The moment of victory is much too short to live for that and nothing else.
-Martina Navratilova

Cocktail Corner: Fermentation Festival Kicks Off With a Mule of a Competition

by lesliedinaberg on August 26, 2016

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Fermentation Festival Moscow Mule CompetitionThe 6th annual Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival is coming up on Sept. 11, but first up is a pre-festival event called the Year of the Mule Cocktail Competition, from 5-8 p.m. on Aug. 30, at The Good Lion (1212 State St.).

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Moscow Mule, both professional and amateur cocktail enthusiasts will compete for a variety of fun prizes. Criteria include taste appeal, visual appeal, story/background and time management! The deadline to sign up is Aug. 26. Click here for more details and entry instructions.

In addition, tickets are now on sale for the Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival, which has proved to be a vibrant educational gathering of local and regional culinary alchemists, wild fermenters and health experts showcasing the history, benefits and preparation of fermented foods.  That includes fun beers and cocktails, as well as loads of other fermented concoctions. This annual event is at Rancho La Patera & Stow House (304 N. Los Carneros Rd., Goleta). The all-ages festival runs from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. with the 21+ Farm-to-Bar component from noon-4:30 p.m.

 

Courtesy Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival, which takes place this year on Sept. 11.

Courtesy Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival, which takes place this year on Sept. 11.

The 2016 Festival includes samples of 75+ artisan fermented foods from 50+ exhibitors, four stages featuring local and regional experts, and interactive hands-on activities. This all-ages experiential one-day festival celebrates the importance of traditionally fermented foods and beverages and empowers attendees to make these foods at home.

“… Fermentation is growing in reputation from a homespun preservation technique into the mainstream,” says Katie Hershfelt, co-founder of the festival along with her mother, Lynn Hartman.  “Renowned chefs from coast-to-coast are using fermentation as a culinary tool while health practitioners are recommending fermented foods as a key element in creating a healthy lifestyle.”

The festival’s 2016 theme, Nurture What Nature Gave You, puts the focus on consumers’ increased interest in fermented foods not only as taste and menu enhancers but as a key to a healthy lifestyle.  The Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival is part of a global grassroots movement that is changing the way consumers view their food, their connection to the earth and their ability to thrive.

Courtesy Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival.

Courtesy Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival.

Profits from the Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival support the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and its mission to end hunger and transform health through good nutrition. For more information or to purchase tickets click here.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on August 26, 2016.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

 

 

Nell Campbell: Images of Cuba

by lesliedinaberg on August 22, 2016

Campesino in Tobacco Field , Pinar del Rio, 2005, by Nell Campbell.

Campesino in Tobacco Field , Pinar del Rio, 2005, by Nell Campbell.

Photographer Nell Campell has a new show—Images of Cuba—on view at Jared Dawson Gallery (4646 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria, 805/318-1066) from Aug. 19 to Sept. 17. There will be an opening reception on Sat., Aug. 20 from 3-6 p.m.. Campbell will also give an artist talk on Wed., Aug. 24 at 6:30 p.m.

The gallery is open Thursdays and Saturdays from noon-5 p.m. and Fridays from 3-8 p.m. and by appointment (805/318-1066).

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published on August 13, 2016 in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Local Dish: Les Marchands Expands Food Offerings

by lesliedinaberg on August 22, 2016

Clockwise: Cheddar- Herb Fries with Dill Crème Fraiche, Couscous Salad, Brussel Sprouts Caesar Salad Photo credit Laura Ray

Clockwise: Cheddar- Herb Fries with Dill Crème Fraiche, Couscous Salad, Brussel Sprouts Caesar Salad
Photo credit Laura Ray

Best known for having an impressive variety of wines and exceptional wine education classes and special events, Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant has expanded its menu options to include an everyday lunch menu created by Chef Weston Richards

The lunch menu includes snacks like Pastrami Fries and Cheddar-Herb Fries with Dill Crème Fraiche.

Also available is a Couscous and Tomato Salad with feta, olives, avocado and Moroccan spice, the Brussel Sprouts Caesar Salad, and a Cold Fried Chicken Sandwich with blue cheese dressing and house-made pickles served on Helena Avenue Bakery brioche. Chef Weston’s Weekly Cheese and Charcuterie Selections are available for lunch and throughout the day. 

Oven Roasted Porchetta, Rosemary Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts and Salsa Verde | Photo Credit Laura Ray

Oven Roasted Porchetta, Rosemary Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts and Salsa Verde | Photo Credit Laura Ray

In addition, Les Marchands has added Porchetta Thursdays, featuring a new Porchetta Dinner in addition to the regular menu options.

 Lunch is served daily from 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

 Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant is located at 131 Anacapa St., 805/284-0380.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on August 21, 2016.

Bryan Babcock Vineyard Talk on Revolutionary Farming

by lesliedinaberg on August 22, 2016

Bryan Babcock, courtesy photo.

Bryan Babcock, courtesy photo.

Local wine lovers will have the remarkable opportunity to learn about Bryan Babcock‘s revolutionary farming methods from the master himself on Aug. 27, when he will lead a group on a tour of his vineyards to see his innovative trellis system, followed by a lovely lunch with a sample of his delicious wines.

Babcock is one of the most illustrious winemakers in Santa Barbara County. He was named as one of the “Top Ten Small Production Winemakers in the World” in 1995 by the James Beard Foundation (the only American chosen) as well as both one of the “Ten Best Winemakers of the Year” and “Most Courageous Winemaker of the Year” by the Los Angeles Times.

This event, presented by the Inside Wine Santa Barbara Meetup group, is only $28. Tickets must be purchased in advance at http://www.meetup.com/Inside-Wine-Santa-Barbara/  This will sell out, so reserve your spot today!

Babcock Winery & Vineyards is located at 5175 E. Highway 246, Lompoc. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on August 19, 2016.

Cocktail Corner: Celebrate National Rum Day

by lesliedinaberg on August 15, 2016

A refreshing Pina Colada is the perfect way to celebrate National Rum Day on Aug. 16. Photo and recipe courtesy Flor De Cana rum.

A refreshing Pina Colada is the perfect way to celebrate National Rum Day on Aug. 16. Photo courtesy Flor De Cana rum.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

I’ll take any excuse to celebrate with cocktails, and National Rum Day is a pretty darn good one. This annual holiday takes place on August 16, celebrating the sweet flavor and tropical spice tanginess of all things rum-related. Rum is the quintessential summer spirit, and these cocktail recipes, courtesy of Flor de Caña, are a great way to embrace and enjoy the last bit of summer. This family-owned company is celebrating 125 years of production of award-winning Nicaraguan rum. Try them out and let us know what you think.

Macau

 1 ½ oz Flor de Caña 7 Year Rum

1 oz guava juice

1 oz orange juice

½ oz lemon juice

1/3 oz simple sugar

Method: Garnish with 1 orange slice and 1 cherry with stem

Macau, courtesy Flor De Cana rum.

Macau, courtesy Flor De Cana rum.

Pina Colada

2.5 parts Flor de Caña 7 Rum

3 parts pineapple juice

1 part coconut cream

Method: Combine the FDC 7, pineapple juice and coconut cream in a blender. Add cup of crushed ice and blend on high until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and garnish with a pineapple wedge.

 

Old Fashioned

2 parts Flor de Caña 7 Rum

1/4 part brown sugar syrup

3 or 4 dashes coffee bitters

2 large orange zests

Method: Add all ingredients to your mixing glass. Stir with ice. Strain into a prepared Old Fashioned glass over a large ice cube. Garnish with orange peel.

Mojito, courtesy Flor De Cana rum.

Mojito, courtesy Flor De Cana rum.

Ultimate Mojito

2 parts Flor de Caña 7

1/2 part lime juice

1/3 part superfine sugar

3 leaves mint

Champagne

Method: Muddle lime juice with sugar in a Collins glass. Add mint leaves and muddle again. Fill glass 2/3 full with crushed ice and add rum. Top off with a champagne float. Garnish with sprig of mint.  

Manhattan, courtesy Flor De Cana rum.

Manhattan, courtesy Flor De Cana rum.

Manhattan

 2 parts Flor de Caña 7 rum

1 part sweet vermouth

1/6 parts maraschino liqueur

1 dash orange bitters

Method Add all ingredients to mixing glass filled with ice. Stir vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

 Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on August 12, 2016.

 

The Carbs Have Landed! Helena Avenue Bakery Opens in the Funk Zone

by lesliedinaberg on August 5, 2016

Helena Avenue Bakery, photo by Rob Stark.

Helena Avenue Bakery, photo by Rob Stark.

It seems like there’s always something new and fun happening in the Funk Zone, including the recent opening of Helena Avenue Bakery, an artisan bakery offering rustic, wholesome breads and handmade seasonal pastries.

Located in the historic Castagnola warehouse (131 Anacapa St.)  in the rear manufacturing space that opens up to Helena Avenue just off the corner of Yanonali

Helena Avenue Bakery, photo by Rob Stark.

Helena Avenue Bakery, photo by Rob Stark.

Street, the bakery provides custom-baked sweet and savory goods for Lucky Penny, The Lark, Les Marchands and other restaurants, specializing in hand-crafted baked goods made from scratch. The bakery also features a small retail counter open to the public from 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. daily.

The bakery team is led by Pastry Chef Jeff Haines, former Executive Pastry Chef at The Lark. Chef Weston Richards, formerly of Spare Parts, who also has a cult following at Les Marchands for his imaginative creations, oversees the Picnic Counter, the retail section of the bakery, offering take out foods.

Helena Avenue Bakery, photo by Rob Stark.

Helena Avenue Bakery, photo by Rob Stark.

“Having a bakery was a logical progression for us. The key ingredient was putting together the right talent, and we have a passionate and talented team. We’ve been serving the donuts, bagels, scones, muffins and cookies at Lucky Penny for several months now and they’ve been a huge hit,” says Sherry Villanueva of Acme Hospitality, which operates the new bakery as well as The Lark, Lucky Penny and several other businesses in the area.

 The entrance to the bakery is accessed through a shared door of the Santa Barbara Wine Collective.

Helena Avenue Bakery, photo by Rob Stark.

Helena Avenue Bakery, photo by Rob Stark.

 Exclusive Helena Avenue Bakery breads include Baguettes; Country and Country Walnut Batards; Ciabatta; Pain au Lait loaves and buns; San Francisco, Chile Cheese & Olive Sourdoughs; and 100% Whole Wheat loaves. Sweet and savory pastries offered are Egg Croissants with Arugula Pesto and Prosciutto; Apricot Thyme Croissant; Hand Pies with Seasonal Jam; Stone Fruit Galettes; Mini Quiche selections; and cookies varieties of Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Brittle, Oatmeal Blueberry and Double Chocolate.

The Picnic Counter grab and go items include: House Pickled Veggies, Marinated Olives, Couscous Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumber & Feta; Potato Salad with Whole Grain Mustard & Castelvetrano Olives; Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad, Parmesan & Kale; Focaccia with Roasted Corn, Pasilla Peppers, Queso Fresco & Cilantro; Ham & House-Made Butter on Baguette with Radish; and Cold Fried Chicken Sandwich on Ciabatta, Blue Cheese & Dill Pickles. Also available are specialty Grab & Go house-made Jams, Peanut Brittle and Marshmallows.

Helena Avenue Bakery, photo by Rob Stark.

Helena Avenue Bakery, photo by Rob Stark.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on August 3, 2016.

Style File: Chocolate & Roses

by lesliedinaberg on July 20, 2016

Karen Herzog Rose Cream

Karen Herzog Rose Cream

Chocolate and roses are two of my favorite things, and the Karin Herzog Swiss-made line of oxygen skincare products (reportedly favored by none-than supreme English rose herself, Duchess Kate Middleton) offers both—minus the thorns and the calories!

Karin Herzog’s Rose Cream smells ever so sweet and combines the detoxifying and hydrating properties of 1% oxygen with the soothing, toning and brightening effects of rose. It works to deep clean pores, calm and treat skin conditions such as rosacea, blemishes and hyper-pigmentation and has anti-inflammatory properties, inhibiting pigmentation and balancing pH for a fresh, luminous face.

Karin Herzog’s Choco2 boosts moisture and evens skin tone, while pampering the senses with the luxurious scent of Swiss chocolate. The combined power of 2% active oxygen and Swiss chocolate provides vital energy to skin while flushing out debris and toxins.

As well, Karin Herzog’s Chocolate!  anti-oxident intensive moisturizer is formulated with premium Swiss chocolate, avocado and wheat germ, to create an intensive, vitamin-rich facial moisturizer. This nighttime nourishing treatment soothes skin and restores suppleness.  Additional ingredients such as vitamin A help revive and renew dull complexions, while vitamin E soothes irritation and the rich chocolate creates a truly comforting experience.

Karin Herzog 7 Creams of the Week

Karin Herzog 7 Creams of the Week

Still not sure which to try? Karin Herzog also has a fun 7 Creams of the Week sample set available, which includes a travel size collection of these best sellers:

  • Rose Calms and regenerates the skin for radiant complexion.
  • AHA Cream Gently exfoliates with mild fruit acids.
  • Vita-A-Kombi 1 Detoxes, deeply hydrates and fights first signs of aging.
  • Additional Sweet Comforts the skin, protects and locks in the powers of the oxygen.
  • Oxygen Face Treats blemishes and acne and normalizes the skin.
  • Essential Mask Instant Beauty Booster for the weekend.
  • Vitamin H Rich in valuable vitamins and skin nutrients to help the skin regenerate.

All are available at www.karinherzog.com.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on July 19, 2016.

Summer Editor’s Pick: Central Coast Wine Classic

by lesliedinaberg on July 18, 2016

Courtesy Central Coast Wine Classic.

Courtesy Central Coast Wine Classic.

The Central Coast Wine Classic (Aug. 10–14) celebrates 31 years of excellent wine tastings, tours, symposiums, rare wine dinners and more, including a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Symposium and another highlighting Champagne Louis Roederer and Black River Caviar (centralcoastwineclassic.org).

—Leslie Dinaberg

This story originally appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Cocktail Corner: Wine Meets Cocktails—and Mocktails—With Stolen Fruit

by lesliedinaberg on July 15, 2016

Stolen Fruit Mixers, courtesy photo.

Stolen Fruit Mixers, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Winemakers have traditionally seduced delicious tastes from the vineyard and chefs blend verjus—the fresh pressed juice from green grapes, varietal grape juice, and grape skins—to bring flavor to the forefront of their creations. Now these same techniques have been used to craft a fun, new line of grape-based mixers: adding the nuance and complexity of wine grapes to a range of cocktails and mocktails.

Using the fresh pressed juice of grapes dropped during thinning and dried wine grape skins, Sonoma-based Stolen Fruit takes what is normally discarded from the winemaking process to create the base for each mixer. Then the concentrated natural juice of a specific grape varietal such as Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier or Grenache, is blended in along with complimentary fruit and botanicals to build a layered, balanced drink base.

The flavors include: Lemongrass Ginger Sauvignon Blanc, Jasmine Juniper Viognier, Hibiscus Grenache (my favorite), Blood Orange Muscat and Fig Grains of Paradise Zin.

We tried them out last weekend and they’re delicious, with or with the booze! Mix them with sparkling water or club soda or lemonade for a non-alcoholic drink that still feels fun and festive. Add in sparkling wine and/or your favorite spirit and you have a terrific cocktail. We tried Stolen Fruit with Pisco, Rye, Vodka and Prosecco. I liked them all, as well as in combination with Jardesca, a refreshing wine-based aperitif.

Created by Dry Creek Valley AVA grape growers Doug and Susan Provisor, owners of Provisor Vineyards, and Healdsburg-based Chef Peter Brown, these versatile mixers are a great addition to your home bar, as well as nice gift for your host.

Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers ($18) are initially available for purchase online at stolenfruit.com, which also has recipes for cocktails, mocktails and food pairings, as well as on Amazon.  Check them out and let me know what you think.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on July 15, 2016.

Meet El Lugar and Clairborne & Churchill Winemaker Coby Parker Garcia

by lesliedinaberg on July 15, 2016

Claiborne-Churchill winesInside Wine Santa Barbara—a fun and educational Meetup group which is open to the public—features winemaker Coby Parker Garcia at a special gathering on July 23, at 5:30 p.m., in the charming courtyard of the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, 2559 Puesta Del Sol.

Under the El Lugar label, Garcia creates small lot, vineyard designate Pinot Noir, defined by their place of origin. The site-specific Pinot is sourced from Hawk’s Roost Ranch in the Russian River Valley, Rincon Vineyard, which is part of the historic Talley Vineyards of San Luis Obispo County, Greengate Vineyard of Edna Valley and Santa Maria’s famed Bien Nacido Vineyards which has produced many award-winning and highly-rated wines. One such example is El Lugar’s  2013 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir which received 93 Points and “Editor’s Choice” from Wine Enthusiast with the praise: “Longtime Claiborne & Churchill winemaker Coby Parker-Garcia releases his own project with exemplary results.”

Garcia is also the head winemaker at Claiborne & Churchill, taking the helm after his long-time mentor Clay Thompson retired. 

Guests will have the opportunity to hear from Garcia on his winemaking techniques and taste two of his premium El Lugar Pinot Noirs and three of his elegant Claiborne & Churchill wines. Light appetizers will also be served.

The cost of the event is $24. To register: http://www.meetup.com/inside-Wine-Santa-Barbara/.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on July 14, 2016.