Much as one might want to, spending 24 hours per day at wineries is not a realistic option. So, here are some non-winery suggestions:
First, you’ll need a place to stay on your visit. Unlike when we first started visiting the area decades ago, Paso Robles offers a wide range of accommodations for every taste and budget. For a place that is right in the middle, both in pricing and proximity to wineries, we really enjoyed staying at the Oxford Suites. It is also just south of the center of town where the nightlife is. This is a fairly new hotel, and we were very pleased with the cleanliness and the amenities, such as the full hot breakfast and the manager’s reception in the evening. The breakfast is complimentary to all guests and the reception, while available to all, is complimentary to those who book their stays directly. There is a very nice fire pit in the back. But the best part for us was the hotel staff. Everyone was extremely helpful and cheerful – not a surly one in this bunch. We’d like to give a particular shout-out to Erin – she was outstanding. An added bonus was the practically private freeway entrance to head south on CA101 to Highway 46 W or Tin City.
800 4th Street, Paso Robles, CA 93446
A while back, we reviewed San Luis Obispo County Wine – A World Class History [www.evewine101.com/2021/04/03/perlis-picks-san-luis-obispo-county-wine-a-world-class-history-book-review/]. Since then, we’d been eagerly looking forward to finally meeting up with co-author Libbie Agran, who is the founder of The Wine History Project of San Luis Obispo County (the Project). The Project has exhibits at various locations in the area, but its home is in the Paso Robles History Museum in the middle of Paso Robles City Park, with the showcase Wine History Gallery. We got there just in time for the end of the Celebrating Zinfandel exhibit, which was perfect for these Zinfans – the exhibit really brought back of lot of good memories. Hopefully, we will make it back in time to see the exhibit that replaced it: Celebrating Amphorae, which explores this ancient winemaking practice, including the area winemakers that are still using it. From Libbie: “You will love the Amphora Exhibit. We are near completion of our Documentary Film on the same subject. Patrick McGovern at the University of Pennsylvania, the famous archeologist who analyzes food and wine residues in clay vessels or shards found around the world, will be interviewed for the film which will be released next Spring. We are planning two Symposia in Paso Robles on Amphorae winemaking in 2022 in Paso Robles.
There will be winemakers from other countries including Georgia, Italy, and Armenia attending.” But again, the Wine History Project has exhibits all over town and you should check out the website for more information. Libbie brings an incredible amount of passion to this project and it is well worth your time. Also worth your time is the rest of the Paso Robles History Museum where you can learn even more about the area and its long history. Docents are very knowledgeable and helpful.
The Wine History Project of San Luis Obispo County
Paso Robles History Museum
800 12th Street, Paso Robles, CA 93446
Getting away to Cambria for a respite from wine tasting (that is if you want one!) is always a fun trip. It is just a 25-minute drive on scenic Highway 46 W. Cambria is as quaint and busy as ever. This time, we took a side trip and left downtown Cambria for the beautiful trails of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. They have a wide range of easy-to-moderate experiences with stunning views of the crashing waves. We have been there at sunset a number of times and it takes your breath away. And it’s free – although donations are always welcome.
Finally, you gotta eat, right?
Our favorite restaurant in Paso and one of our favorites anywhere is Il Cortile. Michael hadn’t eaten pasta in months and knew if he was getting it anywhere it would be here. From appetizers of seafood zuppa and poached egg over white polenta to main courses of papparedelle with wild boar ragu and the branzino special, along with the great service and beautiful night sky, we were so glad to be back in Paso.
608 12th Street
We’ve eaten many times at the original Black Cat Bistro in Cambria but this was our first time at its sister restaurant, Black Cat Bistro Too in Paso. It was the same great food and service we’ve come to expect. The pork belly appetizer was incredible and the entrees of duck breast and shrimp scampi were delicious as well. Our server Dancene took great care of us on the sidewalk patio.
The Black Cat Bistro Too
1218 Pine Street
Roots on Railroad and The Backyard on Thirteenth provide a unique outdoor food (Roots) and drink (Backyard) combination that should not be ignored. Roots was founded by Chef Chris Beckett and his business partner Katie Castillo in early 2020. Chris had been founding chef for local faves Fish Gaucho and The Crooked Kilt. After an extensive career in in the industry, he wanted to open the “biggest-little restaurant in town.” The large Backyard beer garden provides a great complement of mostly local beers and wines to go with the food or just for sipping on their own. There are umbrellas for shade, tables and comfy lounges with ample seating
1300 Railroad Street
1304 Railroad Street
Finally, we also really enjoyed our breakfast at the Hunter Ranch Golf Course on our way into town as well as lunches at Vivant Cheese Shop, Taste Craft Eatery, and Springside Restaurant. All these places provide great service, outdoor seating, and delicious food too.
Michael and Karen Perlis have been pursuing their passion for wine for more than 30 years. They have had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show them the way and after a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as they possibly could, they had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Michael and Karen do their best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers.