Select Page

Beer + Olive Oil + Car Oil + Wine

Paso Robles, California:  Just as I was enjoying my morning jog along an oak-tree-lined quiet country road, some jerk-face thought it would be fun to scare the you-know-what out of an old lady and "pretend" to run her off the road. What? Why? Who raises these idiots? The maniac was laughing as he veered his car towards me, like I was a magnet to his heap of metal, and swerved-away at the last second. Oh, pretty dang funny. He was middle-aged himself and driving a restored classic car - easy-enough to identify. If I wasn't in the ditch, I would have snapped a photo with my cell phone and thrown his sorry sad sick butt in jail. I'm watchin' for you, knucklehead. 

I turned around and continued to gather steps on my pedometer around (and around and around) the safe RV park. 

Dave and I left the motorhome around 11a in search of food. We were wearing sweaters (sweaters!) because it was chilly. Dave We wanted to visit the Firestone Walker brewery. DT likes their beer, and he wanted to try the pub grub in theirTaproom Restaurant.

The hostess said she could squeeze-us-in. (Ha, we were one of the first customers of the day.) The restaurant is huge. This photo shows only part of the dining room; we ate in the bar.

Dave had a beer flight - four little samples of various brews. Nothing with peanut butter today... just the usual hops and barley stuff.

Dave had halibut fish & chips. The fish was super meaty and the fries were battered and very good.

I ordered their house-smoked BBQ beef brisket sandwich, was a martyr and did not eat the bun, nor the fries. Okay, I had shredded beef for lunch - and a glass of sparkling water. The meat was very nice and we were able to chat a bit with the guy who does the smoking on-site. He really tries to incorporate Firestone Walker brews into each menu item. It was a fun restaurant - with a ton of televisions showing sports of all sorts (that are on TV in the middle of the day on a Thursday).

Our plan for the day was to visit several olive oil farms, do some sampling and maybe purchase a bit of oil. We headed out into the hilly countryside towards our first stop. It was a gorgeous drive, past countless acres of grapes, countless vineyards and countless tasting rooms. We saw deer, woodpeckers, hawks and squirrels.

By the time we reached our first stop, my little Honda was making a high-pitched squealing-whine. Oh no! Poor car is eight years old and has 80,000 miles (been towed thousands more) on the odometer. We treat her well and have never had a bit of trouble with the CRV. We hoped a little rest would be good for the car, so parked at Pasolvio to visit the tasting room. (All this wine, and we only taste olive oil?)

Pasolivo grow all of their own organic olives and press the olives in-house. They have a small attractive building with the olive press and bottling area on one side, and the tasting room/gift shop on the other.

I bet this old Land Rover has a tale to tell

I know a lot more about olive oil than I do about wine, so just wanted to taste a few types. Pasolvio does not sell single varietals, but employ a "master blender" to mix oils from the dozen-or-so different types of olive trees in their grove to create the perfect pungent complex flavor olive oil lovers crave. Their conconctions tend to be a blend of oils from trees founded in Tuscany or a blend of oils from trees founded in Spain. The shop has a good selection of olive-themed gifts (soaps, tapenades, olive wood bowls/utensils), and Pasolivo produce lemon, basil, lime and rosemary infused oils.

I always go for the boldest, strongest olive oil to eat (and cook with milder varieties), so tasted/bought their award-winning signature, Pasolivo Blend. So delicious. We use a lot of olive oil in cooking/eating, and olive oil is the only moisturizer I use on my face.

After our fun and informative stop, we had to deal with our old Honda. She started right up (thank goodness, we were miles from town and had no cell service) and didn't squeal too much on the downhill ride back to Paso Robles. Our first thought was transmission or steering fluid, but were only guessing as neither of us know a thing about cars. We took our tow car to one of those lube-oil-filter places.

They serviced the car, filled all the things that needed filling and changed everything that needed changing. When we started the car - amazing - no more strange noise. Let's hope this is the last you hear about auto repair for the rest of this trip, okay? Our afternoon was shot, no time to visit the other olive farm, and guess who had another conference call... so, back to the motorhome.

QUESTION FOR MOTORHOMERS: We had planned to purchase a new tow car while we were home last year, but never did get around to the chore... something about a new grandbaby... and have since learned Honda no longer makes towable cars. I suppose after three successive Honda CRV's, it is time to switch things up a bit, so... does anyone have any recommendations? Requirements are 1) can be towed four-down 2) weigh under/around 4000 pounds 3) automatic transmission 4) easy tow procedure. I am looking at the Jeep Cherokee (not the Grand Cherokee), and am interested to hear from anyone towing a Cherokee. Please impart your knowledge/advice/opinion in the comment area below and thanks in advance.

When planning this several-day stop-over in Paso Robles, we discovered we would be in Paso Robles over "Wine Festival Weekend" and many events were scheduled in conjunction with the celebration. I was lucky enough to snag two seats at a Winemaker Dinner, featuring local wines from Calcareous VineyardHalter Ranch VineyardJUSTIN Vineyards and Winery Tablas Creek Vineyard. The meal was hosted in the covered/heated outdoor patio at Thomas Hill Organics Bistro and Wine Bar.

We, and our new best friends, were greeted at the door with a glass of bubbly and goat cheese tartlets. Later, we were all escorted to tables at Thomas Hill Organics. To start the evening, Thomas Hill founder, Debbie Thomas (pictured above) welcomed us and then we were served four courses - and each course was introduced by the accompanying wine maker. We were also served dessert, but by dessert time, everyone was pretty-much done for the night.

The menu:

Local Goat Cheese Tartlet * Strawberry * Roasted Almonds * Balsamic Reduction * Chervil
Appetizer w/ Bubbly

Skuna Bay Salmon * E.V.O.O. Poached Marble Potatoes * Heirloom Carrots * Pearl Onions * Saffron Cream
Tablas Creek 2012 Esprit de Tablas Blanc

Pan Roasted Tolenas Farm Quail * Bloomsdale Spinach * Chicory * Feta * Toasted Pine Nuts * Sherry Vinaigrette
Justin 2012 Justification

Braised Beef Short Ribs * Creamy Polenta
English Peas * Tat Soi * Maui Onion
Halter Ranch 2012 Syrah

Rack of Wild Boar * Pak Choy * Endive * Wild Mushrooms * Turnip Purée * Carob Glace de Viande
Calcareous 2011 Lloyd Bordeaux-style blend

Mini Olive Oil Cake, Budino & S’mores Crispy Treats

Skuna Bay Salmon

Pan-roasted Tolenas Farm Quail

Braised Beef Short Ribs

I did not eat the wild boar. Blame Moses. Good thing too, as I was pretty-much over in the food and wine department by the last course. Everything was just so lovely, presented so well, the staff doted and the foods were so good. It was also educational hearing passionate wine makers speak about the wines chosen to accompany the menu selections for the evening.

The Paso Robles wine region has recently been divided into 11 distinct growing districts and all the wines tonight came from the Adelaida District (west of Highway 101, but not to the coast) - the same area we visited today looking for olive oil.

We enjoyed our lovely meal and loved meeting the wine makers and dining with new friends.

Until my next update, I remain, your wino correspondent.

RV PARK: Vines RV Resort - a fairly new establishment with long pull-through and back-in sites. Full hook-ups, cable and free wifi. Bathhouse, laundry, two pools and a hot tub (all pools have handicap-accessible lifts), on-site lounge with happy hour prices, ball room, outdoor gathering area with tables and fire pits. Pet friendly. Sites are somewhat close together and there is some noise from Highway 101. Nice landscaping. Picnic tables. We paid $87 per night (up-charged Wine Festival weekend pricing). NOTE: This RV park has a sister-resort in Paso Robles - Wine Country RV Resort.