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.

2017 Harvest Report Looks Good!

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Harvest 2017 in From the Vine  My bi-weekly wine column in the Santa Maria Times and the Lompoc Record was published today, October 8, 2017. It’s about the 2017 Harvest Report and wine festival. Each year I report on what…

Exciting Opening–Blue Moon Over Avila!

Call us impetuous but we can’t help but share news of an exciting new Avila Beach restaurant opening next week–Blue Moon Over Avila! If you loved Chef Jose Dahan as much as we have over nearly two decades (and we…

Time for From the Vine

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From the Vine, my bi-weekly column in the Santa Maria Times and Lompoc Record, is all about Los Olivos, Ballard, and Solvang today. Here’s the free link to read my latest column in the Santa Maria Time and the Lompoc…

More news about the Vegetable Butcher!

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The Vegetable Butcher Continues to Impress! We couldn’t wait to get back to SLO for Tamale Tuesday, and we were warmly greeted by “Lola” out front. Not surprising at all, we were very impressed once again. It was a meal…

Kathy’s Choice For Central Coast Wines

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We’ve had some fine Central Coast wines lately, that made Kathy’s Choice. If there’s one thing we do often, besides drink fine Central Coast wines, it’s buy them. And when we love them, we stock up, we’re talking case purchases…

The Vegetable Butcher–Chef Becky’s Nickname

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The Vegetable Butcher-SLO’s Hottest New Eatery The name alone would make you assume, naturally, that this great new eatery is a vegetarian restaurant but think again! Chef Becky Windels knows that most Americans love meat, so she hired Chef Bernard…

Bubblyfest 2017

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From the Vine Covers Bubblyfest 2017  One of the most popular events on the Central Coast, with good reason, I know very few wine lovers who don’t love Champagne! But at Bubblyfest, you get much, much more! There’s a winemakers’…

Kathy’s Choice in Fine Wines

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Some Recent Favorites for Kathy’s Choice! Whether Dan and I are at home or traveling, we always seek out the best local wines. And when we can’t find anything by the glass or bottle at decent prices, we pick wines…

From the Vine Published Today!

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From the Vine, my bi-weekly column in the Santa Maria Times was published today September marks my fourth year with the Santa Maria Times and the Lompoc Record, where I cover our fine Central Coast wine scene. And in all…

The New Peacock Cellars in AG!

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It’s Sunday and that means my Santa Maria Times and Lompoc Record column is out, with the spotlight on Peacock Cellars. It came about thanks to an invitation to join my friend Heidy Jackson Mangiardi and her friends to the…