The Community Action Partnerships of San Luis Obispo or CAPSLO Health and prevention division provides health and medical services for underprivileged and low income, men, women, children and families in our community. Every year for the last 26 years they have put on an annual charity food and wine event called Afternoon of Epicurean Delights. It took place this year at the stunningly iconic and historic Chapman House – a Tudor style mansion in Shell Beach overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
The event started at 11:30 in the morning and the organizers were kind enough to provide us with shuttle service from the local elementary school so participants wouldn’t have to deal with trying to park on the neighborhood street. We pulled up to the front of the house and there was a line of very enthusiastic people waiting to get in. We checked in, got our will-call tickets, and got into line. As they allowed people through the gates they passed out plates and wine glasses. There were many tents set up around the property with vendors inside offering food and wine and one specifically dedicated to a silent auction. Unfortunately it was very difficult to take notes on all the food and wine we tasted because trying to juggle the glass, the plate, a fork/spoon, napkins, my iPhone, a pen, and paper, was an exercise in futility. So though I am unable to remember every wine varietal I tasted at least I can tell you about our experience and what wineries and eateries were there.
We started strolling through the offerings and were very pleased at everyone (vendors and attendees) who’d come out to support CAPSLO. There was live music and a plethora of things to look at and taste. We got some bubbly from Laetitia winery and a cupcake from Honey Bee Cakery that was moist and delicious, and started making our way around to each table. Kenneth Volk Winery was there and served me up a Chardonnay. I told them I was really looking forward to going back down to the winery and finally getting a chance to taste – you can see more about that on my “What to do on a rainy day…” blog. Ken is best known as the founder of Wild Horse Winery and has been making wine for 25 years. We walked around to the Big Sky Cafe table and tasted an eggplant caponata on endive, and then over to Sage at Vista Grande and had seared Ahi – both were interesting and quite nice.
We walked over to one of the tents that was mostly food including things like Paella from Paella Party SLO, hummus with fresh pita and garlic at Jaffa Cafe, and tofu satay from Thai Thalay. Then on to Tapit beer and Sculpterra Winery where I tasted their Mourvedre (quite nice). If you ever have a chance to get to Sculpterra you must go – with massive sculptures dotting the property, great wine and great people it’s a not-to-be-missed winery. We sat down in the side yard and listened to the Reese Galido Trio play some live music and chatted with one of the organizers of the event. We were so happy to hear more about CAPSLO outreach and about their advocacy.
We walked back in and saw David and Gregg from Marisol serving up homemade Limoncello which was super refreshing. Later in the day they were pouring tangerine – jalapeno and habanero margaritas. Doug loved it, me not so much – too HOT!!! We walked up to the next level which was hosting the silent auction; where I of course had to bid on stuff, much to Doug’s chagrin simply because I’ll literally bid on anything. I LOVE a silent auction! From there we entered another tent and got some yummy chocolates from Gerald’s Olde Tyme Chocolates, a local chocolatier we periodically visit and found out they are opening a location in Pismo Beach. We tasted some of Kelsey See Canyon’s new wines and discovered the Frolicking Frog Winery where we tried a nice blend and a Petite Sirah which came highly recommended by another attendee. Then we had a reserve Califa (Modoc Indian term for “prettiest one”) Pinot Noir from Chamisal Vineyards.
We walked up to the uppermost level and saw the lovely Novo girls Jen and Lily, and got a very nice glass of Wookey Jack (that I wrote about in the Arts and Drafts and a Kegger blog) from Michael’s secret stash at the Firestone Walker table. We moved on and tasted a couple of Byron Winery’s and Still Waters Vineyard (which you can read more about in my C&C, Byron Still Waters…” post) wines, and then tasted some yummy Linn’s Farm heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado spinach and quinoa salad with citrus vinaigrette. Next time we are in Cambria we will be making a point to stop by for a meal.
Known for their handcrafted, super-premium ice cream and large variety of flavors, we mosied over to the Doc Burnstein’s table for a mini ice cream cone, which was as usual delicious, rich and creamy. Now the funny thing was at that very moment in time, my daughter was interviewing for a job at one of their locations. We next went to the Gardens of Avila table where they were serving pea soup, Doug’s favorite, and caught up with their new chef Robert Trester to discuss his use of fresh produce and herbs from the garden at the restaurant. We definitely have to get over there and do a blog on the place soon! We also stopped by the Tahoe Joes display, one of the best restaurants for happy hour appetizers around. They probably have the longest happy hour in SLO, that goes from 11am-6p daily and 9pm to close, and all day Sundays. Their happy hour menu includes things like nachos, sliders, buffalo wings and more, and are reasonably priced at $2.99 and $3.99. My mom loves this place! And I love their Sierra Mary, and Passion Fruit frozen concoction.
We continued on past Del’s Pizzeria’s display where they were serving Pesto Pollo pizza, and who according to locals has the best lasagne around…I’ll be having to taste test that to be certain. Then it was on to the Cracked Crab for a sample of their decadently, delicious crab bisque which I paired with an Opolo Vineyards Viognier. Now one thing I can say is Jeff from Opolo makes anytime a good time, it’s all about the OPA!!! And they have nice wines to boot – a blog will be forthcoming, sooner rather than later I hope. We also got to see Elizabeth from Claiborne and Churchill who was pouring her namesake rosé, Cuvee Elizabeth. The final winery of the day was Tablas Creek where I tried the Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc 2010 white blend. I found it to be minerally and surprisingly dry. We ended our day by getting baked treats from Blackhorse Coffee, and had tamales, and chili verde from Zorros Cantina. Lastly, we saw our friends from Seaside Café – Tim, his wife Liz, and her mother Clarissa were passing out shrimp tacos. But honestly, we go for the breakfasts. They have one of the best and freshest breakfasts in the county. I mean Eggs Benedicts made fresh from the homemade English muffin to the hollandaise, their pancakes are ridiculous, and Dear God do NOT miss their cinnamon rolls!
Aside from being a great event and supporting a wonderful cause in a GORGEOUS location, this is a great chance to get acquainted, or in our case reacquainted, with many of the great eateries and wineries in the area that you may not have thought about going to or just haven’t been on the radar in a while. Not to mention getting to meet and schmooze with some really terrific people. So make sure you get your tickets next year, and join the fun, for an Afternoon of Epicurean Delights!
When life hands you lemons, make Limoncello! ~ Hillary Klein (#SHEdrinks)
Next great event – Roll out the Barrels 6/20-6/23/2013!