Monday, April 30, 2007

The Iceman cometh to HBO's Entourage

Ok, so this isn't the usual fodder for DiscoverSLO, but I was watching HBO's "Entourage" last night when Chuck Liddell -- the ultimate fighting champion and SLO resident -- appeared on screen, arguing with the always-beleaguered Johnny Drama over a parking spot. The Iceman, in a very imtimidating role, sets up Drama in a "Punk'd"-like prank.

Turns out this isn't Liddell's first time on screen outside the ring, according to his entry in Wikipedia. But with past credits along the lines of "Bachelor Party Vegas" and "Cradle 2 the Grave," it's certainly his most high-profile. Between this, appearances on late-night talk shows and the exploding popularity of ultimate fighting, could Liddell be turning into a bona-fide celebrity?

I'm not going to tell him no.

If you missed last night's episode of "Entourage," you can catch it on one of it's many replays (or "encores," as HBO likes to call them): here's the schedule.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Looking for something to do this weekend?

There's plenty to choose from.

A hot air balloon celebration takes to the skies in Paso Robles. It starts with a "balloon glow" Friday after dark, with three "big, beautiful giants" at the River Oaks Hot Springs and Spa. Early Saturday, there's a "mass ascension," with 13 balloons taking off shortly after sunrise. Should be a sight, even if you're just on the ground.

There's a new kite festival in Morro Bay Saturday following the annual Celebrate Morro Bay parade and Sunday.

There's the Cal Poly Wine Festival Saturday afternoon at the Santa Margarita Ranch.

There's been a nice swell in too, so you could just head to the beach with your surfboard.

And if you're in SLO, check out the newly re-opened Mo's Smokehouse BBQ.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

In case you missed it

A few interesting tidbits today.

What piqued my interest most is the news that two Avila hotels are opening a new coffee shop and day spa in the sunny beach town. The owners of the La Fonda Hotel and Inn at Avila Beach are right in noting that while there are plenty of places to get a cup of joe in town, there's no proper coffee shop. Hence Joe Momma's Coffee, which will serve organic, free-trade blends as well as juices when it opens in late May. We're just glad they got to it before Starbucks did.

The coffee shop's opening will be followed shortly by a day spa behind it. Both hotels offered spa services to its guests, but there has been no place for the rest of us to go. Read more about it here.

If you came to Discover SLO through the home page of, you probably saw the news about a hotel and conference center proposed near the airport. If not, find it here.

And finally, Bob Dylan will be joining this summer's line-up at the Mid-State Fair, according to his Web site. Read our story here.

Between Dylan, Aerosmoth and an impressive line-up of country artists, I may find reason to brave Paso's searing summer heat and fair crowds. Dylan plays on July 27, with tickets going on sale May 18.

Aerosmith tickets go on sale Friday, and you may want to snap them up quick. I've heard rumors of some folks planning to camp out to get them. Tickets for the other shows are on sale already at or, at Vallitix outlets and by phone at 800-909-FAIR or 888-825-5484. The fair runs from July 25 to Aug. 5 at the Paso Robles Event Center.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Go fly a kite -- or sip some wine

Who doesn’t love the sight of colorful kites flying gracefully in the sky – or the sight of a child determinedly trying to get one off the ground?

A new free kite festival will join the annual Celebrate Morro Bay parade for the first time this Saturday, which the chamber hopes will attract visitors to the city and plans to make an annual event.

The chamber is working with hotels and restaurants to offer special discounts this weekend. Here are the hotels on board so far:
Days Inn, 1095 Main St., 805-772-2711
Embarcadero Inn, 456 Embarcadero, 805-772-2700
Inn at Morro Bay, 60 State Park Road, 805-772-5651
Best Western San Marcos Inn, 250 Pacific St, 805-772-2248
El Morro Masterpiece Motel, 1206 Main St., 805-772-5633
La Serena Inn, 990 Morro Ave, 805-772-5665

Also Saturday is the fifth annual Cal Poly Wine Festival, from 1-4 p.m. at Santa Margarita Ranch . More than 100 wineries will pour their offerings, local restaurants and caterers will offer appetizers, cheese and desserts and Pipe Dreams will provide musical entertainment. There also will be a silent auction.

Tickets are on sale now and can be ordered through or at any Vallitix outlet. Admission is $50, $30 for Cal Poly students and staff. The event benefits the college’s wine and viticulture program and the Vines to Wines Club and is organized and run by students. More information, including how to arrange transportation to the event, can be found at

The Golf Classic tournament kicks off the festival Friday at Cypress Ridge Golf Course in Arroyo Grande at 10:30 a.m. Cost is $135 and includes a raffle and barbecue. Cost per player is $135. There are also weekend packages that include one spot in the tournament and two for the festival for $195.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Easy as Pie in Cambria

The beloved Linn’s Main Bin in Cambria remains closed after a fire about a year ago (owners are now hoping for a July 4 re-opening), but Linn’s Easy as Pie Cafe on Bridge Street has proved a suitable substitute for those missing the pies, comfort food and other treats. Easy as Pie serves much more than just pie, even though all the dishes are served in metal pie plates. Read about the delectable goodies features writer Sarah Linn found there on a recent visit.

And if you happen to be in Cambria Saturday, stop by the Chili Cook-Off and Car Show at the Pinedorado Grounds and Veterans Memorial Building from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tastings of chili (and beer) are $1-$5 and there'll also be music and raffles as well as the car show to entertain while you slurp down some chili. Call 927-3624 for more info.

In other event news, I've got to toss it over to my friends at SLO Goings for their news on Lynyrd Skynyrd and plans for a Pozopalooza.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Celebrate Earth Day with a tip of the wine glass

It's set to be a busy weekend in SLO town, so consider heading up north to Paso Robles to celebrate Earth Day with one of its greatest bounties -- wine.

The nonprofit Central Coast Vineyard Team is holding the Earth Day Food and Wine Festival from 4-7 p.m. Satuday at River Oaks Hot Springs and Spa.

The festival features sustainably produced food and wines from the area's top wineries and restaurants, live music and dancing with Funk:30. There also will be exhibits highlighting products for sustainable communities.

Admission is $100. Proceeds from the event go to support sustainable ag research and farmworker education. Call 805-369-2288 or go to

If you're already planning beyond this weekend, SLO Vintner's annual Roll Out the Barrels event May 3-6, four days of wine celebration. There's a big tasting in the Mission Plaza Thursday, winemaker's dinners Friday and one ticket to get you into special events at the wineries Saturday and Sunday.

Go to for details -- or check back here for updates, including an upcoming video promoting the event.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Luxury, boutique hotel comes to Paso

If you're planning a trip to Paso, you may want to check out a new luxury boutique hotel downtown. Hotel Cheval offers fireplaces, patios and free carriage rides to dinner and has already garnered the attention of the Los Angeles Times' travel publication, West, in its recent story about Paso wineries offering lodging options.
We wrote about it here. Or go straight to the hotel's Web site.

On another note,'s move to a new publishing system this week has broken the links in my previous posts. I will be fixing those shortly, and please forgive me for any frustration!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

New option for harbor cruises in Morro Bay

A riverboat called the Chablis is starting harbor and Sunday brunch cruises this weekend -- fortuitous timing for tourists as the popular Tiger's Folly is currently out of commission.
Read more about it here.

- Sally

Monday, April 9, 2007

A triumph for hot dogs

Yes! The hot dog stand is back at Avila Beach:

There are a handful of options now for a quick, casual bit in Avila -- the sandwiches at Avila Grocery & Deli, the ice cream shop, the snack bar at the side of Custom House -- but the hot dog stand is perfect when you just want to run up from the beach, no shirt or shoes, and get back to enjoying a day in the sun.

- Sally

Friday, April 6, 2007

This weekend at the wineries

If you're planning to do some wine tasting this weekend, here are a few special events to check out.

Though 5 p.m. today, Meridian Vineyards is offering in its tasting room complimentary French pastries and appetizers from Panolivo that, knowing their selections, are sure to be delectable.

Saturday, for $40 ($30 for VINSiders), Tablas Creek Vineyard is offering barrel tasting of mourvedre, syrah, grenache and counoise plus the opportunity to create your own blends. Contact Nicole Getty at or 805-237-1231 x39 for more info.

On Sunday, Cass Winery is offering Easter Brunch on the veranda along with an Easter Egg hunt for the kids. Sign up with Erin at or call her at 805-227-2888.

And a head's up that next weekend is Tax Revolt Weekend at the Highway 46 West Side Wineries, during which the 12 member wineries will pick up the sales tax on all wines cutomers purchase Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The weekend begins Friday with a wine and cheese tasting with wines from all 12 wineries at Midnight Cellars, from 6 to 8 p.m. for $15 per person or $25 per couple (tickets sold at the door). Local olive oils also will be featured. A mixed case (one from each winery) of wines will be raffled off at the end of the evening. The Grapeline is taking reservations for transportation to and from the event. For more info, contact Kristin at or 805-434-0319.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

You can get there from here

I've always preferred to fly out of SLO rather than drive to one of the bigger airports, but have been frustrated at times by the "you can't get there from here" syndrome.
This week, though, came two pieces of good news for air travelers to SBP (and residents on those occasional times we want to leave paradise).
Delta will begin daily non-stop service to Salt Lake City in June, which provides not only a quick trip to the Rockies (fresh powder, baby!) but also opens up lots of new connection options to get to the East Coast and other points. Read more about it here.
A new air carrier is eyeing charter-like service but at prices closer to flying commercial. Point2Point Airways would provide non-stop flights to California cities
not served by commercial flights out of SLO -- perfect for the frequent or business traveler -- but needs a guarantee of enough business before it can start up in June. Read out story on the service here.
And happy flying.
-- Sally Buffalo

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Pink bathrobe, anyone?

If you’ve ever been to San Luis Obispo, you probably know the storybook Madonna Inn (if not, you should check it out). What most people love about the iconic property is the tradition -- it’s virtually unchanged from when it opened 45 years ago.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvements.
The hotel is in the midst of building a $3 million day spa on the property that will feature outdoor hot tubs, yoga, pilates and exercise rooms, a 30-foot waterfall and a 90-foot pool with a sloping entrance – “like walking into the ocean,” the project manager says.
Read an update on the progress here and then start planning your visit for late summer or early fall, when Madonna Springs is expected to open.

If you can’t wait that long, take a look at our story on three other spa getaways in the county, also featured in the new edition of Vintages, our revamped magazine spotlighting wineries, dining and other attractions the county has to offer. Pick one up in one of the county’s many winery tasting rooms.

What’s your favorite spa in San Luis Obispo County? Tell us here.