Sunday, September 17, 2006

Olive to Love Ya, Baby

Driving back up through Central California, we stopped in Paso Robles merely to buy a bottle of wine for a picnic in the local vineyards. Our last visit there had not been so happy. We were looking for love. We got it.
Turned out it was the weekend of "Paso Robles: Taste of Downtown," where local restaurants and food purveyors peddled samples of their wares in the beautiful town square — which just a few years ago had been the sad center of an earthquake's deadly devastation.
There used to be an olive store, but it had been so badly damaged, the place where it stood was now just a parking lot.
Not to despair. The store has moved, and is thriving.
But back to that town square. It was too early to eat, the chefs still fiddling with their comestibles. And that's when I saw the perfect picture.
It included olives! Not sure if they were local, but what a dish that guy was cranking up. "Paella!" said the exuberant chef, and — groan... Sadly, not ready yet.
Cranky and I did manage to buy our own jar of local olives and a pretty bottle of local olive oil, however. At the new location of the olive store.


kudzu said...

Sounds like a restorative trip! I would love to hang out around that part of the coast, from whence cometh some of my favorite Zins........It must have been great to see the healing after the quake. I remember going to Santa Cruz as things were knitted back together......I am hoping to plant an olive tree at my new house (I refer to it as "my real house" after a year of renting.) There is something about growing a tree that could possibly live for many, many years -- whether I ever pick an olive from it......We should tend things, no?

Meredith said...

I'm so jealous! There was a tomato tasting this weekend in Paso Robles at the farm we get our tomato plants from (Wind Rose) but we decided that we couldn't afford the expense of the trip. It sounds like y'all had a great time though.

Kevin said...

Sigh. I remember being able to taste olive oil before I bought it.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: I'm wild about the Central Coast, and the town is looking happy. Good luck with your tree. You can probably get your olives pressed for oil in a community pressing up at The Olive Press in Glen Ellen. Some day.

Meredith: Aw, nuts! I really should have done my homework before we drove, because I would have lo-o-o-ved to go to that tomato tasting.

Kevin: Yeah, and I drink it straight from the cup; none of that sissy bread-chunk-dipping for me. :-)
The oil we chose was not spectacular (unfiltered Mission-Manzanilla blend, 2005) but it was so local and historic we couldn't resist.

Kevin said...

I used to get a Mission oil when I was in Sac. Really great stuff.