Lucy’s Coffee Co. San Luis Obispo

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Lucy’s Coffee on Laurel lane in San Luis Obispo is a local charm with a sense of character that makes it feel like home. The cute retro themed decor and clean interior create an atmosphere perfect for studying or meeting up with a friend for a coffee date to chat.

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The inspiration behind the shop’s name is owner Lisa’s daughter, Lucy. Lisa’s original enterprise was a coffee truck which traveled up and down the Central Coast and catered caffeine to special events such as weddings, which has now grown to be a full time standstill coffee shop.

Lucy’s roasts the beans of local companies such as Spearhead coffee and Coastal Peaks.  They feature unique specialty drinks including the savory peanut butter latte and my personal favorite: the heart warming ginger tea latte.

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Their staff is extremely friendly and willing to offer recommendations for drinks with their house-made syrups, all of which taste divine. I’ve also heard their toasts are extremely yummy (including a gluten free bread option! YAY!) Choices include peanut butter banana, avocado, and goat cheese. Mmmm.

Lucy’s offers free wifi for customers and an ample number of power outlets to charge a laptop or other electronic device as well as a huge parking lot with enough parking to accommodate you and all of your best coffee loving friends.

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They’re open weekdays 6:30am-6pm, and weekends 7am-4pm in shop as well as for event catering at 1279 Laurel Lane in San Luis Obispo.

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Kraken Coffee in Avila Beach

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Oh MAH goodness let me tell you about one of my new favorite coffee shops I’ve found on the Central Coast. It’s called Kraken Coffee Co and it’s right on the beach in Avila. It’s two of my favorite things put together: coffee and a view of the ocean. The shop is owned by the same owners of Kreuzberg in downtown SLO which is no surprise, because Kreuzberg is awesome too.

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Kraken brews the same coffee as Kreuzberg which is tasty. There’s wifi and an ample number of power outlets. If you don’t want to sit outside on the patio and stare at the ocean because for some reason you have to be productive the interior includes a spacious upstairs loft with clean and artsy rustic sailor decor to match the ocean view outside the large windows. It’s a great place to study or get some work done, or to meet up with a friend and chat.

In fact, this shop feels like every local down to earth company in SLO came together to create a space to spend a few hours enjoying time by the water. Kraken also serves Batch ice cream which means some sweet (literally!) affogatos and local Whalebird brand kombucha on tap. On this visit, I got a nitro brewed mango iced tea and it was delicious.

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Kraken just opened in April of 2017, and is thriving. The staff are incredibly helpful and friendly, offering recommendations and even samples of their drinks. I know I’ll be back to Kraken, and I can’t wait to see how much they continue to grow!

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Flour House San Luis Obispo

 

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Me and my happy hour Margherita pizza and cocktail

Flour House in downtown San Luis Obispo is an Italian restaurant which puts passion and authenticity into creating their cuisine, because they believe that food is a connecting human experience to be shared with others.

The restaurant boasts a heated outdoor patio bar with views of Higuera Street for people watching while you enjoy your delicious Italian food, as well as a lavishly decorated interior and heated creekside patio in back.

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They specialize in “Pizza Napoletana” which is a strictly mandated heritage style of cooking so cherished, that it’s guarded by Italian law… And this style holds true to being guarded, because the pizzas at Flour House are out of this world. The dough and pasta is all hand made in house with imported Italian flour.

The Stefano Ferrara oven in which the pizzas are cooked have been handcrafted by the same family for nearly one hundred years in Naples, Italy and can reach temperatures up to 1,000°F to bake the softest and most flavorful dough for pizzas.

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They’re consistently changing their menu depending on current culinary inspiration, but *HAPPY HOUR ALERT!* their deal of $5 Margherita Pizzas and $5 glasses of wine from 4-6pm at the Flour House is one which cannot be missed.

This place puts their heart and soul into their food, and you can certainly taste that secret ingredient in every dish, one that you can’t buy at the store: love. So give your tastebuds a treat and visit Flour House in downtown SLO for some truly authentic Italian food.

Cambria’s Hidden “Treasure Made of Trash”: Nitt Witt Ridge

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One man’s trash truly is another man’s treasure, as proven by Nitt Witt Ridge. This California Registered Historical Landmark was built completely by alternative artist Arthur “Art” Harold Beal all by himself, over 50 years of creative work.

He bought the hillside in Cambria in 1928 and for the next 50 years created his own “poor man’s castle” out of various objects he found from being a garbageman and things he took during his brief work at Hearst Castle.

Beer cans, abalone shells, car parts, and toilet seat covers are just some of the materials featured for the foundational work and decor of his palace. It’s a really special place for which he put his heart and soul into making and which has a rich history behind it.

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When you arrive to the property do not be alarmed to see a sign that reads “human waste at “#,” this just means the time that the next tour will take place, usually every hour on the hour. A $10 cash donation is asked per person for a tour and it’s well worth it with all of the amazing information you receive from the tour guide Mike, who is so obviously passionate about spreading the history of this man’s legacy. He’s an expert on the history of the house and about Art’s life.

Mike greets you at the door and shows you around each room of the house one by one from the kitchen to his “extra room” where Art frequented lady guests to his own bedroom which is hauntingly well put together.

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Feminine lady guest bedroom

He even shows a video (on a TV hooked up to a car battery, how resourceful) of Art from back when he was building the house.

Art died at the age of 96 in 1992, and in 1999 Michael and Stacey O’Malley became the owners of the property. It is amazing how much time, effort, and care Art put into building this house up from the ground and the O’Malleys’ passion for keeping the legacy of the landmark alive is incredible and apparent in the enthusiasm Mike shows in his tours of the house. Mike’s witty sense of humor made the tour extra enjoyable.

Art’s ashes are scattered around the redwood up outside by the court yard area and it definitely feels like you can sense his presence watching over you when you’re walking through the house, so just be respectful of what used to be his prided living space.

This was by far the most unique Central Coast experience I have gotten to enjoy so far and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for an activity off the beaten path on the Central Coast!

For more information, visit their website here:

http://nitwitridge.com/m.php?qrcode=4YA6B&qr4biz=1

Morro Bay’s Top Dog Coffee Shop

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I love dogs. I mean, who doesn’t love dogs? If you don’t like dogs then I still respect you but I’ going to have to also respectfully disagree with you because dogs are great. And this coffee shop has “dog” in its name so that already makes it pretty cool…

But in all seriousness, Top Dog is one of my favorite coffee shops to hang out in the SLO area. They feature two locations: one in Morro Bay and one in Cayucos. I’ve only ever been to the one in Morro bay and it’s amazing, so I’m sure the one in Cayucos is just as amazing.

This locally owned cafe’s ambiance is tranquil and serene. There’s an outside back patio with greenery and sunlight shining enough to warm you, but enough shade to provide sight of your laptop.

Free wifi and outlets are offered with purchase of food or drink which isn’t hard to do, because there are SO MANY choices of what to get from coffee to tea to food to alcohol. It’s a great place to sit and get some work done on the computer while enjoying a bite to eat or a drink. You could come here every day for a month and never get the same thing twice. 

The shop also offers friendly service. I never know what I want when I get there because there are so many choices but the barista patiently waits while I consider every combination possible… One of my favorite things to get is a Yerba mate tea u lait with soy milk. It’s steamed soy topped yerba mate tea. Great for a caffeine fix if you’re not feeling coffee.

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The interior is decorated with pictures of dogs most of which are on the beach which is very inspiring to look at when you’re studying/getting work done. The exterior garden patio is filled with plants and flowers with a gentle breeze on a hot day.  It’s a relaxing place to hang out and enjoy the authentically laid back cozy and artsy atmosphere of Morro Bay.

High Street Deli: A Local SLO Legend

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High Street Deli is a local SLO legend. It’s a sandwich shop in the middle of a neighborhood on High Street with a funky hippy vibe and retro decor. The shop has been serving SLO for almost 100 years now. Built in 1927 it originally sold milk, cigarettes, and deli sandwiches to the workers in the railroad district of town. Now, it’s SLO’s most authentic sandwich joint.

 

High Street is a SLO favorite because it has proven over time to show character. Their famous 4:20 daily special yields a $6.99 sando from 4:20pm until their closing at 5:30, and their student deal on Tuesday gives Poly students with a valid school ID card the chance to grad a sando for $6.99 as well. Every time I’ve been to the place it’s been ridiculously busy but the service is fast and friendly.

Pro tip: If you want to get the dutch crunch bread (which is THE best) go earlier in the day as they will run out and might not ask you what you want as a replacement… and will sub it with a french roll. Which is not nearly the same level of delicious as dutch crunch. In addition to sandos High Street offers draft beer and kombucha on tap as well as an assortment of other local drinks in the fridge.

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DUTCH CRUNCH

They’re located in a very residential area with free street parking so you can enjoy your sandwich for as long as you please. Their side patio is a great place for sitting during warm weather and appreciating the unique vibes in the shop of the locals and tourists alike.

 

Also… If you like surprises, ask for your sando “stoney” and you’ll be get a mouthful surprise of whatever the sandwich crafters were feeling would be a good addition to your sandwich. (anything from avocado to sprouts, it’s all fair game and nothing’s off limits when you make it stoney!)

They’re open from 9am-5:50pm daily and their menu can be found here.  Check ’em out!

Art After Dark in San Luis Obispo

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Mural painting to support Jack’s Helping Hand at East Well Being and Tea’s Art After Dark

On the first Friday of every month in downtown San Luis Obispo, hundreds of community members gather together downtown to support local businesses and check out locally crafted art. This free event runs from around 6pm-9pm when around 20 galleries, boutiques, salons, and other venues open up their doors after hours to spotlight local aspiring artists and members of the SLO neighborhood.

It’s called Art After Dark, and it’s a great way to spend a casual Friday night in downtown SLO. Many shops also give out small snacks and wine for guests to enjoy while they check out the exhibits!

We started our Art After Dark journey at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art and were treated with wine and appetizer snacks while we checked out their latest exhibits. Admission is always free to the SLOMA, so you can come in at any time! You’ve also probably seen the SLOMA artwork around downtown as many of the local businesses support the museum by displaying artist’s work in their shops.

After the SLOMA we checked out Humankind Fair Trade, a nonprofit retail store which seeks to provide practical income to artists in developing countries, by selling their Fair Trade products and telling their unique stories here in SLO. There was a guitar player strumming outside the shop, and inside we were given an amazing apple chutney cream cheese cracker spread with more wine!

They have really cool products that you can feel good about buying, because they’re ALL fair trade. I bought an amazingly beautiful string of chakra flags which were handmade from Nepal, for only 3 dollars. They’re hanging in my bedroom right now. 😉

The amazing thing about HumanKind Fair Trade is that there are only a few full time “employees.” The rest of the time the store is completely staffed by volunteers who help out because they have a passion for the fair trade industry. If you’re interested in helping out or volunteering for them, stop by the store or email the store manager! 

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Next we visited East Wellbeing and Tea. There was live music playing and wine samples.

East is one of my favorite places to wind down and reconnect with myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed, because they have an incredible selection of tea options and well being opportunities. They also have small snacks available from Bliss Cafe. The chocolate almond milk is a MUST. It’s a great quiet place to study or just to hang out and relax.

East’s teas are 95% organic. They also brew teas which are custom blended locally by Secret Garden which are not organic but are still 100% natural. My favorite kind of tea at East is the “Yin” tea which is relaxing. They have a bunch of other amazing teas as well and my goal is to try them all…

We stopped at Pipstick’s on Monterey street which was right across from East Well Being and Tea, which had a TON of really cute stickers and crafting supplies. We also stopped into Bambu Batu which is a groovy store which sells items made from bamboo.  They had clothing/sheets (clothes and sheets made from bamboo material are SO soft!), apparel, and home decorations. There was also a man reading tarot cards in the corner of the shop.

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Pipsticks’ stickers
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Bambu Batu

Art After Dark is a true San Luis Obispo experience. The exhibits at each store change every month, so even if you go every month, your experience will never be the same. It’s a really nice way to showcase the local artists in our town, enjoy a low key Friday night out, and get to know the local SLO community.

Check it out!