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Monthly Newsletter | February 2023

Welcome to our first Monthly Newsletter!

We are so excited to be able to share even more of what we love about SLO County, and bring you exclusive content. 

This month we’re celebrating the love we have for SLO County and all the incredible people, places, and products inspired and created right here in our backyard. 

In this edition you’ll find everything from hikes to share with the ones you love best; restaurants, bars, and wineries to celebrate the bonds of family, friendship, and love; an extra special recipe; and fun events to get out and experience how amazing SLO County can be! ❤️


5 Hikes for Valentine’s Day

February is here, and love is in the air! 

A romantic hike with the one you love is the perfect way to get outside. From hikes across beaches to the tops of mountains SLO County has something for everyone, but these five happen to be some of our favorites.  

Elfin Forest

This easy hike along a boardwalk takes you through the Elfin Forest in Los Osos, named for the California Live Oaks that grow significantly shorter in this area.  There are lots of romantic alcoves to stop and enjoy the view of the surrounding area, including the stunning views of Morro Rock and the nearby estuary.

📍  Santa Ysabel & 11th – 17th St, Los Osos
🥾  1 Mile
〽️  59’
🦮  Dogs on Leash Allowed
🚵‍♂️  No Bikes Allowed
🦽 Wheelchair Friendly (Trailhead at 16th St)

Oso Flaco

Oso Flaco Lake is a hidden gem in south SLO County. The easy trail follows a boardwalk that crosses Oso Flaco Lake, and continues through the dunes all the way to the ocean. It’s the perfect hike to take with the one you love best, and end with a picnic on the beach! 

📍  3098 Oso Flaco Lake Rd, Arroyo Grande
🥾  1.7 Miles
〽️  22’
🦮  No Dogs Allowed
🚵‍♂️  No Biking Allowed
🎣  Fishing Allowed
⚠️  $5 Parking Fee 

Meadow Creek

What more do you need on a romantic walk than views of the ocean and butterflies? That’s what you’ll find when you hike Meadow Creek in Grover Beach. The easy boardwalk trail follows the coast, and ends at the Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach. 

📍  W Grande Avenue & Le Sage Drive, Grover Beach
🥾  2 Miles
〽️  0’
🦮  No Dogs Allowed
🚵‍♂️  No Biking Allowed
🦽 Wheelchair Friendly

Moonstone Beach Boardwalk

A stroll along Moonstone Beach Boardwalk may be one of the most romantic ways to spend your day in February. Whether you want to share a moment after lunch in Cambria or stroll to watch the sunset, you and the one you love most will share a special experience you’ll remember forever. 

📍  Moonstone Beach Drive, Cambria
🥾  2.6 Miles
〽️  45’
🦮  Dogs on Leash Allowed on Boardwalk Only
🚵‍♂️  No Biking Allowed (OK on nearby Moonstone Beach Drive)
🦽 Wheelchair and Stroller Friendly

Bluff Trail

Montaña de Oro State Park is known for its incredible hiking trails, but none offer that special spark for Valentine’s Day like the Bluff Trail. As you weave along the bluffs you are treated to some of the most stunning views of the cliffs, Spooner’s Cove, and the surrounding mountains behind. It’s one of our all-time favorite hikes, and definitely a special way to spend time with the one you love.

📍  Montaña de Oro State Park, Los Osos
🥾  4.1 Miles
〽️  249’
🦮  No Dogs Allowed
🚵‍♂️  No Biking Allowed


The Range

22317 El Camino Real
Santa Margarita, CA 93453
Tuesday – Saturday
5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
(805) 438-4500

There are so many amazing restaurants in SLO County, and we sure do enjoy getting out to eat at as many as we can. But there are some that are just so good we can’t help but go back again and again! The Range in Santa Margarita is one of those places.

Although the restaurant may not look like much when you arrive (flash is just not their style), there is absolutely some food magic going on in their kitchen. Everything is always so fresh and sourced as locally as possible (including from their own garden!), and you can taste it in every bite.

Primarily a steakhouse, The Range offers a wide variety of meats every night that are often butchered that day. Beef and chicken are always on the menu (with different cuts depending on what is available that day), but we have also seen elk, pork, and fish. 

The vegetables also get a starring role in every dish at The Range. Whether it’s the side of your entree, soup, or salad, it is always so delicious and we often eat every bite. 

To learn more about The Range in Santa Margarita make sure to check out the Reel we posted on Instagram, and call to reserve your spot at one of our favorite restaurants on the Central Coast! 


Ancient Owl Beer Garden & Bottle Shoppe

6090 El Camino Real Suite C
Atascadero, CA 934222
Monday – Thursday
11:00 am – 9:00 pm
11:00 am – 11:00 pm
11:00 am – 10:00 pm
11:00 am – 8:00 pm
(805) 460-6042

After years of working in the brewing industry, the owners of Ancient Owl Beer Garden saw a need for variety here in SLO County! That need inspired them to open Ancient Owl Beer Garden where they could provide craft-beer lovers with some of the best craft-fermented beverages here on the Central Coast. 

Ancient Owl opened their doors in the summer of 2021 in one of the most unique spaces in all of SLO County. The Block Shops in Atascadero were created out of former shipping containers, and not only house Ancient Owl but Negranti Ice Cream and Stellar + Sun Hat Company.

The shops form a big rectangle with a huge outdoor patio in the middle, and you can always find lots of friends and families out enjoying the perfect weather day and night. There is usually live music on the weekends, and rotating food trucks to provide that perfect snack to go with the perfect beer. 

To learn more about Ancient Owl make sure to check out their website, and definitely add this incredibly fun stop to your list of places to visit when you’re in north SLO County! 


Hearst Ranch Winery

442 Slo San Simeon Rd
San Simeon, CA 93452
Monday – Sunday
11:00 am – 4:00 pm
(805) 927-4100

Founded in 2009 by Jim & Debi Saunders and Steve & Barbara Hearst, Hearst Ranch. Winery has been pouring form their tasting room in San Simeon since 2011.

Originally located in the historic Sebastian’s General Store, a much needed retrofit moved the tasting room to their oceanside warehouse in 2019, where today guests can sip their way through two different flights and snack on an array of build-your-own charcuterie boards.

In addition to their San Simeon tasting room, Hearst Ranch Winery also has a tasting room in the Estrella District of Paso Robles’ wine country where their 65 acres of vines and winemaking facility are also located.

It is here that the winery’s top five varietals are produced for both tasting rooms, which include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Tempranillo, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc. 

To learn more visit the Hearst Ranch Winery website, and make sure to add them to your list of places to visit on your next wine tasting weekend to SLO County! 


Love Buzz Cupcakes

By Chef Candice Custodio

Prep: 30 min | Cook: 30 min
Assembly: 30 minutes
Yield: 12-15 cupcakes


Love Buzz Cakes

  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1 C Flour
  • ¼ C Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
  • ¾ tsp Baking Powder
  • ¾ tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large Egg (50 g)
  • ½ C Heavy Cream
  • ¼ C Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ C Water
  • 3 tsp Instant Espresso Powder
  • ¼ C Red Wine* (I used Kula Vineyards 2020 Ken’s Cabernet Sauvignon)

Cabernet & Chocolate Ganache

  • 3⁄4 C Heavy Cream
  • 3⁄4 C Red Wine*
  •  1⁄2 Tb Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
  • 1⁄2 C sugar
  • 8 oz semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1⁄4 C unsalted butter, cubed
  • Pinch of salt

Raspberry Whipped Cream Filling

  • 3 Tb Raspberry Jam *optional
  • 1⁄4 C Powdered Sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Fresh Raspberries for garnish


Cabernet & Chocolate Ganache

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat add all the ingredients. Whisk until all ingredients are combined and the mix comes to a boil.
  2. Transfer to a heat safe dish, cool to room temperature and then store with a lid in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Mixture will thicken up as it cools.

Love Buzz Cakes

  1. Preheat Oven to 350 F. 
  2. In a small bowl stir together wine, water, and espresso powder.
  3. In a large bowl, add dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
  4. Into the bowl containing wine mixture, add remaining wet ingredients and stir until well combined. Add to dry ingredients and stir again until well combined (should have no lumps).
  5. In a cupcake pan lined with liners, fill liners 2⁄3 full and bake for 20 min or until set. Cool completely before frosting.

Raspberry Whipped Cream Filling

  1. In a cold mixing bowl, add all ingredients.
  2. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, use whisk attachments to whip on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Don’t over whip.
  3. Store in the fridge until ready to use.


  1. Using an apple corer or paring knife, make a small hole in the middle of the cupcakes.
  2. Fill each hole with about 1 Tb of cooled Ganache.
  3. Using a piping bag* optional, swirl frosting onto the cupcakes.
  4. Top with a raspberry and chocolate shavings.


  1. Use leftover red wine
  2. Make it faster by using your favorite store bought whipped cream.

Chef Candice Custodio

A Cal Poly Alumni, Chef Candice Custodio is a Los Angeles native now permanently residing on the Central Coast. She has held various positions as an Executive Chef, Restaurant/Menu Consultant, Private Chef, and has been featured on the Food Network’s Chopped. She is currently the Chef at Kindred Oak Farm in Paso Robles.


Monarch Butterfly Grove

400 S Dolliver Street,
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
Open Daily

Did you know there is a Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach? 

Every year thousands of Monarch Butterflies seek shelter for the winter in Pismo Beach, where they can rest in the towering eucalyptus groves that grow near the estuary before making their trek back north.

The site is actually only one of five across all of California that sees an average of 10,000 monarch butterflies annually, and is an important part of their yearly migration south.

The butterflies begin their migration in October, and by the latter half of the month you can already see clusters of black and orange forming in the trees where the butterflies are resting together. 

As winter continues more and more butterflies arrive (24,000 already this season!), and create a truly breathtaking sight as they cluster in the trees and float around during your visit. 

As soon as the weather begins to warm up the butterflies begin to travel back north, and are mostly gone by the end of February. 

To see more of the Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach make sure to check out the Reel we posted on Instagram, and plan your visit before the butterflies migrate back north! 


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If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading our newsletter! ❤️

We’ll be back next month with even more ideas to hike around SLO County; a new bar, restaurant, and winery of the month; another extra special recipe from Chef Candice Custodio; and more special events you don’t want to miss! 

In the meantime you can follow us on our social channels linked below, and we’ll see you next month! ☘️

We love San Luis Obispo County, and San Luis Obispo Guide was started as a way for us to share why we love living here and why tourists love coming here to visit. There are so many wonderful people, amazing places, and incredible products to share (not to mention all the fantastic food, drink, and wine!), and we want to promote that through our website, social channels, and podcast so everyone can discover what makes SLO County so special.

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