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Got Beef? 

I’ve been a regular customer at Paso Meat & Sausage Company ever since my first interview with the owner, Tom Dorsey. While I consider their choice- grade and prime-grade steaks the best in SLO County, Dorsey and I don’t agree on which cut is the best steak. For instance, I’d tell you to forget about that tenderfoot-cut, filet mignon; you can almost cut through it with a fork. Nor do I like the ribeye which has way too many thick strips of fat running through it. What I love is a hearty New York strip with a perfect amount of marbleized fat and just enough chew to remind you you’re eating a great steak.

click to enlarge BRING HOME THE BACON :  This classic slicing machine at Paso Meat & Sausage Company has helped many memorable breakfasts - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • BRING HOME THE BACON : This classic slicing machine at Paso Meat & Sausage Company has helped many memorable breakfasts
Grill that New York steak over real mesquite wood (not those horrid briquettes laden with lighter fluid) and I’ll relish every bite. Dorsey, on the other hand, insists the best steak is a ribeye. When it comes to steaks we beef lovers know what turns us on. No matter which cut of steak, pork, or sausage you buy from this butcher shop, I know you’ll love it as well. And Dorsey’s meat prices are the same as you’re paying at the neighborhood supermarket.

“Tom’s favorite is the ribeye because it has more fat and the flavor is in the fat,” explained Jim Fogle, manager of Paso Meat & Sausage Co. “It’s 100 percent personal when it comes to steaks. I have customers who prefer skirt steaks because they like their steak chewier.”

Formerly known as Ralph’s Custom Meat in Atascadero, it was hidden away in a little suburb alongside U.S. Route 101. In 2004, Dorsey decided to move his popular store to an industrial area. Now his new butchery on the north edge of Paso Robles greets everyone driving southbound into SLO County. It has taken four years, between finding the location, buying the place, getting permits, and building the shop but the new butchery is pristine.

Fogle invited me for a tour and to sample some of the freshly made treats they’re cooking up at the new location. They serve lunch from Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. through 5:30 p.m., including delicious bowls of meat-rich chili ($3.79), giant sandwiches topped with tasty beef or sausage, and offer an outstanding selection of condiments and sauces. The freshly made olive oil rolls by La Migliore Italian Bakery are grilled on the panini to order. Every sandwich order (priced from $3.79 to $7.98) comes with a free soda or bottled water, and potato chips are only 59 cents extra. Their friendly cashier and lunch server, Virginia “Vicky” Rodriquez told me: “The tri-tip is the most popular sandwich followed by the ribeye, pastrami (their fresh version doesn’t require adding preservatives) and roast beef.”

The shop’s not easily seen but it’s not difficult to find near the Mid State Fairgrounds, and it’s well worth discovering. Visit for information about special sales. At Paso Meat & Sausage everything is made fresh, whether you’re buying steaks, hamburger, a sausage sandwich, or herbed chicken, you get quality in every order.

Payback in spades Saturday, July 26, noon to 3 p.m.

The 3rd Annual Mano Tinta Charity Wine Release Party at Talley Vineyards

The popular Mano Tinta new release party, this year, featuring the 2006 Syrah blend, takes place in the beautiful gardens surrounding Talley Vineyard’s tasting room. A family-friendly festival, it features entertainment and food appropriate for every age. The wine, of course, is strictly for adults age 21 or older. And wine lovers will find it an excellent value at only $18 retail. The ’06 blend of Syrah, Tempranillo, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Franc was crafted by Talley’s highly-respected winemaker, Leslie Mead.

The wine and charity event was created by vintners Brian and Johnine Talley. To honor the workers who harvest fruit, vegetables, and wine grapes from local farms, the Talley’s created the Fund for Vineyard and Farm Workers. It’s an endowment that provides workers and their families medical aid and educational programs they otherwise couldn’t afford.

The Mano Tinta brand is a collaborative effort by several local wineries that donate the grapes at harvest. Donations also come from satellite businesses that supply the wineries, from the packaging (bottles, corks, labels, etc.) to the labor and sales. This year’s participating wineries were Laetitia, Ranchita Canyon, Talley, and Wolff. Kudos go to their employees, too, who donated their time to support this worthy project. The Mano Tinta label, Spanish for “stained hand,” represents the wine grape-stained hands of vineyard workers during harvest.

“We achieved our initial goal of raising over $100,000 from the sales of Mano Tinto,” said vintner Brian Talley. “Our goal now is to raise $1 million over the next ten years for this endowment.” The fund provides grants to medical and educational organizations that assist ESL (English as a second language) farm workers. Among the recipients over the past two years: Clinica de Tolosa offering low-cost dental care; Raising a Reader, a literacy program targeting ESL children and adults; SLO Literacy Council, a literacy program for ESL adults; South County Boys and Girls Club for after school programs in Oceano; and Children’s Health Initiative, which provides health insurance for low-income families.

All earnings from Mano Tinta go into the charity fund, so it isn’t sold in retail stores but it can be purchased at Talley’s tasting room or at You help the fund simply by spending $20 (per person) at the event. You’ll enjoy Mexican specialties prepared by Seven Luminarias of Guadalupe, each dish paired with a complementary Talley or Mano Tinto wine. There’s live music, kid-friendly entertainment, and non-alcoholic drinks, and the special tasting of the new Mano Tinta for adults. Last year this event sold out so it’s best to buy tickets for your family in advance.

For more information call Talley at 489-0446 or visit Don’t forget to purchase a few extra bottles of Mano Tinto to enjoy at home.



You can reach the “New Times” Cuisine columnist at


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