CentralCoastTravels Day Trips Blog

CentralCoastTravels.com Day Trips and Discoveries around California's Central Coast

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Location: Santa Maria, CA, United States

Published and maintained by Jim and Ann Batterson, Santa Maria, CA.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Orchid Road Trip



The 16th Annual Central Coast Orchid Show & Sale sponsored by the Five Cities Orchid Society, was held Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3, at the South County Regional Center, 800 West Branch, Arroyo Grande, CA, (East of US 101, between Brisco Road and Grand Avenue exits.) General Admission was $5.00. Children 12 and under are free. Vendors offered a large variety of orchids for sale. Potting demonstrations, plant doctors and show tours provided culture information to all orchid enthusiasts. A weekend raffle also benefited the 5Cities Homeless Coalition.
An Orchid Show Preview Benefit for the 5Cities Homeless Coalition, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, was held Friday evening, April 1, 6:30-9:30. Tickets for the Preview were $40.00. Please call (805) 929-5749 or (805) 481-3991 for preview tickets info.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Update: New Full Service Lounge at Trattoria Uliveto

We had another perfect dinner at Trattoria Uliveto this weekend and checked out their new lounge area. The lounge is a welcome addition to the main dining room and is a great place to either begin or end your evening at Uliveto. To commemorate the new lounge, Chef Alfonso has developed his own signature cocktails. We sampled his "Key Lime Pie" which is a super fresh lime-based Italian Limoncello martini. Not too sweet, not too sour - the Key Lime Pie is the perfect blend of flavors. Chef Alfonso has also developed an Orange Limoncello and of course, a Lemon Limoncello martini. You can also order a fresh beer or one of several wines (lots of local wines!) or even an after-dinner aperitif. Check it out soon!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

CORE Wine Company

There's a new tasting room along the Santa Maria Wine Trail and we're sure happy they've arrived! The CORE Wine Company has been producing wine for a few vintages now and we've had the pleasure to visit them directly at their wine-production facility during their open houses. Now everyone can venture to Old Town Orcutt to visit and taste on any Wednesday thru Sunday!

Co-owners Dave and Becky Corey both have extensive backgrounds in the wine industry: Dave has years of experience in both vineyard management and wine making; Becky has a strong concentration in Public Relations and Marketing. Seems like the perfect fit to us.

Becky greeted us as we entered the tasting room. She's decorated the room with her artistic touches and it looks great! When you visit, make sure to check out the full wall of Corey and Rice family histories.

We tasted several of their wines today, and they were all great. In fact, multiple vintages of Dave's wine have consistently scored 90 points or higher from both Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator. But we had a mission: to pair a CORE Wine Company red with our spicy Santa Maria Style baby back ribs which I planned to barbecue that evening. Becky suggested the 2005 Ground Around: a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Tempranillo and 30% Syrah. Wow! It was an excellent suggestion and it paired perfectly. We also picked up a bottle of 2007 CORE Grenache Santa Barbara County which we look forward to opening in the near future.

The CORE Wine Company produces four (4) distinct labels: CORE, Turchi, C3 and Kuyam and all 4 labels are now available for tasting and purchase at the tasting room. When you're in our neighborhood, stop by the CORE Wine Company and pick up a bottle or three: You'll be glad you did!

**UPDATE** Be sure to check out the Tweeter and Facebook links on the CORE Wine Company homepage. Dave & Becky are constantly posting daily specials.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Trattoria Uliveto


This evening we had the perfect meal. Perfect atmosphere. Perfect service. Perfect food. And it was all right here in the Santa Maria Valley at Trattoria Uliveto.

First a little story: In 1996 we ventured to Boston to run the Boston Marathon and had the occasion to "carbo-load" in the Italian section of North Boston. We dined at a traditional family-owned restaurant for lunch and enjoyed it so much that we returned with friends the next evening for dinner. We'd never had such outstanding Italian food and lamented the fact that we had nothing similar back home on the Central Coast. So we began a 12-year quest for the "perfect" Italian restaurant.

Now a confession: I'd been meaning to type a review since Trattoria Uliveto opened last August but I kept getting distracted by yet another perfect meal at the Trattoria. Each time Ann and I dine here, we're amazed by Chef Curti's inventive and delicious culinary masterpieces. Trattoria Uliveto won us over during our first visit with their extensive menu and attention to freshness, quality and presentation. Since then, we've explored the "regular" menu but often don't get past the evening's list of Specials because there's always something new to explore. Either way, there's an outstanding meal awaiting and we're always glad we've returned.

This evening we arrived early and were cordially greeted by Marna, the Trattoria's friendly (and beautiful) hostess. We were seated and brought fresh-baked bread straight from the oven along with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We ordered a Pinot Noir from the Trattoria's large selection of Central Coast wines and explored the menu. Daniel (our server) came by to present the list of tonight's specials and answer any questions we had. Ann didn't make it past the list of specials but I selected one of my favorites from the regular menu. For our Antipasti, we had Crostino Alla Romana (a delicious mix of toasted Bruschetta, Mozzarella, Prosciutto, Butter, and Sage). For our salad we usually split an Insalata Spinaci (Spinach, Mushrooms, Gorgonzola, Italian Bacon, Red Onion) but tonight we decided on the Insalata Speciale (a delicious blend of roasted beets, spinach and feta cheese). Ann selected tonight's Halibut special (a grilled Halibut filet layered upon a bed of mashed potatoes, julienne carrots and accented with fresh mint to perfect the delicious mix of flavors). I ordered the Penne Amatriciana (a simple but delicious blend of Onion, Pancetta and Tomato). Amatriciana dishes are rarely found here in California and I'm always glad I can rely on Trattoria Uliveto to serve the perfect Penne Amatriciana whenever I succumb to the craving. Co-Owner Jim Spallino swung by our table to make sure we were comfortable and, as always, we had a very pleasant conversation with him. Then it was time for dessert. Marna gave us the desert list rundown and we ordered the Pannacotta (an Italian cream custard with fresh raspberries and blackberries and drizzled with a balsamic vinegar sauce). It was the perfect finish to our perfect meal.

We truly feel honored that Jim Spallino, Alfonso Curti and their families have partnered to open Trattoria Uliveto right here in the Santa Maria Valley. The Trattoria is located in Old Town Orcutt and is open 6 days a week (Tuesday-Sunday) for lunch and dinner. We recommend reservations.

Trattoria Uliveto
285 South Broadway
Orcutt, CA 93455
805-934-4546

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

El Paraiso Mexican Restaurant

We had the pleasure to recently discover a fantastic Mexican restaurant in the heart of Santa Maria. El Paraiso Mexican Restaurant is a genuine Mom and Pop enterprise. Owners Gus and Rosie Arana welcome each diner to their pleasant and comfortable restaurant as if they were opening their own home to you and your family or friends. Rosie is the chef and she prepares each dish with the freshest homemade ingredients and her own tasty recipes. Gus is the official greeter/waiter and is more than eager to answer any questions and make sure you're comfortable and quickly attended to. The restaurant is super clean and the pride Mr and Mrs Arana place in their enterprise is evident from the moment you walk in the door.

It was tough deciding from amongst the extensive menu so we ordered a couple Mexican beers and took our time while enjoying the delicious fresh salsa and chips. The salsa is chunky and very flavorful (not that watery kind we sometimes find). Not that I needed it, but just to be sure I had plenty of spice, Gus brought a bottle of homemade hot sauce which added more than enough kick to my servings of the salsa!

For our main courses, we finally settled on a couple enchilada dishes: Chicken Enchiladas Suizas and Chicken Enchiladas Mole. Both meals come with fresh homemade refried beans and Mexican rice with vegetables. Both the beans and rice were fresh and perfectly prepared. I really liked the beans; they were smooth and full of healthy flavor.

I'm a big fan of Mole sauce so I usually order a Mole dish whenever I see it on the menu. Gus and Rosie's Chicken Enchiladas Mole are undoubtedly the best available here on the Central Coast. The enchiladas were stuffed with large chunks of white chicken meat, wrapped in fresh corn tortillas, smothered with Rosie's homemade Mole sauce and topped with delicious Mexican crumbled cheese. Wow!

The Chicken Enchiladas Suiza were also filled with a generous helping of grilled white chicken meat, wrapped in homemade tortillas, smothered with Rosie's green chile sauce and topped with shredded cheese. Served with a dollop of guacamole and sour cream on the side, these Suiza enchiladas will surely please Suiza fans every time.

We finished our meal by sharing a desert of fried ice cream. Gus and Rosie serve their fried ice cream with a special surprise which you have to try to really appreciate. We won't spoil the surprise; just order it yourself; you'll love it!

El Paraiso Mexican Restaurant is open 7 days a week (Sundays and Mondays from 11 to 3; Tuesdays thru Saturdays for both lunch and dinner). They're located in Santa Maria's Town Center West shopping center, right next to Big 5 Sporting Goods near the southwest corner of Main and Broadway. Stop by soon!

El Paraiso Mexican Restaurant
241 Town Center West
Santa Maria CA 805-614-2883

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