People say that time is a great healer. Which people? What are they talking about? I think some feelings you experience in your life are written in indelible ink and the best you can hope for is that they fade a little over the years.
-Allison Pearson

Cocktail Corner: Garagiste Wine Festival

by lesliedinaberg on March 25, 2017

Courtesy Garagiste Festival.

Courtesy Garagiste Festival.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg  

April Fools’ Day is coming soon, and what better way to celebrate the lighter side of life than one of my favorite wine festivals: the 2017 Garagiste Wine Festival: Southern Exposure.

The unique thing about this event is that it showcases micro-production wines made made by garagiste winemakers, commercial artisan winemakers who handcraft under 1,500 cases a year and pay close, hands-on attention to every wine they make.
Starting in 2011, the nonprofit Garagiste Festivals have introduced hundreds of outstanding artisan winemakers to thousands of passionate wine consumers, members of the trade and media, raising the profiles of many of the winemakers nationally for the first time, and raising thousands of dollars for the education of future winemakers.  The festival benefits the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Department.
Courtesy Garagiste Festival.

Courtesy Garagiste Festival.

“Garagistes” (garage-east) is a term originally used in the Bordeaux region of France to denigrate renegade small-lot wine makers, sometimes working in their “garages” (anything considered not a chateau), who refused to follow the “rules,” and is now a full-fledged movement responsible for making some of the best wine in the world.
Here’s the schedule for this fun event:

Friday, March 31: “Rare & Reserve” Kick-Off Party: 6:30-9 p.m. with tastings of limited Club Only, Verticals, Library and Pre-Release bottles

Saturday, April 1: Seminars 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
“What’s Wrong With This Picture? Educate Your Palate About the Most Common Wine Flaws” moderated by winemaker and festival co-founder Stewart McLennan, is led by Marcy Mallette, Winemaker/Technical Representative for Laffort USA

and

“An Exploration of Grenache: Not Just for Blending Anymore” featuring Zac Wasserman (Frequency Wines), Sonja Magdevski (Casa Dumetz) and Cris Carter (Weatherborne), along with their wines.

Saturday, April 1Grand Tasting 2-5 p.m.

Sunday, April 2: Passport Day, where, for the first time ever, local Santa Ynez Valley wineries will be offering special opportunities for Garagiste Festival attendees. Vineyard tours, winery tours, barrel samples, free and discounted tastings, discounted pricing and club-member-for-a-day benefits are just some of the treats being offered by participating wineries.

Courtesy Garagiste Festival.

Courtesy Garagiste Festival.

Get ready for a comfortable and relaxed tasting experience with personal winemaker interaction, high quality wines, first-time and soon-to-break-out discoveries (*seven winemakers will be pouring for the first time), diverse grape varieties and a renegade and fun-loving spirit on display.

Winemakers scheduled to pour include: Artisan Uprising, Ascension Cellars, Bevela Wines, Bradley Family Wines, Brian Benson Cellars, Camlow Cellars, Carivintas, Carter Paul Wines*, Casa Dumetz Wines, Central Coast Group Project, Cholame Vineyards, Cloak & Dagger Wines, Clos des Amis, Coda Wines, Comartin Cellars*, Cordon Wines, Dascomb Cellars, El Lugar Wines, Frequency Wine Co., Golden Triangle, Iter Wines, Jalopy Wine Company*, Jamie Slone Wines*, JP3 Wines, Kaleidos Winery, Larner Vineyards, Levo Wines, Mallea Wines, Mattina Fiore, McKinney Family Vineyards*, MCV Wines, Metrick Wines*, Mollie Wines, Montemar Winery, Ryan Cochrane Wines, Seagrape Wine Co, Serrano Wines, Skyenna Wines*, Tercero Wines, Turiya Wines, Weatherborne and West of Temperance. 

Tickets are very limited and Garagiste Festivals always sell out. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit http://garagistefestival.com.

Hope to see you there! 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 March 24, 2017.

Local Lowdown: Mesa Burger

by lesliedinaberg on March 20, 2017

Photo courtesy Mesa Burger

Iron Chef and Santa Barbara local Cat Cora is certainly on a roll! Her new burger joint, Mesa Burger, is constantly packed with fans awaiting the award-winning chef’s crave-worthy burger creations.

So far, my favorites are the Montecito (made with griddled goat cheese, bourbon glazed mushrooms, house onion ring, truffle aioli, arugula and grilled onions) and the Goodland (with double cheddar, sliced & grilled 805 beer brat, crispy onion strings, applewood smoked bacon and smoked bbq sauce), but we’re slowly working our way through the entire menu.

In addition to turkey patties, great sides and delicious salads, the gluten free buns and veggie (vegan/gluten free) patties are also reportedly quite tasty, as are the local beers and wines on tap.

All in all, Mesa Burger (315 Meigs Rd., 805/963-7492, mesaburger.com) is a welcome addition to the Mesa neighborhood.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in the Spring 2017 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Local Lowdown: The Sun Rises on Somerset

by lesliedinaberg on March 18, 2017

Photo courtesy Somerset

An elegant addition to the downtown Santa Barbara restaurant scene, Somerset is an old world European style grand café created by Steve Hermann Hotels and Restaurants of Palm Springs’ acclaimed L’Horizon Resort and Spa fame. The impressive décor features deep chesterfield sofas, polished zinc tabletops, and 50’s modern vintage chairs and lighting, a swanky combination of mid century and art deco influences.  And then there’s the gorgeous courtyard patio with a canopy of 100-year-old olive trees planted in rubble stone planters designed to create the mood of an old courtyard in Tuscany.

Photo courtesy Somerset.

Photo courtesy Somerset.

Chef Lauren Herman (formerly of the James Beard Award-winning A.O.C. and Lucques in Los Angeles) has created a menu that takes advantage of the bounty of the Santa Barbara coast by sourcing all produce within a 100-mile radius and utilizing daily deliveries by local fish mongers and livestock humanely raised on ranches in the hills above America’s Rivera. A visit to Somerset promises an evening of sure-to-be-memorable farm-driven California cuisine with light French and Italian influences. At press time it was dinner only, but plans to add lunch and brunch to the menu are in the works.  

Somerset, 7 E. Anapamu St., 805/845-7112, somersetsb.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in the Spring 2017 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Local Lowdown: Alcazar Wins Official Drink of SB Bragging Rights

by lesliedinaberg on March 14, 2017

The competition heats up as the eventual winners from Alcazar Tapas Bar prepare their entry for 2017 Official Drink of Santa Barbara craft cocktail contest. Photo by Danielle Methmann

It was a heated contest, but Alcazar Tapas Bar’s Ginspiration Point came out the big winner in the 2017 “Official Drink of Santa Barbara” craft cocktail contest.

An homage to Inspiration Point, one of the most famous—and famously beautiful—hiking trails in Santa Barbara’s foothills, this refreshing, citrus-forward cocktail features locally sourced ingredients—from the base spirit, Cutler’s Artisan Spirits Gin, to Nostrum’s Pineapple Turmeric Ginger Shrub—along with Bénédictine, Chartreuse, and fresh produce and herbs sourced from Santa Barbara farmers markets: lime, mint, rosemary flowers and egg white.

“We feel incredibly fortunate to be carrying the torch for Santa Barbara’s cocktail community among some truly gifted barkeeps,” says Alvaro Rojas, owner of Alcazar Tapas Bar, who was joined by bartender Kyle Pete at the competition. “This cocktail is really an homage to the local makers and growers that have made Santa Barbara not only a beautiful place to live but also a world-class pantry of ingredients.”

The cocktail will be on the menus at both Alcazar (1812 Cliff Dr.) and its sister restaurant, milk & honey (30 W. Anapamu St.), for the remainder of the year.

Visit Santa Barbara challenged local restaurants, bars and lounges to develop a new, unique signature mixed drink to celebrate the distinctive attributes of The American Riviera. The other four finalists were “La Reina” by The Boathouse; “Montecito” by Loquita; “True North, The Quintessential Santa Barbara Cocktail” by Olio e Limone; and “The Passion of the Pacific” by Rodney’s Grill at Fess Parker: A Doubletree by Hilton Resort.

I was honored to be part of the judging panel, and they were all quite delicious.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in the Spring 2017 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Santa Barbara Choral Society Spring Gala Journeys to Rockwood Abbey

by lesliedinaberg on March 13, 2017

Coming to tea? SBCS Singers (lL-R) Erica DiBartolomeo, Manu Geiger-Kolbitsch, Ayllin Bilir and Deborah Rosique) ready the Marilyn Horne Main House at Music Academy of the West in preparation to welcome Royal Chef Darren McGrady and special guests to tea. Photo by Priscilla.

Coming to Rockwood Abbey? SBCS Singers (L-R) Erica DiBartolomeo, Manu Geiger-Kolbitsch, Ayllin Bilir and Deborah Rosique) are dressed up to welcome Royal Chef Darren McGrady and special guests. Photo by Priscilla.

Anglophiles and music fans will come together on May 20 for a wonderfully fun evening titled Rockwood Abbey, an homage to the beloved Downtown Abbey television series.

Honorary Chairs “Lord” Brooks and “Lady” Kate Firestone invite guests to be transported to a posh evening reminiscent of days gone by, where white-gloved footmen attended the creme de la creme of English society as they dined and danced.

Period dress is encouraged for this unique fundraising event, which evokes the dawn of the Jazz Age when the formalities of the Victorian era gave way to the frivolities of post war fun. As far as costumes go, you may choose your epoch from Edwardian grandeur to the flappers of the 20s!

Royal Chef Darren McGrady, courtesy photo.

Royal Chef Darren McGrady, courtesy photo.

As you enter the Rockwood Women’s Club, you’ll enjoy cocktails, aperitifs and appetizers on the terrace and browse the silent auction items. When the dinner gong sounds, guests will move inside to reserved seats in the grand ballroom, where they’ll be entertained by the full Santa Barbara Choral Society chorus performing their spring gala concert, conducted by SBCS Artistic Director/Conductor Jo Anne Wasserman. Eclectic musical treats are in store for guests—including the Downton Abbey theme song—as well as fine wine and appetizers.

Then it’s on to an exciting feast on a menu that’s literally fit for Queen. This elegant dinner is designed and supervised by The Royal Chef, Darren McGrady, former chef to her majesty Queen Elizabeth II and to the late Princess Diana and her sons. Chef McGrady will be on hand to regale you with stories of his time in the royal service. We got a taste of his banter at the recent Royal Tea preview for this event, and guests are certainly in for a Royal treat!

Our favorite local Brit about town Richard Mineards will emcee the program and as the evening comes to a close, a celebrity auctioneer will lead an auction featuring exciting vacation stays like a week in a historic villa in Provence, a stroll through the gardens at Highclere Castle (the location where Downton Abbey was filmed), and more.

Tickets for the Santa Barbara Choral Society Spring Concert and Gala Dinner are now available by calling 805/965-6577 or visiting www.sbchoral.org. Don’t miss this unique and festive event taking place from 5-9:30 p.m. on May 20 at Rockwood Women’s Club, 670 Mission Canyon Rd. Seating is limited and RSVPs are requested no later than May 12.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 11, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Walt Wines

by lesliedinaberg on March 11, 2017

Clos Pepe Vineyard, photo courtesy Walt Wines.

Clos Pepe Vineyard, photo courtesy Walt Wines.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg  

“Wines of a Place” was the theme for a recent media event put on by Walt Wines, and this place was certainly a beauty!

We started the day boarding a shuttle at the Bacara Resort & Spa, which was all abuzz with World of Pinot Noir festivities coming up that weekend. Thanks to our recent rains, the hills were abundantly lush and green as we made our way north on the freeway to the renowned Clos Pepe Estate Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA in Lompoc.

Megan Gunderson Paredes and Steve Leveque lead a tasting of Walt Wines "Clos Pepe" Pinot Noir, photos courtesy Walt Wines.

Megan Gunderson Paredes and Steve Leveque lead a tasting of Walt Wines “Clos Pepe” Pinot Noir, photos courtesy Walt Wines.

Founder Steve Pepe (who retired in 2015, giving Walt Wines a long-term lease on the vineyard) led us on a walking tour of the vineyard, which is acclaimed for producing excellent wines under the Clos Pepe label, as well providing grapes, from 1998-2014, to pinot noir and chardonnay producers such as Walt (Hall Wines), Siduri/Novy Wines, AP Vin, Liquid Farm, Arcadian, Au Bon Climat, Hitching Post, Ojai Vineyard, Ken Brown Wines, Longoria Wines, Babcock Winery, Loring Wine Company, Flying Goat Cellars, Small + Tall, Conarium and Wan Fiore Project.

“Great wine is about place,” said Pepe, as a lead in to our vertical tasting of Walt “Clos Pepe” Pinot Noir vintages 2013, 2014 and 2015. All were delicious—and unique—and as we sipped Walt winemaker Megan Gunderson Paredes walked us through

WALT Clos Pepe Pinot Noir, courtesy photo.

WALT Clos Pepe Pinot Noir, courtesy photo.

the process that went into creating these three wines. They use optical sorter technology to hand-sort the fruit, with the ability to make adjustments throughout the process, as she explained. For example, in 2013 harvest took place in October and in 2015 they lost 30-40% of the crop to frost and started harvest much earlier, in late August.

The company—is part of the Hall Wines family in Napa Valley, owned by Vintners Kathryn Walt Hall and Craig Hall—has a unique approach to crafting Pinot Noir. Essentially, as Vice President of Winemaking Steve Leveque explained, Walt sources its fruit from premier vineyards along the Pacific Coast representing 1,000 miles of Pinot. Each wine is designed to express the character of the site where it is grown.

Tasting the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Clos Pepe Walt Wine Pinot Noirs, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Tasting the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Clos Pepe Walt Wine Pinot Noirs, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

In addition to Clos Pepe, in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA Walt also sources grapes from Rita’s Crown, Radian, Bentrock and Fiddlestix.  They also create estate and single vineyard wines from Santa Lucia Highlands, Anderson Valley, Los Carneros (Napa County), Sonoma Coast and Willamette Valley—hence, the 1,000 miles of Pinot.

Clos Pepe Vineyard, courtesy Walt Wine.

Clos Pepe Vineyard, courtesy Walt Wine.

After the tasting we made our way to S.Y. Kitchen in Santa Ynez for a delicious Italian feast, paired with Walt Wines from other appellations, including:

—Lobster tail, onion mousse, fried salsify and citrus with Walt 2015 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

—Yellow beet, pickled plum, hazelnuts, goat cheese and fresh lemon thyme with Walt 2014 Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir

—Prosciutto and Burrata with Walt 2014 Rita’s Crown Hills Pinot Noir

and

—Ricotta gnocchi with taleggio and porcini with Walt 2015 Bob’s Ranch Pinot Noir.

Walt Wine pairing lunch at S.Y. Kitchen, photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

Walt Wine pairing lunch at S.Y. Kitchen, photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

Talk about a delicious day. For more information, visit www.waltwines.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 March 10, 2017.

Local Lowdown: Happy 50th to Chuck’s of Hawaii

by lesliedinaberg on March 9, 2017

The bar at Chuck's opening night, courtesy Chuck's of Hawaii.

The bar at Chuck’s opening night, courtesy Chuck’s of Hawaii.

Surprisingly little has changed since owner Larry Stone opened Chuck’s of Hawaii in 1967. The staff still wears Hawaiian shirts, the menus are still painted on Lancers wine bottles (Stone did the originals himself), the steaks and seafood are still solidly good, the Tiki Torches still burn brightly on upper State Street and the Mai-Tais are still the best in town.

As an avid young surfer, Stone worked for the original Chuck’s founder Chuck Rolles in Hawaii, who was looking to expand his operation.  Stone had friends at UCSB and liked the town—plus he knew he’d be able to surf here.  As for the location, the Sumida family had a new building available, and Stone thought it might work as a restaurant. “I didn’t have a lot of options, but…they let me have that space and I knew it would be close to Hope Ranch and to people who could dine out daily instead of just weekends.”

This was before La Cumbre Plaza was even completed, but “the shopping center it was a big hit” and so was Chuck’s. “Opening day we served about 100 meals,” recalls Stone. “We’ve always had such a great local following.”

Chuck’s before construction, courtesy Chuck’s of Hawaii

The formula is simple: high quality food in a casual setting.

And then there’s the salad bar. Stone laughs when asked about it, “I’m not saying it was the first salad bar (although others make that claim) but we get credit for being the first company that popularized the salad bar on the mainland.” Stone also gives much credit for the success of Chuck’s to his longtime employees like manager Brad Schuette, who started at age 15, and Steve Hyslop, who started as a dishwasher and now co-owns and runs Chuck’s Waterfront Grill in the harbor.

Stone laughs when asked if he ever imagined that Chuck’s would still be going strong 50 years later. “I wasn’t even thinking about what I’d be doing in five or ten years at that point, but I didn’t think I’d be running around in short pants and Hawaiian shirts as an old man.”

Chuck’s of Hawaii is located at 3888 State St., 805/687-4417, chucksofhawaii.com.

The scene at Chuck's opening night, courtesy Chuck's of Hawaii.

The scene at Chuck’s opening night, courtesy Chuck’s of Hawaii.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in the Spring 2017 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Cocktail Corner: Beer and (Big) Bites in Buellton

by lesliedinaberg on March 6, 2017

Executive Chef Brian Champlin and General Manager Jeff Hawxhurst from The Kitchen @ FigMtnBrew, courtesy photo.

Executive Chef Brian Champlin and General Manager Jeff Hawxhurst from The Kitchen @ FigMtnBrew, courtesy photo.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg  

The kitchen is now open at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company (45 Industrial Way, Buellton) and as Executive Chef Brian Champlin vowed, this place definitely has, as he modestly states, “under-promised and over-delivered!”

Boy does Fig Mountain ever deliver, both in terms of high quality food that pairs perfectly with beer and in terms of huge portions at small prices as well.

Named “The Kitchen” at FigMtnBrew, the new restaurant offers a full menu featuring gastropub fare such as creative burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, tacos, salads and more.  Our group particularly loved the “21+ and Over Grilled Cheese” (with three kinds of cheese, avocado, tomato, caramelized onion, apple smoked bacon and Edna’s Bakery sourdough), Davy Brown Nachos and Chorizo Cheese Fries—but honestly, everything that came out of the kitchen was delicious, especially paired with craft beers like Fig Mtn Mosaic, I Dunkeled in my Pants and and Paradise Rd Pilsner.

“We wanted to provide top-notch food with great prices,” says General Manager Jeff Hawxhurst, a longtime local chef who started his career as teenager working at the original Habit in Goleta and most recently worked with the Chumash Casino Resort before coming on board with the ever-growing Fig operation.  “The casual environment helps us keep prices affordable while offering fresh, farm-to-table cuisine,” he says.

Champlin also has impressive foodie credentials, most recently as co-owner and Executive Chef of Succulent Café in Solvang. Taking the farm-to-table concept up a notch,  “Our brewery actually gives our spent grain to a local farm who then feeds it to their cattle. We are then able to serve the local beef on our menu. It’s a sustainable cycle that ensures we know what’s in our food and where it is coming from. We call it ‘brewery-to-farm-to-table’ cuisine,” he says.

Just a few snippets from the menu at The Kitchen at FigMtnBrewCo., photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

Just a few snippets from the menu at The Kitchen at FigMtnBrewCo., photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

In addition to opening the new onsite restaurant, Figueroa Mountain is also in the process of an impressive expansion of its brewing capacity, featuring state-of-the-art production equipment from Germany which will be on view to guests through a large picture window when complete.  Meanwhile The Kitchen is definitely worth the drive!

For more information, visit www.FigMtnBrew.com.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor ofSanta 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 on March 3, 2017 in Santa Barbara Seasons.

Cocktail Corner: Solomon Hills Estate Wines Served at State Department Dinner

by lesliedinaberg on February 24, 2017

Solomon Hills, courtesy photo.

Solomon Hills, courtesy photo.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg  

Talk about a sweet honor! On Valentines Day, Santa Barbara County’s Solomon Hills Estate wines were served at a dinner hosted by the U.S. Secretary of State in honor of His Excellency Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel.

Solomon Hills Estate is located in the Santa Maria Valley Appellation of Santa Barbara County, and is owned by the Miller family, fifth-generation farmers.

Solomon Hills, courtesy photo.

Solomon Hills, courtesy photo.

State Department Executive Chef Jason Larkin selected two Solomon Hills wines to accompany the winter-inspired menu.  The 2013 Solomon Hills Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay was paired with the first course, a Cauliflower Velouté with porcini mushrooms and crispy parsnips.  This was followed by the main course, a Monkfish ‘Osso Buco’ served with a smoked tomato-saffron broth and stewed heirloom beans, and paired with the 2012 Solomon Hills Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir.

Attendees enjoyed the wines, so much so that the wines accompanied the Secretary of State on his trip to Germany the following day, say Solomon Hills representatives.

State Department Menu featuring Solomon Hills Estate Wines.

State Department Menu featuring Solomon Hills Estate Wines.

“We are so pleased to know that Chef Larkin and the U.S. State department sees the Solomon Hills Estate wines as much jewels in their crown as we see them in ours.  To serve them for Prime Minister Netanyahu and on Valentine’s day at that, is really a great honor,” said Master Sommelier Will Costello, Estate Ambassador for Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Estate Wines. 

The Solomon Hills Vineyards takes its name from its neighboring hills named for Salomon Pico, a celebrated bandit who in the 1850’s traveled frequently along the stretch of El Camino Real that is known today as Santa Maria Valley. Pico’s life was so colorful that it is believed by many to have inspired the legend of Zorro. For more information visit www.biennacidoestate.com or www.solomonhillsvineyards.com. 

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor ofSanta 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 February 24, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Brunch at Finch & Fork

by lesliedinaberg on February 21, 2017

Finch & Fork Bloody Mary, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork Bloody Mary, courtesy photo.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg  

While nothing says “bloody good brunch” like a Bloody Mary, Finch & Fork bartender Joe Dohany has bumped it up a notch with some cocktails designed especially for day drinking.

New to the menu is Dohany’s Breakfast of Champions, a bold drink with bacon–washed bourbon, pecan syrup and peach bitters. He’s also added a Guava Margarita with jalapeño–infused tequila, guava and lime as well as the Stinger with cognac and crème de menthe.  

There’s always the brunch time favorite Bloody Mary, which has also been upgraded, while a variety of mimosas, like orange, grapefruit, cranberry and peach are still available refills for just $1.

Chef James Siao’s midmorning eats are also top notch. Pair the cocktails with Siao’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken, served with kale slaw, pickles and smoked honey mustard, the Roasted Pork Belly & Egg with poached eggs, smashed avocado, toasted bread, chipotle hollandaise and home fries, or the Caramelized Banana French Toast.

Brunch is served every Saturday and Sunday at Finch & Fork (31 W. Carrillo St.) from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Finchandforkrestaurant.com.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor ofSanta 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 February 17, 2017.