Posted by Lauren
At the end of Friday’s post, I mentioned I was in SLO. For anybody who does not remember me blabbering on about a town called San Luis Obispo, the nutshell version is SLO is the home of my alma mater – California Polytechnic State University: San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly for short). Two of my college roommates (Kerry + Fran) live in southern California; Krish and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. SLO is the perfect meeting spot in between the two and it’s the happiest place in America (video is worth a watch for Jenny McCarthy humor alone).
Around 9:30, Krish and I arrived in SLO and we made our way to our high school friend’s house. An hour later, Fran and Kerry showed up! Bryson was the perfect host, giving the four of us complete access to his loft and California king size bed! Thanks Bryson! He also serenaded us with a 4-song set. A few covers, and a few originals; what a talented chap. Instead of going out, we chatted/youtubed/cuddled up + fell asleep.
After Krish and I ran outside for about 30 minutes, we freshened up and ate some scrambled eggs. A short walk into downtown SLO led us straight to COFFEE. There is a bit of a debate about which coffee shop to support in SLO these days: Kreuzberg, Linnae’s, Starbucks, Peets, or Black Horse. We put our dollars in the hands of the staff at Linnae’s – each ordering some form of a vanilla chai drink (Fran and I both ordered 1/2 coffee 1/2 chai – after a little sweetener it was super good!) Krish ordered a tasty mint chocolate chip scone and was nice enough to share it. Linnae’s has the best little menu and ohmygoodness-looks-so-gooood pastries. I could go on and on about Linnae’s… but I won’t.
We continued up and down Higuera street, popping in and out of shops. I was on a mission to find something to wear during the day/night. Luckily, it was a b-e-a-utiful day out. Sundress weather in the beginning of February? Yes please. I found a cute dress on sale at Avanti, which has the best window display of shoes IMO.
Our next stop: Firestone’s. You can’t go to SLO and not stop there. Tri-tip sandwich. Steak cobb salad. Firestone Fries. Done. While I window shopped, the girls went into Natural Cafe to pick up a large Old Town salad. We brought ALL of the food with us back to Bryson’s house and immediately set off for Baileyana, a winery on the outskirts of SLO.
Kerry + Krish ventured into the winery to start tasting, while Fran and I set up our picnic lunch. They shared each pour with us and together we agreed to buy a bottle of ’09 Trenza Blanco to enjoy with lunch. We passed the time chatting about everything from Costa Rica, to Nicki Minaj raps, to teaching jobs, to dance companies, to … heck, I can’t even remember. I think the punch line was: Kerry + Fran pleeeease move up to the Bay Area? Ha. We also ran into our pal Josh B., totally random.
With another couple of hours to kill, we decided to check out a new-ish local brewery: Tap It Brewing Co. After many many many samples of their delicious IPA at Cal Poly’s Oktoberfest Homecoming tailgate during Halloween weekend, I’ve been mildly obsessed with the stuff.
The Tap It facility is off Tank Farm & Broad Street – and it was shockingly nice. (Note to Tap It reps that might read this: you should go to frat and sorority meetings to set up tours as brotherhood/sisterhood events OR even fix up the cement patio area to allow for a DJ and host an exchange or two! Just an idea…)
Happy Hour runs from noon – 4pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. This meant we were able to snag a pitcher of quality IPA for $12. Not bad? (Pints are $4) Anna and Meghan (ex-Orchesis dancers) joined us. As if the warm sun, great company, ugly cat, and complimentary pretzels weren’t enough – we also snagged a tour! (Never hurts to ask!) Tap It converted a fire truck into a badass
foodtruck beertruck of sorts. They installed a foam launcher on the top, there’s space for merchandise, and they have room for TONS of kegs that pour straight from taps on the side of the truck… the facility itself is really clean and our tour guide explained the whole process from barley to bottling.
We arrived at Bryson’s with an hour until dinner. What would you do after visiting a winery and brewery?
Take a nap?
Thank goodness Bryson called us, otherwise we would have completely missed our dinner reservation with the other Orchesis Dance Company alumni! Our party of 20 fit comfortably at Novo Restaurant Lounge – described on their website as “An iconic dining experience in the heart of downtown. Where global cuisine combines…Innovative global cuisine with an emphasis on fresh, local flavors from the Central Coast.”
The four of us split three dishes:
1. novo lettuce wraps with prawns ($14) – butter lettuce, julienned vegetables, fresh mint & cilantro, nuoc nam, chilli sauce, roasted peanuts
2. pork carnitas sopes ($16) – housemade small thick tortillas topped with caramelized, slow roasted pork, cabbage, sweet and sour escebeche, salsa and queso fresco (+ fresh jalapenos)
3. sri lankan butternut squash curry ($16) – sweet coconut milk curry, cashews and mustard seed
Everything tasted fresh, house-cured, and homemade. Novo was generous with the prawns, heavy-handed with the spice on the sopes, and built a balanced + hearty curry dish that we all loved. Even better than the food? The atmosphere. Shizah! If you’re looking for the perfect date spot in SLO, Novo might just be it. Just don’t sit in the basement! Make sure to snag a creekside, twinkle-light spot on the outdoor patio. I can’t believe this space used to be a cigar factory in the 1800s!
K… keep trekking through this detailed recap…
We paid the bill just in time to hustle over to campus and catch the beginning of the dance show.
There were two acts; 5 pieces in the first half, 6 in the second half. 73% modern dance, 18% ballet, 9% tap. This wasn’t my favorite Orchesis performance, but the others have an unfair advantage because my superstar roomies danced in them :) After the show, the dancers socialized and I headed straight for the cookies + coffee. I needed a sugar/caffeine fix, and fast!
Ultimately, all of us headed to SLO Brew – known for the better half of my college days as Downtown Brew. I must say, I’m really digging the new upstairs of SLO Brew. The downstairs hasn’t changed much – the stage and DJ area in the same hippity hoppity spot. What I don’t remember about SLO Brew is the sheer number of crazy solo dancers. It was so entertaining to watch all of them get reeeally into it haha. Eventually we noticed other Orchesis alums on stage – naturally we joined them. It was easily 15* warmer on stage! Oye…. Before heading home, Kerry and I made a pit stop at 7-11 for some snacks (sour gummy bears + pretzels for me, pringles + cobb salad for her).
We fell asleep watching the Rachel Bilson flick “Waiting for Forever”…
Despite the 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I got into the story and watched it to the very end (at 4am!). The critics reviews are pretty hilarious though!
And that was our day in SLO!
With so much talk about food, this became a perfect WIAW…. Thanks Jenn!