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.

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…

The New SLO THO–A Foodie Find!

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The New Talent at THO, August 2017 Ever since proprietor Debbie Thomas first opened Thomas Hill Organics (THO) in Paso Robles in 2009, we’ve published many reviews over those years about their creative seasonal cuisine. And indeed, THO, has gone…

Pico at the Los Alamos General Store

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From the Vine in the Santa Maria Times and Lompoc Record was published today, covering Pico at the Los Alamos General Store. What can I say about Los Alamos and it’s tremendous growth as a culinary scene, simply wow! I…

Wines From Outside the Central Coast!

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Fine Wines We Love Outside the Central Coast! As much as we love our outstanding Central Coast fine wines, we aren’t limited to the neighborhood, not by a long shot. And neither should you limit yourself to the ‘hood, not…

From the Vine Uncovers Free Concerts

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My From the Vine Column–Free Concerts at Local Wineries! It’s not all that often that you get to see free live concerts at wineries on the Central Coast, nor anywhere else for that matter. But this year there have been…

Lumen’s Outstanding Wines

Lumen Wines by Lane Tanner and Will Henry I first met and interviewed winemaker Lane Tanner in 1996 when Dan and I relocated to SLO County from San Francisco. And who doesn’t love this charming pioneer for women winemakers in…

Our Choice of Best Central Coast Wines

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The Best Central Coast Wines When it comes to fine wines here on the Central Coast, well, we all have our favorites. But that’s because our favorite wineries come through year after year, good vintage or bad, with genuinely impressive…

The Spoon Trade–A Great Choice

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Uh oh! Correction, Sorry Friends! The new hours are accurate, but I made an error when creating this post. The Spoon Trade is not yet open for lunch on Thursday. When I spoke with Chef Jacob last Monday at lunch,…

From the Vine Spotlights the CC Oyster Festival

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My Santa Maria Times column today is all about the Central Coast Oyster Festival! You can easily read my column free clicking on this free link: http://santamariatimes.com/lifestyles/columnist/from_the_vine/from-the-vine-the-central-coast-oyster-festival-is-coming/article_6266ef59-45a4-546d-967c-c8e0a0b1df28.html This is one my favorite events where I participate as one of their…

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…