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.

Fred Brander–Humanitarian

Fred Brander of Brander Vineyard in Santa Ynez Valley If you know even a little about the history of Santa Barbara County wine country, you know Fred Brander is among its pioneers My Santa Maria Time/Lompoc Record wine column was…

The New La Bodega Tapas Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach CA, May 1, 2018 The New La Bodega Tapas Wow, were we happy and surprised at lunch yesterday! Dan and I had an amazing meal at a new eatery in downtown Pismo Beach. We are always optimistic about…

Brick Barn Wine Estate

From the Vine, my wine column in the Santa Maria Times/Lompoc Record, was published last Sunday, all about the new Brick Barn Wine Estate in Buellton (So sorry but due to a problem with my webpage, I cannot upload photos,…

Giuseppe’s Pismo Beach–Welcome Back!

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Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant is back, thank goodness! It was so upsetting for many locals when we learned that Giuseppe’s in Pismo Beach was closed due to a fire. They believed the fire caused by the pizza oven during the weekend.…

The Alpha Omega Collective

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The New Alpha Omega Collective is Well Worth Knowing My latest From the Vine column in the Santa Maria Times and the Lompoc Record was published today, and it’s all about the new Alpha Omega Collective of  three top-notch wineries…

From the Vine

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From the Vine Shows the Central Coast Cares My wine column, From the Vine in the Santa Maria Times/Lompoc Record, was published today, Sunday, March 11th. It’s all about how Central Coast rez always come together to support a great…

From the Vine Published Today, Sunday Feb. 25, 2018

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From the Vine, my wine column in the Santa Maria Times, covers International Women’s Day in Wine Country! My bi-weekly wine column, which appears in the Santa Maria Times and the Lompoc Record, often features current events going on in…

The Exciting New La Esquina

The Exciting New La Esquina Taqueria in SLO Dan and I just had the most extraordinary dining experience at the new La Esquina Taqueria in the Creamery on Marsh at Nipomo streets. We knew it was owned by two great…

Pico at the Los Alamos General Store

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Pico the Restaurant at the Los Alamos General Store has an Amazing Redux! February 12, 2018 Dan and I recently had an excellent dining experience during the Santa Ynez Restaurant Week at Pico, not long after the restaurant had reopened…

Puffer’s of Pismo

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After discovering just how cool the the wine and entertainment offerings are at Puffer’s of Pismo, we’re huge fans. We only recently met the charming Charlie Puffer, who runs his excellent wine bar and provides live music almost daily. Not…