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Is that the smell of seafood, sausage, and bay leaves simmering? Mmmm, yes! The Paso Pinot and Paella Festival is gearing up for an expanded two-day event this June 4 and 5! The main event will kick off at Templeton Community Park with dozens of local chefs sharing their fave paella recipes (tickets almost sold out) with a first-ever Paso Pinot Panel at Castoro Cellars happening June 4. For more information, head on over to pinotandpaella.comStepladder Ranch in Cambria has teamed up with SLO’s own farm-to-table ambassador chef Jensen Lorenzen to host a unique dinner crafted with Stepladder heritage pork, goat cheeses, passionfruit, honey, and avocado. The impressive menu also includes premium dry aged Angus beef, local and foraged greens, and irresistible Bob’s Well Bread pain au levain (basically the best sourdough you’ve ever had). For tickets, go to, and to explore more about the ranch and creamery, go to


Between two buns: It’s national burger month, people! May I suggest heading to your local burger-flipping establishment? How about a sloppy, barbecue-sauce-drizzled-onion-ring-topped Desperado burger from Sylvester’s in Atascadero or Los Osos? How about lunch at Eureka Burger in downtown SLO for a juicy beef burger made with fig marmalade, goat cheese, bacon, spicy mustard, and arugula? A killer ramen burger from Foremost Wine Company on Higuera Street (yes—the buns are made of ramen noodles)? Or, you could also go with a totally fresh burger from Flavor Factory, Morro Bay’s newest carnivorous hangout. More of a burger DIYer? Get your buns to J&R Natural Meats in Templeton and ask for some local ground chuck. The meaty options go on and on. Oh—and when it doubt, always order it medium rare with the fried egg and bacon on top. You only live once.

News bites

Grab a cart! The SLO Natural Foods Cooperative will host a local vendor fair this May 21 from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. showcasing food and wellness products made by SLO’s best neighbors and friends! Get your hands on free samples from Cooks Flavoring Co., Dave’s Blue Ribbon Honey, Kandarian Organic Farms, Poppy Soap Co., and more than 20 others (there will also be live music and a raffle). The store is located at 2494 Victor Ave. in SLO and, in my humble opinion, is the best place to find farmers’ market fresh produce in a grocery store atmosphere (plus, the employees are super nice and always up for sharing recipes!) … Ben Mayo has joined the winemaking team at San Antonio Winery in Paso Robles. Considering the fact he’s worked for such Paso Robles icons as Rotta and Eberle wineries, we can expect good things are coming down the pike! … SLOcal Montgomery Norton is halfway to his GoFundMe Goal to create GingerBear, purveyor of fresh ginger brews, elixirs, seeds, soups, stews, stocks, and tonics (check out his campaign at the crowd-sourcing site and prepare to be wowed by the power of ginger). 

Hayley Thomas is high on life and full of sourdough. She can be reached at

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