The magic of food, wine and waves are only a few of the experiences being offered by the Association of Amputee Surfers May 30th to June 2nd. The 4th Annual Wine, Waves & Beyond Longboard Surf Classic will be held in Pismo Beach and other venues throughout San Luis Obispo County. When an invitation arrived to a “Winemaker Media Lunch” I was anxious to attend and learn more about the organization, as well as the event. Therefore, on the designated day, we headed north to the Cliffs Resort in Pismo Beach. Sun washed into the comfortable lobby where we were able to enjoy the expansive view of the pool, palm trees and sea beyond.
We were directed to the Marisol Restaurant where we were greeted by the laid-back atmosphere of the beach represented through many art forms. The art exhibit continues throughout the event with a portion of the proceeds going to the AmpSurf.
One artist brought the surf into the restaurant as the painting was tilted and spilling the sea onto the Birds of Paradise below. Enjoy a number more of the paintings at the end of this post along with artists credits. If interested in one I am sure Wine Waves and Beyond will connect you with the artist.
Continuing through the restaurant and onto its balcony we were able to have a peak at the yellow Volkswagen which has come to represent the event.
Artist, Robert Voorheis, brings this vehicle to life through the themes of his past posters and, again, this year, with his award winning design.
The tables in Marisol were set with not only wine glasses, but a very long menu and the First Course. The Amuse-Bouche was an duck confit prepared by Chef Casey Walcott of the Sea Venture Restaurant. We were ready to begin!
We selected a table away from an open door where the ocean breeze was just a little too cool. I took a seat by Barbara Baker, Operations Manager for AmpSurf, and learned she had just started her job the day before. I would have thought she had been with them for years due to her wealth of information and enthusiasm for the program.
She introduced me to Dana Cummings, Executive Director. Dana went from his home in Maine to join the Marine Corps where he served for seven years, including Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In 2002 he lost a leg as the result of an automobile accident. Rather than assuming defeat, he began to set goals and within four months he learned to surf. Daily he became stronger and a year later won a trophy in his first surfing competition. He has since traveled the world and co-founded the Association of Amputee Surfers. He puts together “learn to surf” clinics for people with disabilities. He wants to show people the abilities they possess and not let them be defined by what they say they cannot do because of a disability. It was evident he lives his motto of wanting to experience everything since he had just returned from Maine and a surf clinic in 40 degree water. What inspirational people to have as lunch companions!
AmpSurf is made up of amputees, veterans, friends and families of the disabled who depend on donations in order to promote, inspire, educate and rehabilitate people with disabilities. The disabilities also encompass mental problems, but for everyone the benefits are wonderful from the adaptive surfing to other safe outdoor activities. Over the past three years Wine, Waves and Beyond has been able to raise $45,000 to help support the non-profit organization.
Throughout all of our educational chatter we were also managing to eat course after course while sipping wines. Each chef was introduced and told us interesting aspects of the preparation and/or ingredients. This dinner was a mirror image of the Wine, Waves and Beyond first Winemaker Dinner, open to the public on Saturday, June 1st. Let me tempt you….
Second Course by Chef Gregg Wangard of the Mirasol Restaurant
Sea scallop, stone fruit tian, yuzu gelee, flowers and herbs
ThirdCourse by Chef Robert Trester of the Gardens of Avila at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort
House made noodles, pork belly, shishito, soft egg, pickled radish, bone marrow dashi
Fourth Course by Chef Casey Walcott
Sauteed local sea bass with peach jasmine rice, summer squash, rose reduction
Fifth Course by Chef Robert Trester
“Barbara’s Babies” with lemon, radish, beet variations
Sixth Course by Chef Gregg Wangard
Smoked Liberty Farms duck breast with arrow leaf spinach, bacon croutons, fig-apple jam
Seventh Course by Robert Trester
A selection of sourdough rolls and smoked tomato foccacia
Eighth Course by Chef Steven Smeets of the Apple Farm Inn
Lamb loin with polenta, pork belly, peas, tomato gastrique
Ying by Pastry Chef Hannah Ingham of Mirasol Restaurant AKA The Muffin Goddess
Caramelized peaches, goat cheese, mascarpone cheesecake, wine infused raspberries, pate sucree crust
Yang by Pastry Chef Willie Vey of the Apple Farm
Dark chocolate, brandied cherry, walnut pastry dough, strawberries and cream
Every course was beautifully paired with two wines. The winemakers from Chronic Cellars, Cypher Cellars and Grey Wolf Cellars had partnered with all the above chefs to create this over the top menu. Each winemaker discussed the features of each variatal as it was served. They ranged from the 2010 Chronic Cellars “El Perfecto” from Paso Robles……
to the 2010 Barton “Watchtower,” also from Paso Robles.
After all these sips I now know I need to make a visit to these wineries. Maybe a repeat performance would be possible for the wine dinners I do at the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara.
The winemaker dinner is, without a doubt, something not to be missed! But there are many other events over the four days:
- Thursday, May 30, is a screening of the movie “Groundswell” by Woodshed Films at the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo. Meet director, Dan Malloy, and Kellen Keen, the cinematographer.
- Friday, May 31st, at the Cliffs Resort, from five to eight, is the Barrel-to-Barrel winetasting event with 35 wineries and live music.
- Sunday, June 2nd the Longboard Contest begins at seven in the morning. In addition is a Volkswagen display and a Classic 805 BBQ, by Firestone Walker, with more live music at the SeaVenture.
For all details of the weekend please visit www.winewavesandbeyond. Wine Spectator magazine commented that Wine, Waves & Beyond celebrates “two of the Central Coast’s most enticing assets, its surfing scene and its wineries. It is Sideways meets Big Wednesday.” I sure there is something to please eveyone during this true California experience. And, I can assure you the food and wine cannot be surpassed!
“To the Sea”
LeeAnne Del Rio