CONSUMED with Jaime Lewis
Nathan Long, restaurateur, Nate’s on Marsh, San Luis Obispo

Nathan Long, restaurateur, Nate’s on Marsh, San Luis Obispo

June 1, 2022

It’s tough not to adore Nathan Long, the restaurateur behind Nate’s on Marsh in San Luis Obispo. He is warm, welcoming, and personable. You know how restaurants always say that they treat their guests like family? That really is the case at Nate’s. I interviewed him at the restaurant because the interior of the place is just remarkable. Picture a cross between a 70s-era country club, a spaghetti Western and a Ralph Lauren ad — all covered in emerald colored wallpaper. I know, I know: it makes no sense and yet when you see it, it works indisputably well. We talked about Nathan’s upbringing here in San Luis Obispo, his background in agriculture, and his affinity for a meatball and a Manhattan.

Website: natesonmarsh.com

Instagram: @natesonmarsh

Natalie MacLean, wine writer, Ottawa, Canada

Natalie MacLean, wine writer, Ottawa, Canada

June 1, 2022

When my husband and I quit our jobs to work in vineyards around the world in 2008, we spent six months in Blenheim, New Zealand. After work each day, I’d go to the Blenheim public library to siphon free wifi, but I’d just as often wind up in the stacks picking out books to read. One of those books was Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass by author Natalie MacLean. I loved her humor, her description of how it feels to fall in love with wine, and her honesty about the appeal of a good buzz. Her writing definitely helped inspire me to be a wine writer. Fast forward fourteen years, and guess what? Natalie MacLean reached out to me to be on her podcast, Unreserved Wine Talk, which the New York Times named one of the seven best drinks podcasts to listen to in 2020. We also flipped the script so I could interview her here for CONSUMED. Natalie has a very, very long resume, including four James Beard Awards and the MF.K. Fisher Award for Excellence in Culinary Writing from Les Dames d’Escoffier International. Her books have been selected as Amazon’s Best Books of the Year, and she is the wine expert on several Canadian TV and news shows. Did I not mention Natalie is Canadian? Yes. I know this podcast deals in Californians only, but I can include her because she once worked for a company in Silicon Valley. When not working on her next book, Wine Witch on Fire: Rising from the Ashes of Divorce, Depression, and Drinking Too Much, Natalie shares online wine pairing courses and wine reviews at NatalieMaclean.com. 

 

My interview on Natalie's podcast: "Santa Maria BBQ & Wines + Can You Earn a Living as a Wine Writer?"

Website: nataliemaclean.com

Instagram: @nataliemaclean

Ariana Lovato, kitchen designer, Honeycomb Home Design, Arroyo Grande

Ariana Lovato, kitchen designer, Honeycomb Home Design, Arroyo Grande

June 1, 2022

Ariana Lovato is founder and principal of Honeycomb Home Design in Arroyo Grande California, and kitchen design is her specialty. She is an Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer with the National Kitchen and Bath Association, an Allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers, and the winner of many, many design awards. Ariana is a wealth of information and expertise when it comes to kitchens. I know this for a fact because she designed my kitchen remodel. My husband Jake and I couldn’t agree on much, so we hired Ariana and she helped guide us to workable, practical, and pretty solutions. She talks here about what people get wrong about building kitchens, how growing up Iranian-American influenced her life choices, and about the ten-thousand-dollar rug that nearly broke her. 

 

Website: honeycombhomedesign.com

Instagram: @honeycomb_homedesign

Nan Cole, forager, Ventana Big Sur, Big Sur

Nan Cole, forager, Ventana Big Sur, Big Sur

June 1, 2022

Nan Cole is a foraging expert based in San Luis Obispo, California, and the resident forager for Ventana Big Sur. She leads foraging walks, both urban and rural, she educates people about the do’s and don’ts of wildcrafting, and she cooks and bakes with her finds. In fact, one of the things that attracted me to Nan’s work was a photo on her Instagram page, @foragerslo, featuring a beautiful macaron made from redwood needle sugar and lemon zest. We walked up to a cozy spot on the side of Cerro San Luis to chat, and she pointed out native plants along the way, sharing how coyote brush is an antidote for poison oak and how mustard plant tastes like broccoli. Then, a couple weeks after our talk, I opened Sunset Magazine to find a full-page spread about Nan and her foraging program at Ventana Big Sur. A rock star! If you don’t feel inspired to join one of her foraging walks after listening to our conversation, you might want to check your pulse, because this woman is inspiring. 

 

Website: ventanabigsur.com

Instagram: @foragerslo

Amanecer Eizner + Wes Cooke, Hidden Kitchen + 7th Generation Design, Cayucos + Cambria

Amanecer Eizner + Wes Cooke, Hidden Kitchen + 7th Generation Design, Cayucos + Cambria

June 1, 2022

Amanecer Eizner and Wes Cooke are two of the minds and hearts behind Hidden Kitchen in Cambria and Cayucos, California. Amanecer grew up at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, the famous property that is, as Wikipedia puts it, a “non-profit American retreat center and intentional community which focuses on humanistic alternative education.” Esalen was ground zero for the New Age movement, so it’s always fascinated me that Amanecer grew up there as a child. Today, she owns and operates Hidden Kitchen, a set of two restaurants that serve blue corn waffles and smoothies, all gluten free, and all free of cane sugar. I truly love an HK waffle, and I know I’m not alone. Amanecer's fiance Wes Cooke helps keep the business sustainable and community-oriented, but he is also partner at 7th Generation Design, a company that helps properties implement regenerative systems, like permaculture, rainwater harvesting and irrigation, and natural erosion and pest control. Amanecer and Wes come to the table from different angles, but their values are deeply linked, as you’ll hear. 

 

Website: hiddenkitchencalifornia.com / 7thgenerationdesign.com

Instagram: @hiddenkitchencalifornia / @7th_generation_design

Anna Takahashi, food illustrator, Japan, Sicily, and California ✈️

Anna Takahashi, food illustrator, Japan, Sicily, and California ✈️

June 1, 2022

When artist and food illustrator Anna Takahashi was young, her doctors discovered she suffered from a kidney condition called nephrotic syndrome. By way of treatment, Anna had to basically abstain from salt for one year. In her hospital bed, and throughout that year, she drew images of the foods she craved: snacks, pasta, pizza, etc. In the process, she fell in love with food illustration, and today, that is her bread and (salted) butter, so to speak. Anna and I have worked on multiple projects together, like when I edited Edible San Luis Obispo Magazine and hired her to do illustrations, when she designed the packaging for Etto Pasta and I wrote the copy, and when the two of us dreamt up a wacky wallpaper and textile pattern that pays homage to the city of San Luis Obispo. (Look in the show notes to discover how you can get your hands on that hot little commodity.) I was really lucky to talk with Anna in person, because she leads a very international life, with hubs in Japan, where her family lives, California, where she spent much of her adult life, and Italy, where her husband is from. We chatted about her travels, creative inspiration, and more in the dining room on the second floor of Mee Heng Low noodle house in historic San Luis Obispo Chinatown.

 

Website: annatakahashi.com

Instagram: @anna_eats_colors

SLO Toile: wallpaper and home goods for purchase

Fani + Peter Gau, San Luis Oriental Market, San Luis Obispo

Fani + Peter Gau, San Luis Oriental Market, San Luis Obispo

June 1, 2022

Fani and Peter Gau own and operate the San Luis Oriental Market, a specialty and import grocery store in San Luis Obispo, California. Peter’s parents Sim and Meng Gau founded the shop in 1992 and ran it until 2017, when he and his wife Fani took over. Since then, they’ve built a customer base that includes a new generation of customers. The market always offered Asian sauces, spices, noodles and condiments, as well as some decor and seasonal goods. Under Fani’s leadership,, the shop now sells many more snacks, drinks, Asian veggies, and prepared foods like bao. During the interview, the Gau’s loaded me up with a bagful of snacks and treats, like sweet basil Lay’s potato chips, Thai boba iced tea, and I even get to try Steak-flavored Cheetos on the mic. I learned about how their young family began, how they’ve made it through the pandemic thus far, and how the recipe for Mom’s crab dish is strictly off-limits.

Instagram: @slorientalmarket

Matt Dees, winemaker, Jonata, The Hilt, and The Paring, Santa Barbara County

Matt Dees, winemaker, Jonata, The Hilt, and The Paring, Santa Barbara County

June 1, 2022

Matt Dees is the winemaker for three Santa Barbara County wine labels: the luxury brand Jonata, based in Ballard Canyon; The Hilt, based in the Santa Rita Hills; and The Paring, which blends juice not otherwise used for the other two brands. Matt is also a self-professed “plant person,” and he has the resume to prove it. Born in Kansas City, Matt attended the University of Vermont to study soil science, and has worked harvests in New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay and Staglin in Napa. But despite having spent nearly two decades in the Santa Barbara County wine industry, and having devoted his career to winemaking, Matt Dees is no one-trick pony. He can talk about Bach, Grace Slick, and Kansas City barbecue in the same breath, and seems like he might be happy to do so anytime. We talked about his life and career while sharing a table at the new restaurant Highwater in San Luis Obispo.

 

Website: jonata.com; thehiltestate.com;.theparing.com 

Instagram: @jonataestate @thehiltestate @theparing

Mateo Rogers + Brittney Yrecheta, chefs, Momotaro Ramen, Paso Robles

Mateo Rogers + Brittney Yrecheta, chefs, Momotaro Ramen, Paso Robles

June 1, 2022

Mateo Rogers and Brittney Yracheta are the chef-owners behind Momotaro Ramen, a noodle restaurant in the Paso Market Walk in Paso Robles, California. I met Brittney and Mateo while writing a story about steamed buns. At the time, they shared a mushroom hirata bun with me, and it was one of those flavor moments where a taste really stops you in your tracks: it was so, so rich and concentrated, with that pillowy bun and meaty filling that didn’t actually include meat. I loved getting to know them better this time around. They shared about how Mateo was homeless for a while, how he won Brittney’s heart with grits, how Brittney’s pescatarianism — if that’s a word — informs the wonderfully meat-free dishes they’ve made together since their earliest days with Heirloom Catering, which they closed a little over one year ago. They are fascinating and talented — I hope that comes through loud and clear. 

 

Website: eatmomotaroramen.com

Instagram: @momotaroramen

Ali Rush, sommelier + owner, 15 Degrees C Wine, Templeton

Ali Rush, sommelier + owner, 15 Degrees C Wine, Templeton

June 1, 2022

Ali Rush is a certified sommelier, wine educator, and owner of 15 degrees C wine shop in Templeton, California. I first met Ali when I was trying to take what’s called the WSET exam, a certification for wine experts. I had heard from someone that a new little wine shop next door to Trader Joe’s in Templeton would host the exam. I looked them up and called, and that new little wine shop was Ali’s 15 degrees C. At the time, there were zero local wine shops focusing on international wines, not to mention shops owned and operated by a sommelier — and especially not a young woman. Ali was the O.G. in this regard, and has helped usher the Central Coast into a new phase of wine appreciation over the last dozen years — a phase that includes wines from South Africa, Italy and Argentina, as well as those from across California. She is particularly knowledgeable in (and obsessed with) Spanish wines and food, and visits Spain regularly, as she has since she was a child. 

 

Website: 15degreescwines.com

Instagram: @instagram.com/15degreesc

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