Monday, March 27, 2006

Highlights of, like, SLO

I'm into my cups here at the Sands in SLO, wondering whether I will ever learn to spit. Spit wine, that is; when you taste 38 wines a day, you're supposed to spit from the get-go, but somehow I've managed to take my cue from the multitudes of tourists for whom spitting was never an option.

San Luis Obispo is a college town. My tour guide, John, believes there's a missing demographic here. There's plenty of twentysomethings, and a good bit of those over forty, but the middle, being, say, 26-40, are priced out of the real estate. This might be true. I still see joggers that look like they might belong in that demographic, but far more who belong to the Cal Poly set--good looking young 'uns who eat tofu by day and drink microbrews by night.

By accident I stumbled on Bubble Gum Alley, and no matter what you might read about its history, it's just straight-up gross. Impressive and all, but ultimately, it arose the gorge. Since 1960 or some-odd, people have stuck their gumwads on the wall here, creating a long corridor of chewy horror.

But even as there's stuff to squelch your apetite, there's a good bite that'll bring it right on back.

The Big Sky Cafe does the food right. Down to the vine ripened tomato on your burger, they make the details count. I've had two meals here so far, and both satisfied me to my soul. Pictured here is the odd but delicious 'Red Flannel Turkey Hash', a mix of turkey sausage, beets and carmelized onions nestled next to a couple of perfect over-medium egglets. That's a good layer of food for a long day's wine tasting, for sure.

John, my tour guide, led me to a most interesting stop: the San Luis Fish and BBQ, where you can purchase a basket of fried fish goodness, or... a 1998 Beaux Freres Pinot Noir. Somehow, the proprietors have amassed a large, revolving inventory of older wines. They're hit and miss, but so worth checking out, if only for the sheer amazement at finding the odd, ten year old Northern Rhone.

Lots more to check out. I'll keep you abreast.


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