LIFE BEHIND THE MIC
& CATCHING A DREAM
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 1
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just ink on paper.
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Cal Poly Art and Design Department | Art Director: Shaina Kim, Designer: Briana Jackson | Photographers: Ally Evans, Noelle Merrihew, Ysabel Sullivan
SLO Transit let
1 Find your route 2 Enjoy the ride 3 Reach your destination
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Smooth plaster walls with exposed beams. ..
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805.704.7559 License 731695
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 7
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FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 9
The voice of our local airwaves
steps out from behind the mic
to share his story.
On the Cover
10 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
Check out the latest news highlight reel.
We take a look at local events from the past two months.
It was a crisp winter day when NICK PAVLAKIS stumbled
upon a long-forgotten scene.
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 11
New to her post as Chief Executive Officer
of Downtown SLO, BETTINA SWIGGER is
excited to be a part of the scene.
Now Hear This
Self-proclaimed “musicians for musicians”
TRAVIS LARSON BAND is set to release
their ninth album.
On the Rise
A combination of academic and athletic
success is guiding Mission College
Preparatory senior AVERY MUNSTER
into a bright future.
Always on the hunt for a fun-filled
adventure, PADEN HUGHES spends an
afternoon exploring the San Luis Obispo
Look no further for insight into the local housing market
as we share the year-to-date statistics of home sales
for both the city and the county of San Luis Obispo.
Not for the faint of heart, we explore the hot health
benefits of taking the plunge into cool, icy waters.
While not a new trend in the foodie world, noodles have
staying power. Ready to sip and slurp, JAIME LEWIS
dives into a bowl of the good stuff and dishes out the
details of our local hot spots.
TERRY and ANDREA HEINLEIN open
the doors to their remodeled post-war
bungalow situated in a sunny spot on
the north end of San Luis Obispo where
views of Bishop Peak abound.
12 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
Reminiscent of the French dish coq au vin, CHEF
JESSIE RIVAS shares this wine-based, herb-infused
braised chicken meal perfectly suited for dinner parties.
Digging deep into the red, ANDRIA MCGHEE journeys
into the world of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Get ready to rant as local beer meister BRANT MYERS
explains the history and shortcomings of the pint glass.
Looking for something to do? We’ve got you covered.
Check out the calendar to discover the best events
around the Central Coast in February and March.
C O M M E R C I A L & R E S I D E N T I A L
When I started this company in 1999 I was told I would:
Never be able to offer great service.
Never be able to provide the best quality.
And never be able to do it at the most competive prices.
Here we are 20 years later...the thing I’ve learned is
Never say never.
- S. Ramse
Lic# 881030 A/C12/C32
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 13
| PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE
The other day, my teenage daughter, Geneva, was running late to school. As she was frantically getting herself
ready, she called out from the bathroom asking me if I would slice a bagel in half and put it in the toaster for
her. A few minutes later, she appeared as a hurricane blowing through the kitchen, and she scolded me down
the hallway: “Dad, you burnt the heck out of this thing!”
After she left, just for fun, I went online and searched “1980s toaster oven.” In a split second, I traded places
with my 15-year-old when on the screen popped up the words “General Electric Toast ‘n Broil Toast-R-
Oven.” Yes, sir, that was the one.
The orange and brown that framed the skinny plastic control knobs was the thing I remember most—
orange for broil; brown for toast. But, the faux wood grain that wrapped the sides was a dead giveaway
that we actually had the 1970s model. And that would make sense, considering that it caught on fire
about 20% of the time.
I don’t know for sure, but I would guess it had been a wedding present for my parents. Those numbers would add up because, by the time I was Geneva’s
age, it must have been nearing the end of its second decade. Black as night charcoal was baked onto the tin foil lining the bottom. Its glass door moaned
in protest each time it was pried open. And the drip pan below was frozen shut by the melted cheese cementing the slide rails. Encircling the top were
jagged burn marks—our Toast-R-Oven wore a crown.
Bagels hadn’t fully made their way to California at that time, but English muffins were fast becoming a supermarket mainstay. And once we figured
out that you could scoop a teaspoon of Prego or Ragu or whatever spaghetti sauce happened to be on sale that week on top then cover it with a slice of
cheese and throw it in the Toast-R-Oven, it was pretty much game over. Demand for the old G.E. Toast ‘n Broil went through the roof at our house as
my sisters and I discovered the mini pizza. Again, the only problem was that about every fifth time we baked with that thing, it would catch on fire.
Mom made it clear that it was not a big deal. No reason to panic. Nothing to see here. Since we didn’t keep a car in the garage, the solution was simple:
Quickly stab whatever had been cooking with a fork to yank it out of the miniature inferno, then put on a pair of oven mitts and calmly but deliberately
place the now-on-fire Toast-R-Oven in the middle of the concrete garage floor to let it quietly burn itself out. The whole production became routine
and was not much different than the way you may send a kid to “time out” so that he could quell his temper tantrum.
Of course, we learn from our parents by watching them much more than we do by listening to their words. My mom almost always had an audience
of three, and as long as she didn’t panic, neither did we. It was only during a sleepover when our friends witnessed the whole production that it first
occurred to us that anything was out of order with our vintage Toast-R-Oven. Horrified would be the word to characterize the look on their faces.
Sheer terror. After noting the size of their eyes with curiosity, I would return my full attention to the well-done Wonder Bread smoldering on the
plate before me.
We watched this scene play out for years, never giving it a second thought. That’s just what Toast-R-Ovens do. They catch on fire. Big deal. The
only time it was ever a problem was when my sisters and I entered teenagedom and discovered the mini pizza. Everything was fine until it came to
seconds, and thirds, and fourths because the odds for spontaneous combustion increased exponentially with every use, particularly when deploying
the broiler, as was the case with the tiny pies. Usually, when it came to mini pizzas, it was midway through the second round when someone would
have to stop whatever they were doing, fasten the oven mitts, and get focused to walk the flaming Toast-R-Oven to its designated cool-off spot.
That was the only problem.
I can’t remember when it was precisely, it may have been after a week at summer camp, or maybe I was off at college, but I returned home to find that
the Toast-R-Oven was gone. Mom replaced it with a new, shiny Hamilton Beach toaster, which was conspicuously missing its suffix, “-R-Oven.” No
orange, no brown, no wood paneling—just two boring little slots on the top to drop in a couple of slices of bread, or bagels, or English muffins. The
whole thing felt too sanitary to me, too safe. I did—and still do—prefer a little bit of danger with my breakfast.
I would like to take this opportunity to say “thank you” to everyone who had a hand in producing this issue of SLO LIFE Magazine and, most of all,
to our advertisers and subscribers—we couldn’t do it without you.
Live the SLO Life!
Get the story within the story by going to GrowWithTom.com and
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14 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
TILE SHOWROOM & NATURAL STONE SLAB YARD
CUSTOM COUNTEROP FABRICATION & INSTALLATION
SHOWROOM HOURS MON-FRI 10-5, SAT 10-3
805-544-9133 | SLMARBLE.COM | 5452 EDNA RD
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 15
4251 S. HIGUERA STREET, SUITE 800, SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA
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Eiliv Sonas Aceron
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
4251 S. Higuera Street, Suite 800
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Letters chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations.
16 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 17
| ON THE COVER
A SNEAK PEEK
BEHIND the scenes
WITH DAVE CONGALTON
BY VANESSA PLAKIAS
Dave showed up right on time. The first thing he went to was a
picture—a big black and white shot hanging in the studio; it’s
from the first year he was a host. He said he still loves doing what
he does after 27 years, which is so awesome. He’s exactly where he
is supposed to be.
It was my first rainy day shoot for SLO LIFE. I
came up to these really cool-looking satellite dish
things, and I had to stop for some photos. They
were sort of old school, really interesting.
I always ask what music people like during
our shoot for the cover. He said that he likes
Led Zeppelin, so I pulled out one of their
albums as I was prepping the shots on my
18 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
Dave’s sidekick and producer, Craig Hill was
setting up for Dave’s show that day. They’re fun
together. You can tell they really get along well.
They were very playful in front of the camera.
HIGHEST HOSPITAL SAFETY RATING.
7 YEARS IN A ROW.
Thank you to our nurses, doctors, staff and volunteers for helping Sierra Vista and Twin Cities Hospitals
achieve recognition as two of the safest hospitals in America, every year since 2012.
Just five hospitals in the state of California have the honor of this distinction.
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 19
| IN BOX
Take us with you!
Hey, SLO LIFE readers: Send us your photos the next time you’re relaxing in town or traveling
far and away with your copy of the magazine. Email us at email@example.com
STEVE and JENNY MATHIS
PLYMOUTH ROCK, MASSACHUSETTS
LISA MCCARTY and MATTHEW HAAS
MOUNT PINATUBO, PHILIPPINES
LEVI, LENA, and BELLA COX
20 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
GUANACASTE, COSTA RICA
KELLY, MISSY, and MATT TEEL
PAM and RICHARD ZWEIFEL met their daughter,
MARY, and her husband, ELIAZ, along with friends
and in-laws, ARMEL and ANNICK, from Carnac,
France. There were eight different nationalities represented
at dinner, and EVERYONE wanted to know
more about the SLO Life!
RANCHO SANTANA, NICARAGUA
NORTH CAPE, NORWAY
JOHN and FREDENE MAULHARDT and FAMILY
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 21
| IN BOX
You showed us!
HALEAKALA NATIONAL PARK, MAUI
LEZLIE and SHANE SHESKEY
ANGELA BORIN, RAMSEY VON RAUNER, VERA VON
RAUNER, RANDALL KULLGREN, and NORM BORIN
PORT TOWNSEND, WASHINGTON
JIM AND SALLY BROOKS-SCHULKE
FISHER FAMILY REUNION
22 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
BRIAN and MAUREEN SOMODI
GLENNA EDMONSON and MARLEY GEDDES
CHERYL and SAMMY PAPERT
LAKE COMO, ITALY
KIERAN ALLEN with a little piece of home by
the ancient Tha Phae Gate in Chiang Mai, as he
celebrated his last day of a 6-month elephant
internship in a nearby mountain village.
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 23
| IN BOX
SLO LIFE travels!
NORTH POLE, ALASKA
DERONDA BURDETTE and JUDY TREVOR
The guides nicknamed me Babu (Grandpa) because of
my age (72). Tough trek—5 days up and 2 days down.
ALEX, JOCELYN, FELICIA, JULIETTE, and KARIN
24 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 25
| IN BOX
Trekking with you!
SANIBEL ISLAND, FLORIDA
JIM and RHONDA SEYBERT
RICH and KIM DICKERSON
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
JANET LAURSEN and GULLIVER’S TRAVEL
and JORDIS DAIGLE
SLO LIFE Magazine would like to issue a correction to the Oct/Nov 2018 issue. The photo of the pasta Bolognese was incorrectly credited to Jennifer Pallian. It was taken by Laura Davidson.
26 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
Please send your photos and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow SLO LIFE on Facebook: Visit facebook.com/slolifemagazine
Visit us online at slolifemagazine.com
Letters may be edited for content and clarity.
To be considered for publication your letter should include your name, address, phone number, or email address (for authentication purposes).
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 27
The increase to San Luis Obispo County’s
population last year according to estimates
released by the California Department of
Finance. The uptick of .25% was among
the lowest in the state and was classified
as a “natural decrease,” meaning that
more people had died in the county than
were born. Also, the report noted that
approximately 160,000 more people left
California for other states than came here
from them last year.
An announcement made by County
Airports Director Kevin Bumen, who
shared that American Airlines will begin
non-stop, year-round service to Dallas-Fort
Worth International Airport in April.
The number of years since Paso Robles last
elected a woman to its city council when
Maria Garcia—only the third female in
its history to hold a seat—was sworn in
following her victory in November.
“It had one
of my legs in
Nick Wapner, a sophomore communications
major at Cal Poly, who was attacked by a
great white shark at Sandspit Beach in
Montaña de Oro State Park. The surfer
received 50 stitches to his leg and is
expected to make a full recovery.
28 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
A homemade sign held up by Zoe
Rosenberg of San Luis Obispo, a 16-yearold
animal rights activist, who ran onto the
field during the NCAA Championship
football game between Clemson and
Alabama in Santa Clara to protest
Petaluma Poultry, a chicken supplier to
The total number of acres preserved as
a result of an agreement between the
Land Conservancy and property owners
Jeff and Joan Buckingham as part of the
Cerro Alto Ranch deal. While the couple
will continue to prohibit public access to
one of the Central Coast’s most iconic
morros—Hollister Peak—the Land
Conservancy did negotiate for some
“Today, I filed
a lawsuit in Los
Angeles to set the
Jay Asher, author of “13 Reasons Why,”
claiming that the Society of Children’s
Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)
had made “reckless and false statements” to
the news media alleging that the San Luis
Obispo resident had used the SCBWI
in an effort to “lure women sexually,” an
assertion he denies.
The amount that San Francisco-based
Vista Equity Partners is paying to acquire
MindBody of San Luis Obispo. Currently,
the deal is being contested in court by a
class action lawsuit filed by shareholders,
who felt the agreement was unfair to them.
The value of the contract awarded by
Cal Poly to Atlanta-based consultant
Damon A. Williams in an effort to make
the campus more inclusive. Currently,
the university ranks as the worst public
school when it comes to serving African-
American students according to a report
conducted by the Race and Equity Center
at USC, and the least racially diverse
student population among all public
universities in California.
“Proud to be a
we see right
greed, for killing
all across the
world for that war
A chant repeated for eight minutes by
Cal Poly students protesting at defense
contractor Raytheon’s booth during a
university career fair in October last year.
The students, who came under the scrutiny
of administrators following the incident,
claimed a double standard existed at the
institution as it relates to free speech—
evidenced by the two visits by right-wing
provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos (at a
security cost of $86,200) plus recent racial
flare-ups, including the fraternity blackface
controversy. The students noted that former
Raytheon CEO William Swanson donated
$10 million to the Cal Poly golf program.
The number of miles that 36-year-old
Walter Handloser, a data analyst of San
Luis Obispo, will attempt to run in 2019
as he plans to complete 50 races of 100
miles or more, which would be nine more
than the current world record. SLO LIFE
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 29
Around the County
A landmark deal was struck by the Board of Supervisors,
who agreed to a program to end a stalemate and ease
the affordable housing crisis in San Luis Obispo
County. The plan calls for a variety of new revenue
sources to fund a $2 to $4 million pilot program to
encourage construction of low-income and workforce
housing locally. While the source of the monies are
not yet determined, they are expected to arise from a
combination of new construction and vacation rental
fees, additional taxes on second homes, a bond, and a
.25% sales tax increase.
The Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel—a group of citizens
chosen to provide public input to PG&E concerning the closure of the nuclear
power facility—issued a report stating the plant should be conserved, its
buildings repurposed, and the surrounding lands protected for public access. The
decommissioning process, expected to begin in 2025, was characterized as “lengthy
and complicated” and could stretch out for 50 years as critical issues, such as long-term
storage and removal of spent nuclear fuel, are resolved.
San Luis Obispo County employees
opted to strike in protest of wages
their union claimed were, on average,
18% less than similar positions in
Kern, Monterey, and Santa Barbara
counties. Hundreds walked off the
job and joined picket lines in front
of the County Government Center
in San Luis Obispo, and many spoke
of their financial hardships during
the public comments session of a
Board of Supervisors meeting. The
union demanded a variety of wage
and benefit increases, including a
2.5% pay hike for certain groups of
Emily Marie Bales, 24, was charged
with vehicular manslaughter, DUI
causing great bodily injury, and
leaving the scene of an accident after
striking and killing a Morro Bay
pastor in a hit-and-run incident in
November. The 67-year-old, Dale
Paulsen, had just announced his
retirement from the church that
morning and was out for a walk on
the western shoulder of Ramona
Avenue, east of Pine Avenue, at about
5:30 p.m. on November 18th when
Bales hit Paulsen with her 2015
Toyota Tacoma then fled the scene
and was later found and arrested.
The Sierra Club sued the Board of Supervisors for
its contentious 2018 land use decision where the
majority—Debbie Arnold, Lynn Compton, and John
Peschong—went against the recommendations of
county staff and the warnings of county attorneys when
it voted to use a map made in 1905 to recognize twelve
parcels of property owned by the Dennis Fesler Family
Trust in rural Arroyo Grande, effectively allowing the
family to build homes and develop the individual lots
without going through the subdivision process which
requires an environmental review. Adam Hill called
the decision “an abuse of process” and Bruce Gibson
accused Compton of ignoring staff recommendations
“because a campaign donor came and asked for a
favor,” to which she said, “It’s not true—to me, this is a
property rights issue.”
30 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
Stephen Best, who lost his bid for a seat on the Los Osos
Community Services District (CSD) board by a mere 60
votes, filed a lawsuit challenging the results because of what
the Clerk-Recorder’s Office claimed was a clerical error. Best
alleged that it was not, in fact, a simple blunder, but rather an
attempt by the district to seat a preferred candidate. The county
conceded the error, but argued that it had little choice but to
allow Christine Womack, who had been appointed to the board
before the election, to finish out the term of former director,
Jon-Erik Storm. The ordeal leaves behind many questions and
threatens to undermine any decisions made or actions taken by
the current board of the Los Osos CSD and will likely require
the intervention of the Board of Supervisors and the courts.
Despite an appeal filed by two residents—James Lopes and Odile
Ayral—the third luxury student housing project of El Segundo-based
lawyer and developer Loren Reihl was approved by the San Luis
Obispo City Council. Citing mandates from the State of California
concerning affordable housing targets, the project at 790 E. Foothill
Boulevard, which will result in the demolition of the building that
currently houses Black Horse Coffee and the vacant building that
formerly was occupied by a McDonald’s, was given the green light—
even though it occupies 90% of the lot (versus the standard 75% for
similar projects), reaches a height of 43 feet (versus the standard 35
feet), did not require an environmental impact review to assess traffic
and other impacts, and blocks views of the surrounding landscape.
The ongoing courtroom drama where District Attorney Dan Dow has
taken over to personally prosecute Cambria resident Herbert Connor, 73,
for sexual assault against his 67-year-old former girlfriend, teetered on
the brink of mistrial when it was found that DNA from someone else was
found on the woman. Superior Court Judge Jacquelyn Duffy ruled that
since evidence was withheld from the defense, it was in violation of the
law. Dow took over the case ahead of the November election—a highly
unusual development—sparking charges of political grandstanding and
pandering to voters by the defense attorney, Ilan Funke-Bilu.
The San Luis Obispo City Council, having already outlined the
most ambitious municipal goal of carbon emission reductions
nationwide—carbon neutrality by 2035—unanimously
expanded upon its commitments by voting for a resolution
opposing new proposals to truck and pipe crude oil from
offshore platforms through the county. Citing health, safety,
environmental, and climate concerns, the council cited the 2015
crude oil spill off Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara as an
example for what it was hoping to prevent in the future. The
resolution was the most recent action taken in opposition to the
construction of additional fossil fuel infrastructure locally.
In a stunning development, PG&E filed for bankruptcy amid $30 billion in
wildfire claims. The company stated that its Chapter 11 action, which will
allow it to restructure its debts while continuing to operate, was the only
way forward following an avalanche of lawsuits it had received as a result
of recent fires, many of which were ignited by its power grid infrastructure.
The company had already begun skipping payments to victims of the 2015
Butte fire, which was caused by a downed power line and is hopeful that
the bankruptcy will eliminate or reduce its eventual payouts related to last
year’s Camp Fire in Paradise, California. Local policymakers are expected to
watch the Chapter 11 proceedings closely for concern over how the judge
will treat the $85 million settlement agreement the utility made with the
county related to the closure of its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. SLO LIFE
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 31
E X P EC T B E T T ERSM
SAN LUIS OBISPO • 1232IRIS.COM
A rare opportunity to find such a unique property in SLO! Two homes with year round creek and a short distance to downtown. The front home is a remodeled 2
bedroom, ¾ bath home with original hardwood floors. The kitchen is adorned with beautiful accent tiles, hammered copper farm-style sink, stainless steel
appliances, and a sunny kitchen nook. The main/back two bedroom home, is entered via the second story patio with a built in gas BBQ. It is an ideal space for
entertaining and also features an outdoor shower. The open floorplan features a large butcher block island, stained concrete floors that include radiant heat and a
wood burning stove. The ground floor of the house has a double garage and smaller third garage bay, laundry area, office and a full bath.
TERRY GILLESPIE, REALTOR ® , LIC. #01815083 805.459.2022
SAN LUIS OBISPO
Immaculate single level home located in
Laurelwood Estates close to Sinsheimer Park. This
2 bed, 2 bath, 1263 sqft home features new
interior and exterior paint, new landscaping, open
floor plan design, vaulted ceilings and large 2-car
attached garage. An abundance of windows
provide a plethora of natural light accentuating the
thoughtful layout and touches throughout.
Property Website: 1167Bedford.com
BROKER/OWNER, LIC. #01381849
SAN LUIS OBISPO
This classic, single level 3 bed/1 bath charmer in
the Sinsheimer area is in a prime location to bike,
drive, walk or ride to schools, shopping and the
bike path. The home features an open floor plan
with wood floors, updated kitchen and bath, lots of
storage and is on a large lot with drought tolerant,
mature landscaping yet still provides room for a
gardener with their own ideas. Property Website:
BROKER ASSOCIATE, LIC. #00597458
SAN LUIS OBISPO
Experience panoramic views of Edna Valley wine
country from this 3376 sqft French Farmhouse
style home. Located on 10+ acres, quality
features throughout include newly refinished
hardwood flooring, whole house reverse osmosis
system, new exterior paint, high ceilings, open
floor plan, French doors throughout, lush
landscaping, and yellow pine accents throughout.
Property Website: 1990Corbett.com
BROKER/OWNER, LIC. #01381849
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Haven Properties
547 Marsh Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
805 Main Street, Morro Bay, CA 93442
| SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
INTRODUCING THE ULTIMATE
OPEN HOUSE EXPERIENCE
HAVEN PROPERTIES has invested in a Matterport
Camera to introduce San Luis Obispo County to the
newest video and still photography technologies. The
Matterport 3D Showcase is an online experience for
homebuyers to actually move through a property and see
it from any angle, making immersive digital experiences
out of real-world environments. The 3D Showcase
completely immerses visitors so they can create an
emotional connection. HAVEN PROPERTIES can offer
their listing clients more options to let buyers into
their home faster and with more quality experiences.
TO EXPERIENCE MATTERPORT: 1990CORBETT.com
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Haven Properties
547 Marsh Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
805 Main Street, Morro Bay, CA 93442
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 33
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NICK PAVLAKIS
Eight years ago, Nick Pavlakis set foot on San Luis Obispo’s fertile soil
for the first time. He may as well have been shot through the heart with
one of Cupid’s arrows. It was a moment—a feeling—that stuck with him
until the day he packed up his car and moved to the place that had been
occupying his thoughts.
The jobs came quickly, all three of them, and the tips from the bar
were the icing on the cake. Between shifts, as he explored his adopted
hometown, Pavlakis wondered how he could capture the surrounding
beauty. There was something about photography that had always appealed
to him, so he squirreled away the largess granted to him by his tipsy
patrons for a couple of months until he was able to make a trip to Costco
and plunk down for a Nikon D-SLR bundle. He figured, as so many
people do, that if he hated it, then he would simply return it. Hate is the
polar opposite of what bubbled up that day.
It was a quick jaunt out to Morro Bay that sealed his fate. What better
way to learn his new equipment than by snapping shots of one of the most
34 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
photographed rocks in the world? But, of all things, it was two vultures in
the foreground that marked the moment in time when Pavlakis fell in love
with the craft. “I don’t know what it was exactly, but it was this one shot
that was super, crispy clear; and that was it. I’ve pretty much had a camera
in my hands ever since.” The Costco equipment was eventually sold, and
he used the proceeds to upgrade to a full-frame Nikon D750, which he
reports has “taken things to a whole new level.” Now, as of the past few
months or so, Pavlakis has gone pro and has hung out a shingle offering
both landscape prints as well as portraiture.
Through a confluence of unusual events, the young photographer found
himself home alone for Christmas. Not wanting to sit around and stare
at the walls, he resolved to take the D750 on a trip up to Big Sur. As he
crossed the city limits, an equally lonely windmill caught his attention.
There was no one else on Highway 1, so he spun around in a maneuver
that could have landed him a high-priced Christmas present. Driving off
the road a bit, the scene that you see here began to unfold. The familiar
clunk of the shutter was the only thing that could be heard, as it opened
and closed over and over again—the sounds of comfort and joy. SLO LIFE
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 35
After a few short months into her new role as Chief Executive Officer
of Downtown SLO—formerly known as the Downtown Association—
BETTINA SWIGGER stopped by the office to introduce herself and
share her vision for downtown San Luis Obispo as the regional hub for
the intersection of art and culture and entertainment and commerce.
Here are some highlights from our conversation…
We like to take it from the top, Bettina.
Where are you from? I was born in
Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was, and is, a
culturally rich and diverse place to live. My
dad was an English professor. My mom was
an artist. She was really involved in local
politics. She was the president of the League
of Women Voters when I was in first and
second grade. I remember going with her to
the different candidate forums they would
host. I was a little smarty pants. Did a lot of
distinctly nerdy things. I loved to read and
write. I’m a writer. That’s my passion. I’m
actually writing a book right now. My home
life was really focused on reading and writing
and language and music. I started playing
viola when I was five.
And, what about school? High school was a
miserable experience, and I couldn’t get out
of there soon enough. I graduated when I
was 16. Then I took a year off and followed
my sister to Rochester, New York. She was
in graduate school at the Eastman School
of Music. After that, she got a one-year
teaching position in Durango, Colorado.
So, I moved to Durango with her, which is
this totally beautiful Southwest town with a
narrow gauge railroad, and it’s surrounded by
mountains. I volunteered for a radio station,
worked at a coffee shop called the Steaming
Bean, I played in the local symphony, and
volunteered in an art center. It was a life that
was similar in a lot of ways to my life now.
What came next? I went to Colorado
College in Colorado Springs and worked at
the college for seven years after I graduated.
I started working during the summer for
a music festival, The Colorado College
Summer Music Festival. I left to become the
Executive Director of the Cultural Office of
the Pikes Peak Region. I was there for three
years. I was really happy there actually, but
then Scott Yoo walked into my office one
day. He was the Music Director for Festival
Mozaic, and he was in town for a visit. He
said, “Hey, I think you should apply for this
job in San Luis Obispo.” And I said, “I love
San Francisco.” [laughter]
How did your eight years at the helm of the
festival prepare you for Downtown SLO?
When I was at Festival Mozaic, I was always
trying to get arts and culture and music
to be elevated as part of the conversation
about economic development. So, now I’m
in a position where I get to kind of put my
money where my mouth is, so to speak.
That’s probably not the best metaphor. I
get to practice what I preach. I can see
every day that the businesses downtown
that incorporate elements of having an
experience instead of just a transaction, and
that are based in principles of design and are
trying to create something that people will
appreciate and enjoy, actually have a lot of
their roots in artistic practice, even though
they might not see it that way.
What’s new at Downtown SLO? We
recently moved from a second-floor office,
sort of hidden away from the public. Now
we are on Chorro Street, and we have a
storefront. We see visitors there. We have
a retail store of our own now, so we are
experiencing what a lot of our members
have been experiencing, asking ourselves, “Is
this a viable activity in the 21st Century?”
Retail is changing a lot. That doesn’t mean
it’s dead, but it’s changing. So, getting back
to your question, we’re actively creating
programs for people to come downtown and
be surprised and delighted, stay and spend
some money, and maybe learn something
new and connect with their neighbors
while they’re at it. I walk downtown every
day and see blank canvases for murals. I
see some streets that, frankly, could be
a little bit cleaner. And I see some ways
that we can activate our public spaces that
could encourage visitors to linger a little
bit longer. I love our downtown—it’s the
beating heart of the Central Coast. SLO LIFE
36 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
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FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 37
| NOW HEAR THIS
38 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
orro Bay is a small town, which is what makes this
story so unlikely. First, we have to go back in time
to an era when people with names like Michael
and Madonna dominated the airwaves. Very few
knew of a band called Rush, and fewer still could
Mname any of their songs except, perhaps, a couple
of their hits, such as “Tom Sawyer” or “Working Man.” In Morro Bay, at the time,
there may have been a handful of people who could attempt to name the members
of the Canadian rock band—Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart.
On either side of Morro Bay’s beachside high school, there were two gangly
fourteen-year-old kids, who had independently discovered the guitar, and Rush.
The two became obsessed with striking chords in the same way their musical
heroes did it, practicing day and night to get it right. Then, after just six months
into their respective musical journeys, they found one another. Travis Larson and
Jennifer Young, it could be imagined, were placed on planet Earth as some sort of
cosmic amusement, mirror images—one female, one male.
Similar to the classic scene from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at the Island
of the Misfit Toys, from that point forward, Larson and Young resolved to become
“independent together.” First, it was all about getting gigs and doing whatever
it took to book shows, which meant playing covers. Whether it was The Rolling
Stones or The Police, it didn’t matter, “We slung it out in local dive bars for five
or six years before we started doing our own stuff,” is how Larson characterizes
those early days. The more the dynamic duo jammed together, the more they
began to trust themselves and each other with their unique blend of creativity.
Songs and music started bubbling to the surface. That’s when they decided to
build a recording studio, which they did with Kip Stork, who had been the
sound technician for the old SLO Brew. Together, the trio came up with Avalon
Recording Studio, which continues to operate today in downtown San Luis
Obispo under Stork’s watchful eye.
With the ability to create and record their own music, Larson and Young turned
their attention toward their need for a drummer. After asking around, the choice
became clear after meeting Dale Moon, then a Cal Poly student. In a testament to
the chemistry found between the bandmates, this all happened in 1996—23 years
ago. Since that time, Travis Larson Band has gone on to cut eight albums with
its ninth in production for next year. But, the secret sauce has been grinding it
out on the road, touring almost non-stop for two decades building a fan base one
audience member at a time. It’s the musical equivalent of the football metaphor:
three yards and a cloud of dust.
The eponymous bandmate, Larson, has been particularly prolific in this area,
as he jets around the country teaching guitar to “guitar geeks” at events such as
the recent NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) conference in
Anaheim, and music equipment retailers nationwide. Today the band, in which
Young now handles the bass duties with Larson on guitar and Moon on drums,
ends most of its tours at the same place it begins—on Higuera Street, at the Frog
& Peach Pub. And, that has been a continuous theme for the trio from its genesis,
as it resisted the temptation to move away to the big city to make it happen.
Larson sums up the sentiment through a raspy voice that he likens to Peppermint
Patty, which accompanied him on his way home after a long stretch of guitar
clinics on the road: “We’ve never left the Central Coast. Just toured incessantly
and shamelessly self-promoted to make it happen where we want to be.” SLO LIFE
UPCOMING TRAVIS LARSON SOLO SHOWS
March 15 + 16 . The Libertine . Morro Bay
March 22 . The Siren . Morro Bay
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 39
| ON THE RISE
This eighteen-year-old Mission College
Preparatory Catholic High School senior
is eyeing a bright future ahead.
What sort of extracurricular activities are you involved in?
I play tennis four times a week and run a beginner tennis clinic for
children with autism on Saturdays. I played high school varsity tennis
every year at MCP, and this last year I played first singles and doubles and
was team captain.
What recognition have you received? I have earned Honor Roll with
Distinction every year in high school, which is awarded to those with
a GPA of over a 4.0. I also won the Health Science Subject Award, the
World Literature Subject Award, Second Place in the 2017 Bentley Physics
International SMART Competition, the AP English Language Subject
Award, and was an AP Scholar.
Who has influenced you the most? My friend Makenna Parkinson has
influenced me because, even though she has been sick for many years,
she is fiercely dedicated to school, diving, and maintaining friendships.
She never allows her illness to stop her from doing the important things.
She has such a big heart, and I admire that quality.
If you could meet anyone, who would it be? I would like to meet Ruth
Bader Ginsburg, who is currently making history as a Supreme Court
Justice. I would like to meet her in order to discover how she was able to
maintain a fulfilling personal life while also reaching the highest position
in her chosen field.
What are your interests/hobbies? I spend a lot of time crocheting and have just
taken up needle felting. I just finished crocheting an infinity scarf and needle
felting a squirrel. Most of my creations are gifts for friends and family.
What is going on with you now? I am currently running my weekly tennis clinic
for children with autism called Tennis on the Spectrum (TOTS), crocheting,
needle felting, and maintaining my grades in my classes.
What career do you see yourself in someday? I want to be a veterinarian because
I love science and animals. I shadowed a local veterinarian and felt comfortable in
a veterinary clinic. I think a career in that field would be really satisfying.
What schools are you considering for college? I applied to Bowdoin College,
Kenyon College, Macalester College, Bates College, Oberlin College, Colby
College, Scripps College, Occidental College, and Whitman College. SLO LIFE
Know a student On the Rise?
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40 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
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FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 41
| MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR
42 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
PHOTOGRAPHY BY VANESSA PLAKIAS
Twenty-seven years ago, DAVE CONGALTON was a ball of
nerves as he settled into his seat and switched on his microphone
for the first time at San Luis Obispo-based KVEC. Over the
course of thousands of interviews, he found his voice—and his
calling—as the host of the local “Hometown Radio Show” daily
broadcast. Never far from his heart, however, is his passion
for writing. And, after many ups and downs, he found success
in Hollywood a few years ago when his screenplay “Author’s
Anonymous” was made into a movie. As he wandered around the
set meeting the famous actors who were busy memorizing the lines
he had written, he described the experience as “catching a dream.”
Here is his story…
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 43
44 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
ake it from the top, Dave. Where are you
from? I was born in Teaneck, New Jersey.
My family was all New Jersey-based. I’m
the youngest of three sons. My father was
in retail, and he bounced around, mostly
up and down the east coast; but in 1960,
I would’ve been seven years old, he took
a job in suburban Chicago. So, in August T1960, we became the Midwestern branch of the family. Even though I was
born in New Jersey, I consider myself to be a native of Chicago. I’ve always
had trouble with my vision. I was born with cataracts in my eyes. When
my mother was pregnant with me she got chicken pox for the second
time, which somehow caused this issue. For the first few years I was fine,
but then my family realized that I couldn’t tell the difference between
my dad and my uncle. I wore these really thick Coke-bottle glasses. I
was never bullied, but it was a constant source of ridicule. That’s when I
developed humor as a defense mechanism.
What was it like growing up in the Windy City? I grew up in the
suburbs. I went to Eastern Illinois University on a debating scholarship.
I got a master’s at Illinois State. I thought I was going to be a college
professor. I taught at Concordia College in Minnesota, University of
Utah, DePauw University in Indiana, and then University of Tulsa. I was
teaching media, it was communications and media; mostly media history
and media law and media theory. But, I wasn’t actually doing anything
in media, and I never had. I was just teaching it. I was a historian and
could tell you all about the history of CBS and the FCC and the fairness
doctrine. I knew all that stuff, and have since forgotten everything. I
attended all of the academic conventions. I distinctly remember one in
Chicago, which turned out to be my last. I did all of the social events
there; socialized at the bar, sat on one of the panels, then I woke up the
next morning and had one of those look-in-the-mirror moments and said,
“Is this it?” I was 34 years old, living in Oklahoma, and miserable.
What did you do? I picked up the phone and called the university
counseling center. I said, “Look, I’m not suicidal. I’m not depressed. I
just need someone to talk to.” So, they tell me that I should call this guy
named Terry. It turned out that he used to be the director of the center,
but he was fired because he refused to wear a tie to work. I said to myself,
“That’s the guy.” When we first met, he sat me down and said, “Okay,
what is it you want to do?” I told him that I had always wanted to live in
California, and I’ve always wanted to be a writer or something creative.
He said, “Okay, this is our strategy: You’re going to finish out your year at
the University of Tulsa; you’re going to quit your job; you’re going to move
to California to do something creative.” We would meet twice a month
to refine my plan. And sometime during this process, I came across a job
notice for a one-year, non-renewable lecturer position at Cal Poly. I had
never heard of Cal Poly, never heard of San Luis Obispo, but I figured it
would give me a foothold in California, so I applied. They interviewed me
over the phone.
So, when was this exactly? This was 1987, August. I did everything in my
power to make sure they wouldn’t hire me back. It’s like the singer Roy
Orbison said, “If you have something to fall back on, you always will.”
So, I didn’t just burn bridges at Cal Poly, I actively set a blowtorch to
them. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t settle into academic life again
because I knew it would make me miserable and push me further away
from my dream, which is to write. But, it got me to California and I was
determined to keep going. Right out of the gate, I put my writing to
the test when I entered a stand-up comedy contest. It was an incredible
feeling when I actually won the thing. It validated everything Terry had
said, the guy back in Tulsa who told me I needed to follow my dream. I
called him afterward to share the news. He was so proud of me. Without
question, he had changed my life.
You have to tell us about the comedy routine. Alright. So, I had a stuffed
rabbit named Peter, a toy rabbit, and I had my rabbit do impersonations;
and for the last impersonation, I did this bit about the local KSBY News
anchor, Rick Martel. The place went nuts. It went nuts. But here’s the deal.
It’s the only time as a communication professional that I screwed this
up—because it was a painful lesson—but since I had won, I was asked
to come back another night to open for three professional comedians. I
changed my act. I didn’t do the same routine I won with. I did something
completely different, and I bombed. I was so bad. And to make it worse,
I was single at the time and sharing a place with a Cal Poly student,
basically renting a room. After the routine, I went to the bar and drank
way too much and then I walked home. On my way, a police officer stops
and questions me. They were looking for someone on an attempted rape.
Anyway, when I finally get to my house, I opened the door, turned on
the lights, and all my furniture was gone, everything. It was completely
cleared out. Apparently, this guy was unable to pay the rent that month, so
he moved without telling me and he took all the stuff. One of the worst
nights of my life.
Wow, I guess so. By this time, I had written a couple of screenplays and
was trying to sell movie scripts or get an agent or whatever, so I used
the little bit of money I had saved teaching at Poly to move to L.A., to
Venice. I got a job working at a department store in Santa Monica called
Henshey’s. I worked in the stationery and book section making five bucks
an hour. I kept writing screenplays this whole time, but they were all
terrible. Just awful. Then I met this woman, Charlotte Alexander, who
I eventually married and later divorced. I was living in Venice; she was
living in Indiana. I went back for a couple months to live with her, and
while we were together, we decided to get married. She got me a job at the
local newspaper, without any experience at all, because it was Richmond,
Indiana. Small town. They sent me to city council meetings. I bombed. Oh
my God, I bombed. I didn’t know what I was doing. Then they gave me a
chance to write feature stories, profile people, and I found my voice.
So, what came next? Three months later, we come back to San Luis
Obispo. We were house sitting for a former student of mine, who was my
age. I took the clips from my newspaper job in Indiana, and I went into
the Telegram-Tribune. They gave me a three-day trial. The city editor loved
my writing, and so he gave me a test. They give you a current events test,
and I was the only reporter there that could name all nine Supreme Court
justices. [laughter] So, I’m working at the Trib and continuing to write
screenplays on the side. They were terrible, just awful, and I was getting
more and more desperate with each. Until, finally, I gave up. Quit the
movie writing. And, that’s about the time that I heard about an opening
at the radio station. KVEC was looking for an afternoon host in the 2
to 4 p.m. timeslot. I went in for a meeting and they said, “We’ll get back
to you.” It took them forever, at least a couple of months, before I heard
anything. They offered me the job because I don’t think they could find
anyone else willing to work for $12,000 a year with no benefits.
Tell us about your first day. On the first day, I walked into the station and
they said, “The morning host just quit. You’re going to take over her show.”
I didn’t know anything about radio. Didn’t have any experience. So, I was >>
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 45
supposed to debut on January 6, 1992, but we had an ice storm the night
before and it knocked down the broadcast antenna. I tried not to take it as
a bad omen. It was the next day, January 7th—27 years ago now—that I
did my first show. Rick Martel, the KSBY anchor that I had impersonated
for the comedy routine I talked about earlier, was my first guest. It was
actually a pretty decent show. I was so nervous, but did okay. The very next
day, I came back in and just stunk it up. The second show was awful. I had
a woman on who was a clown, followed by some people who talked about
the estuary. It was so bad. But, it was a good lesson because to this day, my
show is as good as anything in the country or it’s so bad that even I’m not
listening to it. Those early experiences allowed me to find my voice, learn
where we can shift gears, and carry the program when necessary.
And, the most memorable day in the broadcast booth? That would be
the day that Alex Madonna died, probably 13 or 14 years ago now. It was
a Thursday. I canceled everything. So, I called this woman up who I had
scheduled to have on as a guest, and I said, “I’m sorry, but I need to cancel
you today because the guy that built the Madonna Inn, Alex Madonna,
just passed away, and we’re going to talk about that instead.” And she
says, “Well, that’s not going to take up the whole four hours, is it?” I said,
“You know what, I think it is.” Sure enough, I spent about 20 minutes
talking about him and what he meant to me, and then I just sat there for
four hours, and I took phone calls. And at 4:19 or 4:20, Phyllis Madonna,
Alex’s wife, calls in. It was probably my best moment of radio, because
what I did was absolutely nothing. I just kind of sat back and I let her talk,
and she was grieving, and she was anguished, and it was raw, and she was
crying, but she was listening to all the tributes that people were giving.
It was incredibly moving. I kept her on until the hard news break at the
bottom of the hour, and I thanked her, and left it at that. That’s the moment.
What have you learned about yourself along the way? I’ve learned that
I’m doing the job I was meant to do. This is the job I was meant to do. I
was meant to be a radio host. I think I’m never going to win the Peabody
Award or be an NPR correspondent, but I think for local radio, which is
the mission of, to me, radio, to be local, that’s why the FCC set up radio
stations, we’re supposed to serve the community. It’s a real honor for me
to do this and to keep local radio alive. And, at the same time, I think I do
okay with it, and that’s a gift. Not many people get to do the job they were
meant to do.
How would you describe what you do on air? I’m not the community
cheerleader. I won’t go out and do a remote [broadcast] from the blood
bank. I don’t like doing those. That’s not me. I like being in my studio
with my microphone. I’m the watchdog. The show is what matters. My
job is to kind of help keep an eye on things and to give a voice to people.
H.L. Mencken said, “The role of the media is to afflict the comfortable >>
46 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
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graham @ ccreslo.com
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3196 South Higuera Suite D, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
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FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 47
and comfort the afflicted.” That’s me. Nothing gives me more joy than
giving someone an hour. I’m not claiming that it changes anything, but
at least they have the satisfaction that somebody listened to them. Take,
for example, this guy, who works at an auto parts store. Through me, we’ve
created this persona, Conservative Bob, and he comes in multiple times
a year, and he sounds off on the issues of the day, and he is so grateful for
that opportunity. And he’s good for me because he gets phone calls. I can’t
force people to listen, but I’m striving for what we call “driveway radio.”
That’s a show that is so good that you are willing to sit in your driveway to
listen to the end of it after your commute home.
What does the future hold for you? Well, I’m 65. I’d like to do the show
for at least another five years. Then, we’ll see. Right now, I’m looking for
calmer waters. I’m coming off a very rough four years. From November
2014 to November 2018, I’ve had six eye surgeries. I had a detached retina,
and they reattached it, which I’m grateful for, but they weren’t able to
really do anything for the left eye. On top of that: shingles, bilateral hernia,
diverticulitis, 18 days in the hospital. Charlotte and I had an amicable
divorce after 27 years of marriage, but it still hurts. Moved into a new
house. My station, KVEC, was bought by American General Media. My
dog was killed by a neighbor’s dog while I was in the hospital. And, I was
hit by a car. All that in four years. Not looking for a pity party, but it’s been
a tough run and, like I said, I’m ready for some calmer waters. And, life is
good. I’ve been able to do some traveling recently and I’m writing again.
Maybe for my final phase I’ll become a travel writer, who knows?
What are you writing these days? It’s back to screenplays. So, for the
last five, six years, I’ve been trying to get a movie made called “Seven
Sisters.” One thing I have learned over the years, is that you should write
about what you know. Those first few screenplays I wrote were all turkeys
because I was going for the big idea. “Authors Anonymous,” on the other
hand, was about me and my experiences. Most of what happened in that
movie actually happened to me. “Seven Sisters” is about a guy in San
Luis Obispo, who overcomes personal grief by taking up hiking, and he
48 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
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“Don’t ever give up on your dream, because there’s no
better feeling in the world than catching a dream.”
hikes the Seven Sisters. It starts off as a comedy, but then takes a whole
unexpected turn. That’s sort of my valentine to San Luis, because this is
my home and I don’t know that I can leave; I’ll always stay here. So, I’m
trying to get that made. Now I’m working with Hallmark on some TV
movies. Last January, we pitched this murder mystery, and we finally heard
back yesterday that they want to know more. They sat on it for a year. It
took eight years for “Authors Anonymous” to be made. It’s just hurry up
Okay, Dave, just like you do with guests on your show as you approach
the top of the hour, I’m going to ask you: Any final thoughts? I don’t
know. I like the guy I’m becoming. To survive everything I did these last
four years, I know people have it a lot worse, but I went through a lot.
But having survived it, I kind of rebuilt myself. I think I’m mellower on
the radio. I think I’m friendlier to people. I think I have a more positive
outlook. I’m traveling. I’m in a positive relationship. I made a point in the
last year of reaching out to both of my brothers. We’re closer now than
we’ve ever been. Just thinking back to all those years ago and the decision
to move to San Luis. So, now I go around to speak to these different
writers’ groups in California and I tell people, “Don’t ever give up on
your dream, because there’s no better feeling in the world than catching
a dream.” SLO LIFE
50 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
Your new favorite place
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䰀 漀 挀 愀 氀 䔀 琀 栀 椀 挀 愀 氀 䨀 攀 眀 攀 氀 爀 礀 匀 椀 渀 挀 攀 㤀 㜀 㐀
䘀 甀 氀 氀 匀 攀 爀 瘀 椀 挀 攀
䌀 甀 猀 琀 漀 洀 Ⰰ 一 攀 眀 Ⰰ ☀ 䔀 猀 琀 愀 琀 攀 䨀 攀 眀 攀 氀 爀 礀
㐀 ☀ 㠀 䜀 愀 爀 搀 攀 渀 匀 琀 ⸀ 䐀 漀 眀 渀 琀 漀 眀 渀 匀 䰀 伀
㠀 㔀 ⸀ 㔀 㐀 アパート⸀ 㠀 㠀 㘀 ⴀ 眀 眀 眀 ⸀ 䜀 愀 爀 搀 攀 渀 匀 琀 爀 攀 攀 琀 䜀 漀 氀 搀 猀 洀 椀 琀 栀 猀 ⸀ 挀 漀 洀
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 51
BY PADEN HUGHES
Delight. There is a lot parents will do
to coax a look of delight from our
children. I think of all the times
we’ll attempt a silly dance, cheer as
our little ones jump from the couch
into a pile of pillows, or, in my case,
watch the movie “Frozen” for the
thousandth time. But, at the end of the day, it’s always
worth it, and we keep coming back for more, because
witnessing our children engage in a world full of magic
and miracles is just as thrilling to us, the big kids, as it is
to them. Their joy is our joy.
One of the best local spots guaranteed to fill my daughter
with glee is the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum.
Originally opened in 1990, the museum reopened in 2008
after a three-year $5 million remodel, resulting in the
world-class facilities it offers today. With a combination
of permanent and temporary exhibits, the museum
continually offers fresh inspiration to learn through play.
For parents and children alike, it’s true: the minute you
step into the museum, it lights up your imagination.
Recently, my family and I spent the day exploring the
three levels of the museum. The first floor is more science
focused, the second floor emphasizes creativity, and the
third floor is designed specifically for toddlers.
Our exploration began with a hands-on exhibit called the
“Augmented Reality Sandbox,” which comes complete
with kinesthetic sand that holds its form as you shape it
into whatever your imagination can conjure. If you can
manage to morph it into a single letter, the projector
above will scan the hand-made typography and respond
by changing the color of its light. It was something that
can only be described as magic.
The next long stop for my daughter, Kennedy, came at
the backlit multicolored pegboard. As she began working
away on her creation, a man who I guessed to be in his
eighties, also got busy spelling out the word, “Hi.” It was
fascinating to see the two generations equally mesmerized
by the exhibit, each bringing their own experiences and
creativity to the empty canvas. The notion that creativity
flows no matter our age was on full display.
As we made our way upstairs, it quickly became
apparent it was going to be our favorite. Every corner
of the floor was designed as if it were on the set of
“Sesame Street,” a scene made for kids to step into
and make their own. From a diner equipped with a
kid-sized kitchen and plastic foods to sell, to a doctor’s
office, to a theatrical stage, to a rock climbing wall, to
the ever-popular fire truck, to the police motorcycle, it
was endless fun seeing what would unfold behind the
Without a doubt, the highlight of Kennedy’s trip was
playing with the make-believe fruit and vegetables
organized in bins as if it were a roadside farm stand
in Edna Valley. I not-so-successfully attempted to
contain my pride as she named each piece of fruit and
vegetable in her cart, then passed the produce out to
the other kids playing nearby and encouraged them
to make dinner. The cycle repeated as she refilled the
shopping carts to the point they were overflowing,
restocked the bins, and then started all over again. We
spent almost an hour playing with the plastic produce,
and she was in heaven.
With just ten minutes to go until closing time, we
finally made our way up to the third floor and spent
those last moments with the toddler train. Just as I
thought the outing could not have possibly gotten
better, it did as she climbed
aboard and pretended to be
the conductor. She mostly
loved yanking on the string
that operated the whistle,
which rang out in the same
way we have come to expect
from the Amtrak that
passes by our home daily.
As the museum closed
and we made our way out
the front door, I knew the
day was a success when
my daughter proclaimed,
“So fun!” SLO LIFE
PADEN HUGHES is
co-owner of Gymnazo
and enjoys exploring
the Central Coast.
52 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
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FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 53
The past, present, and future come together in a post-war
bungalow on the north end of San Luis Obispo.
54 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 55
It was supposed to just be one semester,
some time away from the icy, cold hustle
and bustle of Boston. The traffic was getting
out of hand, and the near constant state
of commuting between his office at the
university and his private practice was,
frankly, getting old. Yes, it is fair to say that
Terry Heinlein needed a break.
After a quick trip through California the
previous year, there was one thought that
would not leave his mind as he stared through
the frosty windshield at the bumper inching
forward ahead of him: San Luis Obispo. He
tells the story about flying into Los Angeles—
or was it San Francisco?—then driving up, or
down, Highway 101 and exiting for a break
midway. “I fell in love immediately,” recalls
Heinlein. Although an East Coaster all the
way through, who was born in Washington,
D.C. and had roots firmly planted within the
orbit of go-go Beantown, he found something
that he had been missing right here on the
Central Coast. “People here are so nice. I don’t >>
56 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 57
ever want to go back to Boston. [laughter] I love being
here. It’s very different. San Luis is a different place.
It’s a great town.”
With a lively private practice as an architect
specializing in restorations, additions, and
renovations of historic buildings, Heinlein was busy.
If that was not enough, he was also teaching his craft
to eager students at the University of Pennsylvania
and Boston Architectural College, including taking
on various levels of administrative roles, as well.
It was during a particularly hectic day toggling
between clients and students that he caught wind
of something that he needed to do. Cal Poly was
searching for a visiting professor to teach in its
architecture department for a semester. Figuring that
was exactly what he needed to recharge his batteries,
Heinlein along with his wife, Andrea, and their son
headed off to San Luis Obispo for what was to be a
four-month sojourn. Except it wasn’t.
One semester quickly became nine. The weeks and
months melted away as if they were icicles holding on
during a warm spring afternoon; no one noticed. The
Heinleins settled into a new life on the Central Coast
and found its unique culture, the SLO Life, suited
them just fine. But, they were never able to entirely
leave the East Coast behind, as Heinlein logged many
hours on a plane for meetings with clients, and there
were so many family ties on the other side of the
country. At some point after those nine semesters,
reality set in and the family moved back to whence it
came but, as Heinlein noted during this part of the >>
58 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 59
etelling of the story, “Always with the idea that we’d
The hold-downs in Boston began to loosen their grip
in 2006 and allowed for a homecoming of sorts. But,
as it turned out, the real estate market was white hot.
Nothing was available for a price that penciled out for
the Bostonians, so they sat on the sidelines until the
Great Recession made its way to the Central Coast.
There, perched atop a hillside overlooking the north
end of town, the Heinleins stumbled upon a 1940s
vintage two-bed, one-bath shoebox of a house. The
little cottage was one of many occupying Tassajara
Drive, originally built by Cal Poly as faculty housing
after World War II when that part of town had
more Holsteins in residence than humans. With an
abundance of sunshine, an oversized lot, and friendly
neighbors, the East Coasters began the process of
becoming West Coasters.
Winding things down in Boston would take some
time, and some planning, so the house was rented to
a Cal Poly professor for the next eight or nine years.
During that period, the architect took on some new
clients: his wife and himself. As the couple envisioned
what they felt to be important for their next chapter
of life together, they laid out their priorities: family,
community, and sunshine; lots of California sunshine.
The design began taking shape, and because his >>
60 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
We believe in leading by example and
going the extra mile. Please join us in
supporting the Green Business Network
and proving it’s possible to combine
sustainable, net-zero solutions, and social
equity in business. TOGETHER we can do
Rachel places our new Green Business decal in our Marsh St. office window.
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 61
specialty was restoring old buildings to their former
glory, Heinlein was the perfect choice for the project.
While the city’s stamp of approval was still wet,
Heinlein enlisted the help of Don Chaffin a Santa
Margarita-based builder, who the homeowner
describes as an “old school, great, terrific guy,” and
the vision began to materialize. While maintaining
the same basic structure at the front of the house,
two separate wings were added on which created a
courtyard. Previously, the lot had a significant slope,
but it was elevated and flattened with all of the soil
that was over-excavated to make way for the new
foundation. One wing now houses the guest quarters,
a one-bedroom, one-bathroom space with a separate
entrance, which features a forever rotating series of
kinfolk visiting the western branch of the Heinlein
family tree. The other wing serves as an extension of
the living space, including a family room and kitchen
separated only by a countertop and pass-through
window hemmed in by cabinets built by Green Goods
of San Luis Obispo.
Within a year, the project was complete. The only
thing left on the checklist is the installation of the
solar panels, which are going in soon. And, just like
the resurrected bungalow, Heinlein himself is on the
brink of a new beginning as he finishes up work for
clients, one in Boulder, Colorado, the other in Cape
Cod, and fully settles into his new hometown; the
magic happens—the professor knows—when the past,
present, and future come together as one. SLO LIFE
62 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
181 TANK FARM ROAD . SUITE 140 . SAN LUIS OBISPO . CA . 805-543-7600
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 63
| SLO CITY
BY THE NUMBERS
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 98.55%
Average # of Days on the Market 31
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
*Comparing 01/01/17 - 12/31/17 to 01/01/18 - 12/31/18
SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ®
64 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
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FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 65
You served us.
Now let us
Reasons to consider a VA loan for
your home purchase:
• Loan amounts up to $2M
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| SLO COUNTY
BY THE NUMBERS
Contact me today to learn more.
1212 Marsh St., Suite 1
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Paso (Inside City Limits)
Paso (North 46 - East 101)
Paso (North 46 - West 101)
Paso (South 46 - East 101)
© 2019 Opes Advisors, A Division of Flagstar Bank
Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender
San Luis Obispo
Available to eligible veterans. This is not a commitment to
lend. Program terms may vary based on the state or region in
which the financed property is located. Subject to credit approval,
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Important information will be provided in the disclosures you
receive after we have received your application and the loan
documents you are provided at loan closing.
66 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
*Comparing 01/01/17 - 12/31/17 to 01/01/18 - 12/31/18
32 91 $415,753
52 77 $722,606
54 53 $653,295
SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ®
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FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 67
Taking the Plunge
why cold is so hot
It was noon sharp on the first day of the New Year in Avila Beach when
hundreds of revelers simultaneously sprinted toward the frigid waters of
San Luis Bay. Screams and shouts of shock and exhilaration were heard as
contact was made with the frigid 55-degree Pacific, and it left us wondering
from our perch on the pier above: Is the Polar Bear Dip good for you? Turns
out it is.
If history can serve as a guide, as it often does, then there are many accounts of people
jumping into cold bodies of water for the sake of their health. The Chinese, as it
turns out, have been doing this for years. The ancient Romans had a similar practice.
There are accounts of various Native American tribes who would dive into an icy river
following a sweat session in a superheated teepee, sometimes called a sweat lodge. And
cold-weather countries, such as Finland and Russia, have their own traditions that
continue to this day.
Today, here in the States, many big-name athletes swear by the ice bath that follows a
tough game. And, the motivational speaker Tony Robbins
has become so enamored of the benefits that follow the
freezing dunk that he has reportedly built something called
a plunge pool at each of his seven homes. In the case with
Robbins, as with so many other practitioners, he starts by
first cranking up the heat in his sauna. Then, it’s on to the
shock of the cold. And, it’s that hot-cold combination that
appears to jolt our hormones and circulatory system into
We here at SLO LIFE Magazine became intrigued by the
whole concept and decided to dive (pun intended) into it
further with our decidedly non-scientific approach. Again,
we’re not doctors, and we’re not scientists, just curious
minds who like to know what is new and now in the world
of health. Here are a few things we learned… >>
68 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 69
GEE, THAT’S SWELL
There’s that word again, inflammation. As research continues to show
up demonstrating that the root cause of so many of the diseases that
afflict modern-day human beings have their roots in chronically
inflamed bodies, the fix would seem simple: reduce inflammation. And,
that is precisely what a cold plunge does. The concept is no different
than applying an ice pack to a sprained ankle. What does that do
exactly? It reduces the swelling. And, what is swelling? It’s just another
word for inflammation. Think of jumping into the ocean without a
wetsuit as dipping your whole self into a big, huge ice pack. The result:
Those long, hot showers that Americans have adopted as a daily
practice may be doing a number on our skin, particularly those thin,
sensitive areas under our eyes known as “bags.” Some health and beauty
gurus swear by the cold shower, which is becoming en vogue with the
Hollywood set. It’s those bags under our eyes that make us look tired,
even when we are not. And, again, what causes those bags? Swelling.
And, what is swelling? Inflammation. Reduce inflammation, and you not
only become healthier, but you also become more beautiful. Win-Win.
In some circles, the cold plunge is referred to as cold thermogenesis and
may involve what the Russians call “dousing,” which traditionally was
done early in the morning and late in the day just before bedtime. The
reason: It lifts the mood. Think about those long, dark winters in the
upper reaches of the Northern Hemisphere. No sun. No trips out to Dog
Beach to let Fido run around while you soak in the rays. Depressing,
right? The effect on the mood appears to be significant, as the body
responds to the shock of the cold by releasing massive amounts of the
happiness hormones: endorphins and noradrenaline.
Cryotherapy is hot (um, we meant to say “cold”) and
appears here to stay. Already common in most big
cities, it may not be long before cryogenic centers start
to pop up here around the Central Coast. The person
receiving the therapy sits in a futuristic-looking tube
with their head sticking out of the top. Through the
use of liquid nitrogen, the air inside suddenly plunges
to -200 degrees Fahrenheit for a period of two to four
minutes. But, don’t worry, you’ll get the same benefits
from diving into the Pacific. And for free.
70 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
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YOGA FOR YOUR VESSELS
Alternating between cold and hot like Tony Robbins does by going to the sauna first before
taking a cold plunge appears to have an optimal effect on our circulatory system. In the most
simple terms, the heat causes our vessels to expand and open wide, while the cold prompts
them to tighten. This daily expansion and contraction routine strengthens the vessels and
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72 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
Aside from the endorphins and noradrenaline, there appears to be a cascade of beneficial
hormones that are released during a cold plunge. Although the research is scant in this
area, many practitioners describe a resetting of the endocrine system, which could mean
relief for hormone-related disorders. There have been some promising results documented
with metabolic disorders, such as Type 2 diabetes when it comes to insulin resistance
with one study finding a 43% increase in insulin sensitivity after participants switched
from taking a daily hot shower to a cold one for a period of six days. Just as when the old
PC starts getting wonky and acting up, a cold plunge may very well be the body’s way of
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FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 73
New and old purveyors offer an education in the ancient art of noodles.
BY JAIME LEWIS
n college, I probably ate my weight in ramen.
Each serving cost something like 19 cents and the
directions couldn’t be easier: place the hardened Icake of noodles into a bowl (or mug, or bike helmet, or...),
pour boiling water over to soften, and stir in the little pouch
of flavoring. Voila! Dinner is served.
Recently, ramen and other Asian noodle styles are trending
in American restaurants, but these aren’t the crusty pre-fab
packets from college days of yore. Like so many
other heritage foods, noodles have experienced
a renaissance in modern cuisine, transcending
humble origins to be obsessed over, played with,
and made unbelievably tasty.
Want to start slurping? Here in SLO County,
the options are plentiful. I visited just a few, both
new and not-so-new, to get my noodle on. >>
JAIME LEWIS writes about
food, drink, and the good
life from her home in San
Luis Obispo. Find her on
74 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
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FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 75
At Chef Paul Kwong’s pint-sized Chinese noodle house,
Mee Heng Low in downtown San Luis Obispo, the vibe
manages to be both vintage and deliciously contemporary.
Watercolors of the Buddha eating noodles line the walls,
and classical music pipes over the stereo.
Likely one of the oldest restaurants in town, Mee Heng
Low stands beside the Palm Theatre on Palm Street, one of
the best dinner-and-a-movie gigs going. The building dates
back to the turn of the 20th century, still boasting a sign
that reads “Chop Suey.”
“Chop suey was invented here for the U.S. palate,” says
Kwong, who was born into an English-Chinese family.
It’s a fusion style of cooking, he adds, not a specific dish.
“Traditionally, it’s served with rice, but rice was rich man’s
food. Noodles were poor man’s food. So we serve chop suey
with noodles, instead of rice.”
Kwong’s son, Russel, brings me a plate spread with
crispy, thin yellow noodles, topped with seasonal
vegetables. I’ve ordered the chow mein with chicken,
vegetables and ginger-soy sauce. (Kwong also serves lo
mein; mein refers to noodles while chow means “fried”
and lo means “tossed.”) I tug at the fried noodle cake
with chopsticks, the dish melding into a thick jumble
of noodles, cabbage, scallions, and sauce, and proceed to
wolf down the whole thing.
Three people at a neighboring table rise to leave. As
the door closes behind them, Kwong tells me the group
includes the owner of the nearby tai chi studio. “He comes
in all the time,” he says. I could get into tai chi and chow mein
every day, I think to myself. >>
76 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
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Whether you are looking for a quick bite or a leisurely
dining experience on our sunny downtown patio,
Mint + Craft is a convenient choice for fresh, highquality
foods and goods. The Mint Mercantile is
SLO’s best kept secret for foodie-inspired finds, hand
selected wines, and gift boxes for many occasions.
OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK FOR BREAKFAST,
LUNCH + DINNER
848 Monterey Street, downtown SLO | mintandcraft.com |
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 77
THE PURIST: SOBA
Just a few blocks away, Goshi offers a completely different sort
of ambiance. Set amid the sycamore trees behind The Creamery
complex, the Japanese eatery feels leafy and peaceful, a place
apart with paper lanterns and traditional music playing softly.
Most people visit Goshi for its sushi, including a Japanese friend
I bump into and two friends from the wine industry. Me? I’m
here for the soba, thin Japanese buckwheat noodles served in a
brothy soup called kitsune soba.
Borrowing the concept of noodles from neighboring China, the
people of Japan have eaten soba noodles since as far back as 300
B.C. A warm, comforting dish of soba, broth, and sweet-fried
tofu called abura-age, kitsune can also be ordered with ropy
wheat-flour noodles called udon.
The word kitsune means “fox” in Japanese, which I realize
refers to the amber color of the fried tofu in my bowl when
server Gustavo Santana places it before me. I add a few ruffles
of scallions and generously sprinkle the bowl with shichimi, a
red powder composed of chiles, spices, orange peel, seeds and
seaweed. Nutty and delicate at the top, the broth becomes richer
and more concentrated the more I slurp. Just over halfway
through my lunch, I am full.
When the check comes, I’m amazed at the total: just $8.45,
including tax, for one of the most satisfying and flavorful
lunches in SLO. >>
78 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
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FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 79
THE NOMAD: RAMEN
When Brian Terrizzi opened his pasta shop Etto last year, he had no idea he’d soon be
making ramen noodles right alongside bucatini and fettuccine. But the link between East
and West isn’t actually all that obscure.
“There’s a lot of debate about where pasta came from,” Terrizzi says. “Most experts think
it’s likely that Italians picked up pasta from travelers along the Silk Road, coming from
China.” Japan picked up ramen, too, and has developed its preparation into an artform.
So when Terrizzi’s Japanese-American friend, Anna Takahashi Gargani, suggested selling
ramen beside pasta, the idea didn’t feel so far-fetched. He and Gargani researched the
dish and eventually sourced ingredients to design a make-at-home kit to feed four people,
offered the first Thursday of every month. Since the program’s launch, ramen kits are
promoted via email and social media, and often sell out before the noodles are even made.
I pick up a kit to try composing ramen at home for my family on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Inside, it’s comprised of the noodles and pre-packaged servings of tare ( Japanese barbecue
sauce), shichimi, nori (dried seaweed), wood-ear mushrooms, scallions and Japanese candy
for a sweet ending. I follow the kit’s directions (including foolproof instructions for perfect
soft-boiled eggs to lay on top), and dish out a colorful, healthful, yet hearty lunch. Terrizzi
told me that each sip of the broth would become more and more concentrated, leading to
what he called an “umami-bomb,” and he is right. One twirl of precious, handmade noodles
begets another; each spoonful of broth grows successively meatier and more complex.
Best of all? My family gets to enjoy a veg-heavy lunch... and I get to take the credit.
80 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST, SLO,
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testimonies of healing and ideas shared on how
Christian Science is applied to every challenge in the
daily lives of our members. The laws of harmony and
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You will be inspired. Healing through prayer is possible.
Wednesday Testimony Meeting
Sunday Church Services
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FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 81
When preparing this dish, you’ll be hard-pressed
to wait until it’s finished simmering to get a taste
of the rich, flavorful gravy.
BY CHEF JESSIE RIVAS
82 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
This dish is great for dinner parties because you
can cook everything up to the 20-30 minute
simmer and then turn off the heat and cover
until your guests arrive. Keep warm in a 350
!degree oven covered and serve when ready.
6 - 8 pieces of bone-in chicken thighs, wings, or
drumsticks with excess skin and fat removed
1 cup flour for dredging
1 Tbs kosher salt
2 tsp table grind black pepper
1 Tbs canola oil
1 Tbs olive oil
2 oz dried porcini (optional)
16-20 oz pearl onions peeled and halved or 1 onion sliced
8-10 cloves garlic peeled and smashed with side of knife
3-4 sprigs of thyme
6-8 whole sage leaves
1 bay leaf
1 cup red wine
1 ½ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp ground allspice
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 cups cremini mushrooms cut in half
¼ cup rough chopped flat leaf parsley
Mix flour, salt and pepper for dredging. In a 12” deep
fry pan add both oil types and heat to medium high
heat. Dredge chicken in flour mixture and add to
fry pan one piece at a time. Sear to a golden brown
on both sides. Remove chicken and set aside. Drain
excess oil and add dried porcini mushroom, garlic,
onions and sauté on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add
chicken, herbs, red wine
and vinegar to fry pan.
Bring to a boil then add
chicken stock and reduce
to a simmer. Add allspice,
and cremini mushrooms.
Cook on low simmer for
20-30 minutes or until
sauce is reduced by half.
JESSIE RIVAS is the owner
and chef of The Pairing Knife
food truck which serves the
Serve with polenta or your
favorite mashed potatoes
and top with chopped
parsley. SLO LIFE
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 83
| WINE NOTES
Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre grape varietals—also known as GSMs—from the
Central Coast have received considerable recognition worldwide. Visitors arrive here
to sample them, and to meet their makers. Cabernet Sauvignon, on the other hand,
has been renowned in Napa and Bordeaux, but not traditionally here on the Central
Coast. That is starting to change, however, and the California Cab has been making
some noise in the industry as of late. The secret is out, but our local vintners have
known it for years. Brace yourself for homegrown Cabernet Sauvignon.
BY ANDRIA MCGHEE
Austin Hope // Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 // $50
What makes a Cab? On the vine, it is deep purple in color. A
relatively small grape, it features a tough skin, which puts up a
good fight to frost and also combats any rot that may appear in an
unexpected late rain. You can see why it can be a farmer’s favorite.
The vines grow in a warm environment where the hot sun will
urge the grapes to produce by day, while the cool night comes in to
create the deep complex flavors. The soil is often chalky, white, and
light brown dust. Your shoes will be dirty after a walk through the
vineyard. Sounds like Paso, right? This is where the good Cabs thrive.
This bottle from Austin Hope Wineries in Paso Robles was a treat
that a friend passed along to me when visiting my old hometown.
It made me proud to see such an example enjoyed by someone who
has yet to visit the vineyards here. It is made purely of Cabernet
Sauvignon. This is one of those bottles
that you uncork to drink with a hefty
steak, like a ribeye, and continue
enjoying while you visit with company
around the table after dinner.
In the glass, most Cabernet Sauvignons
will appear thick with a glowing ruby
red hue. This particular wine entices
with its deep cherry appearance. It’s
the phenols that come from the grape
skins, seeds, and stems that produce the
beautiful color. They can also take credit
for the complexity of taste as well as
for preserving a bottled wine over time.
The sight of that particular shade of red
makes anyone’s mouth water. >>
ANDRIA MCGHEE received
her advanced degree in
wines and spirits from
WSET in London and enjoys
travel, food, wine, and
exercise as a means to enjoy
those around her.
84 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
HOME TO EDNA VALLEY’S MOST
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FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 85
Edna Valley Winery // Meritage 2015 // $40
Cabernet Sauvignon tastes great on its own and also plays
together well with other grape types. Have you ever seen the word
“Meritage?” Look for it when you are shopping because it means
that a winemaker was having even more fun than usual. You can
almost substitute the word Meritage for “mixture” or “blend”
because it means that it will consist of two or more red grape
varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot,
among others. Why these grapes in particular? They are the grapes
that have been blended in the Bordeaux region of France for so
many years to enhance the flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Edna Valley Winery has a great example of Meritage right here on
the Central Coast. The first taste conjures a bing cherry, as well as
a slight hint of raspberry and blueberry. Though it’s easy to get a
“hot mouth”—the burning sensation that sometimes accompanies
alcohol of deep red wines—it will not happen here. Instead, you get
the pleasure of a smooth, velvety texture. It has such an elegant taste
that it could be paired with a meaty braised short rib, or on its own
as you linger late into the night with a special group of pals.
Even without wine critics to tell us how great the Cabs are, we
can simply taste it for ourselves. The recognition for all of the hard
work that our region has done in the last 15 to 20 years in wine is
lovely indeed. The upcoming 2016 vintage (remember, these wines
take a couple of years to debut) in Cabernet Sauvignon is already
creating quite a buzz, so keep your eyes and taste buds ready for
more exquisite, homegrown deep red Cabs in your future.
Ancient Peaks // Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 // $18
Early picked Cab can taste faintly of green vegetables: asparagus
or green bell pepper. Picked too late and it can carry the flavor of
a heavy, jammy fruit explosion. A mid-range Cabernet Sauvignon
should taste velvety and smooth with flavor colors of brick red and
deep blue, reminiscent of late harvest dark cherries, blackberries,
and blueberries. You may even detect some different spices, such as
cedar, and sometimes vanilla.
Ancient Peaks is as impressive in taste as it is in price. Cabs are
known for being expensive, so enjoy this one on a weeknight in
with a grilled eggplant dish or a robust stew. No question here,
you don’t have to wait for a fancier occasion—be here now, in the
moment. Savor the lasting echoes of blackberries with this Cab
along with some faint, woody tones of a distant campfire. SLO LIFE
86 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
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FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 87
BY BRANT MYERS
Folks, we’re being robbed blind right in
front of our eyes. That’s right, someone is
taking precious beer from us. And what
is beer but liquid gold? I hope I have
your attention because this epidemic
needs to stop. Let me dive into the
highly contentious topic: the pint glass.
The ubiquitous Shaker Pint glass,
widely used in bars and restaurants
to serve everything from ice water to iced tea, is being used
to serve your beer. My beer better come with free refills if this
maddening practice continues! Okay, I need to calm down and
start at the beginning. For those of you that are not calling your
congressperson, taking to the streets in protest, and burning malt
bags on the steps of the Capitol like myself, the Shaker Pint
is something you have seen a thousand times, but likely never talked about. It’s
a simple conical glass with straight walls and a taper of about one inch from the
wide mouth at the top to the narrow bottom a half-foot later. A self-proclaimed
“American Pint,” the Shaker gets its name from the original use, as a vessel to pop
into a stainless steel cocktail shaker then open slightly to drain into a cocktail glass.
So, how did a bar utensil become a serving vessel? Well, like many of our antiquated
liquor laws still on the books, this piece of work is a holdover from Prohibition
where most small breweries serving beer in traditional glassware specific to their
country of origin went bankrupt. Traditional small German and Belgian breweries
serving tulips, half-pints, and mugs went belly-up, and the only breweries remaining
after the repeal were the mass manufacturers of the fizzy yellow stuff that is still
being made to this day. Afterward, very few customers cared about what they were
drinking and how they were drinking it once the bars reopened, so any glass was
tolerated. Bar owners liked the new Shaker Pint due to its sturdy sidewalls, low
cost, and especially the ability to stack them high, which increased bar space. Fast >>
88 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
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FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 89
forward 90 years, and we are still stuck with these abominations
of proper glassware. Politics may have changed, but bars and
restaurants still see the bottom line with a catch-all glass that’s
cheap, sturdy, and stackable.
Now that we have some background let me return to my rant
regarding this highway robbery. What does the Shaker Pint take
from us? The first act of theft: enjoyment. Any thick glass will
instantly begin to transfer the ambient warmth of the glass itself
into your beer while simultaneously removing the cold from the
beer to chill the glass—basic heat transference principles at work
(and, if you think the Shaker gets me riled up, ask me about
chilled/frosted glasses). The second element of theft is that wideopen
mouth at the top of your glass. Where is the head retention
for the foam, the place where all the aromatics play for your
enjoyment with every quaff? That beer may have a thin line of
white stuff on top resembling a 7th grader’s mustache when it’s
set down on your table, but take one sip, and it’s gone. So now
you have a warm, flat beer beginning from the moment it was
poured. Aroma, mouthfeel, carbonation, temperature—all gone
thanks to the larcenous Shaker Pint.
Now, for the last, and worst, theft of our liquid gold reserves: the
beer itself. You see, as opposed to a 20-ounce British Imperial
Pint (more on that in a minute) the Shaker is 16 ounces, which
is the proper U.S. liquid pint amount, so what is the issue here?
Well, friends, you’re getting a 14-ounce pour into that glass to
account for the fleeting foam in addition to the room at the top
to make sure nothing spills while it’s getting to you. That’s twelve
percent of your “pint” gone because of this antiquated mixer
carried forward from nearly a century ago. Please don’t serve my
food on a floor tile, my wine in an old pickle jar, or my beer in a
You see, the proper pint is one served in a 20-ounce glass. Order
a bourbon barrel-aged stout, fruited sour, or double IPA and you
should get a smaller pour in a tulip glass, but order a pint and
you’ll want the best vessel your money can rent. My opinion on
the best pint glass is one commonly called a Nonic; it has a thin
sidewall for temperature retention that has been strengthened
with a slight bulge to trap aroma and comes with the added
benefit of acting as a grip for when you’ve had a few. You can
pour 16 ounces into them all day, have a nice thick foam layer,
and still leave a little gap to keep the bar dry. The tops are also
less prone to chipping hence the “no-nick” name, and they stack
Sure, I have Shaker Pint glasses at
home, my guests use them all the
time for their water, and my toddler
loves his juice with the fun brewery
designs on the outside. Would I ever
drink a beer out of them? Well, you
can pry a Nonic glass out of my calm,
temperature-correct, frugal hands
because at least I’ll die happy with
twelve percent more beer in my belly.
So, next time you order a beer,
remember to stand on the bar top and
begin your chant: “No Shaker! Nonic!”
What could go wrong?
BRANT MYERS is a 13-year
veteran of the Central Coast
craft beer industry who
enjoys sharing his passion
with anyone who doesn’t
put an orange in their
90 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
No matter what your fortunes are,
Dr. Daniel will give you the smile you need
to make your dreams come true!
Specializing in Smiles
Dr. Daniel Orthodontics
1356 Marsh Street . San Luis Obispo
(805) 543-3105 . drdanielortho.com
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 91
PLEIN AIR PAINTING
Morro Bay Art Association
is proud to present renowned,
local artist, Ken Christensen,
for a two-day workshop.
Christensen is a classic, on-site
landscape painter influenced
by French Impressionists and
February 8-9 //
The more than 50 dancers of one of
Russia’s foremost ballet companies
imbue vibrant performances with the
timeless tradition of classical Russian
ballet. This full-scale production of
composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovski’s
crown jewel is sumptuous in its scope,
featuring choreography by Russia’s
legendary Marius Petipa.
February 10 // operaslo.org
Weekly comedy show at
Bang the Drum Brewery
featuring touring and local
comics all for one dollar.
Plus beer, food truck, and
February 7 - 28 //
Robert Thies brings the perfect balance
of drama and lyricism needed for
Beethoven’s Piano Concerto #4. He then
takes you on a tender and introspective
journey with Debussy’s Girl With The
Flaxen Hair to which the artworks of the
evening are beautifully choreographed.
Orchestra Novo, led by Michael Nowak,
will also be performing Aaron Copland’s
delight-filled and romantic Appalachian
February 10 // orchestranovo.com
MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET
This Tony Award-nominated musical
is inspired by the legendary recording
session on December 4, 1956, when an
extraordinary twist of fate brought Johnny
Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and
Elvis Presley together at Sun Records
in Memphis for what would be one of
the greatest jam sessions ever. In this
blockbuster musical experience, the actors
play the instruments, sing the songs and
take on the characters of these four icons
of popular music. Million Dollar Quartet
brings that legendary December night
to life with an irresistible tale of broken
promises, secrets, betrayal, and hit songs
like Blue Suede Shoes, Walk the Line,
Sixteen Tons, Hound Dog, and Great
Balls of Fire. Celebrate the kings of rock
‘n roll at our Million Dollar Gala Night
on Friday, February 15th. Enjoy a preshow
reception featuring generous hors
d’oeuvres, martinis and wonderful Central
February 8 – March 10 // slorep.org
92 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
Noname (born Fatimah Warner) is
an American artist from Chicago,
Illinois, who blurs the lines of
poetry and rap through the music
she creates. Noname released her
debut project entitled “Telefone”
which was 3 years in the making
and highly anticipated by fans and
media alike. Instantly the project
gained critical acclaim with a rave
review by Pitchfork and landing
her praise from major outlets like
Rolling Stones, Complex, and Dazed
& Confused. Special Guest Elton
will open the show.
February 20 // eventbrite.com
Join music director Scott Yoo for an encore
presentation of his Notable Encounter
exploring Bach’s second partita for solo
violin. He will take you on a one-hour
tour behind this masterpiece for the violin,
which has been dubbed the “Everest” of
the violin repertoire. He will discuss Bach’s
life, the historical context of the work, and
will offer his own perspectives on learning
and playing the piece. Scott will conclude
the evening with a full performance of the
entire Violin Partita.
February 21 // festivalmozaic.com
SENIOR DISCOUNT . Mon & Tues 10 to 2 . $15
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(805)783-2887 . clippersbarber.com
Dr. Arnie Horwitz
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SLO CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL
Celebrate the brewers of craft beer
and raise a toast to their unique and
wonderful creations. Enjoy special
beer and food pairings as well as
educational beer seminars.
February 22 - 23 // slo-beer-fest.com
WE SHALL OVERCOME
Inspired by the words and actions of Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. and curated by
musical director, multi-instrumentalist,
composer and conductor Damien Sneed,
We Shall Overcome showcases a repertoire
from across the African-American music
traditions that electrified generations
of civil rights activists and defenders.
Interwoven with spoken word from Dr.
King’s recorded speeches, an awe-inspiring
assemblage of vocalists tie together a living
lineage of music and culture that includes
traditional gospel, modern gospel, classical,
jazz, Broadway and spirituals.
February 27 // pacslo.org
Join us for the greatest
jam session in history!
FEB 8 – MAR 10
Wed-Sun@7 pm / Sat-Sun@2 pm
San Luis Obispo Repertory Theatre
888 Morro Street, San Luis Obispo
slorep.org • 805.786.2440
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 93
ART AFTER DARK
Art After Dark is a free evening of art,
community, and culture! Enjoy this selfguided
tour of galleries and non-traditional
art venues (think salons, jewelers, museums,
etc.) showcasing the work of local visual,
literary and performing artists. Held the first
Friday of the month in downtown San Luis
Obispo and surrounding neighborhoods.
March 1 // eartsobispo.org
Head to the SLO Botanical Garden
and explore the art of pine needle
basket weaving in the Oak Glen
Pavilion. Artist Elizabeth Bear will
guide attendees through the process
of creating beautiful, fragrant and
sustainable pieces of artwork at
this intimate workshop. “A basket
reflects the person who makes it…
There’s no machine that can make a
basket,” states Ms. Bear. Just bring
sharp scissors, imagination and a
bagged lunch, as Ms. Bear provides
all materials as well as her masterful
insight. Each participant will make
their own basket and start a second
basket to complete at home. This
intimate workshop also includes a
lecture on sustainable harvesting
and tree kindness.
March 2 // eventbrite.com
94 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
HOPE FOR THE HOMELESS
Sponsors, raffle donors and teams
are needed for our 5th Annual Hope
for the Homeless Golf Tournament
presented by Pismo Beach Golf
Course. All proceeds from this event
support the efforts of the 5Cities
Homeless Coalition to transform lives
for individuals and families who are
homeless or at risk of homelessness in
South County. Register your 5-player
team online or complete and return
a 2019 Player Registration Form no
later than February 22.
March 2 // 5chc.org
THE MISEDUCATION OF THE AMERICAN ELITE
SLO Classical Academy will host William Deresiewicz, the best-selling author
of “Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a
Meaningful Life.” As a professor at Yale, Deresiewicz saw something that troubled
him deeply. Some of the nation’s brightest minds were adrift when it came to
thinking critically and creatively and finding a sense of purpose. “Excellent Sheep”
takes a sharp look at the high-pressure conveyor belt that culminates in the skewed
applications Deresiewicz saw firsthand as a member of Yale’s admissions committee.
It is essential, says Deresiewicz, that college be a time for self-discovery, when
students can establish their own values and measures of success.
March 7 // sloclassical.org
First Presbyterian Church is committed
to expressing our love of God through
First Service: 8:45am
Education Hour: 10am
Second Service: 11am
981 Marsh Street
(corner of Marsh and Morro)
FEB/MAR 2019 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 95
PACIFIC COAST CLASSICS:
BIG SUR INSPIRATIONS
An evening to change the way you think about classical music
with electric violinist Tracy Silverman. The evening will also
feature Schumann’s No. 4—a widely interpreted piece, frequently
subjected to modifications in tempo, orchestration, and expression
by conductors; making every live performance of the piece a unique
experience. And enjoy a tribute to the Central Coast with Dharma,
which features a huge range of percussion instruments, including
a set of tuned gongs, keyboard samplers, and even two flower pots
composed by Pulitzer Prize-winner John Adams.
March 9 // slosymphony.org
CAYUCOS SEA GLASS FESTIVAL
As one of the premier events on the
Central Coast, visitors come from all over
the country to enjoy a weekend of local
artisan goods, fun in the sun, live music,
and of course an extensive marketplace
of the finest sea glass art. Whether a sea
glass fan or someone looking to learn
about this world-wide hobby, the festival
has something for everyone.
March 9 // cayucosseaglass.com
LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO
No group is more closely identified with African song—some might say with world
music itself—than this vibrant South African nine-member vocal ensemble. Since
1987, when they were introduced to mainstream America with the release of Paul
Simon’s groundbreaking Graceland album, these African troubadours have traveled
the world with the uplifting, polyrhythmic harmonies of their homeland. The
group has won five Grammy Awards, including one this year for Best World Music
Album for their recent Shaka Zulu Revisted release.
March 12 // pacslo.org
SAN LUIS OBISPO
Film, wine, fun—The San Luis
Obispo International Film Festival
will once again attract stars,
great films, and film and wine
enthusiasts to the Central Coast
of California, as it celebrates its
25th annual festival. A premier
six-day annual event, the SLOIFF
showcases contemporary and classic
film screenings in a wide variety
of venues, from the city’s classic
art deco Fremont Theatre, to the
popular independent Palm Theatre,
as well as a number of unexpected
venues from the wine country of
Paso Robles to the seaside towns of
Avila Beach and Pismo Beach.
March 12 - 17 // slofilmfest.org
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MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT!
This outrageous musical comedy is lovingly ripped off from the film
classic, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” with script by original Python
Eric Idle and music and lyrics by the Grammy Award-winning team of
Idle and John Du Prez. Follow the tale of King Arthur and his Knights of
the Round Table as they embark on their quest. Flying cows, killer rabbits,
taunting Frenchmen, and bright, show-stopping musical numbers are just a
few of the reasons audiences worldwide are eating up Spamalot!
March 14 // pacslo.org
Once a year Paso Robles toasts our heritage variety, Zinfandel. The 3-day
celebration features winery events, a Zin seminar, and the Z After Party, pairing
Zin with dessert and live jazz.
March 24 // pasowine.com
98 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019
15TH ANNUAL MARCH
The Cal Poly Triathlon Team is hosting
the 15th annual March Triathlon Series
at Lopez Lake in Arroyo Grande. All
proceeds from the event go directly to
the team to help provide athletes with
discounted race entries and travel fees
to other collegiate races throughout
California, as well as Collegiate
Nationals. Online registration closes
March 21 and is open to anyone over 13
March 24 // marchtriathlonseries.com
ART SHOW & SALE
The nationally renowned 29th art show
and sale will be held at the Paso Robles
Event Center. This show offers all original
art that has not been displayed at the show
before. This highly successful national show
includes 50 extremely talented professional
western artists. All the artists will be
available to meet and talk to the public
during all hours of the show. Don’t miss the
Friday Night Reception or the Cattlemen’s
BBQ Saturday and Sunday. Proceeds go
to sponsor agricultural activities for 4-H,
FFA, and Cal Poly.
March 29 -31
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starts with Haven Properties.
For generations, people have turned to Better Homes &
Gardens for guidance on how to live the lives of their
dreams. From skyline to shoreline and everything in
between, Haven Properties is here to help you find the
perfect home in which to bring those dreams to life.
100 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2019