SLO LIFE FebMar2021

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SLOmagazine

UPCOMING

EVENTS

LOCAL

TASTE

HEALTH

TRENDS

NOW

HEAR

THIS

NEWS

BRIEFS

SEASO

FEB/MAR 2021

SLOLIFEMAGAZINE.COM

FAVO

ON THE

LIFE

TRAL COAST

AL ESTATE

TAKING IN

HE VIEW

BREW

HOPS

INE

OTES

STUDENT

SPOTLIGHT

IMELINE

MEET

ART DOMINGUEZ JR

FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 1


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2 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


M O D E R N • C L A S S I C • J E W E L R Y

1 1 2 8 G A R D E N S T R E E T S A N L U I S O B I S P O W W W . B A X T E R M O E R M A N . C O M

FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 3


THANK

YOU.

Thank you for wearing face coverings, maintaining physical

distancing, washing hands thoroughly, staying home when

feeling ill and using SLO Transit for essential travel only.

Thank you SLO for preserving the health and wellness of our

community. We appreciate you.

4 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


IT’S TIME TO THINK DIFFERENTLY

LIVE BETTER. LEAVE A LEGACY.

William Henry Crew III, CA Insurance License #0B17626 is a Registered Representative with and securities and advisory services offered

through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Financial Planning offered through Crew Wealth Management,

a registered investment advisor and separate entity of LPL Financial.

FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 5


CONTENTS

Volume

20

22

24

12

Number 1

Feb/Mar 2021

28

Briefs

View

Q&A

MEET YOUR

NEIGHBOR

10

PUBLISHER’S

MESSAGE

12

14

16

18

Info

Sneak Peek

In Box

Timeline

6 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021

26

NOW HEAR THIS


Destination

If ever a walk-up

Downtown

flower stand has achieved

cult status, Open Air Flowers

on Osos Street certainly qualifies.

With a stunning array of fresh

flowers, their friendly curbside

service has been a fixture

in SLO for over 30 years.

#sanluisobispocollection

Lauren Boudreau is a floral designer

who grew up in San Luis Obispo.

She loves working and hanging out dowtown

and her favorite flower is the blue thistle.

Court Street • Monterey Street • Downtown Centre

WORLD-CLASS AND LOCALLY OWNED BRANDS IN THE HEART OF SAN LUIS OBISPO

FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 7


| CONTENTS

58

62

Real Estate

Health

68

TASTE

74

WINE NOTES

38

ARTIST

40 Explore

42

On the Rise

78

Brew

44

Dwelling

82 Happenings

8 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


Make the New Normal

Better.

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FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 9


| PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE

After a long walk home from school, I would drop my backpack and Dukes of Hazzard lunch pail at the end of

our driveway and scoop up the sun-bleached red, white, and blue basketball hidden in the flower bed.

The concrete was cracked and uneven, bent in the shape of a crescent moon. Shots taken from the right side of

the key were from the lawn. Shots from the left were not possible unless you scaled the juniper bush, which was

sometimes required during a heated game of HORSE.

Shooting jumpers was the equivalent of Transcendental Meditation for me. With each snap of the net, I fell

deeper into cosmic consciousness, forgetting more and more of whatever my sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Rudig,

said about grammar that day—subjects and predicates.

Invariably, my neighbor across the street, the one who was always working on his truck, Donny Dilbeck, would walk up as he polished off the last of his

drink—a yellow can marked with only four capital letters: “BEER.” Wiping his mouth with the back of his band-aided hand, he’d ask the same question

he always asked. “Hey, Tommy, how ‘bout some one-on-one?”

He was quicker than me, and stronger too, but he was short with stubby limbs. And, while his cowboy boots gave him an extra inch or two, they were

also his Achilles heel. It didn’t take me long to figure out how to steer him toward grease spots left behind by our oil-hemorrhaging Volkswagen

Vanagon. Every time, he would slip, which gave me an opening for an easy steal. That’s when he’d cry out with indignation: “Foul!”

It’s an unspoken basketball norm: you don’t call fouls on kids who are twenty years younger than you, no matter how hard they hack. But, in this case,

I didn’t so much as graze his paper-thin tank top as he drove to the hoop, barreling down the lane for a layup, wild-eyed and out-of-control, slamming

into our aluminum garage door. “Foul!” he’d shout in feigned agony as I watched the solo melodrama unfold from ten feet away. Luckily, he couldn’t

make a free throw if the camshaft in his Ford F150 depended on it.

We always played “loser’s-outs,” so after I scored, he’d get the ball back. That’s when he’d come charging in again, stammering and sputtering and cussing

as his elbows flailed, filling my nostrils with some combination of generic Gemco beer, WD-40, Lucky Strikes, and rust-tinged antifreeze. Clank.

Another miss. “Foul!”

I’d shake my head in disagreement with the call as I watched him amble to the free throw line in his square-toed Laredos, going through his protracted

routine. Three bounces. Spin the ball in his hands. Three more bounces. Mutter something about Larry Bird—“Larry Legend.” Bend his knees. Close his

eyes. Spin the ball. Open his eyes. Stand straight. Bend again. Shoot. Clank.

Once, we both scrambled for a loose ball, our hands hit it simultaneously causing it to rocket through the plate glass window over the kitchen sink. We

kept going though. No use worrying about it. Mom would be at work for another few hours. And we couldn’t end on a tie.

Over the years, I grew vertically while Donny expanded horizontally. Each time the game became more lopsided in my favor. Every once in a while, he’d

get hot at the line and sneak out an upset win, which I would hear about for as long as he could come up with excuses as to why he couldn’t play. “Can’t

today—threw out my back cranking the torque wrench.”

But he could never stay away for long. A few days later, he’d be back calling fouls every time I breathed on him. Clank.

With the whole family working from home these days, our basketball court gets a lot of use. Between editing, and Zoom meetings, and filling out

whatever form has to be filled out, you can often find me out there meditating. Sometimes, my sixth-grade son, Harrison, will come outside between his

online classes—joining me for something we used to call “recess”—to ask a question: “Hey, Dad, how ‘bout some one-on-one?”

As he begins pulling ahead, running up the score, my mind drifts. And I remember how to win. At least every once in a while. “Foul!”

Thank you to everyone who has 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!

One-on-One

Tom Franciskovich

tom@slolifemagazine.com

p.s. If you’d like to read more visit me at tomfranciskovich.com

10 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


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FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 11


SLO LIFE

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PUBLISHER

Tom Franciskovich

Elder Placements realizes the

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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Charlotte Alexander

Jeff Al-Mashat

Brant Myers

Lauren Harvey

Paden Hughes

Zara Khan

Jaime Lewis

Andria McGhee

Joe Payne

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Javier Buenavista

Scott Graham

David Lalush

Mark Nakamura

David Pisnoy

Vanessa Plakias

Jeremy Thomas

CONTRIBUTIONS

Have some comments or feedback about something you’ve read here?

Or, do you have something on your mind that you think everyone should

know about? Submit your story ideas, events, recipes, and announcements

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be edited for clarity and space limitations.

ADVERTISING

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media kit along with testimonials from happy advertisers.

Nicole Pazdan, CSA,

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The opinions expressed within these pages do not necessarily reflect those of

SLO LIFE Magazine. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole

or in part without the express written permission of the publisher.

Contact us today for FREE placement assistance.

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12 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021

CIRCULATION, COVERAGE, AND ADVERTISING RATES

Complete details regarding circulation, coverage, and advertising

rates, space, sizes and similar information are available to prospective

advertisers. Please call or email for a media kit. Closing date is 30 days

before date of issue.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

info@slolifemagazine.com

4251 S. Higuera Street, Suite 800

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Letters chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations.


“What We Need, When We Need It”

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FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 13


| SNEAK PEEK

ON THE COVER

behind the scenes

WITH ART DOMIGUEZ JR.

BY VANESSA PLAKIAS

We decided to meet at one of Art’s favorite sunset spots

close to Dinosaur Caves, which is near where he lives in

Shell Beach. He walks there every night with his partner,

Greg, and their dog, Clifford, to watch the sunset.

During the shoot,

Art received a call.

It went from really

jovial to serious,

very quickly. Greg

turned to me and

said, “You’re seeing

real life. He is always

there for the hospital,

always taking these

calls. It’s his life.”

While we were doing our beach shoot, we saw and met a

local artist, Jeff Brown. He was building a rock structure

in memory of a loved one who had just passed—this was

happening simultaneously during the beginning of the shoot.

Once we saw the fire lit, we were blown away. Gorgeous.

The beach and the ocean fills him with hope and joy for the

next day. And it’s essential Art let go of some of the more

traumatic parts of his job. He needs to be on his A-game for

all the people who need him daily.

SLO LIFE

14 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


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FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 15


| 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 info@slolifemagazine.com

LAKE TAHOE

MESQUITE DUNES, DEATH VALLEY

NATALIA WELLMAN

CHRIS CALL with HEIDI and JUSTIN BORDERS

ARCHES CANYON NATIONAL PARK

CRATER LAKE, OREGON

PARK FAMILY

LAURA HEIDEN

16 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021

Please send your photos and comments to info@slolifemagazine.com

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).


Emergency

care is just

a call away.

Tele-ER Visits with Local Doctors

Our emergency services team sees more than 57,000 patients a year. That

experience allows us to quickly evaluate patients and determine the best

treatment options. We’re here 24 hours a day to answer your call.

1. Call 805-546-7990. Talk

with a nurse or emergency

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For a Tele-ER visit, just

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For life-threatening emergencies, go to the nearest hospital or call 911.

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FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 17


| TIMELINE

LOCAL

december 2

San Luis Obispo resident Dawn Ortiz-Legg is

sworn in as the Third District’s representative

to the SLO County Board of Supervisors.

Appointed to the Planning Commission in

2018 by then-Supervisor Adam Hill, she will

serve two years of Hill’s four-year term, which

opened up following Hill’s death in August.

Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Ortiz-

Legg to the position from a wide field of local

applicants for the job.

december 2

A mysterious, metallic monolith standing ten

feet tall and weighing in the neighborhood of

200 pounds appears on top of Pine Mountain

in the City of Atascadero’s Stadium Park. It

is almost immediately torn down by a group

who traveled from outside the county. Other

similar monoliths captured public attention

in November and December when they

were discovered in Utah, Romania, England,

and Pittsburg. The three-sided Atascadero

structure was subsequently replaced by the four

local artists who took credit for its original

incarnation: Wade McKenzie, Jared Riddle,

Travis Kenney, and Randall Kenney.

december 16

Two economic development groups on the

Central Coast agree to join forces and unify

the organizations in both vision and voice.

The San Luis Obispo Economic Vitality

Corporation (EVC) will merge with REACH

in a combined effort to improve the economies

of SLO County and northern Santa Barbara

County. In order to consolidate, a few

members of the EVC board will join the

REACH board, which REACH President

and CEO Melissa James estimates will have

twenty to twenty five members.

december 3

The California Public Utilities

Commission (CPUC) votes to extend

its deadline to issue a decision on

the Diablo Canyon 2018 Nuclear

Decommissioning Cost Triennial

Proceeding to March 13, 2021,

in order to have sufficient time to

publish a proposed decision, to

review comments on the proposed

decision, and to allow the commission

sufficient time to deliberate and to

issue its final decision. The next public

Diablo Canyon Decommissioning

Engagement Panel meeting will

be held within two weeks after the

CPUC issues its proposed decision.

december 21

The United States Conference of Mayors recognizes the City of San Luis Obispo for

its community climate action accomplishments, presenting it a 2020 Climate Protection

Award: Honorable Mention Small City. The award recognizes the city’s leadership and

innovation in developing the Clean Energy Choice Program for New Buildings. The award

comes as the city also reconfirms and advances its commitment to achieving climate action

consistent with the Paris Climate Agreement.

18 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


REVIEW

january 9

The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art unveils its first-ever

outdoor mural, which covers all four sides of the building in

downtown SLO. “Pacificaribbean,” designed and executed

by internationally-renowned artist Juan Alberto Negroni,

highlights the ability of the arts to bring together a global

community. Negroni, known for his vibrant, ecological pieces,

says he concentrated on the mural’s relationship with the natural

environment visible above the museum, and was inspired by his

upbringing in Puerto Rico. Cuesta and Cal Poly students assisted

with the project, which was guest-curated by Emma Saperstein.

Museum Executive Director Leann Standish says she is thrilled

to share “Pacificaribbean” with the community in a way that

allows passersby to experience art in a large-scale way.

january 12

The SLO City Council accepts five essential recommendations

provided by its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force

with the goal of providing an inclusive and safe community

for all. The recommendations include allocating appropriate

resources in the city’s 2021-23 Financial Plan; establishing a DEI

Office within the city’s organizational structure; developing a

DEI strategic plan; providing ongoing, annual funding of at least

$150,000 in high-impact DEI grants for organizations with a

track record of improving the lives of members of marginalized

communities; and charging the city’s Human Relations

Commission to designate DEI as a standing priority.

january 14

The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County

announces the purchase of the historic 1,715-acre Santa Rita

Ranch, located at the top of Highway 46 West between the

Pacific Ocean and Templeton. Begun in 2018 and completed

at the end of December, the $8 million purchase permanently

protects the property’s towering valley oaks, dense bay laurel

forests, a freshwater lake, and a variety of rare and endemic

flowering plants and succulents. The Conservancy plans to

maintain the property as a wildlife preserve, sustainable

working cattle ranch, and a future nature education center

with funding from the California Wildlife Conservation

Board’s Streamflow Enhancement Program, private

individuals, and its own internal reserves.

january 17

Virgin Orbit successfully launches Cal Poly’s twelfth CubeSat into

orbit from the Mojave Air and Space Port in southern California. A

Launcher One rocket, carried under the wing of a modified Boeing

747 jet called Cosmic Girl, launched the small satellite, dubbed

ExoCube 2, mid-flight at 35,000 feet. The purpose of the university’s

CubeSat program is to provide students with low-cost opportunities

to study and explore space, while ExoCube 2 was especially designed

by Cal Poly students to gather data on the mass and density of ions in

the uppermost region of the earth’s atmosphere.

SLO LIFE

FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 19


| BRIEFS

“Homelessness is an

ongoing and very

complex challenge

in California, on the

Central Coast, and in

our community.”

With the effects of the COVID-19

pandemic bringing new urgency to the

city’s goal of addressing homelessness,

recent SLO City Council actions will

result in enhanced, regional efforts in 2021,

according to City Manager Derek Johnson.

$143,447

As of mid-January, the total amount of

money some 1,000 shoppers had spent at

more than 130 local businesses as part of

the City of SLO’s successful “Buy Local

Bonus Program.” Launched in December to

reward shoppers who spend at least $100 by

giving them a $20 gift card, the campaign,

running through March 12, is funded

through the Measure G sales tax initiative.

162,615

The most ballots ever counted in SLO

County history. They were cast during the

2020 general election according to County

Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong. Several

new voting records were set last year as

well, including the fact that more than

eighty-eight percent of registered voters

submitted ballots, shattering the previous

record of slightly more than eightythree

percent set in 2008. And 152,741

people—almost ninety-four percent of all

voters—voted by mail.

99

The number of different species of fish

(valued at approximately $6 million)

landed by commercial fishing operations

working from Morro Bay and Port San

Luis, according to SLO County’s Annual

Crop Report.

Jujubes

The San Luis Coastal Unified School

District is buying this ancient and

nutritious fruit from a local farmer for

its COVID-19 grocery delivery boxes,

broadening students’ cultural knowledge

and taste buds at the same time. The

district has designed a special curriculum

around the fruit, which originated in the

Middle East and Asia, in tandem with

Chinese New Year lessons in February.

20 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021

UndocuSupport

A collaboration of local organizations,

community leaders, and concerned

individuals with a common goal: to

provide financial support for San Luis

Obispo County immigrant families,

including undocumented and mixed status

immigrant families who were left out of

federal pandemic relief programs.

6.9%

The increase in the SLO Fire Department’s

number of training hours from last year

to this, according to the department’s

2020 annual report. Issued in January

of 2021, the report shows the Training

Division delivered 10,631 hours of training

compared with 9,948 hours in 2019.

Improved remote learning using CDC

guidelines contributed to the increase as

COVID-19 precautions were put in place

last year.

4,000

The number of acres that the Land

Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County

has preserved since the middle of 2020,

including the purchase of the Santa Rita

Ranch as part of a larger 6,000-acre

conservation effort along Highway 46 West.

Conserving these working ranches is part of

the group’s greater vision to help shape the

future of the Adelaide region of the County.

Every Day

But Sunday

You can find a Certified Farmers Market

somewhere in San Luis Obispo County

on six out of seven days of every week.

From Arroyo Grande to Paso Robles it’s

possible to find a market verified by the

California Department of Agriculture

that the fresh products sold are indeed

produced by the grower. SLO LIFE


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FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 21


| VIEW

WILD

BLOOM

BY MARK NAKAMURA

Carrizo Plain National Monument (CPNM),

celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, was created

in January 2001. It’s a hidden gem, even among locals.

Two years ago I had heard about a ‘super bloom’ coming

to the Carrizo Plain after a good winter of rains. With

Google Maps as my guide, I exited Highway 101 at Santa

Margarita, headed through town, and followed Highway 58

toward this “new” place.

I decided to take Highway 58 to Soda Lake Road and from

there, I took 7 Mile Road. I highly recommend this route as

it offers a sensory overload with the miles of flowers along

the way, especially where it intersects with Highway 58,

also known as Carrisa Highway. I stumbled upon carloads

of people taking selfies with the flowers in the background

at this junction. Traveling a bit further on 7 Mile Road, I

found more hillsides of flowers.

I took this photograph with my Sony a7r III with a 70-

200mm lens at around 100mm. I set the focus to manual

(to infinity), shut the aperture to f16, which is a small

pinhole size, and let the camera’s exposure meter suggest

the shutter speed. Experimenting with different speeds, I

found the ideal setting.

If you embark on this journey,

you may want to stop by Shell

Creek Road on your way back,

which is also abundant with

flowers (Highway 58 and Shell

Creek Road). Or you may want

to make Shell Creek Road a

destination on another day.

Please note that there are few

services in CPNM, so bring a

picnic or food to snack on and

fill up with gas before you begin.

I cannot think of a better way to

“stop and smell the wildflowers”

than to take a journey to CPNM

and Shell Creek Road. SLO LIFE

MARK NAKAMURA, pursues

his passion in landscape

photography as well as

capturing the joys of

weddings, families, events,

and sports around the

Central Coast. Find him on

Instagram @nakamuraphoto

22 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 23


| Q&A

New Era

Recently, DAWN ORTIZ-LEGG was appointed by the governor to fill the

empty seat left in District Three of the San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors

by Adam Hill. We had a wide-ranging get-to-know-you conversation with

her the other day. Here are some of the highlights…

Where did you start out, Dawn? I’m

from a small town in Illinois called Morris.

Half of my family, on my father’s side, were

Mexican immigrants. My grandfather was

an orphan and immigrated there by himself.

And then my grandmother came with her

mother and siblings. They met in a railroad

camp, because at that time they had the

Mexican migrant workers repairing the

rails. And, so, my father was actually born in

an abandoned railroad car. That’s what they

gave the workers to live in, the old box cars.

My mother’s side of the family were mostly

Bohemians from the Czech Republic. They

were from a town called Tábor, which is

actually part of old Bohemia.

How was it growing up? You know,

in a small town everybody kind of knows

your business. People care about each

other a whole bunch. There were about

10,000 people then, and my eighth grade

graduating class was just thirteen people.

Lots of us were related to one another

and a big portion of the economy was

agriculture-based. That was the big, driving

force. We really did live the American

Dream. Even though my father came up in

a poor, Mexican family, he ended up getting

a scholarship to go to the Catholic high

school. From there, he got a great education

and went on to become an optometrist. His

education really changed the trajectory of

our family; it changed our lives.

Let’s talk about those small town

roots. Community is very important to

me. It runs deep in my DNA because I

understand what a good, healthy community

can do. Once you experience it, you want

to be part of it because there is so much

richness. I grew up with a lot of Swedish

and Norwegian people—the Johnsons, the

Swansons, the Hansens, the Ericksons.

They were people who looked different than

me. I realized it one day at the grocery store.

There were a couple of trucks with Mexican

migrant workers in the back. They had been

picking tomatoes in the field. And that’s the

only people I ever saw with dark skin that

looked like me. So, I said to my dad, “Aren’t

we going to go see them? Aren’t they our

family?” Because, who else would they be?

What sparked your interest in

politics? It was 1968 and I was in fourth

grade, and there were a number of things

that happened in the United States, not so

different from what’s going on right now.

There was the assassination of Martin

Luther King, the Vietnam War, and I read

the diary of Anne Frank—those things

together kind of shook me up. And I always

had a love of history. Political science and

current events really took hold early on for

me as a child. It was always my very favorite

subject matter. I watched every Watergate

hearing. I watched every convention from

the time I was in fourth grade on. In 1977,

I was graduating high school and we were

just coming out of the Vietnam War, and

I went to my career counselor and said, “I

want to study political science.” He said,

“Why would you want to do that? What

are you going to do with that?” I just sort

of shrugged and said, “I don’t know.” What

can I say? Career counseling was not very

advanced in those days.

But, you went on to get an master’s

degree, correct? Yes, in 2007, I decided

to do a master’s degree in international

public policy. And I wanted to do it

abroad. So, through the Johns Hopkins

School, I moved to Bologna, Italy with my

daughter, Georgia, in tow. She was a sixth

grader. While I was there, I was trying to

figure a way I could put myself to use and

find a direction for the passion I felt for

contributing somehow. So, I befriended a

classmate who was an Iraq vet, twenty-three

years in the Marine Corps. We couldn’t have

been more different. We’d go round and

round in debates. But we learned a lot from

each other. And I think the main thing is

realizing that it’s so easy to be a critic from

the outside. But once you get inside and you

start rolling up your sleeves, you see that

there’s a lot of thought and effort that goes

into making good policy, good governance.

It’s just so important to listen to all sides of

every argument. SLO LIFE

24 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


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FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 25


| NOW HEAR THIS

26 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


REWIND +

REMIX

BY JOE PAYNE

IMAGE COURTESY OF DULCIE TAYLOR

After twenty years of performing and releasing her original

music, Dulcie Taylor found herself in a strange place last

year—unable to perform or visit the recording studio.

Originally from South Carolina, and with the honey-tinged

accent to boot, Taylor has called SLO County home for years.

Though she’s lived in some of the country’s biggest cities—from

Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles with their 24/7 music scenes—

this area was a natural fit, she said.

“When people go out on the Central Coast, they go out to have

a good time,” Taylor said. “They go out to dance. And when

they’re doing anything, even changing the tires, they’re pouring a

glass of wine.”

It’s an audience she’s always been able to connect with, that is until

lockdowns became the norm.

look at everything again through different lenses—from a different

viewpoint.”

To provide that fresh insight into each track, Taylor spent several

phone calls worth of time with Nauful and Castillo over what she

wanted done differently with her songs. Going back and listening to

them together “is like time travel,” she said, that “takes you back to

where you were and the people you were playing with,” and “it’s like

you’re right there in that room.”

Ever since 2012, that room has been Nauful’s Mesa Blue Moon.

Nauful also sings and performs multiple instruments on her tracks,

Taylor explained. Their collaborative relationship can be heard

clearly on the first track of Reimagined, “Easy for You,” which they

co-wrote. The song exemplifies Taylor’s clear folk/rock sound. Her

crisp acoustic guitar is met by an understated electric lead, putting

her voice forward.

“There’s something you get from playing live that you don’t get

in any other way,” she said. “I do some of the streaming stuff, and

that’s great fun, but there’s something you get from a live crowd…

and I miss it.”

Always playing it safe throughout the pandemic, Taylor and her

longtime record producer and collaborator George Nauful decided

it was best to not record, but that didn’t stop them from releasing

an EP last year, with another just released.

Both projects feature songs from across Taylor’s decades of albums

and EP’s, but they have been retouched and remastered by Nauful

and released through his Mesa Bluemoon Recordings. Damon

Castillo, local artist and owner of Laurel Lane Studios, also

pitched in on the engineer work, Taylor explained.

Reimagined (The Remixes) came out last year, breathing new life

into some of Taylor’s favorite tunes. The current release, does just

the same.

“This is the perfect time,” she said. “We thought about this

before for years, you know, wouldn’t it be fun to go back and

“Oh my god, [Nauful] is a huge part of

it,” she said. “He comes at it from so many

different angles. I’ve known great producers

who don’t play and don’t sing, but he comes

at it from an artist’s level.”

Taylor’s voice has always been the star

of the show. Reminiscent of folk rockers

like Emmylou Harris and Stevie Nicks,

Taylor’s is sweet yet smokey, eliciting her

country roots and a warm, familiar feeling.

With the hopes that Reimagined and the

newest EP will help tide her fans over

until it’s safe to do so, Taylor is itching

to return to the local live music scene

and the audience she has cultivated over

the years.

“I just fell in love with the Central Coast;

it’s just so gorgeous,” she said. “To me, it’s

the only place to live.” SLO LIFE

JOE PAYNE is a

journalist, as well as a

lifelong musician and

music teacher, who

writes about the arts on

the Central Coast.

FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 27


| MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR

28 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


PRO

FILE

PHOTOGRAPHY BY VANESSA PLAKIAS

With a resume that spans seven pages—that’s single-spaced

and without a cover letter—the Chief Nursing Officer at

San Luis Obispo’s Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center,

ART DOMINGUEZ JR., knows his way around a hospital.

Three years ago, he and his partner landed on the Central

Coast. A lot happened along the way, including enough love

and loss for several lifetimes. Here is his story…

FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 29


30 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


kay, Art, let’s take it from the beginning.

Where are you from? I was born on the

605 Freeway on my way to Kaiser in LA.

My mom says I wanted to come out fast,

and I haven’t stopped since. So, we lived

in LA County for a few years during my

childhood before moving to the Inland

Empire, Riverside County, which is where

I mostly grew up. I’m the youngest of Oeight. We came from very humble beginnings. My mom was a nurse. It

was the third career change for her. She went to nursing school during a

time when my dad was in construction, it was the year there were really

bad rains and it was flooding everywhere. The economy was tanking, and

people were losing their jobs. In order to save our house from foreclosure,

we rented it out and moved into a motorhome.

Wow, a motorhome, huh? Yep, a Winnebago. My parents pulled the front

passenger seat out and turned that area into the desk for me to do my

homework. Then, after that, I’d sleep in the drop-down bunk above. We

used to have to volunteer a certain amount of hours every month for us to

be able to stay at the park for free, so we picked up trash and things like

that. We did that for a few years when I was in junior high and Mom was

in nursing school. That’s when I knew I was going to go into medicine

because I liked helping her with her Anesthesiology class, especially

memorizing all the different organs and bones, and whatnot.

What came next? We moved to a little town called Nuevo. I was super

athletic, played varsity volleyball, varsity baseball. I was in band. I was in

jazz band. I played piano, and also did percussion, and the xylophone. But

high school was really hard because I knew I was gay and here I am at this

tiny, private Baptist school going to Bible classes where they say I’m going

to hell. It was just really difficult. And I never really felt like I fit in even

though I was very much part of the in crowd, but at the same time people

would say, sort of in a joking way, I guess, “Oh, you fag. Oh, you’re gay.”

When did your parents find out? It was after high school, I was

probably eighteen or nineteen. I told my sister. I said, “I think I’m gay.

I don’t know. Please don’t tell Mom.” And so, of course, she went and

told my mom. [laughter] Then my mom came home and said, “You don’t

know what you’re talking about. You’re confused. We’re going to get

you some help and some treatment.” Probably about a year after that, I

was dating a little bit, and I was talking to my sister about a guy I had

met. My dad overheard the conversation and was completely disgusted.

That’s when I wound up getting thrown out of the house. I don’t want

to paint my dad as a bad person, because he’s not. He’s so tender. He’s

super tender. But he was not having it, and my sister had to intervene. I

packed my stuff and left.

Oh, boy… Yeah, it was tough. I went through a strained relationship with

my parents, who I’m super close with now. They come up here to visit my

partner and I frequently, and I talk to them on the phone every day on my

way home from work. But, back then, I had almost no communication

for a few years. For them, it was tough because they felt like they did

something wrong. And they got me tested to see if my hormones were

off. They took me to Christian therapists to see if there was anything they

could do to help. The therapists would say, “No, these are choices that Art’s

just going to make. It’s just like alcohol. If he wants to

drink, he can drink, knowing that the Bible says not

to do that.” They said it was a choice. I would never

wish that experience on somebody. It’s very hard to

wrap your head around, especially as a kid, when

all you want to do is be accepted and loved by your

parents. And, the truth is, gay is just a piece of who I

am; gay doesn’t make me, me. There are many other

things that make me, me.

Let’s talk about that. What else make you, you?

Nursing. Definitely nursing. I’m a nurse when I wake

up until the time I go to sleep. I actually wound up

moving back home to finish nursing school. I was

also working full-time as an assistant manager at

American Eagle, which is a clothing store. I got my

degree and started in ER Trauma at Desert Regional

Palm Springs where I was for about eight years.

It’s one of the busiest trauma centers in Southern

California. The penetration rate there—that’s stab

wounds and gunshots—I think was two or three

times higher at that hospital than anywhere else in

LA County. I couldn’t tell you how many people we

saved, and I couldn’t tell you how many people we

lost. One thing about me is, whenever I do postmortem

care, before I put anybody into a body bag, I

always make sure that I bathe them and clean them as

best I can. I put a gown on them and put their head

on a pillow, because I would want that for any one of

my loved ones, to be treated with the utmost dignity,

and compassion, and respect. That’s the last nice thing

I’m able to do for that person who is someone’s mom,

dad, sister, or brother.

And what about you and the trauma you

experienced along the way? It all sort of

compounded for me until one day when I started

having this really bad ringing in my ears, and

nosebleeds. I would feel these episodes of confusion

and could not figure out what was going on. So,

I finally walked myself to the ER and I was like,

“Something’s not right. Can you guys just check my

blood pressure?” So, they checked my blood pressure,

and I think it was like 225/115. Super-high. So, they

laid me down in the room and one of the ER doctors

came in and said, “I think you’re having a panic

attack.” So, I had this kind of mental break dealing

with the pressures of work, and school, and a lot of

deaths that happened in a short period of time. My

mind just went “snap.” The panic got so bad that I

had a period of time where, it was short stints, but

I couldn’t even leave the house because I’d have an

attack as soon as I left.

How did you handle those episodes? It was to a

point where I thought I was going to have to check >>

FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 31


myself in because I honestly felt like I was just going crazy, literally. But,

thankfully, I was able to see a psychiatrist for the appropriate medications

and therapy to be able to talk through things. It’s something that I still

live with. I still do have panic attacks. Some days are better than others. I

don’t use the word “suffer” from panic attacks, I used to say that. I just say

I live with them, or I live with anxiety, because it’s a different mindset. I

don’t suffer from them. They’re part of what I deal with, and what I live

with. I just try to do my best to manage it, try to be mindful of what my

body’s telling me. I do a lot of walking, which helps decrease the panic and

the anxiety and the stress. I make sure I stay in constant communication

with my therapist, if needed. I’m not ashamed that I’m on medications

to be able to help me out. I think it’s important for people to understand

that you can live with panic or anxiety disorder, as well as an assortment

of behavioral health things, and still be a successful executive, and still be

high-performing. It just takes work.

How have others reacted to your openness on this subject? It’s been

positive for the most part. And I’ve done it, really, talked about mental

health, that is, in hopes that being open about it will enable people to

continue to come up to me and say, “Oh my gosh, I’m glad to hear that

you’re dealing with that because I’m dealing with it too.” Or “It’s nice

to know I’m not the only one, I’m not by myself.” I think that’s really

important, to know you’re not alone. Ultimately, in my case, I think the

root of it is really the accumulative trauma, probably a lot of it unresolved

over the years. But I don’t want to dwell on the difficulties of nursing,

and medicine in general, because there is also so much joy, and love— >>

32 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


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FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 33


elationships where you’re part of a team that saves lives, keeps families

together. There’s so much dignity and honor in the work we do. You’re

seeing people at their best, and their worst. And there’s no judgment, only

love and support.

So, what came next? Next, I went into Cardiac ICU while I was also

getting my master’s. And then, they had some newer positions at

the hospital that had never been there, Nursing Supervisor, which is

basically responsible for operations of the hospital, and a liaison between

the hospital and administration. So, I did that for a while, and then

I became an Interim Director of a couple of nursing units, and then

applied for the Assistant CNO, which is the Chief Nursing Officer

position. Got that and was there for a little over two and-a-half years.

I had so many other jobs while I was at the hospital. I was working

at an outpatient surgical center in La Quinta. And then, I started up

the Critical Care Transport program for American Medical Response

in Palm Springs. They didn’t have one out there, so I started that one

from the ground up, all during that time, as well. And, when I’d visit

my partner, who was living in San Francisco at the time, I was also

doing per diem work at an ER there, Saint Mary’s which is across from

Golden Gate Park. And then, a little more than three years ago, the

Chief Nursing Officer position opened up here at Sierra Vista and that’s

what brought us here.

You’ve mentioned “us” a few times. Let’s talk about your partner.

Yes, Greg, my partner—he’s my best friend. I love him with all my heart,

and there’s nothing better than being in love with your best friend. And

the thing I think I appreciate most is that we are each a whole person, not

two halves trying to make a whole, if that makes sense. Together, we make

each make the other a better person. I don’t have a super romantic story

about how we met. It was at a bar down in Palm Springs. [laughter] He

was actually in a relationship, and I was out of a relationship, and we were

friends for many years before we actually started dating. It feels like just a

minute ago. I can’t believe it’s been over eight years already.

>>

34 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


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And how have you both adjusted to the SLO Life? I remember when we

first moved here, we went to the gas station, and somebody was like, “Hey,”

and starting up a conversation. Coming up from Southern California, we’re

like, “Oh, he’s going to wind up asking for money, or he needs something.”

But it was just a gentleman who was like, “Hey, there’s a new restaurant

that just opened. It’s not far from here. You guys should totally check it

out. I had dinner there last night.” He didn’t want anything other than to

just say, “Hi,” and give a recommendation. It was a very pure feeling. We

love it here. Bought a little house in Shell Beach a year ago. We’ve lived in

a few areas, but never where it feels like there’s just such a community. And

there’s a true desire to make everything for everyone better. It’s not just one

person, it’s not just one class, it’s not just one group. We love all the small

businesses here. People are so nice here. Genuinely nice. Sometimes it takes

a few minutes to get through a four-way stop because everyone just wants

to let everyone else go first. [laughter]

Okay, Art, we’ve covered a lot of ground, but is there anything we

missed? Hmm… I guess I’d say that I love learning, love school. I

finished up my doctorate a couple years ago. I enjoy meeting new

people and learning about them. I like to stay busy. I serve on the

YMCA Board here in SLO, and I’m constantly doing LGBTQ-plus

advocacy. We’ve got our Healthcare Equality Index at the hospitals

making sure it’s a place where people feel safe for their care, and

there’s a lot that goes into that. I chair that for both hospitals here

in town. I serve as the Incident Command for COVID-19. So, I’m

literally on twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. And I also

volunteer as the Chief Nursing Officer for the Cal Poly Alternate

Care site. Let’s see… what else? Oh, I’ve got a new hobby. I’ve become

this succulent person. I love succulents. I’ve got so many. And we just

adopted a rescue dog. We’re having a blast with him. He’s a mix—part

Terrier, part Chihuahua, part Dachshund. He’s ten pounds, long with

short legs. Handsome. Tan-colored. His name’s Clifford. Beyond that,

I guess the only other thing I’d say, and I know we already touched on

it earlier, but I’m super family-oriented. I love, love, love my family.

Despite going through all of the ups and downs, I wouldn’t trade

them for the world. SLO LIFE

36 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


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FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 37


| ARTIST

I

PROFILE

Ava

Paterson Werner

BY JEFF AL-MASHAT

f, as the adage says, a picture is worth a thousand words,

what does it mean when many pictures are collected over time,

combined and collaged, and reworked with new imagery? Do

those words turn into a story, or a social or political statement,

or possibly a jumping-off point for a much larger narrative that

is open to infinite interpretations about our place in this world?

Morro Bay artist Ava Paterson Werner explores those very

questions in her paintings that examine the world constructed

by humans and its often contentious relationship with the

natural world that pre-dated us. While Werner’s work is

primarily on the canvas, it shares a deep connection with Earth

Artists like Robert Smithson and Maya Lin. Her paintings

evoke those same emotions of human manipulation of nature

on a grand scale that one can’t help but feel when looking at

famous Earth Art pieces like Spiral Jetty or Wave Field. The

difference, though, is that Werner’s work centers on the idea

that nature will ultimately prevail over time, as it outlasts

humanity’s mark on it.

“When I lived in Brooklyn, I was fascinated by the

juxtaposition of the backyards against the concrete and

fences. There were trees that grew through fences, and while

there was a shift in the growth process, the tree still found

a way to live,” says Werner. “There is a great comfort for

me in knowing that as some things are built up, and others

are destroyed, nature has a way of repairing itself, and that

impermanence informs my work.”

While the push-pull relationship between humans and nature

is an evident theme, it is impossible to look at Werner’s

paintings without forming some type of narrative as a result of

the people, birds, and other living beings populating the corners

and cubbyholes of her canvas. In many of the cases, the figures

and lifeforms seem secondary to

the overall infrastructure of the

image, yet each has a sweetness

and an intimacy that draws the

viewer in on a personal level.

There is a sense that we are all

connected because we have all

used that same banister going

down a set of stairs, or there is a

connection between people across

vast areas because we have all seen

the same bird fly over us in our

own individual space. Werner’s art JEFF AL-MASHAT is a

itself creates a connection between writer and visual artist with

an MFA in painting from

the stories of our daily lives and Georgia State University. He

the greater impact we leave on

lives in Grover Beach.

this earth. SLO LIFE

38 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


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FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 39


| EXPLORE

Taking

the Plunge

BY PADEN HUGHES

D

o you remember when you did something for the first

time? I’m talking about the first time you blew a bubble

from your chewing gum or skied downhill with your skis

shaped like a slice of pizza.

There is something magical about doing something for the first time. As

we get older it gets harder to find new things to experience.

But don’t fret. If we shift our perspective, we can discover that first-timeever

feeling by taking what has become commonplace and elevating the

experience to become something new.

Welcome to how I’ve been spending 2021 so far. Doing the familiar but

seeking out ways to bring new energy and new experiences to the things

we love.

When it comes to filling your calendar with incredible memories and

keeping your travel plans within the county, breathing new life into a

staycation becomes a valued skill.

a second and shake up your predictable beach behavior.

To experience something new (or something you haven’t

experienced in a long while) somewhere you already love.

If you want to do more than a quick dip in the ocean, try

staying in at least to chest height for three minutes while

doing intentional breath work. This method of embracing

freezing temperatures has been made popular by the

Dutch extreme athlete, Wim Hof, known as The Iceman.

So, as we all plan to get outside more and enjoy our

staycation weekends in this beautiful part of the world,

let’s set down the lens that is local, and view the SLO Life

like a tourist would. Do things just for the thrill of it. Just

for the feeling of being on vacation and trying something

out of the ordinary.

FUN FACTS:

Okay, so let’s talk about tourists. Have you ever taken the time to observe

them while they vacation on the Central Coast?

The excitement they show over San Luis Obispo County beaches is

particularly notable. And their trips to the seaside aren’t complete without

getting into the water, usually without a wetsuit—part of the thrill they

experience is, no doubt, in from the cold-water shock. The extreme shift

between warm sunshine and icy ocean waves brings a freshness and

exhilaration to the experience. And my question to you, dear reader, is:

When was the last time you dove headfirst into a freezing wave on one of

our beaches?

If it’s been a while, I encourage you to experience something renewed the

next time you head out to the sandy shores—in the name of novelty, in

the name of spicing up a day on the beach, just to feel wild and free for

Cold water therapy is a

popular trend among the

health and fitness world.

Benefits of cold exposure

include:

• increased plasma levels of a

number of different immune

cells

•increased mood, attention

and focus

•increased fat burning

• activated “brown fat” which

helps absorb excess glucose

in the blood SLO LIFE

PADEN HUGHES is

co-owner of Gymnazo

and enjoys exploring

the Central Coast.

40 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 41


| ON THE RISE

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Liz Lua

With a Golden Tiger, first place at the regional Creed speaking

contest, as well as several Vet Science Team awards—including

the National Vet Science Champion—to her name, this San Luis

Obispo High School senior is destined for success.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAVIER BUENAVISTA

What extra-curricular activities are you involved in? I am a highly involved

member of SLO High School’s FFA (Future Farmers of America) chapter where I

have participated in multiple individual public speaking events, team competitions,

community service events, drive-thru barbecues, and chapter meetings. I have also

raised pigs to show at the California Mid-State Fair for four years now.

What do you like to do for fun? In my free time, I enjoy baking. I also like to go

on hikes with my parents and dog.

What is important to you outside of high school? My family is definitely the most

important thing to me.

What is one of your favorite memories? One of my favorite memories is when my

vet science team and I traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana to compete at the 2019

National FFA Convention. After two days of testing our knowledge on animal

breeds and parasites, surgical tools, handling and restraining procedures, and the

differences between corporate and privately owned veterinary clinics, we became

national champions, and brought the first place trophy back to California. This was

such a remarkable accomplishment for my team and I, because we had practiced

endless hours and attended numerous practices and competitions in order to

perfect our skills and knowledge on this subject. It brings so much pride and relief

to know that we finally achieved our goal.

Who has influenced you the most? My parents have influenced me to always

try my hardest in everything I do. They have sacrificed so much to give my

siblings and I a great life, and I hope to repay them by being a great student and

expanding my education.

If you won $1 million, what would you do with it? The first thing I would do is

buy my parents a house. I most definitely would like to repay them for everything

they have done for my siblings and me. I would also use the money to buy a food

truck for my family so we can expand our catering business, and give people from

all around the state the opportunity to try our food.

Do you have a career path in mind? For a long time, my mind was set on

becoming a registered nurse, but recently I have been interested in studying

forensic science. It all really comes down to which universities I am accepted to,

and which one I choose to attend.

What schools are you considering for college? I have applied to a few

Universities of California, including LA, Santa Barbara, and Irvine. I also applied

to some California State Universities like San Diego, Fresno, Chico, Long Beach,

and a few others. SLO LIFE

Know a student On the Rise?

Introduce us at slolifemagazine.com/share

42 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


Sleep Under the Stars, Connect with Nature, Be Creative

swimming . hiking . arts & crafts . outdoor cooking . tomahawks . backpacking . nature exploration

drama . archery . skits . songs . games . nightly campfire . team building . leadership development

Since 1941,Camp Natoma

has been hosting

ENTIRELY OUTDOORS and

SCREEN-FREE programs,

providing an excellent setting for

personal growth and rejuvenation.

As we approach summer and

Camp Natoma’s 80th year, we

know that now, more than ever,

kids must camp.

We’re looking forward to summer 2021.

We need dirt. And air that smells like air.

We need to gather wood and our friends,

to make s’mores and sing silly songs.

To feel the tiredness that only

hiking and playing outside all day

in the summer heat brings. To rest our

bodies in our cozy sleeping bags.

Unplugged . Engaged . Outdoors

7 Weeklong Overnight Sessions

Boys & Girls 1st - 11th grades

360 acres near Paso Robles

www.campnatoma.org | 805-709-2569 | info@campnatoma.org

FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 43


| DWELLING

STYLE BY

44 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


DESIGN

BY ZARA KHAN

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID LALUSH

FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 45


W

hen Renee and Jon Franke found their home in Pismo

Beach, it had already entered the construction phase and

framing was underway. Since they liked the overall layout

and views of the home, they realized this was actually the

perfect time to come into the project. It was early enough

that with a few alterations it would fit their vision and

they could still pick all the interior finishes to match their

preferences, but far along enough

that they wouldn’t have to wait

too long until they were able to

move into their new haven.

The Frankes are not amateurs

when it comes to remodeling

homes. Before relocating to the

Central Coast for Jon’s job, they

had completed several remodels

and new construction residential

and commercial projects on the

East Coast. Jon works in the

Power Generation industry and

was brought to the Central Coast

>>

In addition to being an

interior designer, ZARA KHAN

is also a shoe aficionado and

horror movie enthusiast.

46 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 47


to help with the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. The region

was an easy sell to Renee, a personal, professional, and

business development consultant—she was able to relocate

her business to the West Coast, work remotely, and travel as

necessary to meet with clients.

Their main goal for this home was to not distract from the

views. They opted for more modern, clean lines and paired

it with more traditional (classic) finishes to fit the style

of the home. For example, they were able to find a taupe

quartz at Pacific Shore Stones that features soft neutrals

and complements the travertine tile that spans floor to

ceiling surrounding the modern horizontal fireplace. They

were also intentional about replicating interior details

on the exterior. For instance, the dark walnut flooring

throughout their home, which they sourced locally with

Cal Coast Flooring, was translated into a dark stained

front door on the exterior. The natural stone textures on

the counters and tile throughout the interior were brought

together with the stone cladding on the front of the home

and neutral tile flooring found on both terraces. >>

48 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 49


Renee knew that the one thing that was worth

changing in order to fit her vision was reframing the

front door. She could see that the scale of the entry

demanded something larger and felt like it needed

double doors instead of a single door. After talking it

over with their contractors, BDC Development, they

agreed and made the modifications. It is still Renee’s

favorite detail of the home.

My favorite is the window placement. Not only are they

large, inviting natural lighting along with stunning views,

but their locations do not interfere with the placement

of furniture, creating a seamless layout. I also am a big

fan of the “rule of three”—many designers believe an odd

number of items look more natural and less forced than

an even-numbered grouping. The rule offers a balance

between symmetry and asymmetry. With that in mind,

I appreciate the window selection; when a span was too

large for a single, they opted for a set of three. >>

50 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 51


Home automation was key when it came to their

window treatments. Large windows can be challenging

to operate due to weight. To retain the modern touches,

they chose automatic window coverings so that with a

touch of a button they could lower and raise the shades,

which they designed in collaboration with One Source

Home Solutions.

Habitat Home & Garden was instrumental in adding

character to their home. The Franke’s collaborated selecting

special pieces. Their dining table is truly a one-of-a-kind

statement. They weren’t able to find exactly what they were

looking for, so they had it custom designed and built in

India. The scale of the table needed a substantial light above

it and they were able to locate the perfect brass drum light

fixture to complete the look.

The Frankes knew that friends and family would be lining

up to come visit now that they moved to the Central

Coast and kept that in mind while working on the

landscape. They decided to add large modern self-watering

pots on both the ocean and mountain view terraces, and >>

52 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


R A M S E YA S P H A LT. C O M

FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 53


indigenous plants outside of the windows so their guests

could enjoy the views and have a true Central Coast getaway

experience.

Renee understands the relationship and experience

between individuals and living spaces and curated this

home with consideration for how its details inspire the

space. Her advice for anyone considering a remodel or

new construction project: “Lead with your inspiration,

enjoy design research, and inquire about your ideas.” With

the sheer number of options

available it’s a good idea to

hone in on your preferences.

Whether it’s determining layouts

that would suit your lifestyle or

narrowing down what design

style would fit the space and your

preferences best, making these

decisions can help dramatically.

Above all, she reminds us to go

with our instinct and to not be

DAVID LALUSH is an

afraid to shift and reconsider a

architectural photographer

decision if you realize something here in San Luis Obispo.

can be improved. It is always

worth it in the end. SLO LIFE

54 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


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FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 55


56 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 57


| SLO CITY

REAL ESTATE

BY THE NUMBERS

laguna

lake

tank

farm

cal poly

area

country

club

down

town

foothill

blvd

johnson

ave

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

2019

64

$776,593

$764,410

98.43%

31

2019

33

$792,968

$784,012

98.87%

36

2019

21

$1,057,843

$1,021,185

96.53%

34

2019

26

$1,431,577

$1,387,519

96.92%

81

2019

72

$827,254

$809,768

97.89%

42

2019

45

$949,887

$903,709

95.14%

49

2019

Total Homes Sold

59

Average Asking Price

$817,036

Average Selling Price

$796,918

Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 97.54%

Average # of Days on the Market 36

2020

68

$750,353

$754,050

100.49%

36

2020

48

$867,988

$864,078

99.55%

46

2020

26

$1,039,261

$1,026,885

98.81%

20

2020

24

$1,217,417

$1,186,813

97.49%

32

2020

68

$908,254

$888,581

97.83%

43

2020

39

$869,901

$868,965

99.89%

27

2020

66

$1,033,274

$1,061,588

102.74%

44

+/-

6.25%

-3.38%

-1.36%

2.06%

16.13%

+/-

45.45%

9.46%

10.21%

99.10%

27.78%

+/-

23.81%

-1.76%

0.56%

2.28%

-41.18%

+/-

-7.69%

-14.96%

-14.47%

0.57%

-60.49%

+/-

-5.56%

9.79%

9.73%

-0.06%

2.38%

+/-

-13.33%

-8.42%

-3.84%

4.75%

-44.90%

+/-

11.86%

26.47%

33.21%

5.20%

22.22%

*Comparing 01/01/19 - 12/31/19 to 01/01/20 - 12/31/20

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ®

SLO LIFE

58 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


Get growing on your home purchase

Let’s keep the conversation going. Contact us today.

Donna Lewis

Branch Manager &

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 335-8743

C: (805) 235-0463

donna.lewis@rate.com

Ken Neate

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 706-8074

C: (925) 963-1015

ken.neate@rate.com

Maggie Koepsell

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 335-8742

C: (805) 674-6653

maggie.koepsell@rate.com

Ermina Karim

Licensed Sales Assistant

Dylan Morrow

VP of Mortgage Lending

Elieen Mackenzie

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 329-4095

ermina.karim@rate.com

O: (805) 335-8738

C: (805) 550-9742

dylan.morrow@rate.com

O: (805) 212-5204

C: (831) 566-9908

eileen.mackenzie@rate.com

Zoe Thompson

Licensed Sales Assistant

Luana Geradis

VP of Mortgage Lending

Matthew Janetski

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 335-8737

zoe.thompson@rate.com

O: (805) 329-4087

C: (707) 227-9582

luana.gerardis@rate.com

O: (805) 329-4092

matt.janetski@rate.com

Joe Hutson

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (831) 205-1582

C: (831) 212-4138

joe.hutson@rate.com

Rate.com/SanLuisObispo

1065 Higuera St., Suite 100, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Not all applicants will be approved for financing. Receipt of application does not represent an approval for financing or interest rate guarantee. Restrictions may apply,

contact Guaranteed Rate for current rates and for more information.

Donna Lewis NMLS #245945; CA - CA-DOC245945 | Dylan Morrow NMLS #1461481; CA - CA-DBO1461481 | Eileen Mackenzie NMLS #282909 | Joe Hutson NMLS #447536; CA - CA-

DOC447536| Ken Neate NMLS ID #373607; CA - CA-DBO373607 | Luana Gerardis NMLS #1324563; CA - CA-DBO1324563 | Maggie Koepsell NMLS #704130; CA - CA-DBO704130 | Matthew Kanetski NMLS #1002317; CA

- CA-DBO1002317

Guaranteed Rate, Inc.; NMLS #2611; For licensing information visit nmlsconsumeraccess.org. • CA: Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act

FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 59


Now

is a great time

to take advantage

of low rates to

refinance or

purchase the

home of your

dreams.

Contact me today to learn more.

Ben Lerner

(805) 441-9486

| SLO COUNTY

REAL ESTATE

REGION

Arroyo Grande

Atascadero

Avila Beach

Cambria/San Simeon

Cayucos

Creston

BY THE NUMBERS

NUMBER OF

HOMES SOLD

2019

320

379

28

149

55

8

2020

307

404

27

162

62

10

AVERAGE DAYS

ON MARKET

2019

56

42

105

70

126

83

2020

54

35

49

71

121

210

MEDIAN SELLING

PRICE

2019

$803,608

$580,860

$1,402,390 $1,438,424

$900,046

$1,198,035

$868,250

2020

$839,826

$614,137

$846,997

$1,199,272

$898,000

Grover Beach

122

149

53

38

$556,961

$603,444

Los Osos

167

159

41

31

$670,263

$782,040

Morro Bay

136

145

62

58

$760,166

$766,352

Nipomo

307

287

57

49

$669,700

$755,591

**

Oceano

57

62

65

74

$517,032

$598,146

Pismo Beach

137

148

86

49

$1,151,387

$1,088,581

Senior Loan Advisor

NMLS 395723

ben.lerner@flagstar.com

1212 Marsh St., Suite 1

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Paso (Inside City Limits)

Paso (North 46 - East 101)

Paso (North 46 - West 101)

388

58

111

384

59

116

45

63

76

33

47

80

$522,694

$572,100

$696,103

$561,710

$656,797

$646,398

Paso (South 46 - East 101)

62

67

60

63

$627,972

$716,204

San Luis Obispo

382

398

49

45

$905,909

$956,194

Santa Margarita

31

21

89

109

$513,967

$612,043

Equal Housing Lender | Member FDIC

** Top 200 Mortgage Originator | Mortgage Executive Magazine

Not a commitment to lend. Programs available only

to qualifi ed borrowers. Subject to credit approval and

underwriting terms and conditions. Programs subject

60 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021

to change without notice. Some restrictions may apply.

Templeton

Countywide

116

2,887

151

2,995

*Comparing 01/01/19 - 12/31/19 to 01/01/20 - 12/31/20

76 67 $797,717 $877,151

58 50 $721,051 $764,878

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ®

SLO LIFE


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Open Tuesday - Saturday 10-5pm

PUGLISIDESIGN.COM | 805.595.1962

FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 61


| HEALTH

Ferment

for Health

The biological benefits of consuming fermented foods

and an easy recipe to start fermenting at home.

BY LAUREN HARVEY

H

ere on the Central Coast, we are no strangers to

fermentation. With a plethora of wineries, vineyards, and

brewhouses, the process of fermentation is happening

all around us. Certainly, we know the products of

fermentation can be some of the most delicious.

But are fermented foods as beneficial to our health as

they claim? And if so, how can we start incorporating

them into our diet more efficiently? Today, we aim

to answer some of these questions. At the end of the

article, you’ll find easy instructions to start fermenting

at home with a simple sauerkraut recipe from a San Luis

Obispo native. >>

LAUREN HARVEY is a

creative writer fueled by a

love of cooking, adventure,

and naps in the sun.

62 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 63


In turn, the good bacteria can help fight infection, synthesize

vitamins and breakdown complex carbohydrates like those

found in whole grains.

Now, more than ever, we may need all the gut health help we can

get. “Recent research suggest that the type of gut bacteria in the

bodies of Americans is changing,” says a Harvard Health article.

“One possible reason is that the microbiomes in our bodies are

not regularly replenished the way they were in past generations.”

This could be due in part to the rise of processed foods, which

are stripped of naturally occurring microorganisms that promote

healthy gut flora.

According to David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, a professor of

nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health,

“Changes to the population of gut microbes may create an

imbalance between beneficial and harmful gut bacteria.”

Probiotics, research suggests, enhance and even replenish the

beneficial microbes in our system.

Without these helpful bacteria assisting our body in breaking

down foods, nutrients, and processing essential vitamins, we may

face health risks. “Research shows that less diverse gut microbiota

is associated with many chronic diseases such as obesity, asthma,

and chronic inflammatory conditions such as inflammatory bowel

disease,” an article published by the Cleveland Medical Clinic

states. The probiotics in naturally fermented foods don’t have the

ability to cure chronic disease, or guarantee immunity; however,

consuming more may help alleviate symptoms and better support

your immune system.

BIOLOGICAL BENEFITS

THE SCIENCE OF FERMENTATION

So really, what is fermentation? According to the Encyclopedia of Analytical

Science, “Fermentation is defined as a chemical change brought about

using microorganisms.” Andy Tay, PhD, describes fermentation as “the

process of sugars being broken down by enzymes of microorganisms in the

absence of oxygen.” In both definitions, we see the motivating factor behind

fermentation—microorganisms.

As Tay goes on to describe, “During fermentation, a variety of

microorganisms are present in different proportions. The process is akin

to a concert where different musicians (i.e., microorganisms) have their

respective roles. Their cooperation produces beautiful music—our favorite

fermented food.” This poetic analogy paints a vivid picture of the complex

mechanics of fermentation. During the process, we may only see bubbles,

or the changing color of the fermenting food. Truly, there is an orchestra

of bacteria and fungi metabolizing those enzymes, creating a symphony of

flavors to delight our palate.

The hard work of countless microorganisms is one major aspect of fermentation.

The other aspect is something more simple: the passing of time. As much as

we’d like to artificially speed up time to enjoy the fruits of our ferments sooner,

this one element cannot be changed. No matter what kind of fermenting you

choose—be it alcohol, lactic acid, or acetic acid—you simply can’t rush it.

BIOLOGICAL BENEFITS

Perhaps the most lauded benefit of fermented foods is the presence

of probiotics. Naturally fermented foods may contain probiotic

microorganisms that help your body replenish its supply of good bacteria.

Shopping for naturally fermented foods necessitates some

careful label reading. For example, some pickles on the shelves of

supermarkets are made using vinegar, not over the course of time

as in a naturally fermented product. “To ensure the fermented

foods you choose do contain probiotics, look for the words

‘naturally fermented’ on the label, and when you open the jar

look for the telltale bubbles in the liquid, which signal that live

organisms are inside the jar,” says Dr. Ludwig. Consumers may

find it easier to locate naturally fermented products at a health

food store or local co-op.

Alternatively, to ensure you are consuming naturally fermented

products full of beneficial microorganisms, try making your own

fermented foods at home. Fermenting vegetables is a great place

to start. Once prepared, they require little maintenance. Be sure

to alleviate pressure built up in your fermenting jars by allowing

the air to escape every day or two, called “burping” the jars. There

are also specialty lids available that release built-up carbonation

as the product ferments. On the next page, you’ll find a beginner

friendly recipe for sauerkraut. >>

FINAL WORD

Fermentation is a natural process used to preserve

food. Health benefits occur thanks to the presence

of microorganisms found in naturally fermented

foods. Make your own at home for the most healthful

fermented treats.

64 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


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FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 65


outdoor spin

German-Style

Sauerkraut

Start your at-home fermentation journey with this two-ingredient

sauerkraut recipe by pastry chef and Central Coast native Regen Williams.

LOSE WEIGHT . BURN FAT

GET IN SHAPE

BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

FOR MORE INFORMATION EMAIL U S

AT INFO@REVSLO.COM

INGREDIENTS

1 pound of green cabbage

2 teaspoons salt

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Chop the cabbage in half and slice thinly towards the root.

2. Add cabbage to a large bowl and cover with salt.

3. Massage cabbage and salt for 10 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes, then massage for

another 10 minutes.

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66 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021

4. Once the cabbage has shrunk to about half the size, add to a clean glass jar. Pack all of

the cabbage along with the liquid into the jar and secure the lid.

5. Burp your sauerkraut by opening the lid every one or two days to release the built up

carbonation (this will appear as bubbles along the top of the jar). After burping, press

cabbage down to ensure it is all submerged in the liquid.

6. Sauerkraut will be ready to enjoy after two weeks, but can ferment for up to one month.

7. After patiently allowing your sauerkraut to ferment, it’s time to eat!

RECIPE NOTES

• For extra flavorful sauerkraut, try adding a teaspoon of carraway seeds or two

cloves of chopped garlic to the fermenting liquid.

• Make larger batches by doubling or tripling the original recipe.

• During fermentation you may see a white cloudiness at the bottom of the jar,

which is normal. SLO LIFE


FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 67


| TASTE

Steamed Buns

TAKE A BAO AT ONE OF THESE CHINESE OR JAPANESE EATERIES

THAT SPECIALIZE IN DUMPLINGS.

BY JAIME LEWIS

In 2018, the short Pixar film “Bao” told the story of a

Chinese woman who discovers that one of the steamed

buns in her lunch—a bao—is a sentient being. A little baby,

in fact. The woman cradles it, feeds it, and walks with it in a

baby carrier on her chest.

The choice of imagery is not accidental. In the Chinese

language, the word “bao” (pronounced “bow”) translates

roughly to “dumpling,” but it can have multiple meanings,

including “treasured,”“package,” and “baby.” In fact,

Chinese songwriters wield the term “bao bao” the same way their English

counterparts use the word “baby” in love songs. However you define it, a

bao is a precious and beloved thing, worth protecting.

Culinarily speaking, dumplings come in all shapes, sizes, and manifestations.

But around San Luis Obispo County lately, I’ve noticed several chefs’ interest

in puffy, yeasted steamed dumplings with filling inside. These can take the

form of baozi, the traditional white fluffy balls with a darling kewpie twist on

top, or gua bao, in which the dough is rolled

to resemble a lotus leaf and wrapped around

filling like a sandwich.

Precious though they may be, yeasted buns

are casual fare in China. On the eve of

Chinese New Year, families come together

to make bao much like Mexican families

come together during the holidays to make

tamales. Purchased from street vendors,

they’re more snack than meal.

With Chinese New Year on the horizon

(the Year of the Ox: stability!), I decided to

follow my nose to three restaurants where

bao reign. You might call them a snack, a

meal, a bun or a baby—but you’ll definitely

call them delicious. >>

JAIME LEWIS writes about

food, drink, and the good

life from her home in San

Luis Obispo. Find her on

Instagram/Twitter @jaimeclewis.

68 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


Mee Heng Low

I’ve been nabbing bao for years from downtown SLO’s

Mee Heng Low; much of the time, they’re stuffed with

barbecue pork shoulder. But on this particular day,

Chef Paul Kwong’s son Russel introduces me to the

restaurant’s Peanut Chili Chicken buns. Soft and spongy,

they hold a savory-sweet and crunchy filling inside. On

the walk home, I eat three.

“Paul slow-cooked and shredded the chicken yesterday,”

Russel says. “Then he made the dough and formed all the

buns this morning.” He goes on to explain that the buns

are steamed once to cook, and then steamed again to

heat them when people put in their order.

Paul and Russell have been playing with flavor profiles

lately, which might explain why Mee Heng Low bao

have suddenly seen a huge uptick in sales. (Russell says

their bao sell out four times as fast in recent months.)

From time to time, you might see chicken curry, veggietofu,

chicken black bean, or beef and black mushroom

bao on the menu. >>

FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 69


Momotaro Ramen

Parked inside the Paso Market Walk, Momotaro Ramen

serves up hirata buns from their pint-sized kitchen which

is best known for flavorful ramen. Chefs Mateo Rogers

and Brittney Yracheta didn’t even intend to sell the buns

originally; they were part of a chef ’s snack series that grew

a following through Instagram and word of mouth.

“People hear the words ‘Japanese food’ and they think

sushi,” says Rogers. “But there’s so much more.”

At Momotaro, hirata buns are the Japanese version of

the Chinese gua bao, a lotus leaf-shaped curl of dough

around savory fillings, like a taco. (In Chinese, gua means

suspended or hanging.) Rogers and Yracheta serve me

their Chachu Pork Hirata Bun with tangy slaw and sweet

pickle. The flavors are extremely concentrated already, but

taken together, they are really something special: perfectly

composed, one against the next. But the bun that really

gets my attention is the Karaage Shiitake Hirata Bun,

made with rich shiitake mushrooms that have been coated

in potato starch and fried. Served on an impossibly pillowy

bun with aioli, greens, spices, and cucumber, this is a

standout dish that will only put you back $7.50. >>

70 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


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FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 71


Bing’s Bao Buns

It’s a little unfair to include Bing’s in the bao bunch since they

haven’t even opened yet at the Bonetti Ranch SLO Public Market.

But I bought buns from Bing’s many times while it was still a

cottage kitchen, pumping out bao from an apartment in downtown

SLO. After a visit to that apartment recently, I’m happy to report

that Mike and Sam Whittaker have still got the touch.

“We moved from New Jersey, and we couldn’t find the kind of bao

we wanted to eat here,” says Sam.

“So I just started winging it,” says Mike. “We couldn’t eat them

all, so we shared them, started doing private parties, and then we

started selling them out of here.” This was all a side gig for the

Whittakers, who both have day jobs. Sometimes they would make

up to twenty dozen buns a day, steaming them on one burner of

their tiny stove and staggering pickups.

Bing’s buns start with wheat flour, rice flour, and yeast for a spongy

dough that absorbs Sam’s sauces. While their original pork belly

bao is beautiful, with warm spices and tangy sauce, Bing’s also plays

with flavors like vegan mushroom, cubano, and even a breakfast

bun with chorizo, a soft scrambled egg, and a Thai chili-vanilla

maple syrup. SLO LIFE

BRING HOME THE BUNS

A couple of new joints are selling bao in SLO, too. Look for the buns from Hawker Eatz (one of the

handful of restaurants rotating through Benny’s Kitchen on Foothill) as well as a char siu pork bao and

sweet taro bao at Oki Kohi Espresso Bar on Broad Street. I’ve even seen house-made pork bao in the cold

case at California Fresh Market (in Pismo Beach and SLO); check there for an after-shopping snack.

72 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


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FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 73


| WINE NOTES

up

and

com

ing

BY ANDRIA MCGHEE

o say that these

winemakers are

protégés in the

winemaking world

would not be enough. TI might add: sparkling, intelligent, and

hardworking. They have found their

mentors and glean insight from winemakers

around them. They have been given a great

opportunity to make their own wine—get

their hands dirty, make decisions about when

to pick grapes, when to stop fermentation,

and when to bottle.

They may have

tripped up here

and there along

the way but it’s

impossible to grow

in any profession

if you don’t take

the risk of making

mistakes. They are

listening, observing,

and doing. These

artisans are part of

the very fabric that

makes the Central

Coast an amazing

place to work and

live. >>

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.

74 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


PEACE. COMFORT. HEALING.

Join our On-line Church Services at

ChristianScience.com

Sunday Services

Listen live on Sundays at 10 am or join audio

replay available within 30–60 minutes after the

service ends until Friday.

Wednesday Testimony

Participate in a weekly testimony meeting with

people around the world on Wednesday at 2 pm.

Hear others share insights, experiences, and

healings they’ve had through their prayer and

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For inspiration in the form of audio casts or links,

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FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 75


White Wine Trailblazer

Nancy Ulloa (pronounced Ooh-yo-ah) lived in San Jose working hard

at both a nonprofit and in fine dining. On her days off, she would

seek out interesting wine that paired with ethnic foods—more than

a hobby, it was a passion. The magic formula for Ulloa: people, food,

wine. Her manager at the restaurant saw something special in Ulloa

and told her about the Paso Robles wine region and helped her with

her job search. In 2017, she moved to work as the wine director at

Thomas Hill Organics and then into the tasting room at 7 Oxen in

Paso Robles, steadily turning her dreams into reality.

A natural workhorse, she spends her days running the tasting room,

working the harvest, and helping where she can—with the books,

the marketing, and the guests. She loves being the liaison between

the winery and the guests, as well as keeping her finger on the pulse

when it comes to the never-ending flow of information and activity

in the winery.

With her breadth of knowledge, she launched Ulloa Cellars and made

her first wine in 2019. Her choice of grape was a stranger to most but

quickly garnered a following. Grüner Veltliner, a white wine that she

was passionate about, was a small but successful batch. In Fall 2020,

she picked three whites: Verdejo, Albariño, and a premier picking

of Grüner Veltliner, which should knock our socks off. I’m looking

forward to her continued success in small batch creations.

Secure your wine online or visit Ulloa at 7 Oxen Estate Wines, off the

highway near Tin City.

Full Circle Fermentor

Janie Willheim started out as a Wine and Viticulture major at Cal

Poly here in San Luis Obispo. Her passion was sparked with her

first harvest at Daou Winery during her college years. A smart

cookie, Willheim learned invaluable knowledge from each of her

very different experiences. She scored a great internship with

E.J. Gallo at Edna Valley Winery in marketing after graduation,

gaining important business skills. Next, she worked in fine dining

where she learned the importance of customer service. Following

that she worked a harvest in Australia where she learned a

different method of winemaking. After, she made her way back to

Paso Robles where she worked for Kukkula winery. It was there

that Willheim heard about winemaker Vailia From at Desparada,

and knew working alongside her as the brand ambassador was the

next step in her journey.

Along the way, Willheim has learned side-by-side from many

winemakers. She was enveloped in the processes every step of the way.

She learned that white wine can be interesting and to be patient.

That patience paid off in 2019 when wine tasting a Riesling

from Oliver’s Vineyard in Edna Valley where she secured grapes

to make her first wine. From encouraged Willheim to make her

own wine using From’s cellar, a generous offer to be sure. With

a production she was proud of under her belt, this upcoming

year, she will take on two wines: a red 2020 Valdiguie from Shell

Creek Vineyard, along with her original white 2020 Riesling from

Oliver’s Vineyard. I can’t wait to try them both.

To get your hands on these gems, follow Willheim on Instagram

or visit Desparada Wines in Tin City. SLO LIFE

76 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


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FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 77


| BREW

HOP

UP

BY BRANT MYERS

here’s a relatively new style floating around

and I can’t get enough of it. Having recently

road tripped through the Pacific Northwest

with my family, I kept coming across local

craft beers with clever names and titles

touting their use of Cryo hops. I’ve had

these beers made here in SLO on a handful

of occasions and had never given it much

thought. They always tasted like really good

IPAs and I gleaned from their name that Tthere was cryogenically frozen hops used somewhere in the brewing

process, but then hit a dead end. I was ruminating about these beers,

salivating thinking about the end of our ten-plus-hour day of driving

ahead and calculating where we could stop for the night, so I could

finally crack open the varieties we picked up along the way. These

ruminations started leaking out of my head as I talked to my wife.

She’s nice, I should do it more often. After taking wild stabs in the

dark about what Cryo beers actually are, she suggested I learn more

about them and write my next article on the subject. I started asking

my pals around the industry what they could tell me about the hops

themselves and how they’re used in a brewing operation. Yeah, I

should definitely talk to her more often, she’s a smart cookie.

Returning home, I reached out to Brendan Gough of Liquid Gravity

in SLO and Lee Samways of Humdinger Brewing in Arroyo Grande.

I learned a lot along the way, and it was illuminating to interview

two brewers separately and get basically the same answers, so we’ll

have some overlap of understanding, but it does go a long way to

get a consensus on general knowledge and everyday usage of this uniquely

processed hop ingredient. This isn’t a high-level political exposé (phew), so I’ve

summarized our conversations below and interjected them with quotes that

are about as accurate as I am a fast typer:

Brendan Gough // Liquid Gravity

Immediately, in the beginning of our conversation, Gough had to go back to

his mental notes to determine what he actually used the first time he brewed

with non-standard hop pellets. His first experience was using pellets that look

exactly like the ones nearly every brewer uses on a daily basis, but alas, this

was the first iteration called Hop Hash, as it was the spent and leftover resins

from the hop flowers being processed into pellets. Basically, whatever fell into,

through, and got stuck to the equipment was made into a hop pellet. Just a

heads-up here that the hop flower is in the same family as marijuana, so you

will see lots of familiarities in the names and processes for both flowers. That

initial product was eventually replaced with a low temperature, cryogenically

frozen extraction of the lupulin from the hop flower, naturally called Hop

Kief. This was a far more refined product (as opposed to the former byproduct,

hop hash) and the quality increases dramatically.

Hop Kief, which we can now start calling Cryo Powder, started as whole hop

cones, which are subjected to a freeze thirty degrees colder than their standard

counterparts to preserve the essential oils and resins then processed through

an auger in order to separate plant material from live resins and lupulin. It

should be stated that lupulones are beta acids that give the aroma in beers

with hop additions. Initially, companies did not know how to or have the

equipment to pelletize powder, so they sold it in bags, which you can still

get at local homebrew supply stores like Doc’s Cellar here locally. The hop >>

78 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


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Samways described his first time using Cryo hops as “very,

very intense” but lacking in standard beer characteristics.

In other words, it was a Cryo beer but nothing else.

There was no depth or balance of flavor. He went on to

describe that the process removes polyphenols and that

beer drinkers need that familiar flavor profile that, when

overdone, creates off-flavors, but when used in moderation

becomes the beer “flavor” that we’re used to. He started

talking about tannins and polyphenols and then started

droning on about chlorophyll. (More like borophyll!) I

wanted to talk about Cryo, so I changed the subject to see

how he thinks they should be used and if he’ll use them

again. One thing everyone agreed on is that they work

much better in combination with standard pellets, to bring

both a bold aromatic character to the beer, but also to

round it out so as to not have too much of one profile. He

then got into the weeds again comparing T-90 pellets (the

standard ones I’ve been referencing) and the T-45 pellets

(Cryo) and that actually makes sense when you look at

them as numbers. Two extremes that when combined make

T-67.5, in theory. Balance.

JUSTIN AMY

Humdinger Brewing

growers finally figured out how to pelletize hops, which is now the standard for most

production breweries. According to Gough, there are pros and cons in using Cryo hops

as their alpha acids are twice as high as pellets of the same variety, but they are also

twice as expensive. A great benefit to the consumer is that the tannins/polyphenols in

hops are lessened providing a smoother, less bitter, more aromatic beer. For brewers,

there seems to be a consensus that there is a financial benefit to using them as the

smaller volume allows more beer to be brewed in their systems and they generally

absorb less beer in the tank, as well. Even on a smaller system, nano-brewers can

translate that extra volume into gallons per batch.

Gough hopped off the phone with me for a few minutes while he called his hop

rep. She confirmed the progression of these hop processes and even gave us two new

tidbits of information. The first is that I’m already late in the game because they’re

creating a liquid version of the Cryo powder, and then we got jealous because the hop

manufacturers created a new sub-category of hops, they dubbed “American Noble

Hops” not to be confused with the traditional noble hops originating in Europe such

as the commonly used Hallertau and Saaz. The American versions are just the spent

hops left over from the Cryo process. Selling a manufacturing by product. Genius!

Lee Samways // Humdinger Brewing

It’s always a pleasure to talk to Samways and get his opinion on beers and life. He

provided a great viewpoint being both a celebrated amateur homebrewer and now

a professional commercial brewer. Homebrewers have much more flexibility on

experimentation as their batches are small and they don’t need to make a marketable

beer in order to pay the bills. Naturally, Samways has used them personally but has yet

to try Cryo hops at his shiny new brewhouse.

Aaron Smith // Doc’s Cellar

As a bonus, I reached out to Aaron Smith of Doc’s Cellar,

our local home brew supply store to see if he has any insight

on the consumer side of things. He immediately looked

in their fridge to see what was in stock and told me they

have one-ounce packets of five popular varieties: Simcoe,

Citra, Cascade, Mosaic, and Loral (a relatively newer hop

variety that is fruity leaning towards floral). He mentioned

a professional brewer in Arizona that he interacted with

that also uses them in conjunction with T-90 pellets, but

homebrewers are using them less. There was a large surge

when they came out a couple years ago, but they have

declined, with Smith postulating that they were exciting at

first, but the higher cost is a barrier to experimentation and

that the change is a little too drastic for some and, as we all

know, change is scary.

I learned a lot talking to these three industry professionals

and now have a greater appreciation for this little sub-set

of IPA styles and the processes which take the hops from

the fields to the foam on my upper lip. My conclusion

is that they make a tasty beer that has all the aroma of a

hazy/juicy/New England-style IPA but with the clean

clarity of a West Coast-style IPA. On the brewing side,

the upfront cost is higher but at

twice the lupulin impact they

only have to use half as much.

The extra beer that comes from

the reduced volume is icing on

the cake and may even further

offset that higher price. Either

way, I hope I planted a bug in

the ears of local brewers, and

they use this fascinating flower

process in an upcoming batch. Oh

yeah, and Samways invited me

to come brew a Cryo beer with

him, so maybe it’s back to school

for me. If you have the means, I

highly recommend picking up the

style and having a toast with me.

Cheers! SLO LIFE

BRANT MYERS is a beer

industry veteran and

founder of SLO BIIIG, a

hospitality consulting firm.

80 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021


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FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 81


| HAPPENINGS

Culture & Events

SLOPE Paints to Preserve

Stunning originals and prints by San Luis

Outdoor Painters for the Environment are

available at the Studios on the Park gallery in

Paso Robles. The region’s top landscape artists,

including Dennis Curry, Rosanne Seitz,

Laurel Sherrie, and many more, use their

art to raise awareness, educate, and provide

funding for Central Coast treasured open

spaces by donating a portion of sales to the

Land Conservancy of SLO County.

Through February 28 // slope-painters.com

Buy Local Bonus Program

The City of SLO is rewarding shoppers for

spending dollars locally. Spend $100 or more

at participating local retailers, restaurants, and

other food and beverage businesses, and you’ll

get a $20 gift card to support another local

business. Qualify up to three separate times.

Through March 12 // downtownslo.com

Rosey ‘n’ Barb

Robert “Rosey” Rosenthal and Barbara “Barb”

Rosenthal, a dynamic artistic duo since 1980, are

“Still At It After All These Years” in this unique

exhibition at Art Central in San Luis Obispo.

Well-known award-winning printmakers, Rosey

‘n’ Barb take this opportunity to show their

work in other media: he, his colorful, gouache

paintings and she, her rich landscape paintings.

82 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2021

Entrepreneurship in Music

The Cal Poly Music Department hosts

a special webinar featuring guests who

share creative methods for beginning

and sustaining a career in music.

Panelists are David Cutler and Mark

Tonelli, professors of entrepreneurship

at the University of South Carolina

and Millikin University, respectively.

Arthur White, Cal Poly’s director of jazz

studies, moderates the panel, which is

free, open to the public, and designed to

help musicians adapt to the decline in

traditional career opportunities.

February 11 // music.calpoly.edu

Flower Power & Ikebana

More than merely decorative, floral

imagery has helped convey ideas from the

refined to the revolutionary for thousands

of years, conveying timely and timeless

themes. This exhibit at the Art Center

Morro Bay embraces the diversity of florals

through two- and three-dimensional

artworks in all media, photography, jewelry,

Ikebana, and more.

February 11 - April 5 // artcentermorrobay.org

Vive L’Amour

Reserve a ticket now, then on Valentine’s

Day pick up a treasure trove of goodies

“curated for love” to share with someone

special—or give yourself a treat. The

Monday Club Conservancy is offering a

“Vive L’Amour” feast that includes a bottle

of wine nestled in French linen, gourmet

treats (freshly baked tarts, baguette

sandwiches, and fresh fruit), a vase filled

with aromatic lavender, and more.

Broadband Summit 2021

California Secretary of Food and

Agriculture Karen Ross headlines the

SLO County Broadband Summit 2021,

“Connections and the Digital Divide,” a

virtual Zoom event free and open to the

public. Other presenters include Mike

Santorelli with New York Law School’s

Advanced Communications Law &

Policy Institute, and Tellus Venture

Associates President Steve Blum.

February 18 // sloevc.org

SLO Film Fest

The twenty-seventh annual SLO

International Film Festival is shaping

up to be one of the most unique festivals

ever—a predominantly virtual experience

with the possibility of a few special inperson

events in compliance with state

guidelines. This year’s “Shining a Light

on the Joy of Cinema” events include

an interactive social hub, behind-thescenes

panels, watch-at-home kits,

virtual audience award voting, filmmaker

Q&As, and more. The festival will

continue to honor industry professionals

with its slate of annual awards.

March 9 - 14 // slofilmfest.org

Kosoko Jackson

The SLO Public Library invites adults

to register for this exclusive, live, Zoom

Book Club event featuring Kosoko

Jackson, author of “Yesterday Is History,”

a romantic, heart-felt, and whimsical

debut novel about letting go of the past,

figuring out what you want in your

future, and staying in the moment before

it passes you by.

February 4 - March 29 // artcentralartsupply.com February 14 // themondayclubslo.org

March 23 // slolibrary.org SLO LIFE


FEB/MAR 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 83


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