In a full heart there is room for everything, and in an empty heart there is room for nothing.
-Antonio Porchia

Cocktail Corner: Champagne Tasting at First & Oak

by lesliedinaberg on December 2, 2016

La Grande Réserve, Château de Bligny, by Simon Law, courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

La Grande Réserve, Château de Bligny, by Simon Law, courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg 

Any event at Solvang’s First & Oak is sure to be a treat, and they’re upping their game even further for the holidays with a special Champagne Tasting event on December 10. The event, which runs from 1-3 p.m., includes tastes of ten sparkling wines and champagnes, and light hors d’oeuvres carefully-crafted by First & Oak’s Executive Chef Steven Snook to pair with the wines.

In addition, First & Oak’s Sommelier, Jonathan Rosenson, will be on-hand to lead guests through the exclusive sparkling wine tasting, explaining how each wine sampled showcases specific points in the wide range of flavor profiles, regions and values.

First & Oak Champagne Tasting featured bubbles include:

2004 Dom Ruinart, Blanc de Blancs, Champagne
2010 Pehu Simonet “Fins Lieux No.1” Blanc de Noirs, Grand Cru, Champagne
2004 Forest Marie Brut Millésimé, Trigny, Champagne

N.V Pierre Peters “Cuvee de Reserve,” Blanc de Blancs, Grand Cru, Champagne
N.V Aubert Et Fils Brut Epernay, Champagne
N.V. Domaine Fouet, “Crémant de Loire,” Brut Rosé Cabernet Franc
2011 Boeckel, “Crémant d’Alsace,” Chardonnay Extra Brut
2009 La Montina Rose Extra Brut, Franciacorta, Italy
2012 Bernhard Riesling Sekt Brut, Germany
2013 Nigl, Sekt Rosé Brut, Kremstal, Austria

The special tasting, which is expected to become an annual event, is $85 per person in advance, or $95 per person at the door (ticket prices exclude tax).  In addition,  a portion of the proceeds ($10 per ticket) will be donated to the Santa Barbara Food Bank.

Reservations for First & Oak’s Champagne Tasting may be made in advance by contacting the restaurant: 805/688.1703 or info@mirabelleinn.com. Limited space available; reservations highly recommended. 

First & Oak is located at 409 First St. (at the corner of Oak Street) in Solvang

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 on December 2, 2016.

 

“Please Don’t Touch the Art”

by lesliedinaberg on November 30, 2016

Bebop by Dan Levin.

Bebop by Dan Levin.

Dan Levin‘s solo art show, “Please Don’t Touch the Art” at Restaurant Roy (7 W. Carrillo St.)  will include a “one night only pop up store” during the reception on December 1, during 1st Thursday from 7-11 p.m. Levin’s Lonely Hearts altered playing card decks, shirts, candles and small assemblages will be available for sale on Thursday, in addition to a room full of larger works that will be up until the end of January.

For more information visit danlevin.com, and https://www.facebook.com/danlevinart.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 29, 2016.

Local Dish: Fall Desserts at Finch & Fork and Outpost

by lesliedinaberg on November 17, 2016

Fried Carrot Cake is part of the fall dessert menu at Outpost at the Goodland. Courtesy photo.

Fried Carrot Cake is part of the fall dessert menu at Outpost at the Goodland. Courtesy photo.

There’s something about this cooler weather that makes sweets taste even sweeter. Lucky for us, our local chefs have some new treats to share this fall.

At Outpost at the Goodland  (5650 Calle Real, Goleta) Chef Nick Bajal has added a few new things to the dessert menu, including Rice Flour Cake Tres Leche (with Puffed Black Rice and Yuzu Cream); Kaffir Lime Flan (with Chocolate Crumble and Marinated Strawberries); Matcha Green Tea Eclairs (with Coconut Eclairs and Grilled Peach); Mexican Spiced Chocolate Pudding (with Salted Carmel Whipped Cream and Crispy Sugar Cookie) and Fried Carrot Cake (with Burnt Orange Sauce, White Chocolate Creamed Cheese and McConnell’s Vanilla Ice Cream).

Over at Finch & Fork (31 W. Carrillo St.), Chef James Siao also has some new sweets to savor: Sticky Toffee Cake (with Local Dates, Brown Butter Whipped Cream and Maple Almond Popcorn); Cream–sicle (with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mousse and Ginger Orange Crumble Orange Granita) and S’more Pot De Crème (with Chocolate and House Made Marshmallow Graham Cracker Crumble).

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 15, 2016.

Style File: Natura Bissé’s Pure Air = Pure Bliss

by lesliedinaberg on November 14, 2016

Natura Bisse Bubble Pure Air at Bacara Resort & Spa, photo by Savannah Johns-Pedrocchi.

Natura Bisse Bubble Pure Air at Bacara Resort & Spa, photo by Savannah Johns-Pedrocchi.

Bacara Resort & Spa (8301 Hollister Ave., Goleta) recently added Spanish cosmetics brand Natura Bissé to its world-class 42,000-square-foot Spa and Wellness Center, and as a special treat, had a pop-up appearance of Natura Bissé’s infamous Bubble Pure Air last week.

I was one of the lucky ones who got to be the “girl in the plastic bubble,” and my facial was amazing! The bubble creates an exclusive place to perform treatments where according to a company spokeswoman, “the air guests breathe is 99,995 percent pure. The exclusive experience allows spa goers to immerse themselves in a serene environment filled with soft aromatic notes that take guests on an exquisite journey to well-being. It is a singular experience, providing exceptional results that rejuvenate and purify.”

I have to agree: it felt great and my skin has never looked better!

Established in Barcelona, Natura Bissé has become a worldwide success in the cosmetics industry as one of the fastest growing beauty companies with a strong commitment to research and innovation. The Bacara has launched a new treatment line and service menu with Natura Bissé, with special pop-up appearances of the Bubble Pure Air, so stay tuned for your chance to be the next girl (or guy) in the bubble.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 12, 2016.

 

CALM at Heart: Awakening

by lesliedinaberg on November 14, 2016

CALM supporters stand up loud and proud to give financial support to the nonprofit at this week's luncheon. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

CALM supporters stand up loud and proud to give financial support to the nonprofit at this week’s luncheon. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

A fun afternoon to celebrate and reflect on the healing work of CALM was just what the doctor ordered this week.

CALM—which is an acronym for Child Abuse Listening Mediation—takes on the critical mission to prevent, assess, and treat child abuse in Santa Barbara County. The nonprofit provides comprehensive services for children, families and adults, and has done so since its inception in 1970.

Celebrating this organization at the beautiful Coral Casino was a heartwarming affair. K-LITE’s Catherine Remak served as master of ceremonies, introducing a new video highlighting the organization’s work throughout the county, with offices in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Lompoc providing prevention and early intervention programs, treatment programs and clinicians who work closely with individuals, families, teachers, administrators and law enforcement.

The theme was an afternoon of mindfulness, and it truly was.

Images of CALM at Heart: Awakening event at the Coral Casino. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Images of CALM at Heart: Awakening event at the Coral Casino. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

CALM staff members spoke from personal experience about their prevention programs across Santa Barbara County help parents and children heal from their traumatic pasts. CALM Chief Executive Officer Alana Walczak gave a moving presentation about the importance of being there and being leaders for our community’s most vulnerable people. Jennifer Freed, PhD, co-founder of AHA! (a local nonprofit committed to transforming the world by empowering teens to create peaceful and connected communities), was the keynote speaker, focusing on mindfulness practices.

CALM was founded in 1970 to reach stressed parents before they hurt their children. CALM continues to be the only nonprofit agency in Santa Barbara County focusing solely on preventing, assessing, and treating child abuse and family violence through comprehensive, cutting-edge programs. CALM offers children, families, and adults a safe, non-judgmental, caring, and strength-based environment to heal and increase family well being. For more information about all of CALM’s services, please call 805/965-2376, or visit http://calm4kids.org.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 11, 2016.

Cocktail Corner: Figueroa Mountain Turns Six

by lesliedinaberg on November 11, 2016

figueroa-mountain-brewing-company-anniversary-release-courtesy-photoA Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg 

Cheers to our friends at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company, which, in just six short years, has grown from a small production facility and taproom in Buellton to a six-taproom, four-brewery operation with distribution throughout California, Arizona and soon expanding to additional states.

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company is the fastest growing craft brewery on the Inc. 5000 list, and also recently joined the Pacific Coast Business Times’ 50 Fastest Growing Companies list for California’s Central Coast.

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company was founded by in 2010 father and son team, Jim and Jaime Dietenhofer. With a passion for craft beer, they set out to pay homage to the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley with handcrafted beer and hand-drawn artwork depicting the local landscape on their labels.  There are currently six taprooms along the Central Coast of California.

Excited about the future, the fig team is going BIG for its annual celebration, with a 6th Anniversary Party on Saturday, November 26 from 1-9:30 p.m. at the Buellton taproom (45 Industrial Way, Buellton).

Courtesy Figueroa Mountain Brew Co.

Courtesy Figueroa Mountain Brew Co.

Admission is free and guests can take advantage of the 6th Anniversary bottle release a day before it goes on sale at the other five taprooms and in select local retailers.  Enjoy contests, food for purchase, special mini-events and live music at their flagship brewery and beer garden.

In addition, this year’s special bottle release is Figueroa Mountain’s 6th Anniversary Grand Cru Ale aged in apple-pear brandy, grape brandy and whiskey barrels and sold in 22-ounce bottles.   Special holiday gift-packs will also be available with two 6th Anniversary bottles and a 6th Anniversary t-shirt.

“I’m always excited about our Anniversary beer releases and this year is no exception,” says President Jaime Dietenhofer.  “Despite the 14% ABV (alcohol-by-volume) of this barrel-aged Grand Cru Ale, it has a smooth taste and a complex flavor profile.  We discovered a long list of flavors including notes of marshmallow, vanilla, whiskey, almonds, honey, pears, figs and gentle toasted oak.  It’s one of those beers you reward yourself with or bring to a holiday celebration to share.”

In addition to the food items for sale in the beer garden from Figueroa Mountain’s new Buellton taproom restaurant, there will be several special offerings throughout the day.  Unlimited cask tastings will be sold for $10 per wristband with four cask releases throughout the day.  Wristband holders will also be eligible to win prizes such as a private beer pairing dinner for 10 with Chef Brian Champlin.

Also available for serious beer aficionados is the 6th Anniversary Barrel Tasting & Pairing held in the upstairs mezzanine from 3-5 p.m.

Taster of Figueroa Mountain beers (L-R): Ginger Red, Hurricane Deck Double Indian Pale Ale, Stagecoach Stout, and Irish Stout

Taster of Figueroa Mountain beers (L-R): Ginger Red, Hurricane Deck Double Indian Pale Ale, Stagecoach Stout, and Irish Stout

“Our brewers will walk guests through a flight of four versions of the 6th Anniversary Grand Cru Ale,” explains Head Brewer of Buellton, David Traille.  “We’ll have samples of each barrel followed by the final blend for comparison.”  Each taste will include a small bite of food that pairs with that particular sample.  For $75 per ticket, guests will also receive a 6th Anniversary t-shirt and a 22-ounce bottle to take home with them.

Tickets can be purchased at http://fig6th.nightout.com.

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 on November 11, 2016.

 

Cocktail Corner: Hot Buttered Rum

by lesliedinaberg on October 31, 2016

Hot Buttered Rum from Eureka!, courtesy photo.

Hot Buttered Rum from Eureka!, courtesy photo.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg 

These colder days put me in the mood for warmer drinks, like Hot Buttered Rum, a sweet, sentimental favorite that brings the flavors of fall to life. Our friends at Eureka! (601 Paseo Nuevo) have a tasty version available through Nov. 23 (which is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving). 

They were also generous enough to provide us with a recipe to make Hot Buttered Rum at home.

Ingredients:

3 bar spoons of Hot Buttered Rum batter

2 oz White Rum

Top with hot water

1 unsalted butter slice (1/8 inch thick, 1 inch x 1 inch)

1 cinnamon stick

Hot Buttered Rum Batter Recipe:

1 quart vanilla ice cream

1 lb unsalted butter

1 lb brown sugar

1 lb powdered sugar

3 tsp ground nutmeg

3 tsp ground cinnamon

Procedure:

1. In a large mixing bowl allow the ice cream and butter to sit at room temperature until soft/nearly melted.

2. Add the remaining ingredients

3. Using a rubber spatula gently mix the ingredients together.

3. Once the ingredients are decently mixed, use a bermixer to continue to mix until the batter is smooth.

4. Batter can be stored in reach in fridges behind bar during the day but should be kept in freezer overnight

Creating the Cocktail:

1. Using bar spoon place three spoonfuls of hot buttered rum batter into cocktail mug. Leave spoon in mug and do not rinse off

2. Pour 2 oz of house white rum into mug

3. Add hot water from hot water carafe

4. Using same spoon used to scoop batter, stir the mixture together until frothy.

5. Take pre-portioned butter slice and place on top of froth.

6. Garnish with cinnamon stick placed across the top of the mug (see picture)

Eureka! recommends enjoying this cocktail alongside the Chocolate Torte or Apple Crisp for the perfect combination. Sounds good to me.

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 on October 28, 2016.

Vocalosity Contest Winners & Free Master Class Announced

by lesliedinaberg on October 24, 2016

Photo courtesy Vocalosity.

Vocalosity performs at the Granada on Nov. 11. Courtesy photo.

The highly anticipated a capella performance, Vocalosity, comes to The Granada Theatre on Friday, November 11, as part of the Granada Theatre Concert Series. From the artistic producer of Pitch Perfect and The Sing Off, Vocalosity takes a cappella to a whole new level with a show stopping theatrical performance featuring 10 dynamic voices singing some of today’s most popular hits.

Vocalosity explores all genres of music – from tenth century Gregorian chant and classic choral, to barber shop quartet and bouncing doo-wop all the way to The Beatles and Bruno Mars. Combine that, with movement and choreography from Sean Curran (Stomp original cast member), and you have an exhilarating evening of song unlike anything you’ve ever seen or heard, live on stage!

Photo courtesy Vocalosity.

Vocalosity comes to the Granada Theatre to perform on Nov. 11, courtesy photo.

The Granada Theatre recently announced that a cappella group AIRPLAY has been selected as the winner of the A Cappella Performance of a Lifetime Contest and will have the exclusive opportunity to perform as the opening act for Vocalosity‘s Santa Barbara performance. AIRPLAY originated in Santa Barbara, when founding members Antonio, Bobby, Jeff, and DJ formed UCSB’s all-male a cappella group, “Brothas from Otha Muthas” (BFOM). BFOM remained an all-male group until Jane joined after being a member of the Tritones in San Diego. Ben, also a Tritones alumni, joined soon after and AIRPLAY was born!

To add even more excitement around the show, Vocalosity’s artistic producer Deke Sharon, is coming to The Granada Theatre to host a Master Class on Monday, October 24, 7 p.m. The Master Class will be open to the public—FREE for all singing enthusiasts of our community in the McCune Founders Room at The Granada Theater. Deke will be coaching the winning group, as well as other contest participants.  The Granada Theatre is extending an invitation to this exclusive Master Class to all vocalists and singing enthusiasts in the community, offering a unique opportunity to learn from one of the greatest creative minds in a cappella music! This class is FREE and open to the public, no tickets required.

Deke Sharon, photo courtesy Vocalosity.

Deke Sharon will teach a free master class at the Granada on Oct. 24, photo courtesy Vocalosity.

Don’t miss the Vocalosity performance, with special guest a capella group, AIRPLAY, opening the show at The Granada Theatre on Friday, November 11, 8 p.m. Tickets maybe purchased online here http://ticketing.granadasb.org/single/PSDetail.aspx?psn=7986, or by calling The Granada Theatre Box Office at 805/899-2222.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 21, 2016.

Lil Buck – A Jookin’ Jam Session

by lesliedinaberg on October 24, 2016

Lil Buck, photo by Kyle Cordova.

Lil Buck, photo by Kyle Cordova.

JOOKIN’ (jook·in): A street dance style that emerged from Memphis, Tenn. Identified by its extremely intricate footwork and propensity for improvisation, seen by many as a descendant of hip-hop and jazz, with elements of ballet and modern dance. 

See what jookin’ looks like for yourself, when UCSB Arts & Lectures presents Lil BuckA Jookin’ Jam Session—directed by Damian Woetzel, featuring Sandeep Das, Johnny Gandelsman, Ron “Prime Tyme” Myles, Cristina Pato and Wu Tong—on Tuesday, October 25, at 8 p.m. at The Granada Theatre (1214 State St.).

Named one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch, Lil Buck has performed on Madonna’s Rebel Heart tour, in a highly-praised program at Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis, in a mesmerizing performance with Yo-Yo Ma to Saint-Saëns “The Swan,” with New York City Ballet, in Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson: One and in numerous other high-profile collaborations.

Lil Buck, photo by Kyle Cordova.

Lil Buck, photo by Kyle Cordova.

“I think he’s a genius, ” says Yo-Yo Ma. The New York Times says, “Lil Buck has already carved out a niche that almost no other dancer can fill, bouncing from music videos (that’s him, slo-mo spinning through Janelle Monae’s ‘Tightrope’) to a Super Bowl halftime show (2012, with Madonna) to Lincoln Center.”

A Memphis jookin’ phenomenon who also received early hip-hop training from and studied on scholarship at the New Ballet Ensemble, this genre-defying artist is taking the world by storm.


 

For more information or to purchase tickets call 805/893-3535, visit www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu or call 805/899-2222 or visit granadasb.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 21, 2016.

Cocktail Corner: Let Your Mood Inspire Your Cocktail

by lesliedinaberg on October 22, 2016

The cocktail deck, Cheers! Just Because makes it easy to find the perfect cocktail to suit your mood. Courtesy photo.

The cocktail deck, Cheers! Just Because makes it easy to find the perfect cocktail to suit your mood. Courtesy photo.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg 

Feeling adventurous, naughty, flirty, insecure, sentimental or stressed? Have we got a cocktail for you.

Author (Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars) Matt Seiter, a certified bartender, and industry historian, has something new and fun on the menu: the Cheers! Just Because collection of 50 “mood-inspired cocktail recipes” in a handy card deck format.

There’s something here for all types of cocktail lovers, from novices looking to set up their own home bar to advanced mixologists in search of exotic new recipes.

For the adventurous, how about “A Walk in the Grove,” which combines Calvados brandy (made with apples and pears) with lemon juice, Cointreau, simple syrup and a few drops of Absinthe for a ripe fruit adventure in cocktails. The naughty recipe is “Cookies & Cream Punch” (yum!) made with Gin, Maraschino Liqueur, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and, of course, cookies!

Want to whip up the perfect drink for an occasion? The cocktail deck, Cheers! Just Because has the recipe for you. Courtesy photo.

Want to whip up the perfect drink for an occasion? The cocktail deck, Cheers! Just Because has the recipe for you. Courtesy photo.

The flirty category calls for “Loose Inhibitions,” combining Reposado Tequila, Cognac, fresh squeezed orange juice and lime juice and raw honey, shaken, not stirred. Feeling insecure, Seiter’s recipe for that is the “Mystic Lamp,” to “guide you to happier times” with a mixture of Puerto Rican Gold Rum, Lychee Juice, fresh squeezed orange juice and lime juice and almond extract.

You get the idea: pick a card, mix a drink.

Now that fall is here, the sentimental recommendation from the deck is perfect—”Remembering Summer” made with Cucumber -infused Blanco Tequila, St. Germain, fresh squeezed lime juice, rose water and Peychaud’s Bitters. Stressed, Seiter prescribes a tiki style cocktail called “Relief” with Cachaca (a Brazilian spirit made from sugarcane juice), fresh squeezed orange juice, hibiscus syrup, Allspice Dram, tonic water and mint leaves.

The Cheers! Just Because deck makes a fun host or hostess gift for cocktail aficionados, but it’s so much fun to play with, you just might want to keep it for yourself.

The cocktail deck, Cheers! Just Because takes the concept of mood in a truly unique direction, linking 50 drink recipes to different moods. Courtesy photo.

The cocktail deck, Cheers! Just Because takes the concept of mood in a truly unique direction, linking 50 drink recipes to different moods. Courtesy photo.

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 on October 21, 2016.