BY THE NUM
SAN LUIS OB
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 1
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2 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 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
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 3
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 | JUN/JUL 2021
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JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 5
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6 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
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JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 7
8 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
NOW HEAR THIS
Surf is Up
Moondoggies’ Randy Adler with son Dane
MoonDoggies Beach Club
Central Coast native Randy Adler wins our award for the most diligent
merchant in Downtown SLO. During the past year we watched as he
worked incredibly hard to keep his locally-owned surf shop on Monterey
Street open, and he tells us that his business now couldn’t be better.
“It’s almost unbelievable. People are looking for new outdoor activities,
and surfing is one of the biggest beneficiaries of that. Our surf equipment
and apparel business is doing really well.” If you ask us, it couldn’t
happen to a nicer guy, and we’re proud to have Moondoggies as an
important part of the San Luis Obispo Collection.
D O W N T O W N S L O I S T H E P L A C E W E W A N T T O B E .
Court Street • Monterey Street • Downtown Centre
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 9
On the Rise
10 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
design + build contractors
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 11
| PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE
This summer feels different. It’s actually reminding me of a different season: spring. Specifically, the
spring that blossomed along the California coastline twenty-six years ago following the El Niño
deluge of 1994/95. Then, I was a college student living in the Crown-Merrill Apartments on campus
at UC Santa Cruz (Go Slugs!).
I had never seen rain drops so large. It felt as if I were aboard Noah’s ark alongside shivering giraffes
and pandas, hypnotized by the metronome-like redwoods swaying under sheets of cascading water.
We were all so hunkered down, sometimes told to stay at home for fear that we’d end up under the
trunk of a fallen tree. This was before Zoom meetings. And it didn’t matter anyway because the power
was often out. We studied by candlelight.
One day, it stopped. That spring was unlike anything I had experienced before. After so much cold
and wet and gray—and isolation—everyone seemed to be vibrating on some higher ethereal plane
when the sun finally came out again.
It feels that way now. Except it’s not spring, it’s summer. And it’s not 1995 but 2021. Historians describe a cyclicality to events, as in “history
repeats itself.” Many say we’re on the brink of a “new Roaring Twenties.” I’m not sure what that means exactly, and while speakeasies and dance
crazes sound great to me, the historical cycle I’m most interested in right now is my own.
This time around, I’m not a college student, instead I’ve got one of my own.
Between our three kids, I’ve lost count for how many “graduations” my wife and I have attended (for the record, I put the word “graduation” in
quotes because I don’t really count moving from the first grade to the second as graduating). Still, there’s always a ceremony and everyone shows
up to take pictures and clap deliriously when the “diplomas” are conferred upon those deemed worthy of coloring between the lines.
The fact that our first-born is graduating high school this year—a week before her eighteenth birthday no less—is forcing me to continually
ponder a question: Where did the time go?
Of course, there is nothing unique about that particular question, which has been tackled with vigor by philosophers and scientists alike. The
truth is, it simply evaporates like an El Niño mud puddle drying out while we race around to dance recitals and t-ball games and “graduations.”
This past year has been tough. A long winter. Cold and gray. But there were rays of sunshine peeking through the clouds at times as we bobbed
up and down on the ark, squinting hard in the search for land on the horizon, somewhere to dock. With nothing else to do, we turned toward
one another, those on board with us, the giraffes and pandas, our families, friends, and neighbors. We didn’t have to ask where time went
because we were in it—together.
Now, when that question starts to bubble up in my mind again—“Where did the time go?”—I answer it differently, with a question of my own,
borrowing the intellectual jujitsu so often expertly employed by our sixteen-year-old son.
It turns out that the answer to one of life’s most enduring and intractable questions is “Who cares?”
Trying to figure out where time went only serves to accelerate its departure. I’m better off, I’ve decided, to embrace every fleeting moment I’ve
got with the giraffes and pandas, give thanks for the sun—and the rain—hold on, and enjoy the ride.
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!
p.s. If you’d like to read more visit me at tomfranciskovich.com
12 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
© CAMBRIA 2020 || 417450_AD
BEYOND THE STRAIGHT
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JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 13
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CIRCULATION, COVERAGE, AND ADVERTISING RATES
Complete details regarding circulation, coverage, and advertising
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
4251 S. Higuera Street, Suite 800
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Letters chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations.
Designed by: Honeycomb Home Design
& Pack Design
Lisa Maksoudian Photography
1111 EL CAMINO REAL, ARROYO GRANDE, CA 93420 | (805) 481-1122 | WWW.PACIFICSHORESTONES.COM
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 15
| SNEAK PEEK
ON THE COVER
behind the scenes
BY VANESSA PLAKIAS
Let’s see, shirtless surfer—once soccer pro—
wearing a Captain America Goat cape while
“rainbowing” a soccer ball over his goat …Yep!
This was going to be a super fun shoot!
When I first arrived, I met Cody. He had just finished up a surf lesson
with Dana. Cody was thrilled to surf on a board with a goat. He just
went for it! It’s a memory Cody and his family will cherish forever.
At one point, we heard some commotion behind us.
Someone had lost their dog and good samaritans were trying
to help the nervous pup. They needed a leash and Dana was
quick to grab his goat rope to lend a hand. Everyone was
grateful the dog made it back to its owners safe and sound.
During our shoot a paramedic/surfer, Neil, and his mom came
over to meet the goats. Neil went in for a milk refresher right from
the goat’s teat! Then his mom, Diane, then me! It was warm and
creamy and I asked where the chocolate and cinnamon were.
16 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
FOR SENIORS & PATIENTS
ON THE CENTRAL COAST
“TO CARE FOR OTHERS, TO TRULY CARE,
GIVES MEANING TO OURSELVES, WHICH IN
TURN GIVES MEANING TO MANKIND.”
Ranelle Franklin Baldwin
President & Founder
President and Founder, Ranelle Franklin Baldwin, shares how her commitment to to the quality and not the
quantity of patients being cared for is what truly sets apart the service provided by Dignified Hope Care.
How did Dignified Hope Care get started? Ranelle Franklin
Baldwin, President & Founder, has been caring for seniors for over
a decade. She attributes her inspiration and success to her mentors:
religious advisors, political figures, the countless professionals working
in the medical community, specifically the geriatric care community, and
the patients themselves that she has cared for. She is dedicated to the
high standards she maintains within the staff she hires and coaches.
What sets your business apart from others? Dignified Hope Care
is the only caregiving service that’s employs solely licensed caregivers.
All of our caregivers are EMT’s, CNA’s, and MA’s while other companies
employ non medical workers with minimal requirements. Typically
seniors in need of care are either a rehab patient healing from surgery or
end of life patient—both need a skilled professional to attend to real care
needs. Non-medical staff can be appropriate for companionship needs,
but if you have health concerns, a medically trained care provider is
necessary. In addition we also have Rn’s and Lvn’s on staff to assist
medication management and/or nursing shift needs.
Can you tell us about the business? Dignified Hope
Care is a locally owned company here on the Central Coast.
Our staff is committed to professional and compassionate
care needed for your loved one. The individualized care
provided is specifically tailored for each person’s needs.
Maintaining independence and quality of life is our approach
What services do you offer? We provide Senior Care
specifically designed and detailed for our clients. Our staff
of Registered Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses are
available for Clinical In-Home Services. We also work with
all the local Hospice to provide Palliative/ End of Life Care.
And for those wanting to stay at home, it can mean varied
adjustments are needed to maintain independence— we have
you covered with our Senior Handyman Services. Additionally,
for new mother’s we offer Placenta Encapsulation and New
Mother Care plans.
We all want the best for our loved ones.
Visit our website to take our confidential In-Home Care Online
Assessment to see if you or your loved one requires care.
Dignified Hope Care
1242 Monterey St, Suite 120, San Luis Obispo, Ca 93401
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 17
TAKE US WITH YOU!
Send your photos and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us online at slolifemagazine.com
CASTLE ROCK, CODY, WYOMING
EMILY and GREG BUERGLER
GRACE, GEORGE, BLAKE, JULIA, and KAITLYN
MEEKS and MILO
BISCAYNE NATIONAL PARK, FLORIDA
MULTNOMAH FALLS, OREGON
AMANDA, KEVIN and FINN SELMAN
OWEN and CAMILLE SCHWAEGERLE
18 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
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JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 19
The Pentagon approves the use of Camp Roberts, a California Army National Guard base
in northern SLO County, to temporarily house unaccompanied migrant children. It is not
clear if, or how many, children might be placed at the camp, but the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services confirms that the camp is under consideration. After being
processed by the Border Patrol, children are transferred to Health and Human Services,
then eventually released to a sponsor, usually a parent or close relative.
Attorneys for Ruben and Paul Flores enter “not
guilty” pleas on behalf of their clients during
an arraignment hearing in connection with the
May 1996 death of Cal Poly student Kristin
Smart. The father and son were arrested by San
Luis Obispo County Sheriff ’s officials on April
13 at their separate homes. Paul, 44, is charged
with first-degree murder for allegedly killing
Smart while trying to rape her, while Ruben,
80, is charged as an accessory after the fact for
allegedly helping conceal Smart’s body after she
was murdered. A preliminary hearing date is
tentatively set for July 6.
PHOTO BY NICOLE PRATT
20 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
Team Coastal Cancel Cancer Crew,
a multi-generational coterie of
seventeen volunteers, hosts “Run
for a Cure,” a five-mile fun run
relay held at the beautiful Chateau
Noland in Avila. The Crew, led by
SLO High School students Matthew
Davi, Savanna Henderson-Witt, and
Mattea Kalpakoff, joined two other
teams, each running in honor of a
local Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Hero—three children battling blood
cancer. Even with COVID restrictions
on the number of runners, the three
teams together raised more than
$7,500 to support cancer research and
The City of San Luis Obispo begins replacing
old outdated parking meters at individual
parking spots with all-new multi-space pay
stations. The change, in line with a City plan
to open up sidewalks and expand the parklet
program, means people pay for their parking at
one strategically-placed station, rather than at
individual meters, which clutter up the sidewalk.
Drivers simply punch in their license plate
numbers, select an amount of time, pay the fee,
and go on their way. Plans call for completing
the replacement of downtown meters at twohour
spaces by July 2022, as well as developing
a parking app by July of this year that allows
people to bypass the stations and simply use
their cell phones.
Alaska Airlines announces it will offer daily
nonstop flights between San Luis Obispo and
both Portland and San Diego beginning June
17. The San Diego service had been launched
in January 2020 but was put on hold during the
pandemic, and the Portland service was scheduled
to begin last June but never launched. Alaska
already provides nonstop service twice daily
between SLO and its hub in Seattle.
Cal Poly alum and NASA astronaut Victor Glover, along with three other
astronauts, splashes down in the Gulf of Mexico after spending nearly six
months in space aboard the International Space Station. Their safe return to
Earth on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon was the first nighttime splashdown since
the Apollo missions of the 1960s. The crew spent 167 days on board the
space station, completing 2,688 orbits around Earth. The mission was historic
for Glover, the first Black crew member aboard the ISS for an extended stay.
He is one of eighteen NASA astronauts selected for the Artemis program,
which aims to send humans back to the moon before 2030.
Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla introduce the Protecting Unique and
Beautiful Landscapes by Investing in California (PUBLIC) Lands Act to increase
protections for public lands throughout the Central Coast, northwest California, and
Los Angeles. The package consists of three bills originally introduced in the House
of Representatives, including the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act that would
designate 288,000 acres of public land in the Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo
Plain National Monument as wilderness, 159 miles of streams as wild and scenic rivers,
and two national scenic areas totaling 34,880 acres, and would establish a 400-mile-long
Condor National Scenic Trail stretching from LA to Monterey County.
Seven SLO County Library branches open their doors for limited Grab & Go service
after closing during the pandemic along with seven smaller branches. Arroyo Grande,
Atascadero, Cambria, Los Osos, Morro Bay, Nipomo, and San Luis Obispo libraries are
open Tuesdays through Saturdays for browsing, “holds” pickups, and express computers.
No seating is available for leisure reading, however, and program rooms will remain
closed. Cayucos, Creston, Oceano, San Miguel, Santa Margarita, Shandon, and Shell
Beach libraries remain shuttered until further notice, but patrons can always “Ask a
Librarian” at www.slolibrary.org.
Thursday Farmers’ Market, closed since March 2020,
returns—concentrating its usual five blocks into two
on Higuera Street from Osos to Chorro streets in
downtown SLO. The first phase of opening includes
familiar farmers and vendors, but precludes on-site
dining, entertainment, and handling fresh produce.
Designed like an outdoor grocery store, the smallerscale
market offers produce and staples such as bread
and coffee beans from more than thirty vendors, while
a full-scale revival is projected for June depending on
One police officer is killed, and another wounded, in
a shooting at an apartment on Camellia Court in San
Luis Obispo. Detective Luca Benedetti, a twelve-year
law enforcement veteran and member of the SLO
regional SWAT team, died after a burglary suspect
opens fire on officers serving a search warrant at his
apartment. Another SLOPD detective, Steve Orozco,
is wounded but expected to fully recover. The suspect,
identified by police as Edward Zamora Giron, opened
fire at the detectives and was wounded by return fire.
He later committed suicide.
The director of the US Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention announces that people who are fully
vaccinated do not need to wear masks or practice
social distancing indoors or outdoors. State and local
laws, however, remain in effect, meaning that wearing
face masks indoors in California—and thus in SLO
County—is still the rule. The future looks brighter,
however, as the County announces plans to demobilize
its Alternate Care Site at Cal Poly by May 31 and
return it to its pre-pandemic status as the campus rec
center. And earlier in April, Governor Gavin Newsom
declared that California plans to discontinue its colorcoded
re-opening tiers for individual counties in June,
meaning the entire state could move at once to open up
for “business as usual” on June 15.
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 21
Grant funds from the California Natural
Resources Agency Urban Greening Program
to help the City of San Luis Obispo improve
the Anholm Neighborhood Greenway, a
bicycle and pedestrian route along Chorro
and Broad Streets connecting the downtown
to Foothill Boulevard and the Highland
Drive entry to Cal Poly. Construction,
including safety lighting and public art,
begins in early 2022.
A series of month-long activations
adorning Mission Plaza in downtown
SLO through summer 2021 and perhaps
beyond. Featuring a different cultural
nonprofit each month and funded by the
City, each art installation is unique to its
San Luis Obispo’s available water supply
last year in acre-feet (AF), which is
consistent with the City’s current water
supply needs. That’s according to the
2020 General Plan Annual Report, which
outlines the City’s four sources of H2O:
Salinas Reservoir (Santa Margarita Lake);
Whale Rock Reservoir; Nacimiento
Reservoir; and recycled water from the
City’s Water Resource Recovery Facility.
A series of interactive, fast paced, and
informative sessions featuring experts
who have wrestled in the trenches of
community governance. Brought to you
by the SLO Chamber of Commerce, it
is designed to create lasting connections
and share ideas in a safe, fun, and
The number of free showers that a local
nonprofit has provided to people without
access to running water and other hygiene
supplies. Shower the People launched
in October 2018 with sites in San Luis
Obispo and Grover Beach. All guests also
receive a new pair of underwear, socks, a
t-shirt, and more.
that 2020 brought,
it was a good year
for California olive
oils, especially the
Central Coast Olive Oil Competition
chief judge Paul Vossen praised the
olive varietals from the 2021 contest
when results were announced in April.
The thirteenth annual competition saw
Pleasant Valley Farms in Aptos win Best
in Show. Singled out for several Best of
Class medals were Boccabella Farms and
Rancho Asul Y Oro in San Miguel; Stagg
Hill Cuvee, Mountain Springs Olive
Ranch, and Fandango in Paso Robles; and
Homestead Olive Ranch in Templeton.
Your contribution to SLO Botanical
Garden’s public art fundraiser “Pickets
for Programs,” which could provide
support for vital operations and expands
educational programs. Each donation lets
you paint a picket (instructions, brushes,
and high-quality paints supplied) to adorn
the fence surrounding the Children’s
Garden. And it stays in place for three
years for everyone to enjoy.
The California Transportation Commission
is funding the County Parks Department
Bob Jones Trail extension project to the
tune of $18.25 million as part of Cycle 5 of
its Active Transportation Program (ATP).
The “City to Sea” project, a top priority for
the SLO Council of Governments for more
than two decades, will connect the existing
trail in Avila to the Octagon Barn at the
South end of San Luis Obispo.
The percentage of SLO County’s
population that Public Health officials
estimate at the end of April had received at
least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. The
County’s clinics in Arroyo Grande, Paso
Robles, and San Luis Obispo administered
3,144 vaccines on April 22, the most
in a single day since the County began
providing the vaccine in December. SLO LIFE
22 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
E X P EC T B E T T ERSM
125 INDIO DRIVE, PISMO BEACH
This incredible ocean front property welcomes you to mouth watering views and amenities. Recently updated with the finest materials and craftsmanship, large
windows frame the expansive ocean and sunset views along the Pacific Coast. The home has two family rooms with gorgeous fireplaces, a remodeled kitchen
with breakfast nook and dining room, a master suite featuring its own balcony and fireplace, and views from almost every window. Several outdoor conversation
areas await you on the patio including a stone fire pit with seating, a putting green, a hot tub, and unmatchable ocean views.
LISA THOMPSON, REALTOR ® , LIC. #01417618 805.878.6206
MONTECITO MORRO BAY SAN LUIS OBISPO
SOLD for $15,975.00! A rare opportunity to
enjoy panoramic ocean and mountain views
within the serenity and privacy of nearly 11 flat
acres, dotted with majestic oaks and mature
plantings. The long graceful driveway leads you to
the main residence, guest house, pool, pool
house, and shop.
BROKER ASSOCIATE, LIC. #01267325
REALTOR®, LIC. #02035157
On occasion, a property comes to market that is
truly rare, this is one of those. This Blufftop,
Tri-level, Bayfront condo has 2 bds, 2 ba + a loft.
The master is downstairs, second bedroom on the
second floor. 3rd level loft is an ideal space to use
as a home office. 1 car garage, 1 carport space &
includes a storage unit. Great opportunity and the
moment is now…
REALTOR®, LIC. #01945215
This single level 3-bed home features vaulted
planked ceilings, engineered hardwood flooring,
built-in cabinetry, and a 400 sq ft apartment over
the garage. The kitchen features a large butcher
block island with second sink and Ceaser Stone
countertops. Family room could be a 4th bedroom
or spacious office. The two sets of french doors
lead to the private backyard.
REALTOR®, LIC. #01815083
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Haven Properties
441 Marsh Street, San Luis Obispo
805 Main Street, Morro Bay
1401 Park Street, Suite 103, Paso Robles
2646 Santa Maria Parkway, Suite 106, Santa Maria
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 23
BY MARK NAKAMURA
Do you have a bucket list of things you want to do before you
kick the bucket? See the aurora borealis? Run with the bulls
in Spain? Walk the Camino de Santiago?
How about seeing a cloud inversion on the Central Coast? A cloud
inversion is when the normally warm air near the ground and the
cooler air above it is flipped. The cooler air below is trapped near
the ground and the warmer air is above it. This allows for a view of
looking down on the clouds.
It’s hard to get out of bed early in the dark and start hiking with a
headlight to arrive at the top of the mountain before sunrise, but
when it’s foggy in San Luis Obispo, chances are that if you go a
thousand feet up in elevation, you can be looking down on a sea of
Cerro San Luis, Bishop Peak, the mountain that is above the “P”
at Cal Poly, and, my favorite, Reservoir
Canyon Trail (also known as “The
Tower” hike) are places of interest.
Sometimes, you don’t have to get too high
in elevation. Terrace Hill is an excellent
place for photographs of the cloud
inversion when the fog is low.
This photograph was taken at the top of
Bishop Peak on a foggy morning in San
Luis Obispo. There were several Cal Poly
students up there after I arrived and took
this couple’s photograph with the clouds
below them. One of the trailheads is on
Foothill Boulevard, which is the one I
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
24 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 25
Born to be Wild
In 1987, Pacific Wildlife Care was founded to deal with the oildrenched
pelicans showing up on the beaches around SLO County
following the Apex Houston oil spill. Fast-forward to today, the
nonprofit organization now boasts over 200 volunteers, a small
paid staff, a rehabilitation center, a full-time wildlife veterinarian,
and for the first time in its history, an executive director, former
Morro Bay City Councilwoman, CHRISTINE JOHNSON, who visited
with us the other day. Here is some of what she had to say…
We always start with this question,
Christine: Where are you from? So I was
born in Pennsylvania, on the western part of
the state, but grew up on the eastern side, in
Bloomsburg. My parents were teachers. I’ve
got one brother, he’s younger, and in higher
education now. We lived in a rural area and
always had wildlife all around us. You learned
quickly that you had to share your garden
with the rabbits and deer. I had an aunt,
actually a great aunt, Aunt Kay. She was an
avid birder. We would spend a lot of time
with her during the summer. At one point, I
remember thinking to myself, “I’m just like
my Aunt Kay, I love birds.”
Did you go away to school? Yes, college
was at Penn State, where I met my husband,
Lee, and then I went on to get my master’s
in student affairs and higher education.
From there, I spent the first five years of my
career in Philadelphia. I worked at Peirce
College, which was originally established in
1865 to educate Civil War veterans. It’s very
diverse and, I’d say, 80% of the students were
first-generation college students. It was very
empowering to be a part of that, I really loved
it. But, my husband, through his job had an
opportunity to transfer to the West Coast, to
Long Beach, so we did it. That’s when I first
got involved working for a nonprofit, the Girl
How long were you there? Five years, then
we had another opportunity through my
husband’s work again, and we decided to do
it. He was with an international shipping
company, so I had to very much reinvent
myself as the trailing spouse. We went briefly
to Columbus, Ohio before bouncing around
during the next ten years: Santiago, Chile;
Korea; Northern New Jersey where our son
was born, he’s now sixteen; Panama; Brazil;
St. Louis; and then Morro Bay. Back in 1990,
when Lee and I graduated from college, we
took a trip along the California coast, just
like every other tourist from the east does.
We camped here for two days and just fell in
love with the area, as so often happens with
people. We never forgot about it.
Okay, so how did you get involved with
wildlife rehabilitation? So, first off,
everybody here in Morro Bay has seagulls in
their neighborhood. And, one day, we found
one in our yard that had been injured and
unable to fly. I didn’t know what to do, so I
asked my neighbors and one of them said,
“Oh, you should call these people.” And I
did. There was a hotline, and they take these
kinds of calls. Somebody came out right
away, picked up the gull, rescued it. The
whole experience was great, it was so good to
know that there was somebody doing that.
That was my introduction to Pacific Wildlife
Care, or PWC. They’ve been operating for
over thirty years, doing this great work in our
community rescuing wildlife. The idea is to
rehabilitate the animal and get it back out
into the wild as soon as possible.
Let’s talk about our local wildlife.
You know, that’s a big reason why we ended
up here on the Central Coast in the first
place. We’re so abundant in wildlife here.
There’s so much biodiversity here in this
county. You just feel like you’re so much a
part of the natural world every day, which
is so much different than living in a city
where you barely see any other living
thing except for people. I’d say it’s similar
in some ways to where I grew up in rural
Pennsylvania, in terms of daily encounters
with wildlife, and understanding, too, that
our human interactions have an impact on
those animals. And so, PWC does a great
job in my opinion of helping us balance
out important things that we do need to
do for people, like more housing and better
transportation. But there is sometimes a cost
to that, to the natural world. So, I feel happy
to be able to play a role in maintaining that
balance by helping wild animals as much as
we possibly can. SLO LIFE
26 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
A Day at
I’m the thinker.
Did he say
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JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 27
| NOW HEAR THIS
BY JOE PAYNE
PHOTOS COURTESY OF BRASS MASH
28 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
According to The Power of Live, a global
study that captured the trends and
behaviors of music fans ages thirteen
to sixty-five from eleven countries, live
music is one of the most powerful human
experiences and the ultimate escape from
Anyone who has been to a Brash Mash show can attest to the studies
findings. Performing live the first Friday of the month at Liquid
Gravity in San Luis Obispo, the band can be found mashing up
unexpected pop tunes with artful horn arrangements. The venue allows
for outdoor gatherings to enjoy live music, band leader Colin Dean
explained, and the response has been huge, “There was a two-hour wait
to get in the door last time and people waited!” Dean said. “Maybe it’s
the tacos, maybe it’s the beer, maybe it’s us.”
Whatever it is, Brash Mash is a tacos and beer kind of band. The
group usually performs with anywhere between eight or 12 players,
Dean said. Most are “band nerds” who’ve grown up, and in the case of
Dean and a few members, are actually band directors at local schools.
“We have a whole fleet of saxophones, trumpets, trombone, tuba, and
we have some killer kit drummers,” he said. “What’s specifically fun
is having people who are trained in classical and jazz; everyone in the
band, if they don’t have a music degree, it’s pretty close.”
Dean is a trombone master himself, comfortable when he “kicks up
in the high register” or going low for some “elephant sounds.” While
a brass group like his is best known in New Orleans, Dean says that
Brash Mash is not a “NOLA band,” but rather a horn ensemble
perfectly suited to the San Luis Obispo area.
As band leader, Dean is also the group’s principal arranger. As the “onthe-nose”
band name suggests, he mashes up two or more known pop
songs. The point is usually to combine two songs you never thought
you’d hear together, and to cater to the taste of the locals all at the same
time. “This isn’t an urban place, this isn’t a rural place, we’re like our own
thing here,” he explained. “It’s like 30 percent classic rock, 30 percent
pop music, and like 30 percent random things that people like including
country and Americana--infused things.”
There’s an inherent humor to the choices Dean makes, a playfulness only
understood when you hear Britney Spears somehow combined with
Black Sabbath. That humor was a big part of his formative years as a
musician. “Honestly, it’s kind of a band nerd thing,” he said. “For those
who grew up in band in high school, people are always joking around
with each other musically, and trying to play the most annoying song....
We’re always trying to one-up each other.”
That camaraderie is part of what makes a great band, and brass players
understand that earlier than most musicians. With literally a whole gang
of band directors and devoted horn players with him, Dean admits he’s
“spoiled” by both the level of skill and the camaraderie of his compatriots.
Dean’s current lineup of dedicated
performers for Brass Mash are Brett Malta
on tuba, Sean Sullivan on drums, Sam
Franklin on baritone saxophone, Anthony
Yi on alto saxophone, Tim Crooks on
tenor saxophone, Ben Kerr on trumpet, and
Breanna Chambers on trumpet. They are
often joined by a few revolving members
as well, Dean said, all of whom contribute
to an engaging and fun live concert. “The
hang is the best,” he said. “I get to hang out
with horn players all day? And they’re killer
players? And they’re smart? And we get
to play Offspring songs and BS? And do
something that’s fun and people enjoy it and
keep showing up? That’s amazing.” 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.
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 29
| MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR
PHOTOGRAPHY BY VANESSA PLAKIAS
“Iconic” and “Toyota Prius” are words that very rarely
go together, except here on the Central Coast where the
overloaded “goat-friendly hybrid” is a familiar sight at
local beaches. The driver, DANA MCGREGOR, transports
his precious cargo that includes a dozen surfboards
strapped precariously to the roof, a handful of damp
and sandy wetsuits in the trunk, and a goat named
Pismo riding shotgun. It’s all done for one purpose: “To
bring joy up and down the coast.” And, judging by the
smiles of curious onlookers, it appears that the mission
is being accomplished. From professional soccer to
the art of clearing poison oak, from cryptocurrency to
childrens’ books, here’s his story…
30 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 31
32 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
kay, Dana, let’s talk about where you’re from. I grew up here, Pismo
Beach, California. I went to Arroyo Grande High school, went to Shell
Beach Elementary, Ocean View, so I kind of grew up in this neck of
the woods. We moved here in the fourth grade. My family basically
moved up here from Riverside area. My dad was a general contractor,
and his grandfather was a goat surfer . . . no, I’m just joking! That’d
be funny if we had an ancient history of goat surfing and I’m just
carrying on the next generation. I think our family, the McGregors,
we got kicked out of Scotland for stealing sheep. So, we went for goats Oinstead. Actually, I think that McGregor is a common shepherding name from Ireland and Scotland,
but I’ve also got some Belgian in me, too, so I’m kind of mixed.
What were you like as a kid? I’ve had a passion for soccer since I was twelve years old, and I wanted
to play at the highest level I could. I kept playing every single day and practicing until I made the
Olympic development team. I did that for a couple years, then I got a soccer scholarship to play at
Fresno State. I actually didn’t want to play in college. I wanted to go straight to Europe to play, but that
was the only opportunity that was open at the time. So, I went to college and ended up having a “come
to Jesus moment” during my freshman year of college, and my life kind of transitioned from that point.
I finished playing soccer there in Fresno and then sort of got burned out on the sport.
What did you do instead? I worked for a couple years after college at a Christian group home. One
day, one of the kids there said, “Mr. McGregor, why don’t you go play professional soccer?” And it hit
me. I was probably twenty-three or twenty-four at the time. And dang, that hit me really hard. Why
don’t I do that? I kind of stopped playing for a couple of years after college, I stopped doing something
I loved. So, I thought it through and realized, “Oh, you know what, that makes sense and I’m still
young enough to do it,” so I ended up trying out for a semi-pro team in Oregon. And that team had
a thing called Professional Soccer Ministry where they sent two players to different countries to play
professional soccer. We went to South Africa, Cape Town. Then, I lived in Beirut, Lebanon for a season.
After that, I went to Ohio for a couple of years where I played for the Cleveland City Stars.
How long did you play professionally? I was probably about twenty-nine when I finished my
career—I’m forty-two now—so, I moved home when my folks were going through a separation. I felt
like I needed to go home and take care of the fam and see for myself what was going on. So, it was
then, when I returned, that I saw someone bring in a bunch of goats to clear out the poison oak. They
eat that stuff, no problem. A year, maybe two, later, we kept dealing with poison oak in my mom’s
backyard. So, I thought it would be kind of cool to bring in a goat, have it around a little bit so it could
clear away the poison oak. Then when my friends from Africa would come into town we’d eat it. That
was a big part of what we’d have for dinner over there. But, every time I’d leave the house, the goat, who
I called “Goatee” would start to cry. And I’d be like, “Oh dang it, we can’t have that.” I didn’t want him
to be upset.
Well, what did you do? So, I loaded up the goat in my car whenever I went somewhere, including
when I’d go surfing. One day, she was acting like she wanted to go out in the water, so on a whim, I
took her out there with me. And I was like, “Dude, this is so awesome!” And it just sort of took off
from there. Before we knew it, we’re on the Today Show, just me and Goatee riding waves. It was
funny because I never meant for it to be anything except for just messing around and having fun. But
it somehow blossomed. Every time I’d leave the country, she’d get pregnant because I’d leave her at the
goat farm. Now I’ve got Pismo and Grover, too. Pismo’s the one who likes to surf the most. He’s more
of an adrenaline junkie like me.
Okay, so what’s it like to surf with a goat? I describe it as an out of body experience, or an out of this
world experience. I mean, when you’re doing it, the whole time you’re thinking, “Wow, this is incredible!”
You’re putting an animal that is out of its element in this super unique environment and it’s experiencing
that feeling that you can only get from riding waves. And then when get them to kind of like it, it’s a
whole different level! So, the whole experience is a trip, it’s pretty supernatural, pretty crazy. And then
once you get other people involved so they can have the experience, too, it takes it up another notch.
And how do you think the goats feel about the whole thing? I mean, if we wipe out and eat it, which
we’ve done many a time, he’s not too happy with me. That’s not an enjoyable feeling. So, I try to have
some success with it where we get a good ride in, and especially on this huge board that I have, it’s
pretty large. It’s pretty darn safe now for him so we rarely wipe out, unless you try to go too big. To be
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 33
honest, it’s really fun. Even wiping out. I honestly think when he wipes
out, he’s a better goat. It kind of humbles him. It’s like people. We kind of
get humbled when a big wave gets us. It’s kind of the same thing. It’s like,
“Dang, wow, okay.” It just puts things in perspective and brings us back to
humility. And he trusts me because we’ve been through some hard times
and hard waves.
How do you get the goat and all of your equipment to the beach? Well,
you may have seen me driving my Prius around town. It’s got a picture
of Goatee on the side. That’s my transport, my goat-friendly hybrid. I
took the seats out and put down some artificial grass. From there, I walk
him down the beach. He goes pretty willingly straight to the water. Most
goats don’t like water. In general, I’ve found that to be true. But Pismo’s
cool with it for the most part. So, what I do is, I lead him to the beach,
then I’ll pick him up, put them on the board, so he doesn’t even really get
wet. He kind of looks like royalty. He gets to go surfing almost without
getting wet. It’s pretty funny. He looks like a king out there, like he’s on
Is this what you do for a living? It’s a very big part of my lifestyle, but
I wouldn’t say it generates a major income. I do other stuff. I invest in
cryptocurrency. I’ve been doing it for four years. So, that’s been working
out. It’s kind of freed me up to be able to do more of the things I love, and
I love helping people and bringing joy to people. For example, this last
week we had a really cool situation. It was totally unplanned, but we just
met this kid. He wasn’t supposed to make it to his seventeenth birthday
because he has some sort of very rare disease. Only several people have
it worldwide. Well, he just made it to seventeen and I asked him if he
wanted to go surfing. He was really excited, so I asked him, “With our
without the goat?” He said, “With.” So, I said, “Well, let’s do it!” So, we
put the goat on the board and he’s holding onto the goat for balance. And
every time we go over the waves, he’s letting out this shout of joy. I’m just
thinking to myself, “Oh my God, it’s Magic Mountain, but in the ocean.”
It was so cool.
That is so cool. I enjoy doing stuff like that because you don’t have to
charge them. I can kind of pay myself a little or do whatever, just enough
to take care of myself, so I can do stuff like that for free. And we do have a
nonprofit where people can donate, if they want. But we also do individual
surf lessons, or we have surf lessons with a group that includes the big
party wave board. We call it “the Rapture” because it takes people really
high, gets people real high. Gets people really full of joy. It’s pretty rad.
You could take six or seven people and a goat on it. It’s pretty hilarious.
That’s what inspired a children’s book that I wrote, it’s actually the >>
34 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 35
second one and it’s coming out soon. It’s called “Pismo’s Party Wave.”
It’s kind of about a dream that came to me one night, a story I tell
through Pismo’s perspective.
What times stand out the most for you? Oh, wow. There’s a lot of them.
I would say almost every one of them involves kids. We do these things
we call “Beautifully Abled Camps.” We take kids with autism or Down
syndrome out with Pismo. We’ve even taken a kid out who was blind. He
surfs now! I’m like, “Wow, these kids are amazing and they’re going in my
next book because they need to get recognized.” I mean, they’re surfing,
doing something that’s so cool—surfing without having the ability to
really do it. So, those experiences have been really special to me, just seeing
how much joy it brings to people and kids.
Has anything ever gone sideways out on the water? [laughter] Okay,
this is not a bad thing, but it’s sort of funny. There was one time that I
took Pismo out on my board when we had a good swell. We caught this
big wave and I sort of lost my balance for a moment and sort of pushed
him off on accident. He was not happy. So, then, on the next wave he’s
like, “Oh, no you don’t—you’re not pushing me off this time, buddy!” We
were riding along on the wave and he head butts me right off the board!
And, keep in mind, this was a good-sized wave, eight foot, maybe nine.
I fell off and got thrashed around for a minute until I finally made my
way up to the surface. I treaded water and just watched Pismo ride that
wave all the way into the beach. I was like, “Are you kidding me?! You’ve
got to be kidding me!” Somebody got a video of it, and they screened it at
the Fremont [Theater] one year for the film festival. People were asking,
“How’s that even possible?”
Is that the typical response? Usually, they’re kind of wowed by it.
Everyone’s so different, but I would say the majority just stop on the beach
and they have to watch us surf for a bit. They have to kind of witness it.
Yeah. When we’re done, I’ll usually play soccer with him a bit. I’ll throw
the ball at Pismo and he’ll hit it back to me. It’s a pretty crazy thing to
watch. He’s a pretty cool goat, kind of a dog personality. I think people can
relate to that for the most part. But, you know, we’re mostly just trying to
bring joy. That’s what it’s about. That’s the only reason we do it. In addition
to the camps and the lessons, we also do a little work with some rehabs.
And I think we’re going to do a surfing goat documentary about how the
goats have impacted our community. We’ll probably do that, but mostly
we want to just keep doing our thing, making people happy—bringing joy
up and down the coast. SLO LIFE
36 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
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JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 37
From the Persian Gulf
to the Central Coast
BY BRIAN SCHWARTZ
Before becoming a successful author and independent publisher,
Ed Cobleigh flew fighter jets with the US Air Force, US Navy
(TopGun), Royal Air Force, French Air Force, and the Imperial
Iranian Air Force. During his service, he also worked with the
CIA, FBI, and MI6. Visiting over fifty countries in his lifetime has
given Ed a wealth of experiences to draw from.
In 2005, his memoir, “War for the Hell of It,” was published by Berkley Publishing
Group. Cobleigh later revised and republished it in 2016 and it soon reached #1 on
Amazon (in his genre) and continues to sell well to this day.
As an independent publisher, his books have sold over 27,000 copies in twelve
countries and three languages.
In Cobleigh’s second fictional work (published at the end of 2020), he takes us
from the lethal skies over the Persian Gulf to California’s coastal wine country.
Fly with the Falcon delivers romance, ethical dilemmas, falcon lore, and a
showcase of the central coast from an aerial perspective.
I first met the author at SLO Nightwriters, a support group for writers in San
Luis Obispo. While his life as a fighter pilot in Vietnam was the source of his
highly successful memoir, I wanted to learn more about his latest work which has
a strong connection to the beautiful California Central Coast.
What inspired you to write “Fly With the Falcon?”
I wanted to write a novel set on the Central Coast, a book touching on sexual
harassment, and a subject I know best, flight. The creative challenge was to meld these
disparate themes into a single tightly written narrative.
What do you hope readers will take away from it?
For world-wide readers, the allure of our part of California. For locals, the fierce grace
of Morro Rock’s peregrine falcons. For everyone, the
problem with sexual harassment and the promise of
redemption from it.
Why did you decide to venture into the sensitive topic
of sexual harassment now?
The #metoo movement publicized this serious problem.
I portray the wild falcon as a symbol and a tool of escape
from a harassment victim’s mental prison.
As a past presenter at the Central Coast Writers
Conference, Cobleigh is generous with his time and
advice to aspiring authors. For the younger set, Cobleigh
teaches a STEM course on the aerodynamics of raptors.
He and his wife, Heidi, currently reside in Paso Robles.
You can learn more about Cobleigh’s other books on his
website at www.edcobleigh.com. SLO LIFE
BRIAN SCHWARTZ is a
publishing consultant and
advocate for local authors.
He can be reached at
38 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
FOR A CHANGING
smart, eclectic, art to live on
ai161437639511_SLO Life Mag March 2021.pdf 1 2/26/2021 1:53:16 PM
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Open Tuesday - Saturday 10-5pm
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 39
BY JEFF AL-MASHAT
There are a number of variations on this quote, but Jerry Garcia’s style
of playing music has been described as “never wasting a note.” As has also
been said about Garcia, “every note had a purpose.”
If there is a painter whose work is akin to that concept, it’s the Central
Coast’s Abbey Onikoyi. Every brushstroke seems exciting. It is electrifying
to look at his work, because there is so much to experience as you move your
eyes around the canvas.
Movement seems to define Onikoyi’s life, whether physical, spiritual, or
geographical, and his paintings reflect that principle.
The Los Osos-based painter began life’s journey in Nigeria, where he was
one of 18 children. From there, he moved to Newbury, England, where
he spent his boyhood, while his father worked in advertising. Eventually,
Abbey moved to the United States to pursue further education. In Chicago,
where, like his dad, he pursued a career in advertising, working for industry
giants like Ogilvy and BBDO. Then he was on to Hawaii, where he gave
up many of the creature comforts he had become used to as an advertising
executive to dedicate himself to his art full-time. While living in a tent in a
friend’s backyard, he would often paint through the night and sleep during
Full time painting led him to Big Sur’s Esalen Institute, where he taught
about drawing, painting and culture. It was also an opportunity to further
develop his painting style and process, which starts with music, dancing and
splattering paint across the canvas: “From there, I seek to find out what is
Oftentimes, it is family or friends, people who have inspired him, or spirits
he has a connection to. Onikoyi never sketches anything out in advance.
Once he begins a piece, his eyes move throughout the work connecting
colors and shapes--but the figures that emerge never look back. All of
the eyes of Onikoyi’s subjects are closed. “I realized that I didn’t like eyes
looking back at me,” he says. “When the eyes are open, the viewer focuses
on those eyes. Having them shut allows people to look deeper into the
Onikoyi says that he wants people
to experience the spirituality in the
paintings and shape their own journey.
While he admits it is hard for him to
stay in one place, he feels at home in
Los Osos. Advertising film shoots had
brought him to San Francisco and Los
Angeles earlier in life. He fell in love
with the California vibe, the land, and
the climate. But it wasn’t until living in
Big Sur that he traveled down the coast
to San Luis Obispo and couldn’t believe
there was a place like it on earth.
JEFF AL-MASHAT is a
writer and visual artist with
an MFA in painting from
Georgia State University. He
lives in Grover Beach.
40 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
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JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 41
BY PADEN HUGHES
Recently my family showed up in Avila Beach on
a beautiful sunny day and cruised into BoltAbout,
a bike store located behind the restaurant Blue
Moon Over Avila. BoltAbout was started by
three Cal Poly grads. They originally intended
to provide fun transportation specifically for
students. They pivoted their business model to
serve locals and tourists alike in Avila.
Upon our arrival we were greeted by a cute little
shop lined with charming beach cruiser electric
bikes, ready for rent. They also had scooters,
which is next on the top of my list for fun date
ideas (sans kids). We had made a reservation
online for two bikes and a kids trailer. I told my
kids it would be like royalty pulled in a carriage—
they bought into the idea and were thrilled to hop into
their attached cart.
Within 5 minutes we were dodging tourists and their dogs
and happily throttling our way out of downtown Avila
towards the Bob Jones Trail.
I have walked, jogged, golf carted and pushed a stroller
down Bob Jones Trail what seems like a hundred times
since moving to the area in 2004, but never have I enjoyed
it as much as I have on an electric bike.
Now as someone in fitness, advocating for an electric
experience over using your own athletic performance, is
about as rare as it gets. But in the name of fun, electric
wins for me for a couple of reasons.
First, you can arrive dolled up for a date and jump on
an electric bike and not break a sweat. So, anyone who
is worried it’s too physical, rest assured—the only thing
you will be experiencing on an electric bike is the wind
through your hair and enjoying the uphill as much as the
Now of course electric is only there if you want it. You can
still choose to peddle your heart out. I thought I would
do that, but then I found the throttle lever. Which brings
me to my second reason I had so much fun: the thrill of
bolting ahead so easily and smoothly, took over. It was the
for regional bicycle
maps and future
42 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
most fun Michael and I have had on an outing with the kids in
months and a crowd pleaser for the whole family.
If you start on the Bob Jones trail in Avila you can ride it to the
trailhead in San Luis Obispo at Ontario Road, right off Highway
101. Since 2007, the League of American Bicyclists recognized
the city of San Luis Obispo as a Bicycle Friendly Community.
With more than 75 miles of bike lanes and paths, and over 150
secured bicycle parking spaces, it’s not hard to see why cycling in
SLO, whether electric or not, is so popular.
For our next trip we plan to start in Avila Beach and head south
off the Bob Jones Trail into Shell Beach and explore. SLO LIFE
PADEN HUGHES is
co-owner of Gymnazo
and enjoys exploring
the Central Coast.
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 43
| ON THE RISE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LANDEN WILLIAMS
With multiple awards and accolades to her name,
this San Luis Obispo High School senior is ready for the next
leg in her journey towards a successful future.
What recognition have you received? I’ve been acknowledged as an AP Scholar With
Distinction; College Board National Hispanic Recognition Program Winner; Rotary
Youth Leadership Award; 1st in Art and 3rd in History at California Junior Classical
League Convention; 2nd Place Team at AP Statistics Math Competition; and my
writing is published in American Library of Poetry’s Annual Anthology “Accomplished.”
What extra-curricular activities are you involved in? Throughout high school, I
have been involved in the SLO County United Way Youth Board (Director at Large);
SLO Noor Foundation (Volunteer); Speech & Debate Team (Vice President); Model
United Nations; Harvard Model Congress; Latin Club (Associated Student Body
Commissioner); Interact Club; National Honors Society; Young Democrats Club;
Astronomy Club; Ceramics Club; Cross Country Team; Track & Field Team; Water Polo
Team & Club; and Stanford Medicine Clinical Summer Internship Admit.
What do you enjoy outside of school? For fun, I enjoy making ceramics that I sell
at Harmony Glassworks and online at Etsy.com. I also love walking/hiking, reading,
listening to music, and yoga.
What experience has influenced you the most? The summers after my freshman and
sophomore year, I took classes on scholarship at Harvard, Stanford, and Brown University
and having to go alone in such different environments really helped me blossom into
the person I am today. I don’t believe I was ever shy, but these experiences made me very
outgoing and independent.
Do you have a career path in mind? I intend to become a Doctor, but from a PhD or
Medical Degree, I am not sure. I plan to study either English, Bioengineering, or Human
Biology, as I aim to become a professor or doctor to help others, while maintaining my
If you could go back in history and meet anyone, who would it be? “It isn’t what we say
or think that defines us, but what we do.” These cathartic words, uttered by Jane Austen,
appear on a sticky note adhered to my mirror, amplifying, “DO SOMETHING!” To be
witness to the life of such a pioneer female authorship, would surely be my wish.
Where did you decide to attend college? One of the happiest moments of my life was
getting into Stanford University. I had been wanting to go since I was a freshman and
it finally felt like all my hard work had paid off. When I opened the decision letter at
almost midnight, I was overcome with joy and was so energetic and for some reason the
song “Here’s to Never Growing Up” by Avril Lavigne kept going through my head so
I went on a drive and with the windows down in SLO was belting out the lyrics to
some cathartic songs.
Know a student On the Rise?
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44 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
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46 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
BY ZARA KHAN
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 47
im Moroney knew early on that he wanted to be involved
with wine when he retired and planted the seed early on
to his wife Barbara. While attending college in the Bay
Area, the high school sweethearts, spent quite some time
becoming well aquatinted with the classic Cabernets and
Chardonnays in Napa Valley. Though they didn’t always
live in California, they were always finding reasons to visit
the golden state. While living in Texas, close friends of
theirs decided to relocate to Cambria, and whenever the
Moroneys visited their trips included wine tasting in Paso
Robles. They were drawn to the rolling hills and down to
earth people—this is where they felt they belonged.
The Moroneys were no strangers
to the building process. Each
time they moved, they always
made some changes to their
new found house to make it feel
more like a home. With a few
remodels and one other new
construction project under their
belt they were ready for the next
project. It was undeniable that
the site had breathtaking views
just waiting to be captured, but
they knew enough to know
that this project needed a solid, >>
In addition to being an
interior designer, ZARA KHAN
is also a shoe aficionado and
horror movie enthusiast.
48 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 49
creative team because of the site constraints. They also
knew the team would be their eyes and ears throughout the
project since they would be living in Texas during the build.
John Mitchell could not have come more highly
recommended. It’s not often that you find a licensed
Architect and General Contractor in one person. Mitchell
found that this combination was key in his career. He
had the unique ability to guide clients through the
design process and also educate them on the budget and
feasibility throughout the process. When it came time to
bring the project to life, he had already worked through
the challenging details in his mind. Throughout his career
he had collaborated with Michelle Fanning of Design
Collaborative and never passed up an opportunity to work
Before they could start the design, their first hurdle was
how and where to position the home. The property had a
major gas line running through it and even though it was
a large parcel it came with a lot of constraints when you
factored in the Moroneys’ desired list and limitations from
the soil type, slopes and easements. A lot of planning when
into the infrastructure—it was a complex puzzle to pull
utilities to the site.
The Moroneys had two requests: capture the views and
make it a space where friends and family felt comfortable
during their visits. To achieve the first, windows and glass >>
50 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 51
were placed in as many places as possible. A majority of
the walls are either glass panels or sliders that open up
completely for a seamless indoor/outdoor experience.
The home features a unique floorplan. All of the bedrooms
in the home have independent walls and entrances so
that guests really feel like they are having a private getaway.
There is actually no way to access the bedrooms
from inside the house, creating an added layer of privacy.
During the planning phase, Mitchell had designed a
unique ceiling featuring a 30’ popup lined with windows.
It was his creative intuition that told him this would be an
important architectural detail and the Moroneys trusted his
recommendation. While its execution was one of the most
challenging elements in the building process, its completion
is one of the most striking details of the home. Fanning fell
in love with the feature and used it as her inspiration for
the kitchen design.
When I asked the Moroneys, Fanning, and Mitchell what
their favorite details of the home was they all had the
same answer—the back kitchen. This concept was used to
accommodate the Moroneys preferred entertaining style.
The home has two kitchens. One visible kitchen and one
hidden behind it. This allows them a full catering kitchen
which keeps the behind-the-scenes hustle and bustle out of
sight, while still allowing access to full kitchen for everyday
use. They also appreciate the extra space and appliances
when they have a full house of visitors. >>
52 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
- by Miranda Battenburg
Selling Paso - by Miranda Battenburg
Over 20 years local experience
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marketing to your listing
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Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of Columbia Insurance Company, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. ® Equal Housing Opportunity.
If your property is currently listed with a real estate broker, please disregard this offer. It is not my intention to solicit your listing.
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 53
Once their home began taking shape, the team started to
shift their focus to bringing Jim’s dream to life—opening
their own tasting room just below the home on the hillside,
called Sixmile Bridge. With winemaker Anthony Yount
at the helm, Jim knew that they would focus on Bordeaux
wines even though the hillside was best known for producing
Rhone varieties—it made the most sense to make what he
liked to drink even if it was going to be a challenge.
Along with the successful completion of the build, a
friendship developed between the team and owners.
Inspired by their camaraderie, I asked if they had any trade
tips. Fanning advises getting
an early start with the design
process to make the project
run more smoothly—if you are
framing and don’t have a designer
on board yet, it’s almost too
late. Mitchell shares that there
are times in a project where it
is easy to get blinded by details
and it is important to remember
when it is all said and done, it is
a home—a place to connect and
DAVID LALUSH is an
make memories. The Moroneys architectural photographer
believe the key is to assemble a here in San Luis Obispo.
team you trust, and trust them to
advocate for you. SLO LIFE
54 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 55
| SLO CITY
BY THE NUMBERS
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 101.04%
Average # of Days on the Market 51
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
*Comparing 01/01/20 - 05/19/20 to 01/01/21 - 05/19/21
SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ®
56 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
Do you have big dreams for your new home? At Guaranteed Rate,
we’re ready to help, with all the tools, technology, and dedicated
support you need to make those big dreams a reality.
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O: (805) 335-8743
C: (805) 235-0463
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O: (805) 706-8074
C: (925) 963-1015
VP of Mortgage Lending
O: (805) 335-8742
C: (805) 674-6653
VP of Mortgage Lending
VP of Mortgage Lending
VP of Mortgage Lending
O: (805) 329-4095
C: (805) 602-0248
O: (805) 335-8738
C: (805) 550-9742
O: (805) 329-4087
C: (707) 227-9582
Licensed Sales Assistant
VP of Mortgage Lending
VP of Mortgage Lending
O: (805) 335-8737
O: (805) 212-5204
C: (831) 566-9908
O: (805) 329-4092
C: (619) 300-2651
VP of Mortgage Lending
O: (831) 205-1582
C: (831) 212-4138
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.
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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
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
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 57
| SLO COUNTY
BY THE NUMBERS
Originating Branch Manager
Paso (Inside City Limits)
Paso (North 46 - East 101)
the lerner team
Paso (North 46 - West 101)
Paso (South 46 - East 101)
San Luis Obispo
58 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
*Comparing 01/01/20 - 5/19/20 to 01/01/21 - 05/19/21
62 31 $714,850 $858,678
SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ®
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JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 59
They’re the newest wellness craze. But do they work?
BY LAUREN HARVEY
shwagandha. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Perhaps
you recognize it from your new face cream, the
supplements at the health food store, or even at
your local smoothie stop. It’s promoted as a “stressrelieving
super plant.” But really, what is ashwagandha
and what, if anything, does it actually do?
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, “a class of herbs
intended to boost your resistance to and tolerance
of stress – emotional and physical,” explains Brierly
Horton, MS, RD. That is precisely what makes
adaptogens like ashwagandha, and the en vogue
cordyceps mushroom (often touted as a coffee
replacement) so appealing to the masses.
plants can reduce stress,
squash fatigue and hone
focus. Such claims can
often skate by untested,
hooking consumers with
lofty life-changing promises
left unfulfilled. Today, we’ll
reveal the truth behind
adaptogens: if, and how,
they work, what types there
are, and ultimately, if they
are worth all the fuss. Let’s
dive in. >>
LAUREN HARVEY is a
creative writer fueled by a
love of cooking, adventure,
and naps in the sun.
60 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 61
Dr. Brenda Powell, co-medical director of the Center for
Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine at the Cleveland Clinics
Wellness Institute explains further, “Adaptogens train your body
to handle the effects of stress.” While adaptogens don’t magically
disappear stress, they do enhance your body’s ability to process it.
“Adaptogens may tweak hormone production and physiological
responses to stress to ensure that your body—from your mind
to your immune system to your energy levels—functions as it
should,” says Powell.
However, it is imperative to note that not all adaptogens effect
our bodies in the same way. Each of the over 70 adaptogenic
plants provides different benefits. Ashwagandha, for example, was
found to aid in managing anxiety in a 2014 study, while rhodiola
can be used for stress relief and focus. A double-blind, placebocontrolled
2012 study found that, “regularly taking rhodiola
helped fight the kind of fatigue that dulls our mental performance
and concentration,” notes Horton.
HISTORY OF A SUPER PLANT
The term adaptogen was first coined by a scientist in the USSR in 1947.
Essentially, scientists were seeking a ‘superhero pill’ that would allow military
pilots to fly better, faster, and for longer periods of time. The Soviet Union
scientist formally categorized adaptogens as “plant-derivatives that can nonspecifically
enhance the human body.” How wonderfully vague!
The practice of seeking out and consuming adaptogens, however, has a
much older, richer history. Rooted in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine,
“some of the original adaptogens include ginseng root [as an antioxidant
and anti-inflammatory] and astragalus [for immune system support],” notes
Keri Marshall, MS. “From a [traditional] Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine
perspective, adaptogens are meant to literally help ground you so you can
get your roots back, in an effort to restore balance in your life.” These roots
and herbs, used for centuries, have recently catapulted into the mainstream,
integrated in everything from tea to face cream.
While I don’t believe adaptogens (or anything, really) can live up to the
expectation of eliciting supernatural responses out of natural beings, adaptogens
must provide some value if they have been safely used and consumed for
thousands of years.
ADAPTOGENS AT WORK
The question remains: Do adaptogens really perform as well as its proponents
claim? Mostly, yes. “More recently, several adaptogens have gone through
scientifically rigorous studies and have come out with the equivalent of a
scientific thumbs -up,” says Brierly Horton, MS, RD. The results are promising,
boding well for adaptogen enthusiasts. Horton goes on to note that, “clinical
trials have found several herbal preparations with adaptogens to reduce stressinduced
endocrine and immune impairments, while also boosting attention,
endurance and resistance to fatigue.”
Scientific studies are now proving what Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine
practitioners have known for centuries—these adaptogenic plants help support
us in ways we need it most. “As the name suggests, [adaptogens] adapt to meet
your needs. [They] bring balance the way a thermostat controls temperature:
they turn up your energy when you’re fatigued and help you relax when you’re
restless,” explains Horton.
As for adaptogenic skincare, Los Angeles dermatologist Tsippora
Shainhouse, MD recommends moringa and marshmallow root.
“Stress has been shown to impair the skin barrier, leaving it prone
to water loss and dehydration,” notes Dr. Shainhouse, “Moringa
and marshmallow root may help to repair the skin barrier and
increase skin hydration.”
Whether you choose adaptogenic skincare, supplemental capsules,
sip adaptogenic tea, or incorporate a premixed powder into soups
or smoothies, the key to adaptogenic success is consistency. Laura
Slayton, a nutritionist in New York, believes, “adaptogens need to
be consumed consistently to see any effects.” Unfortunately, one
cup of cordyceps is unlikely lower cholesterol or boost endurance.
So remember, if you’re into the adaptogen experimentation
mood, opt for investing in a powder, supplement, or tincture. As
Slayton says, “If you’re putting a smudge of ashwagandha in your
smoothie here and there, it’s unlikely to do much.”
Not all adaptogenic supplements, powders and tinctures are
created equal. However, the burden of checking the quality of
these supplements falls on consumers. “The Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) doesn’t monitor the quality of herbs and
supplements like over-the-counter products,”’ says Debra Rose
Wilson, Ph.D, R.N. When buying adaptogens, get to know the
brand. Check the ingredients, seeking purity and lack of fillers.
If you seek the cream of the adaptogenic crop, naturopathic doctor
Keri Marshall, M.S. recommends opting for liquid tinctures.
“Generally, liquid versions are going to be better than a powder.
That’s because when a liquid extract is made, you have the ability
to pull out the important medicinal components you want…
Essentially, a liquid extract is more pure.”
As for side effects, nothing major has been reported. Dr. Powell
says, “there’s little evidence to suggest that adaptogens can cause
side effects or health problems—though, like any plant, they
can be allergenic or cause gastrointestinal distress for some
people.” Furthermore, Keri Marshall, MS discourages adaptogen
use, “if you’re on immune-modulating drugs.” Adaptogens
themselves are immune modulators and may result in undesirable
interactions. Jenn Miremadi, MS suggests it’s best to consult with
your healthcare provider, “before taking any new supplements,
including adaptogens.” >>
62 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
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BALANCE IS BEST
For all of their beneficial qualities, it’s imperative to remember that adaptogens are not a cure
for anything. Adaptogens recent rise in fame may be due to their stress management qualities,
appealing to those seeking relief from the increased stress of life in the 2020s. “People are
basically wanting to take these adaptogens all the time for their chronic stress that they’re not
managing otherwise,” says Dr. Powell.
If taking a pill and being stress-free sounds to good to be true, that’s because it is. “There’s no
good research that suggests adaptogens are a cure-all. And certainly not a substitute for triedand-true
stress management techniques and medical care,” says Horton, MS, RD.
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64 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
Not even the incredible power of adaptogens can cure us of all our fatigue, anxiety, and
stress. Adaptogens are best used as a supplement combined with an overall healthy lifestyle,
structured stress management, and attentive self-care. We may never be as stress-free as we’d
like, but integrating adaptogens into our self-care routines will enhance our bodies natural
abilities to keep itself balanced.
Adaptogens are a class of plants that assist our bodies’ natural stress
management processes. Taken regularly, they may help manage stress, anxiety,
and fatigue. Consult a medical professional before incorporating adaptogens
into your daily routine. SLO LIFE
Kenneth P. Tway, MD, FACC
L. Christina Fundingsland, PA-C
Friendly Professional Dedicated
1106 Pacific Street, SLO
Keeping SLO Heart-Healthy since 1987
a podcast with Jaime Lewis
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 65
A LOVED ONE
TO TEST THEIR
Peter A. Lucier
Hearing Instrument Specialist
Did you know that one in three people over the age of 65 experience some degree of hearing loss? Chances
are, there is someone in your life who experiences a hearing loss and might not even know it yet. As an invisible
condition, hearing loss affects many different areas of one’s life but is not immediately understood as the root
of the problem. If you believe that your loved one may have a hearing loss, it is important to encourage them
to take a hearing test. Hearing tests are simple and painless, and they provide useful information on a person’s
hearing abilities. Because hearing loss is a sensitive topic, here are a few tips for the conversation.
Do Your Research: Studies are published about how hearing loss affects
your cognitive abilities (Johns Hopkins University), how untreated hearing loss
may lead to lower earning power, and how hearing loss has been linked to an
increased risk of accidents and falls. Before talking to your loved one, make
sure you have the facts straight. Check to see the signs and symptoms of
hearing loss match what you experience with your loved one. Arm yourself with
useful facts about hearing loss that could help encourage your loved one to
take a hearing test.
Find a Quiet Time and Place: Hearing loss makes speech recognition
difficult. With hearing loss, people may ask others to repeat themselves or they
may check out completely if they cannot compete with background noise to
hear. For this reason, it is important to have your conversation in quiet place.
Moreover, hearing loss may be a taboo subject for some. Rather than gathering a
huge group of people – which may put your loved one on the defensive – have a
one on one conversation so that you can clearly communicate your concerns.
Speak from Your Own Experiences: Data show that the mere process of
aging can often result in social isolation. Add hearing issues to the mix, and those
with untreated loss pose higher risks for finding themselves in a dark corner.
They may feel abandoned by the family, ignored by friends, and excluded from
activities, all because they cannot hear well enough in these social situations.
Talk about the Benefits of Treating Hearing
Loss: Treating hearing loss helps people stay in
touch with their loved ones and to their communities.
Studies indicate that people who do not treat their
hearing loss have a smaller “life space”—they are
not as mobile as people who treat their hearing or
have normal hearing. Hearing loss interferes with the
ability to drive and communicate, and also leads to a
higher rate of accidents and falls. By treating hearing
loss, your loved one would be investing in their own
independence and security.
Support Your Loved One: Taking a hearing test
is a simple and painless procedure, but of course
there’s more to it than that. Ensure your loved one
that you will be there to support them on their journey
to better hearing—from making the appointment, to
accompanying them to the hearing test, and—if a
hearing loss is detected—helping them adjust to their
new hearing aids. To begin the process, schedule a
consultation, or talk to a hearing expert, contact us at
Hearing Aid specialists of the Central Coast today.
Peter A. Lucier, has been a practicing Hearing Instrument Specialists for 22 years.
If you would like more information, please contact us today for an appointment.
66 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
HEARING AID SPECIALISTS OF THE CENTRAL COAST, INC.
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hearing aids that are not
working to their full potential,
or even worse, you have stopped
using them altogether?
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developed a solution that brings your old hearing aids back
to life. The practice owner, Peter Lucier, has over 22 years of
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brand of hearing aid. Peter has an All Make Repair Lab at
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money back guarantee
Call us today so you can hear better again!
We accept Anthem Blue Cross, PG&E, Cal PERS, AARP, Alignment, United Healthcare and many other insurance plans.
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12326 Los Osos Valley Road . San Luis Obispo . (805) 439-3586
7070 Morro Road, Suite D . Atascadero . (805) 460-7385
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 67
Think grown-ups are the only ones interested in eating good food?
These SLO kids will teach you to think again.
what universe do children
choose a bento box, shakshuka,
or peshwari naan as their favorite
This one, it turns out.
Over the last several months, I’ve
learned there is a clutch of savvy
kids who read this food column
on the regular. (Children of SLO: thank you for being
my most loyal readers!) After all these years of telling
them where I like to eat, I figured it’s time I asked
where they like to eat. So I invited a few of my pintsized
foodie friends to show me the San Luis Obispo
culinary scene through their eyes.
68 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
BY JAIME LEWIS
Did they choose burgers, hot dogs, pizza and/or ice cream?
Instead they chose Japanese, North African and Indian cuisine
— with no guidance or input from me. Really.
This bodes well for the future of SLO and the future of
humanity, in my opinion. Our kids are more aware and open
than I ever was as a child. Good folks are coming up in the
world, I’m happy to report. (My only concern is that they’ll
put me out of a job.)
Without further ado, meet Simon, Isaac, Ari, Leila, Lucy and
Poppy, your guides to the good life in San Luis Obispo. You’re
in excellent hands.
JAIME LEWIS writes about
food, drink, and the good
life from her home in San
Luis Obispo. Find her on
A place for everything,
everything in its place
Simon, seven years old, tells me he likes the kids’ bento box at
Kumi Ko restaurant in SLO’s Marigold Center. We sit down
together with his 10-year-old brothers, Ari and Isaac, plus my
11-year-old Corban and 8-year-old Lulu, for a delicious Monday
night takeout dinner.
Visually, the contents of the bento box are ravishing: the bright
colors of the vegetable tempura (veggies lightly battered and
fried), the mound of sushi rice dusted with black and white
sesame seeds, thin slices of chicken teriyaki, and spirals of apples
and oranges. Every element gets its own compartment, a sort
of prescribed orderliness that’s hard to resist. The bento box’s
defined edges remind me how much all of us — kids and adults
alike — need our boundaries.
Aesthetics aside, the tempura is shatteringly crispy, the rice
impeccably sticky, and the teriyaki perfectly sweet and salty.
I watch all five kids chow down on their dinner, and realize I
haven’t heard a single complaint.
Lulu flings her dumpling across the table, trying to get the hang
of using chopsticks. (#reallife) As she switches to a fork, I ask the
group why they like this bento box so well.
“There’s a lot to it,” says Isaac. No one else speaks up. I only hear
the sounds of munching, which is explanation enough. >>
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 69
So dang good
“A bad poached egg is really bad,” says 10-year-old Lucy as
she and her twin sister Leila slurp shakshuka with poached
eggs and feta from Big Sky Cafe. This pureed tomato-based
stew is a traditional North African breakfast, served at Big
Sky with several slabs of pita bread. The girls introduce me to
it, and I’m hooked on the sweet, salty, and spicy richness that
Big Sky draws from the raw ingredients.
“Yeah,” says Leila with a shiver, “a bad poached egg can be,
like, sticky and gooey. Just wrong.”
Corban is here, too, learning, listening, jostling for pita. “I
like all kinds of things,” he says between bites. “Just not fish.”
Leila’s jaw drops. “I love anchovies!” she cries, aghast that anyone
could feel this way about seafood. “They’re so dang good!”
“I like lima beans,” says Lucy, while breaking the poached
egg and stirring it into the stew. The group goes quiet until
Leila leans over her bowl once again and says, to no one in
particular, “We have to come here more often.” >>
70 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
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JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 71
knows your name
When my daughter Lulu and I arrive at Shalimar Indian restaurant
in SLO, 8-year-old Poppy and her mom Lizzy are already in deep
discussion with owner Aasim Sajjad. As we sit down to join them,
it’s clear that Poppy is a star customer.
“I can give you menus,” says Sajjad, “or you can just ask Poppy. She
knows the menu by heart.”
I ask the star customer to order and she asks for peshwari naan, a
dish that’s new to me. When it arrives, I’m completely taken aback:
it’s soft naan bread filled with a thin, pureed mixture of maraschino
cherries, coconut and pistachios. The color is electric pink, and the
flavors are liltingly sweet, almost floral. Lulu and I applaud Poppy’s
choice to eat dessert first.
We order vegetable fritters to share, bright yellow savory dumplings
as light as a whisper. I’m taken in by all the vibrant colors: pink
cherries, marigold fritters, emerald mint sauce. What child wouldn’t
want to eat a rainbow like this?
I put in an order for chana masala, the piquant chickpea stew I’ve
always loved. Lulu looks a little nervous.
“Will it be spicy?” asks my precious girl.
“Don’t worry,” Sajjad tells her with a smile, and looks over at Poppy.
“I’ll make it mild—Poppy mild.” SLO LIFE
72 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
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JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 73
| WINE NOTES
BY ANDRIA MCGHEE
here’s no denying, France is the motherland of
wine. We learn a lot from the French, but they also
do from us with our willingness and ability to be
more experimental in winemaking.
It might not come as a surprise that our Central
Coast vineyards mimic some very famous regions
in France. Edna Valley is similar to Burgundy in
the east of France while Paso Robles is like the
Rhône and Southern France regions. We have a
similar climate, similar soil, similar grapes to those
world-class places, but we still have our own special
Let’s take a look at how these areas have influenced
our Central Coast selection of rosé. >>
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 | JUN/JUL 2021
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JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 75
L’Aventure Rosé 2020 // $32
Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Graciano, Petit Verdot
Winemakers from all over the world who want to make the most of the
varieties that we grow here meet every year at Hospice du Rhône in Paso.
The collaboration of these winemakers is magic, improving the skill of
winemaking for all parties involved.
You have probably seen wines made from Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, as
well as Cinsault (san-soe), Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier (vee-yoneyay)
that grow so well in our Paso soil and have a strong history in the south
of France and the Rhône valley. Our climate in the Templeton Gap feels like
the cool breeze Rhone receives from the Alps that whips over the land to
cool down the fruit when the days warm up. In France, the wines are named
after their location, like Chateauneuf-du-Pape or Provincial whereas in
California they are called by the grape, a brand name, or a winery. Both wines
are highly sought after.
How does L’Aventure make such an impact in our area with its winemaking?
Stephan Asseo made wine in Bordeaux for 17 years and was frustrated with
the strict rules that he had to comply with within that region of France. After
a lot of research, he found Paso Robles to be an ideal place to grow wine, as
well as an ideal place for their three children to get an education. In 1997
he quickly started building a house and learning which vines work best in
their new land. Asseo was free to make the wine that makes him and his wife
happy. And he never ceases collaborating with winemakers.
The 2020 Rosé, made at the request of Asseo’s wife Beatrice, is made mostly
of Rhône grapes. It is very much like the rosé found in Southern France, such
as Provence. The red grapes are picked later in the harvest season than other
rosés, crushed, all the juice escaping the skins with minimal contact and then
fermented in steel instead of a wood barrel. The flavor is luscious. I could say
it is like strawberry and rose petals but It is a flavor of its own. Because of
its later harvest, the flavor is so well balanced with acid that you don’t even
notice anything until your glass is empty. It’s a perfect start to something
Baileyana Rosé 2018 // $24
Where we learn so much from our pioneers in the old wine worlds, such as
France, Catherine Niven and her husband Jack had a hand in pioneering
what our Edna Valley AVA is today. They observed the weather and the
changes that happened to the valley over time: where the wind was, what the
soil was made of. With the help of experts, they founded Paragon Vineyard,
the oldest vineyard in the Edna Valley. Still to this day they care about the
farming practices. They aim to use wilderness to help take care of the vines
they have worked so hard for.
For the last 20 years, winemaker Rob Takigawa has kept the same care in
winemaking that the Nivens have focused on that reflects the terroir of
the Edna Valley. His specialty out of Cal Poly was Soil Science which is
unique in understanding what the soil gives a grape and the wine it makes.
This region compares to the Burgundy region in France where they grow
primarily Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Like Edna, it benefits from the fog
pockets that sit and cool off the grapes but then burn off with the sun rays,
giving the grape skins a chance to dry off. This cooler climate makes worldclass
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. Most of the rosé in this region is
made from Pinot Noir.
The rosé featured right now is from 2018 and is a delight. Have you ever had
a basket of ripe local Okui strawberries that have been sitting in the sun?
That is the taste of the rosé except with the bonus of a little touch of acidity
that pairs well with some snacks or just with a chair and some sun. SLO LIFE
76 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
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JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 77
BY BRANT MYERS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TODD MEANEY
n my excitement to rejoin society again, my first outings
were naturally to my favorite breweries. With the ability
to visit seven breweries on an eight-mile route, it was a
no-brainer to visit them all in a single trip. So, I grabbed
some friends and hit the San Luis Obispo Beer Trail.
I wanted to try one flagship beer from each brewery so
that I could revisit their particular styles, check out any
changes to their décor, and re-educate my palette for
the local brewing scene. So, come join me in discovering
Iwhat we’ve been missing this whole time.
Liquid Gravity Brewing Company
Crashing the party before it started, I was greeted by the
owners of Liquid Gravity, Brendan and Celeste Gough, as they
were getting ready for a night filled with live music on their
outdoor stage and the hottest pies in town from Benny’s pizza.
Despite being closed, they were sympathetic to my need for
their beer, so I was poured an LG IPA and we chatted at the
bar about how fast the industry is shifting back to having an
immediate need for more staff to keep up with their growing
demand for Liquid Gravity beers both on draft at their tasting
room and can for distribution. I try to get out of their way, so
I make my way to the edges of their expansive back patio and
watch the LG team furiously coordinate a night that is sure to
be just another house party at their massive second home for
serious beer fans.
Liquid gravity IPA is a clean, modern West Coast IPA with a
bright, tropical hop character, refreshing bitterness, and crisp
finish. Bursting with an intense bouquet of passionfruit, guava,
and tangerines, this 100% mosaic dry-hopped beer is the
cornerstone of the Liquid Gravity lineup. >>
SLO Brew Rock
Thirsty for a cold beer on a warm afternoon, my first stop was SLO
Brew’s The Rock. Local workers and hungry patrons were enjoying
their lunches in the airy taproom and scattered around the large
outdoor space. The design of the facility with a large rock in the
middle is great for breaking up into small groups and finding the
perfect niche to enjoy beers under the sun. We cruised around,
poking our head into the music venue, which looked to be set for an
intimate show, complete with sofas, plush chairs, and tables to keep
pints frosty while listening to tunes. I ran into an old acquaintance,
John Nguyen, who offered to take me behind the scenes on his
way into a meeting. I had a cold pint of their flagship IPA, which
has changed names but is still the gold medal and award-winning
standard IPA that has become synonymous with the West Coast.
According to SLO Brew, their Mustang IPA is “dedicated to the
100,000+ alumni that have made SLO Brew an institution.” Crisp,
clean, and clocking in around 7% ABV, this beer has tasting notes of
hop-forward piney resin and an aroma of citrus, mainly orange and
Meyer lemon. It quenches the thirst and is a great segue over to the
grassy lawn and cornhole sets waiting to be played with.
BRANT MYERS is a beer
industry veteran and
founder of SLO BIIIG, a
hospitality consulting firm.
78 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
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JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 79
Oak and Otter Brewing Company
Tucked away on the corner of a building a
few hundred feet behind Trader Joe’s, Oak
and Otter offers an intimate tasting room
where you’re likely to be served by the owner
while watching the brewer run back and forth
between the back and front of the house. I
flag down Dylan Roddick as he’s doing this
exact thing and pick his brain for a bit about
the beers he currently offers. Readers might
remember that I featured O&O around this
time last year, and they are back at it again with
the collaborations with local environmental
non-profits. It’s always a beautiful sight to see
a tasting room beer board full of new brews.
Staying true to my plan, I go with a beer that
is about as permanent a feature as possible
for a brewery that rotates styles and brews
whenever they can. I get a pour of their Hoppy
Otter IPA, a light-bodied West Coast IPA full
of citrus notes and bursting with hop aroma
derived from the generous use of Mosaic and
Amarillo hops. Reminiscent of a Sierra Nevada
pale ale, with a subtle pineapple scent, I grab
my pint and sit outside on their quiet patio and
soak in the sunshine.
There Does Not Exist
Walking into TDNE, I was pleased to see the owner/founder/brewer Max
Montgomery there as he came over and joined us at the bar. We discussed
his popular artwork, our passion for the narrow Kolsch glasses, and he
poured me an Infinite Eclipse IPA. While drinking and jawing I noticed
some new glassware, a row of dimpled mugs. Not a traditional pint style
outside of Germany. Max went on to show off his very cool foamer taps
and explained that he uses it with his Moonset Dark Lager to pour a
layer of foam first, then pour the beer underneath. This wet-foam method
protects the beer from touching outside air to minimize oxidation even
while drinking. Neat stuff! I had to drink one and it immediately took me
back to Munich. My first beer was the Infinite Eclipse, a West Coaststyle
IPA brewed with 2row & Pilsner base malts to keep the body light
and dry. It was hopped, hot side, with Chinook, Mosaic, and Talus. This
laid down a citrusy/stone fruit base for a double dry-hopping with Citra,
Simcoe, and more Talus. The resultant beer is super tropical with notes of
papaya, green mangoes, mandarins, and a little bit of lemon zest.
Libertine Brewing Company
Heading into the heart of downtown, we next visit the
Libertine’s SLO location for a palette cleansing wild
ale. Although always experimenting with different
barrels and fruit combinations, I go with their yearround
offering of Pacific Ocean Blue Gose. This tart
and slightly salty golden ale is a brewery favorite and
offers an extreme terroir of the Central Coast region
with the use of Pacific Ocean seawater for salt additions.
That’s right, it’s brewed with ocean water pulled
directly from the Pacific. It has a mid-level tartness
that’s softened by the addition of salt. The restaurant is
just getting ready to come out of the afternoon lull and
get fired up for some dinner service, as the bar is full of
friends of the staff enjoying a drink and a conversation.
Central Coast Brewing
Ending closest to home, we head into CCB like it is
my second home. Being so close to me, I spent many an
afternoon in their tasting room and was happy to see
their front patio facing Higuera street full of familiar
faces. After getting two beers, one for each hand, I
walked through to the shaded and quiet rear patio as
we stood over the creek and commented on the orange
trees lining the riparian environment. I sipped my
Lucky Day IPA like I was comforting an old friend.
This beer has a firm upfront bitterness, a soft midpalate,
and a resinous lingering bitterness that is sure to
appease any hop lover. The aroma is loaded with tropical
fruit, citrus, and pungent hop flavor and then heavily
dry-hopped to achieve its intoxicating aroma.
There are many breweries and styles to explore here in
town, so I suggest grabbing a few friends and checking
out some of your old haunts, and maybe even a new one
while you raise a pint glass and toast to the best coast.
Cheers! SLO LIFE
TODD MEANEY is a
landscape, product, and
living the SLO LIFE with his
brewery-loving Great Dane.
80 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
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JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 81
Culture & Events
100 Years After the 19th Amendment
Commemorating a century of women’s
constitutional right to vote, the SLO
County Bar Association presents a
traveling exhibit at the SLO Public
Library curated by the Library of Congress
and showcasing the largest expansion
of democracy in American history. The
seven-banner free-standing exhibit features
historic photos and artifacts, identifies
issues of gender equality that remain today,
and celebrates Black, Native, Latina, and
Asian American suffragists.
Through September 18 // slobar.org
Barefoot Concerts on the Green
Sea Pines Golf Resort’s Barefoot
Concerts on the Green series has
returned to entertain Central Coast
friends and families with live music
and barefoot dancing on the putting
green. Join Greg Mendoza on
percussion, Brian S. Cram on bass,
and Bob Boulding on guitar for some
great music-making on a midsummer
June 26 // seapinesgolfresort.com
SLO Grilled Cheese Festival
Grab a map online and head out across
SLO County to discover some of the best
grilled cheese and twists anywhere. The third
annual event, benefiting Restorative Partners,
supports local restaurants and gives you a
chance to vote for your favorites: Most Ooey
Gooey, Best Twisted, and Best in SLO.
Through June 30 // slogrilledcheese.com
MBAA Salon 2021
Celebrate seventy years of Morro Bay Art
Association members with selections of their
own work that each feels best represents his
or her own personal artistic journey. You be
the judge of the exhibit, which is installed
in the traditional French Salon format,
large groupings at different heights and in
alphabetical order, at the Art Center Morro
Bay. The three who receive the most public
votes for “best artist” will be featured in a
Through July 12 // artcentermorrobay.org
The SLO Museum of Art and
SUPERCOLLIDER, a Los Angeles-based
gallery that creates immersive science and
art experiences, presents a multimedia group
exhibition guest curated by Richelle Gribble and
Emma Akmakdijan. This journey is designed to
reawaken a connection to the ocean, examining
coastal regions above and below the ocean’s
surface to uncover the human impact on a vast
region of multispecies cohabitation. ”
82 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021
A stunning new exhibit at Sensorio has
been created by internationally acclaimed
artist Bruce Munro to celebrate the
variety of the Paso Robles wine country.
Colorful six-foot-tall towers composed
of more than 17,000 wine bottles are
illuminated with glowing optic fibers
whose colors morph to a moving musical
score. In addition to “Light Towers,”
Sensorio continues to offer its “Field
of Light” attraction made up of 58,000
solar-powered, fiber-optic lights.
Through September 30 // sensoriopaso.com
Funding Our Future BBQ
The Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo
hosts a drive-through barbecue to raise
money for scholarships awarded to local
students who have faced significant
personal challengers while excelling
in their studies. Purchase meal tickets
online for $35 in advance or $40 dayof.
Each meal feeds two people and
includes your choice of chicken, tri-tip,
or vegetarian, along with sausage, beans,
sourdough bread, and dessert.
June 6 // slorotary.org
Future Veterinarians Camp
This virtual session of Woods Humane
Society’s week-long Critter Camps lets
youth in grades three to six learn about
basic vet care, shelter medicine, careers
in the veterinary field, and more. They
meet a practicing veterinarian, take on
fun at-home challenges and activities
that can be completed in home or yard,
and receive a collectible camp button
memento. A must for all future vets!
June 28-July 2 // woodshumanesociety.org
California Mid-State Fair
The date for this year’s “biggest little
fair anywhere” is set, with the safety of
attendees, exhibitors, and staff remaining
a top priority. If State guidelines allow,
expect all the carnival rides, livestock,
exhibits, corn dogs, live music, and cold
beer you’ve come to enjoy.
July 21-August 1 // midstatefair.com
Through August 1 // sloma.org SLO LIFE
JUN/JUL 2021 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 83
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84 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | JUN/JUL 2021