Ember Restaurant // Edible SLO Magazine

I had the pleasure of photographing Ember restaurant for the current issue of Edible San Luis Obispo Magazine, and just had to share some favorites from the shoot. Chef Brian Collins, his wife Harmony, and the entire team welcomed me with open arms and made me feel at home while I ducked around the restaurant for an afternoon. I love the creativity that Chef Collins and Sous Chef David James bring to the tables at Ember, updating the menu every month with fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients. Ember’s motto, woodfired honest food, is something I got to witness in addition to the  passion and enthusiasm of everyone working there. Always something new to get excited about, do yourself a favor and spend some time at this gorgeous eatery! 

Ember // 1200 E Grand Ave // Arroyo Grande CAEmber Restaurant // Edible SLO MagazineEmber Restaurant // Edible SLO Magazine // Jennifer Olson Images

Cabernet Gorgonzola Burgers with Edible SLO Magazine //

Cabernet Gorgonzola Burgers with Edible SLO Magazine // Pretty EATS

A benefit of working with Edible San Luis Obispo Magazine is all the new recipes I get to try.  This is how the Cabernet Gorgonzola Burger came into my life. How could these ingredients go wrong in one of humankind’s greatest creations, the BURGER. What made this extra mouth-watering is the Sriracha sauce and the caramelized onions. There’s a lot of bold flavors going on here. On the side, this Red Wine Apple Slaw was a welcomed crunchy, tangy addition to the dish. // note: I strayed a bit from the recipe and tested wine in the burger mixture. We loved the flavor that comes from adding 1/2 cup wine to the beef. 

Red Wine Apple Slaw with Edible SLO Magazine // Pretty EATS

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Seasonal Fall Dish with The Inspired Plate

I love this time of year and can’t wait to see what the rest of The Inspired Plate comes up with for our October Challenge, Seasonal Fall Dishes. I was recently inspired by some fresh shelling beans at my local farm stand, and a recipe from Martha Stewart Living, Pasta e Fagioli. Shown here are Cranberry, or Borlotti, beans. These Borlottis have beautiful blush-colored freckles which disappear during the cooking process, and are perfect for a warming early Fall soup.

I made some minor adjustments, using what we had on hand. For example, instead of ditalini pasta, I used orechette, and cut my cooking time in half by using canned diced tomatoes. However you make it your own, this is a simple, hearty, and delicious soup!

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

View the Recipe


Celebrate! The Inspired Plate’s 1st Year!

The Inspired Plate is celebrating our 1st Year as a group! Joining this food photography and styling group back in January 2012 was a much needed joy for me. Throughout this past year, our group of talented women has become not only friends but teachers, brainstormers, cheerleaders, and confidants to each other.

I’m in for 2013, ladies! Looking forward to what the new year will bring!



Now jump over to the next TIPer to show her take on Celebrate!, the talented Kay Pickens | Columbia MO Food Photographer.

Tomato Festival {Party in the Garden at Sycamore Mineral Springs}

Earlier in October, the Ode to Tomatoes Festival was celebrated here on the Central Coast. We SO enjoyed attending the Party in the Garden at Avila’s Sycamore Mineral Springs Garden. Four popular eateries joined forces for an afternoon of yummy tomato-inspired bites, tasty sips, and a lovely tour of the garden.

Here is a photo montage of our time at the Sycamore Garden! Marisol at The Cliffs created these delectable Pork Belly Sliders (we went back for seconds, by the way…). The Apple Farm had Cherry Tomato Toasts with Basil and White Anchovy, gorgeous!

Chef Gregg Wangard of Marisol serving out fantastic Tomato Basil Sorbet on mini cheesecakes. Jesse’s favorite of the afternoon!

Beautiful Garden Margaritas from Marisol packed a punch. Sea Venture‘s Chef Everett “Casey” Walcott dished out African Tomato and Banana Salad (sounds unusual but we really enjoyed it!).

Tomato and Goat Cheese Cannolis from Sea Venture Restaurant…still very much a dessert with a subtle tomato flavor.

Later in the afternoon, Sea Venture shared this refreshing Tomato Gazpacho topped with fried fennel frawns…just enough heat, a very nice balance.

Above, The Apple Farm’s Cherry Tomato Toasts with basil and white anchovy (seriously good), and below,  a yummy Green Tomato Pie (we had no idea there was not one apple in it!).

Mini Cheesecakes waiting to be topped with Tomato Basil Sorbet.

Such a fantastic afternoon. Great weather, beautiful grounds, free delicious bites and yummy drinks. I hope they do this next year, we’ll be there!