the highest point in the Little Morro Creek Valley and offering sweeping views of situated on 20 bucolic acres and provides a rare opportunity for ranch style living just minutes Morrofrom Rock and the Pacific 2,908 bedroom, bathroom single home istub the beach. Sunsetshorizon, over thethis water can sf, be 3 seen from the3 large master suite,level the soaking situated on 20 bucolic acres a rare opportunity style living just minutes in the master bath, the and livingprovides room, the dining room andfor theranch expansive front lawn. The open from the beach. Sunsets over the water can be seen from the large master suite, the tubThe kitchen has large Corion countertops with bar seating and plenty of cabinets forsoaking storage. in theindoor master bath, the living room, the dining room and the expansive front lawn. The open TIM COWAN poolroom also boasts spectacular panoramic views of the valley, ocean and surrounding kitchen hasland. largeThe Corion countertops with advantage bar seatingofand of warmer cabinetsmicroclimate for storage. perfect The 805.459.3818 ranch home’s location takes the plenty generally REALTOR® • LICCOWAN #02021716 TIM indoorforpoolroom also boasts panoramic views of thespace valley, and surrounding the 800 avocado treespectacular hobby orchard, with enough usable forocean the addition of equestrian 805.459.3818 ranchfacilities. land. TheThe home’s location of the generally warmer property boaststakes someadvantage of the valley’s most abundant water,microclimate with 3 usableperfect wells that Tim@BHGREHaven.com REALTOR® • LIC #02021716 for thepump 800 up avocado tree hobby orchard, with enough usable space for the addition of equestrian to 75 gallons per minute. The 900,000-gallon irrigation pond adds to the beautiful rural facilities. Theand property boasts somebirds of the valley’s mostOffered abundant water, with 3 usable wells that setting attracts abundant and waterfowl. at: $2,390,000 Tim@BHGREHaven.com APR/MAY 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 27 pump up to 75 gallons per minute. The 900,000-gallon irrigation pond adds to the beautiful rural


| BRIEFS

-37% The decrease in the number of residential burglaries in the City of San Luis Obispo, from 164 in 2018 to 104 reported burglaries in 2019. Property crime decreased overall in the city, with a ten percent reduction in general thefts, according to the SLO Police Department’s 2019 annual crime report.

$3.68 The price of a gallon of gas in San Luis Obispo County, the most expensive not only in California, but in the nation at the beginning of March. And it’s not the first time SLO has topped the list—just last summer the average price for a gallon of regular hit $3.91.

6 The largest number of original patents that Cal Poly faculty researchers have obtained in a single academic year. In this case that would be 2018-19, for a range of concepts including medical devices, construction and packaging materials, and a device with the potential to bring light and electricity to people living off the grid in developing countries. 28

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EatSafeSLO.org Want to see how well your favorite local restaurant or bar measures up foodsafety-wise? View SLO County Health Agency food facility inspection reports online any time.

411,589 Attendance at the California MidState Fair, which qualified the event for inclusion as one of the Top 100 Fairs of 2019 by the International Association of Fairs and Expositions. Marking seventyfive years in 2020, the event looks to top that number when it opens July 22 at the Paso Robles Events Center.

March 14, 2020 The date of the first confirmed case in San Luis Obispo County of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), after more than 100 tests for the virus were performed by the SLO Public Health Laboratory.

“Busy Box” A drive-thru, at-home projects program brought to you by the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum and designed to keep kids busy during their time off from school. Each box is filled with fun crafts, science projects, and games with instructions to match.

“The men and women working in our hospitals and clinics are ready.” Pacific Central Coast Health Centers President and CEO Dr. Scott Robertson on the preparations underway at local hospitals to combat the spread of COVID-19, including activating incident command systems and posting healthcare workers at entrances to check all visitors for symptoms.

AA+ The high rating of $16 million in bonds recently issued by the County of San Luis Obispo to finance the construction of a new Animal Services Facility. Thanks to the excellent rating and a low interest rate environment on the day of the sale, the annual payment will cost taxpayers less than expected over the twenty-five-year repayment term of the project.

one

The number of individuals who have filed a “Candidate Intention Statement” to run for office in the City of San Luis Obispo’s November 3, 2020 election. Three seats are up for grabs—those of Mayor Heidi Harmon and Council Members Aaron Gomez and Andy Pease. Jeffrey C. Specht is the sole filer as of mid-March. SLO LIFE


bors,

Dear Central Coast Neigh

e ies Community Hospital hav Medical Center and Twin Cit al ion Reg es ta tim Vis in rra and Sie ce s, For decade is, in times of pea of calm and in times of cris ies. been here for you in times and that of our communit lth hea al ut your own person abo n cer con d ene ght hei of t Tenet Health and support staff throughou ses nur , ans sici phy of m n here through nearly Our dedicated tea rk of care facilities, has bee wo net ire ent our and , t is what we do; every Central Coast of our local residents. Tha nds usa tho nt. In of se pha life every major n. We are ready for any eve interruption and hesitatio t dy hou rea wit y onl and g not lon r are yea day, all sicians, we ployees and hundreds of phy em 0 in 1,20 n day ry tha re eve ur mo h occ t wit fact, llenges tha anticipate unforeseen cha for what might happen, but good community partners. and ers vid pro e car lth hea as do we at our hospitals. It is wh nty, throughout the care services within the cou lth hea our of all h wit n In collaboratio health and safety of our our commitment is to the el, lev al ion nat the at state and ily, friends and neighbors. nts, always. You are our fam ide res y unt nt is Co o isp Ob s San Lui your needs. Our commitme well-provisioned to meet and d a, ine um tra Tra dy, on. rea ati are erv We hout res mitment seriously and wit are s ion dit con to you and we take that com al medic er routine and non-routine infectious disease and oth day. You can trust that we ry eve h wit rk wo and for in tra ll, we w kno in the future. something we we are here for you now and and e car on lt bui y nit are a commu

We are here for you.

We wish you good health. Warmly,

Mark Lisa Chief Executive Officer Tenet Health Central Coast

TenetHealthCentralCoast.com APR/MAY 2020

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| TIMELINE

Around the County FEBRUARY ‘20 2/5

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff ’s Office announces it recently served four new search warrants for specific items of evidence in the Kristin Smart case. One of the warrants was served in San Pedro at the home of Paul Flores, who has been a person of interest in the Smart case since the Cal Poly student’s disappearance in 1996. Another warrant was served in Kings County, Washington, where Flores’ sister reportedly lives, and two of the warrants were served in Arroyo Grande at the home of Flores’ parents. The search warrants were limited in scope and sealed by the court. A spokesman for the Sheriff ’s Office says that because Smart’s disappearance is an active and on-going investigation, no additional information would be forthcoming.

2/22

SLO County’s first “libromat” opens at Cole’s Linen and Laundry in Grover Beach.

A project of County Public Libraries in partnership with First Five of San Luis Obispo County, Raising a Reader, Altrusa International of San Luis Obispo County and laundromat owners Jack and Terrie Garretson, this “library-in-a-laundromat” offers children’s books and other literacy materials, including a selection of bilingual books, to kids and busy families in a place where they often have the time to read. Books will be replenished and rotated in the libromat every week.

2/13

McClatchy, owner and publisher of thirty newspapers including the San Luis Obispo Tribune, announces it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. With revenue declining for five consecutive years, McClatchy reported a net loss of more than $300 million last year, prompting a sixty-five percent drop in its stock price. The bankruptcy is expected to end the McClatchy family’s control of the company, which was founded in 1857. The Tribune has in recent years downsized its operations, moved to smaller quarters in San Luis Obispo, and recently stopped printing a Saturday edition.

2/23

San Luis Obispo City firefighters respond to a fire in the upper section of the slides at Sinsheimer Park, extinguishing the flames before they spread to other structures. Four teenagers, ages fourteen to sixteen, are being investigated for possible arson, according to police. The playground, renovated by the city in November 2017, has been the focus of several recent vandalism incidents, including the theft of a section of artificial turf that cost some $10,000 to replace. Two of the teens were caught immediately, and the other two fled on foot but were caught nearby.

2/25

The Board of Supervisors issues a resolution designating the month of February as National Meat Month in SLO County, noting that “San Luis Obispo County Cattlewomen are proud that the continued production of a nutrient dense food for the populace has played a historic, economic, and a healthful role in our daily lives and that the livestock and meat industry have been significant in the development of this nation and our county.” Supervisors also recognize Cattlewoman of the Year Kathy Loftus during the presentation. 30

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2/29

Political and social activist Angela Davis launches the eighteenth annual Change the Status Quo Social Justice Leadership Conference held at Cal Poly. The scholar, author and educator delivers a keynote address to more than 700 participants, asking for more equitable and just institutions and emphasizing the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice. The day-long, student-led conference, hosted by the university’s Center for Service in Action, aims to empower students to use the Learn by Doing spirit to challenge social norms, ask critical questions, seek solutions, and make lasting social change.


MARCH ’20 3/3

Unofficial results of the spring primary election indicate that the three San Luis Obispo County Supervisors running for re-election will keep their seats for another term. Supervisors Debbie Arnold and John Peschong had no trouble defeating their challengers, while Supervisor Adam Hill squeaked to a win with only a little more than fifty-one percent of the votes cast. All results are considered unofficial until a final election results report is released.

3/11

The FBI serves the County of San Luis Obispo a search and seizure warrant under seal at the County Government Center. County Administrative Officer Wade Horton assures the public that the investigation poses no threat to the public or county employees, but has no further information on the reason for the search.

3/12

United States Drought Monitor data is released showing that nearly all of San Luis Obispo County is experiencing moderate drought conditions after a dry winter and one of the driest Februaries the Central Coast has ever experienced. Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other federal agencies show that almost half of California is experiencing a moderate drought and another thirty percent of the state is abnormally dry.

3/5

Katcho Achadjian, who represented San Luis Obispo County for three terms on the California State Assembly and served on the County Board of Supervisors for more than a decade, dies at the age of sixty-eight. Born in Lebanon to Armenian parents, the popular local politician immigrated to the United States in 1971 and became a US citizen in 1982. He studied at Cuesta College before graduating from Cal Poly and purchasing a small business that expanded into multiple stores and gas stations throughout the county.

3/9

A stretch of public beach in Avila where San Luis Obispo Creek meets the Pacific Ocean is closed by health officials after more than 25,000 gallons of sewage was leaked from a clogged sewer main in the 1100 block of Orcutt Road. The creek lets out below the Avila Beach Drive bridge.

3/13

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that to date has sickened more than 1,300 people in the US and killed more than 4,300 worldwide, San Luis Obispo County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein declares a local public health emergency, allowing her to issue specific orders to limit the spread of the virus. At the same time, the county’s Emergency Services Director, Wade Horton, proclaims a local emergency in order to coordinate response efforts. The Public Health Department is actively monitoring returning travelers and identifying others who may be potentially at risk, working closely with local health care providers, facilitating and performing laboratory testing for the virus, and working with local cities, school districts, and other organizations to prepare and protect the community. SLO LIFE APR/MAY 2020

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| VIEW

Wild-Eyed Encounter BY JOE PAYNE PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAKOTA LAMBERSON

T

he unmistakable pitch of a ground squirrel crying out a life-or-death warning was the first hint something was out there. But as San Luis Obispo teen Dakota Lamberson peered from the passenger seat of his mother’s car while they meandered along the wooded road, all he could see was a group of deer. “We were pretty sure that [group of deer] wasn’t the reason the squirrel had alarmed,” Lamberson said. “Then, out of seemingly nowhere, a bobcat walked across the road and went up the hill on the other side.” As soon as the cat appeared, it was gone, vanishing among the browning vegetation in a caramelcolored ripple along the hillside. On that 2018 afternoon, after an unsuccessful search for great horned owl along the winding path of Hi Mountain Lookout Road, Lamberson’s mom cruised in the direction of Santa Margarita Lake. It was Lamberson’s first visit to the area, and it was a lucky one. “We hiked up the hill and split up to watch for the bobcat,” he recalled. “For the next three hours, we kept catching glimpses of it through the trees.” Once Lamberson made it, alone, to the top of the hill with his camera, a pointyeared head popped up from behind a rock and locked him with a penetrating gaze. He captured a few shots immediately, then took a couple of steps back, as he was “too close.” The cat didn’t move, clearly squaring the kid up, and accurately assessing him as no threat. “He sat, I stood, for over three minutes like this,” Lamberson said. “It was very unreal. I was super excited but trying to stay calm…I couldn’t believe it was happening.” Eventually, the feline retired down the hill, leaving the youth holding a camera loaded with photos and a head swimming with endorphins. Up to that point, the budding wildlife photographer had spent plenty of time outdoors with his parents’ camera, catching shots of birds, big and small, or more common mammals like deer or squirrel. The bobcat was a milestone, he shared, as predators are much more difficult to find, let alone photograph well. “I had spent so much time dreaming about getting close to a bobcat or some unusual animal, so when I was finally there photographing it, I kept having to remind myself that it was really happening,” Lamberson explained. “It is still at the top of my list of wildlife encounters. Elusive animals are always more exhilarating to photograph.” Now, the steely-eyed bobcat is just one of several feathers in the fourteen-year-old wildlife photographer’s proverbial cap. His website (dakotalamberson.com) showcases many incredible images, from black bear to bighorn sheep in Yellowstone National Park. Last year, he won a high honor in the youth category of an esteemed wildlife photography competition. Although Lamberson isn’t old enough to have a learner’s permit or his own cell phone, his work and approach illustrate a mature passion. He hopes his photography can aid conservation efforts and raise awareness, both in the San Luis Obispo area and beyond. “If you don’t put a face on an animal that you are trying to protect, then it will just seem like some far off creature. But if you tell people it is in their backyard, and show them a photo of it, they will connect to it and be more likely to protect it.” SLO LIFE 32

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JOE PAYNE is a journalist, as well as a lifelong musician and music teacher, who loves writing about the arts on the Central Coast, especially music, as well as science, history, nature, and social issues.


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| Q&A

THE VILLAGE If it were up to ROBERTO MONGE, he would snap his fingers and turn the City of San Luis Obispo into a village. From his roots, growing up in a tiny, rural Central American hamlet to his deep roots here on the Central Coast, the idea of community is always top of mind. He is a software engineer by trade, but his real passion shines through with his co-founding of a neighborhood group called City Repair SLO. We sat down for a visit the other day. Here is some of what he had to say… Where are you from, Roberto? I was born in a small village in El Salvador. One of my aunts told me, “Your feet never touched the ground for the first three years of your life because everyone was carrying you around.” So, there was a real sense of a village, a community. Everything was safe. You just walk around and pick fruit from peoples’ trees. So, I think that really was instilled in my psyche and my being. And then, when I was eight years old, we had to leave because of the civil war. My dad was involved in politics. He helped overthrow the government. One day, my mom told me, “We’re leaving right now. Write a note to your neighbor, you’ll never see him again.” My dad was on a death squad blacklist, which they published in the newspaper. It was a notice that said, “When we find you, we’ll kill you.” And they meant it. Wow, tell us more about your dad. Sure. He was the first person to go to college and then became the highest level lawyer, basically like an attorney general. What I remember the most is when people couldn’t pay him. They would come to ask him for services, but they couldn’t afford it. So, they would give him chickens, or turtles, or ducks. We always had this abundance of gifts from people. It really did not dawn on me until later in life, but I realized at some point, wow, what a cool thing to do. And the fact that he didn’t do it for free was important to him because he didn’t want to take away from peoples’ pride. So, he would accept a turtle for in exchange for a marriage contract or something. Where did you go? We hopped on a plane for California—San Jose. It took me a long time to adjust to the idea that everyone wouldn’t shake hands or acknowledge each other. I remember a friend would walk into my house right by my parents without really knocking on the door or saying, “Hello.” He’d just come in and go straight to my room. My dad would always get up and go over to him and say, “Hi there, welcome to my house.” And then I’d go over to that same kid’s house the next day, and I’d walk up to the dad to shake his hand, and 34

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he looked at me funny and said, “Hey, get out the way, you’re in front of my TV.” There was definitely some culture shock. What were you like as a kid? I was really good at tearing stuff apart, and was curious about how things worked. I spent a lot of time at Chuck E. Cheese playing arcade games. I couldn’t afford to play really, but figured out that if I snuck in behind a family, I could jump into the little ball pit area and dive to the bottom and find the tokens kids would lose in there. They’d be jumping around and the tokens would just fall out of their pockets—so, I’d sneak in, then dive and harvest. It was dangerous work because the kids would land on me. I’d scream out. [laughter] But that was the way I funded my habit. Later on, I ended up at San Jose State University. Got an engineering degree in mechanical engineering. I was always interested in software. That’s what I do for a living. How can being more village-like make a difference? Now, okay, good question. Let’s talk about what to do if people are quarantined, which they are. Maybe someone else in the neighborhood could go shopping for them. Maybe they can bring food to them, so they don’t have to leave. But without knowing one another, our neighbors, in the first place—without knowing if there’s someone at high risk, let’s say it’s an older person with asthma—then there’s nothing we can do. We just all go off into our separate corners and isolate. Then, it feels really kind of scary. But, if you’ve got, let’s say, a pulse on your neighbors and you already know them and you’ve had fun together, then I think all these things, all of our challenges, are going to be much easier on all of us. So, that’s why I teamed up to create City Repair SLO. My motivation was to sort of recreate the village, to connect people in the community, and to improve the health and happiness of the neighborhood. There’s no department of health and happiness around, so why not make one of our own? SLO LIFE


What

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805 541-1790

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| NOW HEAR THIS

SHAWN CLARK FAMILY BAND BY SHAWN STRONG

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UPCOMING PERFORMANCES May 2nd . The Libertine Pub . Morro Bay May 16th . Saucelito Canyon Vineyard 20th Annual Wine Club BBQ . Lopez Lake July 24th . Mission Square Stage at the California Mid-State Fair . Paso Robles shawnclarkfamilyband.com

Pancho and Lefty It is unclear what became of the itinerant cowboy, Lefty, from Townes Van Zandt’s classic, “Pancho and Lefty.” After hearing the soulful baritone of San Luis Obispo county’s resident cowboy crooner, Shawn Clark, I’m beginning to think Lefty made his way from the colder climate of Cleveland to the sunnier streets of SLO. The wandering vaquero remains a sobering motif of country music, present since the dawn of the genre. For better or worse, Clark embodies this weary, rambling, and rugged bleeding heart, and the Shawn Clark Family Band has proven that this cowboy isn’t one to shy away from a fight. From Fort Worth to Chicago, From Chicago Back to Fort Worth This story begins forty minutes outside of Dallas, Texas where a young Shawn Clark dreamed of greener pastures. In a modified VW van, he left Fort Worth and headed east until his efforts ran dry in Arkansas. He found himself in Nashville when offered asylum in the yard of an old friend. For the next year and a half, Clark worked as an artist and barista before moving on to New Mexico and then to a Mennonite colony in Tiskilwa, Illinois. After working his hands to the bone, he spent a short time back in Fort Worth and then moved on to the thriving city of Austin, Texas. After so much travelling, he wondered about the unknown souls who lived adjacent to the exit ramps he passed so often. He wondered about those whose lives existed entirely on a side street and were more or less unacknowledged by the rest of the world. It was at this point that the musician decided he wanted to move to California. Clark’s long hair and unshakeable call to adventure earned him the title of “honorary Californian” by his Texan brethren. With the wind at his back, he took the plunge and became an actual Californian. Of course, this would not be a true country music story without a girl involved. With over 163,000 square miles of California countryside to consider, the decision of where to put down roots could have been a challenge. Thanks to Clark’s girlfriend at the time, he landed in San Luis Obispo working as a barista trainer. Needless to say, their love was not to last. Thankfully for the rest of us, he had already dedicated himself to settling down here and found the love of his life in the contours of the beautiful Christy. Clark started Cacti

Coffee Roasters, began playing music locally, and a few months later married Christy and welcomed a daughter, Prairie Rose, the second love of his life. Molly Pitcher Brewing Company With a flair for the arts, Clark’s many years on the road were filled with odd jobs and side gigs such as creating and selling art. From watercolors in Nashville to sculptures out of reclaimed materials in Austin, his fingers seemed to have the Midas touch. He wrote ceaselessly, but it was not until after the death of his grandfather, Fred Anderson, that Clark was compelled to fully pursue his musical passion. His exposure to and love of old country music is credited to his grandfather and Clark was ready to tell his story. Thus, the cover band Pancho and Lefty was born with the intent to faithfully re-create country tunes recorded before 1975. As Pancho and Lefty, Shawn Clark, Nathan Stuart, and Steven Ploog made regular appearances at the Atascadero-based Molly Pitcher Brewing Company until 2016, when Clark set out on his own and officially started the Shawn Clark Family Band. After featuring a rotating group of musicians, the band eventually chose to feature drummer Ryan Allshouse and bassist Phil Siems. Multiinstrumentalist Kristopher Chavez, guitarist Ryan Delmore, fiddle player Jacob Gerhardt, and man-about-town Brenneth Stevens also make frequent appearances. Shawn Clark Family Band Once Clark was ready to record the years of material he had accumulated, the Shawn Clark Family Band became the perfect channel to release original material. Since 2016, the band has worked its way into the local scene and played almost every Central Coast venue. When questioned about goals for the group, Clark expressed two. First, make as much music with his friends as possible while growing with and cherishing his family to the fullest extent. Second, to become a country-rock legend of old, up there with Hank Williams Jr., Waylon Jennings, and Jimmie Rodgers. At the time of writing this, it seems as though both are possible. The Shawn Los Angeles born, SLO County Clark Family Band plans to release an raised, SHAWN STRONG’s passion for the local music album later this year, tentatively titled scene and artists that have Silver Linings. In the meantime, keep an created it, fuels his writing and drives his commitment to living ear out for Shawn Clark and his band in the SLO Life. the coming months. SLO LIFE APR/MAY 2020

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| MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR

SPRING FORWARD PHOTOGRAPHY BY VANESSA PLAKIAS

On the eve of this magazine’s ten-year anniversary, we take a look back, as we reminisce with our very first Cal Poly intern, San Luis Obispo resident MARISA BLOCH GAYTAN. Since her days at SLO LIFE Magazine, her career has risen by leaps and bounds. At the tender age of twenty-seven, she was named general manager of Pasolivo, a maker of premium olive oils based in Paso Robles. She represents a new generation on the Central Coast who scrap and hustle their way toward a living and a future. Here is her story…

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kay, Marisa, you know the drill. Where are you from? So, I’m originally from Ventura County. Moorpark to be specific. It’s a small town, maybe 30,000 people, in southeast Ventura County near Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks. I was born and raised there. I have an older sister. She’s nine and a half years older than me. In a way, for a good portion of my childhood, after she left, it was like I was an only child. We’re really close now. She lives in Texas now. San Antonio. By coincidence, both of my parents were born near Miami, Florida. And both of their families moved out here when they were younger. And they both ended up in the LA area. My dad grew up for most of his life in Simi Valley. And my mom spent most of her life in Agoura [Hills]. They were introduced to each other through mutual friends. After they were married and were looking for a place to settle down, they chose Moorpark because of its relatively low cost of living and the tight-knit community as a place an ideal place to raise a family. And, what about your parents? My mom was a teacher for over thirty years, mostly second grade. Sometimes first or third. She just retired. My dad was big in real estate. He also owned a 7-11 during part of that time. I was really young when he had it. I think I was just nine or ten when he sold it. I was the one just doing tasks for some extra allowance money around there. But never was an official employee. My sister worked for him which is kind of nice. She got to set her schedule and have a nice after school job. It was great until he was held up at gunpoint. That was it for him. He told himself, “You know what? I have a family and I can’t risk it.” We were always in the store there, too. We weren’t there when that happened, but he knew we could have been. It was a crazy thing to watch him go through. So, after that, he decided to sell it and he went on to get his broker’s license instead. He’s still in real estate to this day. What were you like as a kid? I grew up dancing. I started when I was just three years old as a lot of the kids do. I did it for a few years and then fell out somewhere along the way because I wanted to try soccer and do some different things. I did a lot of musical theater, as well. And by the time I turned nine, a lot of my friends in elementary school were dancing, so I ended up going back to the dance studio and getting super involved. I danced competitively. I was also on the dance team for my high school. My life was dance. After the school day ended at three o’clock, I was at the studio until eight. And the weekends were all about the competitions. I did jazz, ballet, hip-hop, and lyrical which is now classified more as contemporary. The only one I never really got into was tap. I think, because I’m such a rule follower, it would always get me so upset when people were just going off doing their own thing. Like, so many beats and it’s like, “Ah, I can’t focus.” [laughter] That’s the same reason I don’t tap dance… With dance I did a lot of musical theater, I was huge in the performing arts. I did a lot of productions and things like that which led to doing voice lessons at some point. I actually ended up trying out for the show American Idol. I was sixteen. It was a crazy experience. Tons of people everywhere, some of them dressed in funny costumes and things like that, doing whatever they could to get picked to move on to the next round. You realize how much talent there is out there, too. I was able to see a lot of them perform because they have you sing for producers first. I did get to sing the longest in my group, but it’s pretty much, “Yes. No. Yes. No.” And that’s it. They’re just working through that crowd. It’s all day. That was the only time that

I tried out. It was kind of my one shot. But, really, I did it just for fun to see what would happen. After that, the path was to come to college. Get a degree, get a good job. It sound like you were very focused. I was pretty much a straight A student throughout. Always super honest, never really got into trouble. I might have been grounded a couple of times with my parents, but never for anything serious. Initially, I wanted to be a veterinarian. Loved animals growing up. But once I started getting further along in my schooling, writing always seemed to be a recurring theme and passion of mine. At some point, I saw the movie “13 Going on 30.” It’s a major chick flick about this girl who wakes up and she’s the editor of a magazine. I said to myself, “Wow, that’s what I want to do!” It was just so glamorous. I imagined sitting at a big desk somewhere, striking with my red pen saying, “No, take this out.” [laughter] I thought I was going to become the editor of People magazine. That was my top goal. I was like, “You know what? That’s where I’m going to be.” I just liked all the different types of stories they did. I like the entertainment and news side of things. I’ve always liked fashion. And I like some of their other stories that they do that are unrelated to entertainment. Some of their deeper, investigative pieces. I felt like it had a wide variety and I always pictured myself living the big city life, whether it was LA or New York. Yeah, that was my big goal. What was the next step? So, later in life, I started to really take an interest in journalism. I looked at [the] Walter Cronkite [School of Journalism] at ASU. Sonoma State, all the way down to San Diego. My top three choices ended up being USC, ASU, and Cal Poly. I did not get into USC. But it came down to ASU and Cal Poly. I visited San Luis and just loved the community here. I fell in love and decided it was far enough from home but close enough that I could go back and visit if I needed to. I love the downtown and all the little shops. For me, it has always felt like the best of a bigger city and a small town. And going through the journalism program was amazing. I loved how hands-on it was. And getting to write for the Mustang Daily. Getting to go out into the community and do stories but then also taking the other courses as well, some PR courses, some broadcast. They gave us a little taste of everything. It was during my time there when the industry started to change a lot. But it really was the hands-on “learn by doing stuff ” I love the most. And that’s when I met you. That’s right. You were our very first intern. Yes, you were just getting started. I had been looking for an internship when the first issue of SLO LIFE came out. I wanted to do something with a magazine, so I just kept calling and calling until you finally gave me a job. [laughter] And it was so cool because it wasn’t just busywork. You actually sent me out on a real assignment. You had me write an article about Dan DeVaul. His farm, Sunny Acres, the rehab community, was causing some controversy around town at the time and you were wanting to find out what was going on out there. I remember sitting down with you and you said, “Okay, here’s what I’m looking for.” I’ll never forget driving up to his house. As I was parking my car, I thought, “Oh, man, what am I getting myself into?” I mean, I had done stories for the college paper by that time, but this was my first semi-professional assignment. It was so cool. I got to talk to Dan and ask him whatever I wanted as we toured around the property. Then I wrote the draft and brought it back for you to edit, and the story turned out to be so much more than I originally thought it could be. The collaboration was the part I’ll remember. I got to see actual editing, not just one played in a movie. That was a difficult assignment. Dan’s a tough nut to crack. It’s true, but >> APR/MAY 2020

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I felt like the longer we talked, the more he kind of started to open up. He was guarded at first because he had been contacted quite a bit by local media who wanted to do a story about the controversy at his property. So I took a step back and said to myself, “Alright, what is this person going to be looking for? What’s going on in his mind?” But I felt like the angle we took on the story was more nuanced and more about just what he was trying to do there. We really tried to get to know him as a person. So, yeah, it was kind of my first real-world experience working with an editor. I had peers who edited my other stories that I had written, but to be in this kind of setting and also to see your experience and just how you would make certain edits and it completely changed and evolved the story. I remember thinking, and I said this to you at the time, “Oh, wow. Just rewriting that one line makes such a difference.” And, as I mentioned earlier, the thing I really do love about journalism is the team effort, the collaboration. And how somebody’s perspective who may not have been at the interview can take what you wrote and evolve it to the next level. For me, it really connected me to the community in a big way for the first time. I was a part of it in a way that had not been before. It was such an interesting to have people say, “Hey, Marisa, I read your article in SLO LIFE.” It was such a good feeling. I think I told you this before, but I still have that story framed as my first published article. 42

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And, if I remember, you left for Spain immediately after your internship. That’s right, yes. Good memory. It was an amazing experience. It tied in with my Spanish minor, of course, getting to actually apply the language there. I lived with a host family, really one lady, and she solely spoke Spanish. I was completely immersed in the culture. And, it’s an interesting side note that I did not realize at the time, but I was in southern Spain, Granada, which is in the Andalusia Region, the number one region for olive oil production worldwide. I mean, you would drive to other cities and the roads are just lined with olive trees and they’re beautiful and you’re just like, “Wow, it’s just like miles and miles and miles.” I had no idea. Of course, olive oil is a huge part of the cuisine there. So, when I was there it became a staple in every meal. But, beyond that, I didn’t have any special interest in going to taste olive oil at the time other than just soaking in the beauty of the country and all those trees. What happened when you returned? So, I decided I didn’t want to leave the area as many of us do. My only other job I had held was at California Pizza Kitchen in town. So, I started to evaluate my options. I’d given up wanting to move to a big city. I decided that I didn’t want to do that, so there goes People magazine editing. And, so, I started to look at the marketing and public relations side of things. I had taken some courses >>


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throughout my time at Cal Poly and felt that with all my customer service experience I could probably take a shot at something in the area doing that. I was interested in wine and winemaking, so I emailed my resume out to every winery that I could think of. I didn’t really look at job postings or anything like that. I was just like, “All right. Here’s my resume. Hopefully somebody will want to interview me.” And, so, I was really fortunate. Just a couple weeks after graduating, a winery up in Paso called Veris Cellars, which has since sold to Castoro [Cellars], reached out. I had an interview and they said, “You know, this job hasn’t been posted yet, but we got your resume. We’re looking to hire for an events and marketing position.” So, that was my first job out of college, I graduated in December and started in January. How’d it go? I was there for a year before they started having some issues and a lot of turnover. I started putting out my feelers and became the marketing and events person at Pasolivo. I just kept getting promoted. First, I was the club manager. I was managing our whole olive oil club membership which we grew significantly, something like 800%. I put a lot of focus on it which led to the tasting room manager position. And that was an entirely new experience because I got to really plan and design the tasting room and retail store which meant figuring out how everything 44

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should be laid out, what products we should carry there, how we were going to market them, and how we were going to get people in the door. So, after that, we had some changes with our general manager at the time and the owner actually stepped in as the interim GM. Finally, it became too much, and they were like, “You know, Marisa, you’ve been with us for a while and you continue to progress. So, why don’t we give you a shot at this?” The main thing that they were concerned with was my educational background, because I had no business experience at all. They suggested that I go back and get my MBA. So, I did. I went back to school and finished my degree a year ago and have been the general manager there for three years now. What advice would you give to a graduating Cal Poly student? That’s a good question. I would honestly say, “Work hard and seek opportunity instead of waiting for it to come to you.” I feel like that’s one of the best things that I’ve ever done is that I don’t wait for jobs to be posted. I’m constantly proactive. So, if I want something, I’m emailing you and saying, “Hey, what do you have?” I would say that’s the biggest thing. I feel like if you wait for certain things then more people are involved and it’s a lot tougher. Plus, I think it shows a lot of initiative and drive when you’re willing to get ahead of it. Yeah. That’s the best way to set yourself >>


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graham @ ccreslo.com 805.459.1865 | Lic. #01873454 www.ccreslo.com 3196 South Higuera Suite D, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 APR/MAY 2020

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apart from everybody else. Also, going into an interview prepared with samples. I remember I showed up to my first job interview and they told me the sort of things they were looking to do. “Oh, we want to create a new brochure and a newsletter.” So, I did all of those things and brought them with me to my second interview, I came in with their brochure and newsletter that I had designed. Not things that I had done in the past, not my old portfolio, but the actual thing they need. I just said, “Here you go.” They were impressed by that. They said, “Wow, you’re the only person’s who’s done that. You’re hired.” So, that’s my best advice. Work hard. Be proactive. Don’t sit back and wait. And, what about you? What’s on your mind now? You know, I hope I can make it work forever and I’d love to purchase a home here and set our roots here, make a family. Housing, of course, is the biggest challenge. It’s just so expensive in the area. And, deciding on location, asking the question, “Where do we really want to be?” I know you can go somewhere else, like maybe Atascadero, which is less expensive, less of a commute for me. But my husband is from here, lived here since he was four years old. 46

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He really loves San Luis. I do too. And we’ve really decided that whatever we’ve got to do, even if it takes a little bit longer, we really want to be here. We want to plant roots here. We love the community. We love being able to walk downtown. We have two dogs and we like to stroll around with them. It’s nice to be close to the beach. But yeah, really just trying to figure out a way to build our life here. That’s what I’m thinking about. What does the future hold? My goal is to really start to be able to give back. I feel like this community has given so much to me. And my experience since coming to school here has been amazing. So, I know initially, it’s about having the hustle and drive just to be able to stay here, to make it work. But as things become more grounded, the thing I really want to do is give back. I’m not sure exactly what form that will take, but probably a lot of volunteer work, maybe serving on some different committees. So, volunteering and figuring out how I can get involved. I don’t know exactly where that’ll be or how it’ll take effect, but I want to make sure I am showing my gratitude for this place and doing my best to lift others up, too, and give them the same opportunities I’ve been given. SLO LIFE


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| ARTIST

PROFILE

Jordan Hockett BY JEFF AL-MASHAT

T

he simplicity draws you in. The sophistication makes you stay. The instant unconscious recognizability of the repeating stick figures and simple lines in Jordan Hockett’s paintings captivate even those who actively avoided that art appreciation elective, to stop and look at the work. But, like the work of masters such as Rene’ Magrite, and Edward Hoppe—if you walk away from the work, it keeps calling you back, even if you aren’t entirely sure why. With all of these artists, viewers are left with a nagging feeling that there is something else going on here. And with Hockett’s work, there is definitely more going on. Hockett is a great communicator, but he is not the type who would ever say that about himself. Instead, much like his laid-back, humble demeanor, you have to spend some time with his work so you can really hear his artistic voice coming through. When it does, it screams, with the interweaving notes of his architectural schooling, classical design principles and well-honed graphic design from years of practice. He creates deep and complex stories with minimal information. Behind the stick figures are geometric lines, linear architectural forms, and shapes that employ perspectives that create wild possibilities in the environments he creates. “I spent a lot of years doing graphic design, so I understand how to communicate a lot quickly,” says Hockett. “If I was designing a billboard, I had to grab people’s attention and communicate a message in a split second.” Hockett had been studying to be an architect, but wanted more freedom than some of the mathematic constraints allowed for. Instead, he is using his math skills to make his personal finances work so that he can live and work as a full-time artist. Hockett shows his work around California and has patrons across the United States as far as New England. His work can be seen at Studios On the Park, where he has his studio and assists in curating other shows at the Paso Robles hotspot. SLO LIFE 48

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JEFF AL-MASHAT is a writer and visual artist with an MFA in painting from Georgia State University. He lives in Grover Beach.

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| FAMILY

Cambria Clydesdale Ride BY PADEN HUGHES

W

hat could be better than standing on a hilltop overlooking the ocean during a sunny spring afternoon in Cambria? Being there on top of a six-foot, one-ton Clydesdale horse during a guided trail ride.

Ever since I heard about the Covell Clydesdale Ranch in Cambria, I longed to experience it firsthand. I have loved horses since the time I was a young girl and I’m always hunting for new Central Coast adventures. Tara Covell, an entrepreneurial young woman, raised half a dozen Clydesdales on her family’s ranch and decided to expand the herd and create the first place in the United States where Clydesdales can be ridden exclusively. Nearly all of the current herd was born and raised in Cambria. Before this experience I knew very little about the breed—only that Budweiser had made them iconic. It didn’t take much to convince me to add this adventure to my wish list. At the mention of large horses and trail rides, I was sold. Best of all, my husband made a mental note and remembered months later when it was gift-giving time. My Christmas stocking surprise was a two-hour trail ride at the ranch. Needless to say, I looked forward to it for months. Children must be seven years old to ride, so we enlisted a babysitter and drove forty-five minutes northwest to Cambria. One mile away from downtown, the ranch was surprisingly easy to find. We traveled down a dirt road and approached a majestic line up of over twelve enormous Clydesdales. Known as gentle giants, their temperament couldn’t be better for first time riders who want to experience the countryside free of anxiety. Our guide welcomed us; most of our group of about eight were visitors to the area. We were presented with a brief rundown of what to expect and how to handle the reins. When it was time to choose our horses from the lineup, I selected a beauty named Duchess and used a step stool to climb onto the saddle. At around six feet tall, Duchess’ back towered above me. Sitting elevated in the saddle gave me a sense that I was untouchable. 54

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Clydesdales, originally bred for pulling heavy machinery or wagons, are sturdy and strong, with patient personalities to match their intended line of work. I knew it was a rare experience to ride this breed. Creatures of habit and comfort, the horses fell easily into formation, heads down and in tight alignment. We slowly plotted along a narrow trail through a forest of pine trees and open pastures to the top of a beautiful hillside with a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. Our two-hour ride was the perfect amount of time to adjust to horseback, enjoy the scenery, and feel like we traveled back to a time when these massive horses pulled heavy wagons up treacherous country roads. We absolutely loved it. I must admit that the best part of the day was exploring the ranch itself and the enjoying the beautiful views. In 1998, the Covell’s bought the ranch which covers 2,000 acres of pine trees and pastures that are currently home to almost 100 Clydesdales. From the top vista, guests can take in the glistening ocean and green rolling hills. It was incredibly peaceful and breathtaking—the perfect Sunday afternoon excursion. For those who want to enjoy the ranch apart from horseback, vehicle tours are also available. As a local, it is special to discover the Central Coast in new ways. If you haven’t done so from horseback and want to see a different side of North County, this experience is the perfect surprise date, family outing, or opportunity to show visitors this extraordinary place we call home. At $100 per person for a two-hour trail ride, it’s priced to be an occasion and it certainly delivers. Visit thier website at covellsclydesdaleranch.com to learn more. SLO LIFE

PADEN HUGHES is co-owner of Gymnazo and enjoys exploring the Central Coast.


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| ON THE RISE

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Jake Browning This eighteen-year-old San Luis Obispo High School senior is a National Merit Commended Scholar, a Golden Tiger award winner, and has been on the Academic Honor Roll in every trimester. But that is just his academics. He is also a standout soccer player having been named Most Valuable Player, All-League, as well as being the Coach’s Award recipient. What extracurricular activities are you involved in? I’ve played soccer since kindergarten. I played club for eight years before competing for four years in high school. I’m proud to have been a defender on the back-to-back Mountain League Champion teams these past two years for SLOHS. I also work part-time at Nucci’s on Broad as a waiter. I enjoy the variety of tasks required of me and enjoy the chance to use my Spanish in a real world environment. And, I spend several hours each week tutoring high school classmates on subjects from SAT prep to math to science and anything in between. I enjoy working with peers as it challenges me to learn how others learn and figure out how best to support them. What do you like to do for fun? I started playing guitar about year ago. Playing guitar provides me with a challenge as I work to master new songs. I appreciate the fact that there is always more to learn. I also love driving scenic routes. A favorite is Highway 1 between SLO and Cayucos. It’s so pretty, and I love the Brown Butter Baking cookies as a halfway point before returning home. I listen to a variety of music for entertainment and to find new pieces to play on guitar. I always have tunes playing and appreciate a live concert when I can make it happen. Who has influenced you the most? I’ve been fortunate to have benefitted from many significant influencers. Most recently, my SLOHS soccer coach Pat Sigler has taught me the value of accountability, how to work cohesively with others toward a common goal. He’s a great mentor. I’m grateful for his guidance. What is important to you outside of high school? Friendships. Preserving solid relationships that will endure for the rest of my life. I care about people. What career do you see yourself in someday? I really enjoy working with numbers. Maybe I’ll be a financial analyst? An accountant? An actuary? It’s hard to know right now. I look forward to learning more about career possibilities in college. If you could go back in history and meet anyone, who would it be? Martin Luther King Junior. I admire his resolve and drive to fight for what is right. What do you dislike the most? Dishonesty. It creates unnecessary breaks in trust and bonds. What schools are you considering for college? I’ve applied to eight schools: four UCs, Boise State, Claremont McKenna, Santa Clara and Stanford. I’m waiting to hear my options and I’m excited to figure out where my next step will take me. SLO LIFE

Know a student On the Rise? Introduce us at slolifemagazine.com/share 56

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| DWELLING

PICTURE

BY ZARA KHAN

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID LALUSH

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PERFECT

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A

s I sat at the head of the dining table and began chatting with Eric and Susan Steeb, I couldn’t help but notice that everywhere I looked was picture perfect. It was as if the windows were picture frames and the views were pieces of art. I learned this was no coincidence. A dated traditional home in desperate need of attention isn’t usually the first place people start when building their dream home. When the couple first stepped through the front doors and were greeted by breathtaking views, they knew this was where their passion project would take place—this In addition to being an was their new home. The talented duo with backgrounds in finance and >>

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interior designer, ZARA KHAN is also a shoe aficionado and horror movie enthusiast.


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engineering decided to make the remodel a personal project and returned to San Luis Obispo when they had spare time to slowly bring their vision to life. I’m puzzled by how they found spare time. With successful careers, close relationships with friends and family, and involvement with the local aviation group, they managed to add design and remodeling to their list of impressive accomplishments. The Steebs completed most of the remodel on their own and hired only a handful of subcontractors. They enlisted the help of local architect Peter Danciart and leveraged his eye for using nature to complement buildings. Danciart spent a semester abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark and is heavily influenced by the warm modernism of Scandinavia. The strategy was for the team to collect images they were attracted to and identify the common elements to solidify their >>

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design direction. Fortunately, they were on the same page—“modern with a touch of zen.” It is impressive how the Steebs balanced being so involved in every little detail, with trusting their subcontractors to guide them on large decisions. When it was time for the exterior to be painted, the couple was to be away for the weekend. They expressed their desire for a color that wasn’t too brown or too grey, but true middle ground. Selecting paint colors can be a challenge within itself, but when they returned, and to their astonishment, the exterior was the perfect shade. As we walked through their home, I was amazed at the quality of craftsmanship. The attention to detail is flawless (and you can appreciate it in person at the upcoming home tour—more on that to follow). >>

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ARCH ITECTURE LANDS CA P E INT E R IORS M E DIA

WE BEFORE ME

Architect Aisling Burke enjoying a job well done with our clients

from Transitions-Mental Health Association and the Housing Authority

Bishop Street Studios is a great example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. An amazing group of people came together on this unique project to resurrect an architectural landmark and provide much needed housing for an underserved population in our community. The team embraced our ‘we before me’ value, fostering strong relationships while building a legacy project for the community. T E N O V E R S T U D I O.C O M

of San Luis Obispo.

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At the entrance to their home, my eye was instantly drawn to four decorative bookshelves in the center of the main living area. I asked about the inspiration and was surprised to learn that it was a solution to one of their most puzzling constraints. The living area held four structural columns; removing them would create a completely new project, so the team decided to embrace them. They strategically hid each column in a decorative bookshelf and covered them with a dark stain, creating a striking focal point at the entry rather than the eyesore they were previously. Renovating the master suite was a puzzle. The Steebs wanted their bed situated so they would be greeted with the stunning view of Bishop Peak when they rose in the mornings. To spatially arrange the master suite to include a walk-in closet, freestanding tub, and large >>

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vanity, they had to relocate walls and by doing so, were able to create an additional en suite adjacent to the master. The master bathroom perfectly embodies their “modern with a touch of zen” style. With jobs and friends in both the Bay Area and Southern California, they were able to source materials and decor as pieces caught their eyes in order to curate a space that felt uniquely personal. Hosting, entertaining, and spending time with loved ones are high on the family’s priority list. The lower level of the house is dedicated to making visitors feel at home; the guest unit complete with a kitchen, living area, and multiple bedrooms. When friends and family aren’t seeking refuge in the guest unit, the bottom story doubles as the Steeb’s home office and future aviation room. The elements I appreciate most throughout the home are the cohesion and balance. The couple was >>

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#805STRONG

WE WOULD LIKE FIRST AND FOREMOST TO THANK A L L T H E P E O P L E T H AT W O R K T I R E L E S S LY T O ENSURE OUR SAFETY AND WELFARE WITHIN OUR H E A LT H C A R E O R G A N I Z AT I O N S . A S W E A L L F A C E T I M E S O F U N C E R TA I N T Y W E R E M I N D O U R S E LV E S T H AT E A C H D AY I S A N O P P O R T U N I T Y T O M A K E A D I F F E R E N C E N O M AT T E R H O W B I G O R S M A L L . CONTINUING TO SUPPORT OUR LOCAL BUSINESSES AND SHOP SMALL. WE REMAIN #805STRONG.

RAMSEYASPHALT.COM APR/MAY 2020

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intentional in replicating subtle details in different spaces. They were also cognizant of not letting the angular lines of modern design take over. Subtle curves were added, whether it was the addition of a curved statement sofa or rounded art pieces to style the shelves. From the kitchen to the landscaping, the Steebs put in countless hours of hard work—their home truly is a labor of love. Although they have more projects in mind, their place has already become one of my favorite homes on the Central Coast. You can tour the Steeb residence, along with hand selected others, at the upcoming American Institute of Architects California Central Coast Home Tour in June. Visit the website: aiacentralcoast.org/hometour for more details. SLO LIFE

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DAVID LALUSH is an architectural photographer here in San Luis Obispo.

| APR/MAY 2020


LIFE IN THE SLO LANE STARTS HERE

Ladera

Ladera at Righetti Now Selling! Pricing starts from the low $1 millions. The first release of spectacular homes at Ladera at Righetti offers three different home layouts, each designed to take full advantage of the site’s gorgeous hillside topography. Homes range from approximately 2,600 square feet to nearly 3,000 square feet, features three and four bedrooms, and two and one-half to fourand one-half baths.

To visit, take Tank Farm Road in San Luis Obispo to Righetti Ranch Road and follow the signs. Or please feel free to contact us and we’d be happy to schedule a time to discuss San Luis Obispo’s most attractive new home neighborhood.

Information Center open Friday through Monday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (805) 774-3038 www.righettiladera.com

All prices, plans, terms and offers are effective date of publication are subject to availability and may change without notice. Housing is open to all without regard to race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. Depictions of homes are artist conceptions. Hardscape and landscape may vary and are not included in the purchase price. Square footage shown is only an estimate and actual square footage may differ. Please consult our sales team for additional information. Sales by CADO Real Estate Group DRE # 01525182 Construction by Ambient Management Service LP Lic. #1014645 APR/MAY 2020

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BY THE NUMBERS

REAL ESTATE

| SLO CITY

laguna lake

2019 Total Homes Sold 6 Average Asking Price $935,667 Average Selling Price $921,000 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 98.43% Average # of Days on the Market 29

2020 5 $665,180 $660,700 99.33% 51

+/-16.67% -28.91% -28.26% 0.90% 75.86%

tank farm

2019 24 Total Homes Sold $695,760 Average Asking Price $691,400 Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 99.37% 5 Average # of Days on the Market

2020 3 $770,717 $780,238 101.24% 3

+/-87.50% 10.77% 12.85% 99.10% -40.00%

cal poly area

2019 Total Homes Sold 2 Average Asking Price $882,500 Average Selling Price $855,000 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 96.88% Average # of Days on the Market 64

2020 4 $1,199,250 $1,199,500 100.02% 10

+/100.00% 35.89% 40.29% 3.14% -84.38%

country club

2019 Total Homes Sold 2 Average Asking Price $1,210,000 Average Selling Price $1,175,000 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 97.11% Average # of Days on the Market 67

2020 3 $1,232,333 $1,187,400 96.35% 67

+/50.00% 1.85% 1.06% -0.76% 0.00%

down town

2019 Total Homes Sold 8 Average Asking Price $739,238 Average Selling Price $735,406 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 99.48% Average # of Days on the Market 66

2020 8 $1,215,125 $116,084 95.47% 25

+/0.00% 64.38% -84.21% -4.01% -62.12%

foothill blvd

2019 Total Homes Sold 5 Average Asking Price $944,500 Average Selling Price $917,600 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 97.15% Average # of Days on the Market 72

2020 6 $743,000 $762,667 102.65% 49

+/20.00% -21.33% -16.88% 5.50% -31.94%

johnson ave

2019 Total Homes Sold 4 Average Asking Price $801,725 Average Selling Price $789,000 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 98.41% Average # of Days on the Market 47

2020 13 $1,061,069 $1,017,338 95.88% 67

+/225.00% 32.35% 28.94% -2.53% 42.55%

*Comparing 01/01/19 - 03/16/19 to 01/01/20 - 03/16/20

®

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS

SLO LIFE

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Get growing on your home purchase Let’s keep the conversation going. Contact us today. Donna Lewis

Branch Manager/ VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 335-8743 C: (805) 235-0463 donna.lewis@rate.com

Maggie Koepsell

Ken Neate

Dylan Morrow

VP of Mortgage Lending

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 706-8074 C: (925) 963-1015 ken.neate@rate.com

O: (805) 335-8738 C: (805) 550-9742 dylan.morrow@rate.com

Phyllis Wong

Luana Gerardis

VP of Mortgage Lending

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 335-8742 C: (805) 674-6653 maggie.koepsell@rate.com

O: (805) 706-8075 C: (805) 540-8457 phyllis.wong@rate.com

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 329-4087 C: (707) 227-9582 luana.gerardis@rate.com

Joe Hutson VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (831) 205-1582 C: (831) 212-4138 joe.hutson@rate.com

Rate.com/offices/CASanLuisObispo1065 1065 Higuera Street, Suite 100, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

*95% Customer Satisfaction: Data Source: Guaranteed Rate’s Client Satisfaction Surveys (Averaged 2015-2018) Not eligible for all loan types or investors. Conventional loans only. Eligible for primary, 2nd home and investment properties. Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Not all applicants will be approved for financing. Receipt of application does not represent an approval for financing or interest rate guarantee. Title company restrictions may apply, contact Guaranteed Rate for current rates and for more information Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Not all applicants will be approved for financing. Receipt of application does not represent an approval for financing or interest rate guarantee. Restrictions may apply, contact Guaranteed Rate for current rates and for more information. Donna Lewis NMLS ID: 245945, CA - CA-DOC245945 • Ken Neate NMLS ID:373607; CA - CA-DBO373607 • Dylan Morrow NMLS ID: 1461481, CA - CA-DBO1461481 • Maggie Koepsell NMLS ID: 704130, CA - CADBO704130 • Phyllis Wong NMLS ID: 1400281, CA - CA-DBO1400281 • Luana Gerardis NMLS ID: 1324563, CA - CA-DBO1324563 • NMLS ID #2611 (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System • CA - Licensed by | 73 APR/MAY 2020www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org) | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE the Department of Business Oversight, Division of Corporations under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act Lic #4130699 • Joe Hutson NMLS ID: 447536, CA - CA-DOC447536


| SLO COUNTY

Let me help you purchase or refinance your home.

REAL ESTATE BY THE NUMBERS

REGION

NUMBER OF HOMES SOLD

AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET

MEDIAN SELLING PRICE

2019

2020

2019

2020

2019

2020

Arroyo Grande

57

58

66

61

$785,516

$778,831

Atascadero

50

47

48

71

$544,859 $604,304

Avila Beach

5

3

28

29

$1,244,600 $855,967

Cambria/San Simeon

15

25

99

104

$917,148

Cayucos

6

10

91

219

$920,833 $1,419,900

Creston

1

1

181

52

$1,200,000 $956,000

Grover Beach

18

15

66

58

$540,828

$558,567

Los Osos

21

23

41

36

$634,500

$653,109

Morro Bay

25

21

62

65

$761,140

$655,301

Nipomo

52

37

62

64

$611,109

$673,438

Oceano

4

14

124

91

$501,667

$569,232

Pismo Beach

15

21

56

81

Paso (Inside City Limits)

50

64

50

53

$515,921

$502,229

Paso (North 46 - East 101)

10

10

94

93

$504,150

$876,800

Paso (North 46 - West 101)

22

21

51

112

$548,291

$668,926

Paso (South 46 - East 101)

8

11

33

57

$547,772

$567,273

San Luis Obispo

39

60

52

56

$900,199

$998,553

Santa Margarita

5

3

161

196

$463,800

$713,333

Templeton

14

25

14

95

$574,171

$938,272

414

437

59

71

$673,786

$739,981

Contact me today to learn more.

Ben Lerner

(805) 441-9486

*

Senior Loan Advisor NMLS 395723 blerner@flagstarretail.com 1212 Marsh St., Suite 1 San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 * Top 200 Mortgage Originator | Mortgage Executive Magazine © 2020 Flagstar Bank

flagstarretail.com

Est. 1987

Equal Housing Lender

Member FDIC

Not a commitment to lend. Programs available only to qualified borrowers. Subject credit approval and underwriting| terms and conditions. 74 | toSLO LIFE MAGAZINE APR/MAY 2020 Programs subject to change without notice. Some restrictions may apply.

Countywide

*Comparing 01/01/19 - 03/16/19 to 01/01/20 - 03/16/20

$859,920

$1,392,870 $849,537

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS

®

SLO LIFE


EST. 1999

D r o u g h t - To l e r a n t ,

Lifestyle Landscapes

Design . Build . Maintain

805.927.0374 . ecotoneslandscapes.com . LIC # 767033

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 @freshpaintslo

LIC. # 1036406

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| HEALTH

Elderberry Unwrapped Everything there is to know about the latest hero in natural medicine. BY LAUREN HARVEY

E

lderberry entered the realm of herbal medicine perhaps as long ago as 370 BCE when Hippocrates dubbed it the “medicine chest” because of its versatility as a medicinal treatment. Throughout history, elderberry made its mark on folk and herbal medicine across cultures including the Egyptians, Irish, and Native Americans.

Eventually, elderberry blossomed its way into popular culture for both its notable power and its wretched scent. Decaying elderflowers give off an unpleasant sulfuric scent, so much so that Shakespeare dubbed it the “stinking elder.” The comedic cult classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail even used it as an insult in the wellknown line, “Your father smelt of elderberries.” Fortunately for us, elderberry’s reputation as a natural cold-curing powerhouse outweighed its downfall as a stinking shrub best left for use as a fly deterrent when horseback riding. More recent cultural references draw on the berry’s reputation as an herbal cure-all and therefore, a source of strength, as the chosen lumber for Harry Potter’s most powerful Elder Wand. Though undoubtedly, elderberry’s modern

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reputation is similar to the one it had hundreds of years ago—as a holistic way to help the body fight sickness. Promoted as an all-natural immune boosting, congestion clearing, viral victor, elderberry is lauded as nature’s miracle cure. Claims of a natural alternative to drugstore cough medicine are enticing for many seeking natural cures to common ailments. Though the validity of these claims is often met with a healthy dose of skepticism, and rightly so. What we take to relieve our colds typically consists of a medley of medicines far removed from the natural environment. Can this one berry be responsible for shortening colds and providing effective, natural relief to rival our tried and true drug store cold medicines? With curiosity at its peak, I began an LAUREN HARVEY is a investigation into the identity of this creative writer fueled by a wonder berry and the truth behind its love of cooking, adventure, and naps in the sun. cold-curing powers. >>


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#1

LITTLE BLACK BERRY

American elderberry, a species relative of the European elder, Sambucus nigra, grows to a towering ten to twelve feet in height, and in some cases, as large as thirty feet. Vibrant emerald leaves fill the bulk of the elderberry bush while petite ivory flowers bloom readily on budding green stems. As the stems darken into a deep, almost blood red, blossoms give way to berries hanging in clusters. Pale green in their infancy, they mature into the deep blue-black berries commonly known as elderberries. Though temptation may suggest eating the berries directly off the plant, it is important to note the toxicity of the seeds, stems, leaves, and roots. Containing a compound called glycoside that produces cyanide in the body, ingesting these parts of the plant, including unripe berries, may cause unfavorable side effects such as nausea or vomiting. While not fatal, it is wise to avoid these parts of the plant. Cooking the ripened berries eliminates all traces of this compound rendering it safe for use, as is done in the treatment process for elderberry supplements.

#2

ANTIOXIDANT POWERHOUSE

With the hue of a blackberry and the shape of a blueberry it may be easy to mistake this powerhouse plant for just another berry. But beneath elderberry’s rich purple skin lies a bed of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. A report published by Purdue University Center for New Crops and Plant Products found that when matched against other berries of comparable size, elderberry proved to be a notably high source of iron, calcium, and Vitamins A, B6, and C. Antioxidant effectiveness is derived from a range of compounds, including total phenolics, anthocyanins, and flavonols. The Purdue

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report suggests elderberry’s high concentration of these compounds makes it an effective, completely natural source of antioxidants. Elderberry products popularly boast of its wealth of antioxidants, which may protect cells from free radicals, linked to diseases such as heart disease.

#3

EFFECTIVE COMBATANT

Recent studies show elderberry to be effective in shortening the length of common colds and even influenza. In a 2016 study, published by MDPI in the journal Nutrients, elderberry capsules were administered to travelers ten days before intercontinental flights and five days after arrival. Travelers who exhibited cold or flu symptoms after the flight contained a combination of passengers taking an elderberry supplement as well as those taking a placebo. The findings, therefore, suggested elderberry had low effectiveness in preventing cold or flu symptoms. However, the study’s findings did reveal that consuming elderberry while exhibiting common cold symptoms shortened the overall lifetime of the symptoms by an average of two days. Travelers who took the elderberry supplement with cold or flu symptoms were relieved of the symptoms notably faster than those who did not. Reaching for a jar of elderberry syrup to help fight off your seasonal cold may prove to be a viable alternative to harsher over-the-counter medicines. Studies into the effectiveness of the elderberry itself are relatively new, and more studies need to be conducted to accurately assess effectiveness. Consumers should also be aware of the propensity for companies with a vested interest in exhibiting elderberry’s effectiveness to fund scientific studies. However, the results of recent studies are promising and generally point toward elderberry as an effective cold medicine that grows right here in our backyard.


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S p e c i a l i z i n g i n S m i l es

Dr. Daniel Family Orthodontics 1356 Marsh Street . San Luis Obispo (805) 543-3105 . drdanielortho.com APR/MAY 2020

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IT’S TIME TO MAKE YOUR TRANSFORMATION WITH REV SLO FITNESS

LO S E W EIG HT . BU R N FAT G ET IN SHAP E M E ET NEW PEOP LE

FOR MOR E INFOR MATIO N EM A I L U S AT INFO@R E VSLO.CO M

#4

WAYS TO ELDERBERRY

Drugstore shelves are lined with chemical remedies promising weary customers relief from cold symptoms. Medications become more effective and readily available, but not necessarily with overall health in mind. This is where elderberry became so vital—as a way to shorten sickness that leads us back to nature. The power of elderberry is so pervasive that it sits waiting on drugstore shelves right next to those medications it aims to naturally replace. Syrup, capsules, tablets—the number of elderberry products readily available to consumers can be overwhelming. As with any supplement, it is important to consider what else is used to create the product. Strengthening the immune system with a natural powerhouse, held together by manmade ingredients and sweetened artificially seems contradictory. Natural, made-withcare elderberry products are available to us here in San Luis Obispo County, made by small business locals like Bliss River Organics. Online boutiques like Etsy abound with homemade elderberry products, from syrups to teas. For those who are more hands-on, some companies sell do-it-yourself elderberry syrup kits—all ingredients are delivered ready to boil and sweeten. That way you know exactly what’s going into your supplements, to assure it remains pure as nature intended. Or, use an online recipe as your guide to creating a customized elderberry supplement. However you get your elderberry, be sure to carefully follow cooking guidelines to safely make the most of elderberry’s antioxidant powers.

N O W O F F ER IN G LIVE STREAM CLASSES AND AT HOME WORKOUTS

755 Alphonso Street . SLO [off Broad Street]

8420 El Camino Real . Atascadero

805.439.1881

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FINAL WORD Consuming elderberry in any of its safely processed forms will be beneficial to your health. Though its grandiose claims of preventing all illness may be unfounded, there is no doubt elderberry brings a much-needed boost to your immune system. Elderberry may provide relief from seasonal cold and flu symptoms, providing a safe alternative to over-the-counter medicines with unnatural ingredients. SLO LIFE


3076 Duncane Lane . San Luis Obispo 805 549 0100

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| TASTE

Food Trucks Take your appetite on the road with a few popular SLO County food trucks.

BY JAIME LEWIS

T

hink of the Western chuck wagon, the pushcart fruit vendor, the rolling hot dog stand or the ice cream truck: the concept of mobile meals has been around for ages.

Before the advent of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you couldn’t really know where or when a food truck would appear. You had to hear about it from someone and hope you’d find it. But with real-time social media, trucks can alert their followers and customers to where they will be. And customers have been paying attention. Today, food truck culture is serious business, with dishes ranging from casual to gourmet. Chefs like it because

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they don’t have to deal with the overhead of a brickand-mortar restaurant. And diners like it, especially when multiple trucks team up and appear together, because there’s something for everyone, from your picky kid and meat-loving grandpa to your healthconscious girlfriend. Speaking of varying tastes, my husband, kids and I decided to try a few local food trucks by attending an 805 Food Truck night. These events bring a series of food trucks to public parks through SLO Parks & Recreation on a monthly basis. (Check @805foodtrucks on Instagram or Facebook to learn about the next event.) On a chilly night in February, the trucks met at Santa Rosa Park, and plenty of hungry people came out for the food and the street cred—including us. >>

JAIME LEWIS writes about food, drink, and the good life from her home in San Luis Obispo. Find her on Instagram/Twitter @jaimeclewis.


1 8 1 TA N K FA R M R O A D . S U IT E 140 . SAN LUIS OBISPO . CA . 805-543- 7600 APR/MAY 2020

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HAVANA, OOH NA-NA Chrystal Trenado pokes her head out of the order window of the Cubanissimo food truck, which is covered in colorful vintage images from Cuba. She hands me my cubano sandwich, and explains that her husband, Arqui, was born and raised in Cuba. “Most of our food is coming from family recipes,” she says. “Our cubano is just like one you’d find in Cuba.” In fact, the Trenados are so committed to authenticity that they have the bread for their cubano sandwiches custom baked, just for them. “Getting a Cuban sandwich in California, the bread is usually French or Italian-style,” she says. “But we use the real thing.” Inside, marinated pork, ham, swiss cheese, mustard and pickles are pressed between slices on a hot grill. My kids, husband and I each take a bite, marveling at the shatter of the bread and the umami ham and cheese against tangy pickles and mustard. Chrystal also offers us an order of yuca fries, a house/truck specialty made from cassava, a sort of tropical potato. The fries are big, chewy and satisfying, especially with the little pot of mustard-y sauce that accompanies them. >> 84

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H E ATE D N E C K W R A P. EYE MASK . COZ Y B L A N K E T.

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2976 INDUSTRIAL PARKWAY . SANTA MARIA 805-570-0019 . HANSDUUS@GMAIL.COM HANSDUUSBLACKSMITH.COM APR/MAY 2020

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IN WEST PHILADELPHIA, BORN AND RAISED We meander over to the Lido’s truck where philly cheesesteak reigns. Owner Alisa Urquhart takes our order and explains how her husband worked his way up in Lido’s original brick-and-mortar location until he was able to take over the business. “He bought it at nineteen years old,” she says. “Then we decided to turn it into a food truck.” The Urquharts have been on wheels ever since, often with their daughter, Mackinzie, taking orders at the front window. When our name is called, I run to retrieve our sandwich. I had wondered if just one cheesesteak would be enough, but from the heft of the bag, I can tell we’ll have plenty. When I open the container, we marvel at the mountain of thin-sliced beef that lays before us. This sandwich could be the ninth wonder of the world. Alisa tells me the Amoroso hoagie rolls are shipped in from Philadelphia each week, and ours is slathered in mustard and melted American cheese, topped with ruffles of sirloin and grilled onions—plus a bag of Lay’s potato chips on the side. Each of us makes contented sounds as we eat the savory beef paired with that sweet roll. >>

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䰀漀挀愀氀 䔀琀栀椀挀愀氀 䨀攀眀攀氀爀礀 匀椀渀挀攀 ㄀㤀㜀㐀

匀瀀攀挀椀愀氀椀稀椀渀最 䤀渀

䌀甀猀琀漀洀 䌀爀攀愀琀椀漀渀 ☀ 䄀渀琀椀焀甀攀 刀攀猀琀漀爀愀琀椀漀渀 ㄀㄀㄀㐀 ☀ ㄀㄀㄀㠀 䜀愀爀搀攀渀 匀琀⸀ 䐀漀眀渀琀漀眀渀 匀䰀伀 㠀 㔀⸀㔀㐀㌀⸀㠀㄀㠀㘀 ⴀ 眀眀眀⸀䜀愀爀搀攀渀匀琀爀攀攀琀䜀漀氀搀猀洀椀琀栀猀⸀挀漀洀

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REYES OF THE ROAD Alex Reyes comes out from behind his AR Catering truck to talk with me. He says his focus is Mexican food, but he can do much more depending on the location or event, from brunch to barbecue. “My experience was in restaurants,” he says, “but I’d work sixteen-hour days and never see my family. This way, I get to bring them along, visit new places, and meet new people.” He decides to share a couple favorite dishes with us, and hands over a huge container of nachos and a fat slice of tres leches cake. For the nachos, crispy chips lie beneath a blanket of house-made cheese sauce, salsa, jalapenos and hefty chunks of marinated tri-tip. “Ohmygosh, this meat is awesome,” says my husband, our resident carnivore. “And this cheese sauce has a little spicy kick,” says my spiceobsessed nine-year-old son. But my seven-year-old daughter has already moved on to dessert. “I like these foods because they’re hand-foods,” she says, holding the tres leches cake and licking the shiny, marshmallow-y frosting off her fingers. SLO LIFE

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MOBILE HOME LOANS IN OR OUT OF PARKS The New Affordable Housing * Now 1955 Models or Newer *As Low as 5% Down Payment available on all years

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| KITCHEN

Spring Salads ‘Tis the season for all things salad. With the amazing bounty of the season, Chef Jessie Rivas shows us how to go beyond lettuce with these delicious recipes. BY CHEF JESSIE RIVAS

MEDITERRANEAN QUINOA & BROWN RICE SALAD

WHITE BEAN AND BABY SPINACH SALAD

1 ½ cup quinoa 1 ½ cup brown rice 2 tsp kosher salt 1 cup kalamata olives, quartered ½ cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped ¼ cup feta cheese, small diced or crumbled 1 whole Armenian cucumber, small diced ¼ cup sundried tomatoes in oil, diced ¼ cup olive oil ¼ cup champagne vinegar juice of 1 medium lemon salt & pepper to taste

2 cups white beans 1 bay leaf 2 cups packed raw baby spinach 1 cup celery, diced with leaves 1 large shallot, diced 1 tsp celery seeds 1 ½ cup white vinegar ½ cup olive oil or canola blend 1 tsp sugar salt and pepper to taste

Cook quinoa and rice separately. Cool and combine in a large bowl. Add cucumber, parsley, olives, cheese, and sundried tomatoes to the quinoa and rice. Toss ingredients well. Combine oil, vinegar, and lemon juice and slowly mix into the salad. Finish with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the salad at room temperature.

Cook beans in water with bay leaf. Add salt when tender. Let cool and remove bay leaf. Combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least two days before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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JESSIE RIVAS is a chef and barista serving the city of San Luis Obispo.

SLO LIFE


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JESSIE’S TIP: Both of these dishes pair well with grilled meats such as lamb, pork, and bbq chicken. The salads can be made ahead and taste will improve over time.

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| WINE NOTES

Two Hens and a Rooster A Local Look at Prohibition

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BY HEATHER MURAN

or many of us imbibers of wine and spirits, it’s impossible to imagine a world without drink. Within our beautiful county, craft beer, spirits, and the local wine industry flourish with plentiful options to please any palate and pair with fresh, local cuisine. Yet, the SLO Life as we know it could have been very different.

For decades before Prohibition, wine, beer, and distilled spirits were a part of the daily routine for many Americans. But to Californians in the early 1900s, many who had immigrated from Europe, wine was the drink of choice. To local farmers, ranchers, and grape growers, wine was an expected accompaniment to every meal and was considered a food product rather than an alcoholic beverage. San Luis Obispo County was a small hub in the blooming California wine industry when National Prohibition went into effect on January 17, 1920, making the selling and transporting of alcoholic beverages illegal. The oncethriving California wine industry did not expect wine to be outlawed along with alcoholic spirits. California, the largest producer of wine in the country, was unable to mobilize an effective opposition to Prohibition. Instead, they adapted. Winemaking shifted to the home winemaker and a few sanctioned wineries, and grape growing expanded its markets. One of the provisions in the National Prohibition (Volstead) Act allowed the head of a property-owning household to produce up to 200 gallons of fermented beverage each year for personal consumption (that equates to almost three bottles of wine per day). During the first five years of Prohibition from 1920 to 1925, vineyard acreage almost doubled in size. In fact, vineyard acreage in California increased to levels not matched again until the 1970s.

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Congress also allowed wineries to produce sacramental wines for religious purposes and wine for medicinal use, which helped keep wineries in business. Grape production was driven by the demand for grapes to use for home winemaking. Grapes grown in California and in San Luis Obispo County were shipped all over the United States. According to the records from the US Government, the order of application dates for bonding during Prohibition are: Brunetti (1922), Pesenti (1925), and York (1933); these applications can be found in the Inventory of the Collection of United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, for the Establishment of California wineries in San Luis Obispo County. Brunetti never went into production and the Pesenti Winery was not bonded until 1934, the first in SLO County following the end of Prohibition. Wine was being produced in wineries that had been established prior to Prohibition primarily in the Templeton area, west of Paso Robles. Adolphe Siot established a winery in the 1890s. The Rotta family,

HEATHER MURAN is a wine historian and beach bum who has been part of the local wine community for over nine years.


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mentored by Siot, started grape growing and winemaking operations by 1917. Rotta Winery was one of the few wineries in California to remain open during Prohibition, and the second winery to be bonded and resume commercial operations after Prohibition. The Dusi and the Pesenti families both started planting vineyards around 1925. Sylvester Dusi sold his wine locally and produced it in a still hidden on his property. The finished wine was secretly stored underneath a chicken coop on the ranch. Dusi would take a call from the local hardware store in Paso Robles and they would place an order for “two hens and a rooster.” Dusi would arrange a time to deliver several jugs of wine to the store the next day, collect the payment, and let the customer pick up the “hooch” at his own discretion. James Anderson and The York Brothers, both located on York Mountain in Templeton, were growing grapes in the 1880s and building wineries almost immediately, both with thriving businesses. In the Geneseo area, the Ernst and Klintworth families were growing grapes, along with grains, and making wines starting in the late 1880s. In the southern part of SLO County, Henry Ditmas and A.B. Hasbrouck planted vineyards in the upper Arroyo Grande Valley. In 1886, Hasbrouck built St. Remy winery to make wine with Rancho Saucelito grapes grown by Ditmas. The winery was shuttered just before Prohibition took effect.

Still used during Prohibition

During the 1920s, the legislation gave these wineries one year to harvest, make wines, and store them on their premises. The amount stored was reported to the government at year end. Each of the wineries handled their 1920 wine inventory and future production differently. The York Brothers, the largest winery in the county, knew their clients’ needs. They sold grapes to home winemakers and grape juice and concentrate to others from Santa Barbara to Bakersfield and the coast to Salinas Valley. The wineries in SLO County saw the demand for grapes had increased from 1920 to 1925 and they followed the market. When the price of grapes dropped and each family had a surplus, they made wine at home following the legal limit of 200 gallons per household and then turned to winemaking in canyons and remote communities like Bradley, in Monterey County. A number of stills were hidden in the mountains between San Luis Obispo and Bradley. Local wine was often stored and aged in redwood barrels buried in the vineyards. Many citizens spent time in jail, arrested by agents of the Treasury Department, for selling their wine to customers. By 1926, the price of grapes fell dramatically as the supply exceeded the demand. Vineyards were abandoned as the price continued to decline and the United States slipped into the Great Depression after the Stock Market Crash of 1929. There was a major movement to repeal the 18th Amendment, and it was President Franklin Roosevelt who signed the repeal. Beginning in 1932, wineries throughout California renewed their bonds and make wine again. The next time you visit your favorite tasting room or craft distillery in San Luis Obispo County, take a moment to raise your glass and remember the early growers who persevered through Prohibition. To Learn More: Visit the Wine History Project of SLO County’s exhibits on display. “Temperance, Teetotalers and Taboo”: Features the history and movement of temperance groups, abstinence pledges and pre-prohibition restaurants. Open now through May 2020 at the Paso Robles Historical Society.

Kids stomping grapes during Prohibition to use for homemade wines 94

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“Grape Expectations: Break Their Hearts...and Have No Mercy”: Showcases the California wine industry just before Prohibition, how the industry survived Prohibition, and the many uses of grapes during the era. Open now through May 2020 at the Paso Robles Pioneer Museum. SLO LIFE


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| BREW

HARD CORE BY BRANT MYERS

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here is a certain thrill when walking into a new tasting room for the first time. Much like a blind date, you might have a vague idea of what will happen, mostly based on what your friends have told you and an off-hand cursory Internet search, but you never really know what to expect. I happened to step through the doors of SLO Cider just hours before their grand opening. The building’s façade was coated in fresh paint to set it apart from their neighbors in adjoining buildings that share the cul-de-sac’s terminus. The door is wide open and I walk through and am immediately greeted by an inviting sitting room with plenty of space to relax and enjoy the colorful prints of famous music icons and an eyecatching long canvas almost entirely in black with a rainbow prism shooting behind Cerro San Luis, complete with a white “M,” a lá Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” I follow the muted sounds of movement as I continue into the building and make my way down a corridor into what I expect to be the heart of the operation. Greeted by Nate Adamski and Jeremy Fleming, the head of operations and the head of brewing respectively, I come across the best part of any tasting room. The tap wall. We sit and start talking shop. Well, more accurately, I bother them while they’re

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getting ready for the biggest day of their business lives. Luckily, I have known these two for years and the offer to kick me out at any time is repeated throughout my visit. Adamski fell in love with brewing while in Oregon’s rich beer scene and having returned to his home in SLO he went deep into apples and has been working with local orchards and making cider ever since. His knowledge and passion for cider has been evident since we first met years ago, and it’s great to see him strike out on this journey allowing him to put his years of insight into a product of his own creation. Fleming has a knack for putting anything with yeast and sugars together to transform every day foods into fermented consumables. Having first met him as the head brewer for Bang the Drum, we’ve crossed paths in a few of his ventures in the industry and it’s evident he found a home at SLO Cider where he can experiment with a assortment of varietals. I pull up a bar stool and the guys start getting deep in the weeds with me about mead blending and what exactly a Cyser is, but I pull them back to the basics and ask for a pour of their foundational offerings. It’s a strategy that I often don’t use when confronted with a shiny menu at any new tasting room. To start with what they are known for, going from lighter on the palate to heavier, ensures that you maximize your ability to taste everything in a flight and subsequently are able to appreciate the full range of flavors. I usually go for the biggest, brashest brew available first, so—do what I say, not what I do. My first pour is a Cyser, a style that combines apples with honey. A cider mead to put >>


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it simply. This one uses Braeburn and Jonagold, a cultivar of Jonathan and Golden Delicious. It’s light, effervescent, and the floral notes of honey come through in bursts throughout imbibing the overall apple frutiness. The Cyser is a great example of what I’m going to learn while chatting. SLO Cider only looks at the bottom line long enough to stay in business, their methods and ingredients are to showcase the best product that can be made without compromise to quality. Let’s delve into their aforementioned portfolio ciders and explore that concept of quality more. The four standard offerings include Dry, Rosé, Hopped, and Tropical. Available in draft or cans to-go, to later enjoy that one style you fell in love with during a tasting flight. You can likely discern what the flavors and styles will be based on their very descriptive names. This is definitely not a brewer—not a pun in sight. Fleming goes into eye-glazing detail about the yeast varieties, but I’ll boil it down for you. He prefers three different styles of sweet acidic, low fermentation champagne yeast that all result in a dry quaffable end product. No sickly sweet cloying off-the-shelf ciders here. Back to the quality aspects I alluded to. The Hopped Cider could have used any of the myriad hop varieties available but Fleming opted for the highly sought after, and subsequently pricier, Citra hop which imbues aromas of lime, grapefruit, bright orange, mango, lychee, and gooseberry. Not a bad sensory experience from apples and seed cones. The Tropical has a hard seltzer vibe to it, which may be the force behind their win of Best Drink at the SLO Craft Beer Festival. A cider winning at a beer festival? These flavors of passion fruit, orange, and guava, also commonly known as POG, come from their use of actual fruit puree. Fleming gets very excited to share his baking background and how they used a specific company that makes the highest quality fruit purées resulting on better tasting pastries. In other words, there are less expensive alternatives, but they stay true to the philosophy of making the best product they can without compromise. This has all made me very curious as to where they got their grapes for the Rosé. Are they from the Rhône Valley? Béziers or Narbonne? I’m actually pleasantly surprised when they tell me there are no grapes, but it’s inspired by rosé and uses raspberries and hibiscus for the flavor. Personally, I’m excited about 98

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this prospect as I’m not a fan of hybrids in the first place, when too often the wine grape bitterness overpowers any subtle flavors of the brew. As I’m finishing my last tasting, the third and fourth members of the party arrive, Pete Ayer and his dog Maximus come in toting cardboard boxes no doubt filled with a myriad of promotional materials and last minute decorations for the night’s party. Ayer has brought his commendable talent in branding and design to the group as evident by the presence of no less than four postcard flier designs, piles of stickers, a wide assortment of hats and merchandise, but more importantly, a good brand with distinctively strong styling. Max is a good boy. He makes sure my ankles stay licked and his head stays scratched. I start asking about future plans and growth because it’s funny to me, seeing as how they are hours away from actually opening. That doesn’t dissuade them as they start showing me which walls are going to be knocked down as soon as their neighbor’s lease ends. Their brewery was designed in collaboration with a mobile canning line. They may one day add a walk way between themselves and the cidery next door, 2 Broads Cider, hopefully transforming their enclave into a miniature destination location with food trucks and live music. In the meantime, they’re just excited to share their product with the BRANT MYERS is a 14-year masses and are already starting to offer veteran of the Central Coast craft beer industry who exclusive releases, collaborations, and enjoys sharing his passion with anyone who doesn’t specialty ciders to keep their creative put an orange in their apple juices flowing. SLO LIFE hefeweizen.


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