I love Where I live! Living on the Central Coast is a constant parade of festivals, events, and small town gatherings that allow us to share and soak up the culture and friendship that makes this area special. As a food lover of the First Order, I've found my home. I've lived in big cities (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Portland, Oregon). All of which have something special to offer one who appreciates great EATS. I often wonder: did my love of food lead me to these cities, or did I discover my love of food because of these cities?

I've found my home on California's Central Coast and I want to share our wonders and splendor with you. I'll be writing about our food and wine events; one's I'd attend as a bona fide lover of great food and wines. My caveat here: many of our festivals and events are relatively new in creation, after all it's only recently we've been discovered as "America's Next Great Foodie Town". The point: challenge yourself to explore these new venues along with me, knowing that there may be some ‘misses' along the way. At any rate, I have absolutely no doubt you will, at the very least, enjoy the opportunity to get out into our unique Central Coast communities. You'll view the physical beauty that makes each city a gem of a unique order, and meet the friendly ‘folk', characteristic of those who live, work and play on the Central Coast.

Up first on the Agenda: Morro Bay's 2nd Annual Chili Cook Off and Beer Fest.
The International Chili Society (ICS) is behind the local efforts to develop a sanctioned (read: authorized) chili cook-off in our own Morro Bay. The ICS is the largest food contest/festival in the world with the winner of the worldwide Annual "Chili" cook-off walking away with a whopping $25,000! No small potatoes...oops, I mean beans. But actually, the rules for the cook-offs are quite strict: beans and pasta are prohibited.
Chili making has a history and following too long to go into here, but it definitely has a place in our logbooks of culinary taste and history.

It's only the second year for the Chili Cook Off, but I think it's terribly exciting to see our community have our own sanctioned ICS event. Hats off to the Morro Bay Chamber for spearheading this event and innovating to include beer tasting from 7 local breweries. Love the combo: chili and beer is always a winner!

So, whether you love chili, intend to enter the competition, enjoy the brew and want to taste our local products, or just want a fun day at the beach, consider stopping by:

Morro Bay's 2nd Annual Chili Cook Off and Beer Fest.
When: March 12, 2011 from Noon to 5 pm. ($1 entry fee)
Where: Morro Bay Community Center - 1001 Kennedy Way, Morro Bay, Ca
What: Chili Competition (ICS Competition) and "People's Choice" Tastings (Includes Chili, Chili Verde and Salsa).
• $1 per Chili Tasting
• Brew Tasting Tickets: 6 tickets for $10
• Vendors offering the necessary accouterments: hotdogs, cornbread and others

For more information on the Morro Bay Chili Cook Off contact the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce at 805.772.4467 or check out their web link at www.morrobay.org

p.s. Milk, not water or beer, is the antidote to the fiery spices of HOT Chili.
See you there!

Laura Gurreau
Central Coast Food Tours
When you're Hungry to Discover