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Women, wine, and witches or wine, waves, and beyond 

These amazing gatherings provide good times in SLO County,

click to enlarge SIP, SEA, AND SO FAR OUT :  Wine, Waves, and Beyond celebrates many of the Central Coast’s greatest resources—for a good cause. - IMAGE BY CHRIS PETERSEN, FOREVER STOKED
  • SIP, SEA, AND SO FAR OUT : Wine, Waves, and Beyond celebrates many of the Central Coast’s greatest resources—for a good cause.

Feeling witchy? Or perhaps you pride yourself on being born a witch? No matter which kind of witch you are, you’ll love this Friday the 13th dinner party honoring Women, Wine, and Witchcraft. It’s held every Friday the 13th (2011 has only one, but 2012 has three!) at the Cliffs Resort and Marisol. This year’s theme is Wicca, exploring peaceful witches who deeply appreciate nature and consider themselves teachers, givers, and protectors of all things. That said, you’re encouraged to don your finest witchy attire: flowing gowns, flowers in your hair, pointy hats, and mystical Wiccan jewelry. Or if you channel Elvira, you can be one hell of a sexy witch. No matter what your persuasion, there’s much silliness and happiness for all who attend. Prizes will be awarded for the best dress, best hat, and best Wiccan jewelry. Search Wiccan goddess online for tips on appropriate attire.

During dinner, the Cliffs brings in five magical women winemakers whose wines will be paired with a five-course gourmet meal. Marisol chef Gregg Wangard, a handsome devil with a magic touch for creating seductive cuisine, will prepare soulful foods like beet salad with burrata cheese, grilled lobster tail, tellagio-truffle flatbread, chocolate molten cake, and other surprises, all suitably paired for those wicked wines. Warlocks are invited, too, but come at their own risk. Winemakers include the czarina of wine, Lane Tanner and her eponymous Pinot Noir; wine goddess Robin Bogue of William James Cellars; Amanda Cramer of Niner Wine Estates, who has flown ’round the world to craft wines; sorceress Denise Valoff from Donati Vineyards; and enchantress Louisa Lindquist from Verdad, who produces Spanish varietals, Albarino, and Tempranillo. Live music will be performed by Carole McNeill.

This magical dinner affair is value-priced at $65 per person. Looking for a deal? Book a room for the night, and two dinner tickets will be included. Please be hasty—advance reservations are necessary. Call 773-2511.

In other event news, all of the glorious and beautiful locations we San Luis Obispoans love about our coastal community usually become the venue for food and wine or beer festivals. But many of these fun-filled events attract a great number of us because they support a very worthy cause. That’s particularly true with Wine, Waves, and Beyond: a four-day festival that places most of its fundraising events at the beautiful Cliffs Resort alongside the Pacific Ocean. There are impressive wine, beer, and food tastings, an extraordinary multi-course microbrew dinner, and a parade of beautiful young women in a bikini fashion show that takes place in the Cliffs’ beautiful gardens. Last year when the fashion show began, it was surprising to see there were as many women as men rushing over to watch. And besides all that: Events are bargain-priced, considering the excellent quality food, wine, and beer offerings.

The event kicks off Thursday evening, June 2, at 7 p.m. at the Fremont Theatre in SLO ($10 admission). It’s a premiere showing of an award-winning surf movie, Last Paradise. Written, produced, and directed by Clive Neeson, an environmental scientist, the eco-adventure movie documents the travels of a bunch of maverick surf enthusiasts who searched the world for their dream. It’s rated for general audiences.

Like the surfers in the movie, this event supports a very noble group with the moniker AmpSurf: the Association of Amputee Surfers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rehabilitating people with disabilities, particularly our veteran heroes. AmpSurf was founded by Dana Cummings, a two-tour Gulf War veteran who helps people with all kinds of disabilities, including amputees like himself.

On Friday, June 3, from 5 to 8 p.m., the Cliffs Resort features Barrel to Barrel with more than 40 local wineries and breweries, gourmet foods, a bikini fashion show, an art show, a silent auction of wine and lifestyle offerings, and live music (presale tickets are $35 each, or pay $40 each at the door). Saturday evening, June 4, at 6:30 p.m., the Brew Master’s Dinner offers five unique Central Coast beers from an excellent local brewery, Firestone Walker. Five extraordinary beers are paired with five courses by five excellent chefs: Stephen Walls (executive chef) and Willie Vey (pastry chef) at the Apple Farm in SLO; Gregg Wangard at the Cliffs in Shell Beach, Pandee Pearson at the Gardens of Avila at Sycamore Mineral Springs in Avila Beach, and Casey Walcott at Sea Venture in Pismo Beach. Dinner reservations are reasonably priced at $60
per person.

Here’s a hot tip: Did you know the popular chef Pandee Pearson, formerly of Windows on the Water and Adelina’s, is now executive chef at the Gardens of Avila? I’ll be reviewing it in the near future. Among the excellent dishes I tried during a preview of this dinner were Cayucos abalone ceviche in Meyer lemon marinade and black bean relish by chef Casey Walcott at Sea Venture in Pismo Beach; and Hearst Ranch Beef grilled hangar steak and short rib taquitos with jicama slaw and pineapple salsa by chef Gregg Wangard of Marisol at the Cliffs.

The event concludes on Sunday, June 5, at the south side of Pismo Pier for the longboard surf contest from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Interested in more information about AmpSurf? Go to and get involved in sponsorships to help cover everything from clinic reservations to lodging and travel for severely disabled, active-duty veterans, police officers, and fire fighters. AmpSurf works hard at helping as many people as possible. The surf contest requires a $30 entry fee from contestants. The VW activities take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Proceeds from the event go to AmpSurf. For tickets, reservations, details, and best values on ticket purchases, go to 

Contact New Times Cuisine columnist at [email protected].


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