Author Archive for kathymarckshardesty

- Welcome to the Central Coast Critic, aka Kathy Marcks Hardesty, on Facebook and WordPress! I'm a freelance food and wine columnist who has covered the amazing growth of the Central Coast restaurant and winery scene since early 1996. My lifelong career, however, began many years earlier when I started working in restaurants and bars in 1979. I would spend 12 years in the restaurant industry, six years front of the house followed by six years cooking professionally. I am also a graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Believe it or not, I left it all behind once I had the opportunity to start working for Wine Spectator magazine in San Francisco. I started out as the assistant to the tasting coordinator and soon became the editor for the restaurant award program, which I still describe as the greatest job of my life. During the seven years I worked there, I never missed a day of work, I loved my job. But that was working for someone else who called the shots. When I moved to the Central Coast in 1996, I finally realized my lifelong dream, of becoming a freelance writer. I have so many great stories from my 35 years in the business. Many were funny, some were sad, and there are a few poignant tales, but those were the milestones that made me who I am today. I'll be building upon my biography regularly as my blog gains momentum, and sharing all of the highlights of my life in my biography as the Central Coast Critic.

Firestone Walker Expands Paso Brewery

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Firestone Walker in Paso Robles Expanded! My latest column in the Santa Maria Times/Lompoc Record spotlights the popular Firestone Walker’s Paso Robles brewhouse, restaurant, and educational experience! I’ve loved Firestone Walker ever since my first sip of their DBA (Double…

Mattie’s Pismo Beach Preview

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Mattie’s in Pismo Beach Soft Opening Began Yesterday! Happily, a dear friend of ours in the wine biz sent a text early Friday afternoon telling us that “Mattie’s is open.” No surprise to you, dear readers, we immediately made plans…

The Rib Line

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A great BBQ spot in SLO County–The Rib Line This rock solid BBQ joint had no problem making it into our top ten list of good value restaurants four years ago. And time after time, we find them so consistently…

The Santa Maria Valley Wine Trolley

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From the Vine–Learn About the Excellent New  Wine Trolley In my introduction to this week’s From the Vine column (May 21, 2015), I asked if you’ve heard about the very convenient, new Santa Maria Valley Wine Trolley. I explained it’s…

Welcome to The Bear & Star in Los Olivos

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With the Opening of The Bear & Star–Our Choice of Destination Restaurants Just Grew Greater! We were surprised when we learned the exciting news that a very popular chef was relocating to the South Central Coast, Chef John Cox. Originally…

Kathy’s Choice in Fine Wines

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Kathy’s Choice in Fine Wines You Can Still Buy!  We love our local Central Coast wines, and sometimes worry about having a “Central Coast palate.” Meaning we more than lean toward favoring local wines, yet we still drink enough wines…

Cass House Grill in Cayucos, Revisited

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Yet Another Fabulous Lunch at Cass House Grill! Mother’s Day 2017 We revisited the Cass House Grill in Cayucos yesterday, and we were so pleased to find the consistency factor was spot on! That is the mark of a truly…

From the Vine Features CC News

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What’s the news on the Central Coast? Excellent Eats and Drinks are in your Future!  Today, like every other Sunday, my From the Vine column appears in the Santa Maria Times and the Lompoc Record. While the newspaper is definitely…

Kathy’s Choice in Fine Wines

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Fine Central Coast Wines–They’re Easy to Find–If You Live Here! That said, if you don’t find them early enough after they’re first released, you will miss out. That’s why we’re here to help you discover the best of them. And…