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Library Book: Writers on Libraries

by lesliedinaberg on June 22, 2017

The venerable Downtown Santa Barbara Central Library (40 E. Anapamu St.)  is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and writers are celebrating this centennial milestone as well, with a heartwarming anthology of stories, essays, and poems written by over 80 authors about their library experiences and the glories of the public library.

Edited by local writer Steven Gilbar, Library Book: Writers on Libraries, brings an impressive group of scribes together, ranging from huge literary names like Ray Bradbury, Fannie Flagg, Sue Grafton, Pico IyerNeil Gaiman and Ursula K. LeGuin, to loads of local writers including all of the living Santa Barbara poets laureate, Hilary Dole Klein, D. J. Palladino, Ashleigh Brilliant, Erin Graffy de Garcia, Beverley Jackson, Marcia Meier, Grace Rachow, Joan Tapper and many more (including yours truly.)

With a forward by local resident T.C. Boyle and all royalties going to the nonprofit Friends of the Santa Barbara Public Library, this is a book purchase that any word loving reader can feel good about making. Library Book: Writers on Libraries is available at The Book Den (15 E. Anapamu St.), Chaucers Books (3321 State St.), Mesa Books (1838 Cliff Dr.), Tecolote Book Shop (1470 East Valley Rd.) and Upstairs at Pierre La Fond (516 San Ysidro Rd.), as well as on Amazon.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 21, 2017.

Local Lowdown: Strolling Santa Claus Lane

by lesliedinaberg on June 21, 2017

A-Frame Surf Shop, photo by Mercedes Lowe.

A-Frame Surf Shop, photo by Mercedes Lowe.

A beachside street dubbed Santa Claus Lane—named after the iconic statue of St. Nick that greeted visitors for more than 50 years, until it was moved in 2002—boasts epicurean delights and local wines, plus a tranquil garden to while away the hours at Garden Market, while Padaro Beach Grill is a great spot for kids and dogs to play while you sit outside, enjoy the ocean view and peruse a tasty menu of burgers, salads, sandwiches and fish specialties.

ZeBird Design, photo by Mercedes Lowe.

ZeBird Design, photo by Mercedes Lowe.

Shopping in the area includes surf-inspired fashions—along with surf lessons and boards for the intrepid consumer—at A-Frame Surf Shop. Original artwork plus a design and consign business make ZeBird Design an ever-evolving treasure trove for the fashionable home, while interior design enthusiasts flock to the contemporary-rustic home furnishings at Porch, “where shelter and nature converge” into distinct art, as well as home accessories and furniture.

Hummingbird, photo by Mercedes Lowe.

Hummingbird, photo by Mercedes Lowe.

Thoughtful gifts, eclectic accessories and bohemian jewelry await lucky treasure seekers a few shops down at Hummingbird, while Rowan Boutique embodies the casual elegance of the Santa Barbara lifestyle with clothing and accessories.

Santa may be gone, but the shopping scene is alive and well on his namesake street in Carpinteria. Tucked just south of Montecito, amid the soothing sounds of the sea—and occasional toots from the train—the eclectic Santa Claus Lane is home to an impressive variety of charming storefronts.

All stores are located between 3765 and 3825 Santa Claus Lane, Carpinteria.

Leslie Dinaberg

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

Local Dish: Angel Oak Celebrates its One-Year Anniversary

by lesliedinaberg on June 21, 2017

Angel Oak at Bacara, courtesy photo.

Angel Oak at Bacara, courtesy photo.

Believe it or not, it was about a year that Angel Oak first opened its doors, offering a unique twist on the traditional steak and seafood concept—not to mention that killer ocean view! 

The signature restaurant of Bacara Resort & Spa celebrates its one-year anniversary with a community party on June 25. To showcase Angel Oak’s appreciation to the local community, the restaurant hosts a “One Under the Sun” party on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. The leisurely afternoon includes chef bites, lawn games, live music and dozens of local wine and craft beer tastings. All of the festivities take place on Angel Oak’s expansive outdoor patio and bluff overlooking captivating ocean views.

The bar at Bacara Resort & Spa's new fine dining restaurant, Angel Oak, courtesy photo.

The bar at Bacara Resort & Spa’s new fine dining restaurant, Angel Oak, courtesy photo.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate our first anniversary, which represents a significant milestone for our resort and destination,” says Vincent Lesage, executive chef of Bacara Resort & Spa. “Our goal was to build a restaurant that would stand the test of time. We are honored our local community has embraced us.”

Tickets for One Under the Sun are $50 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity. A special guest room rate starting at $250 (normally $500) is also available. Space is limited. For tickets and more information, please visit AngelOakSB.com. Angel Oak at Bacara Resort & Spa is located at 8301 Hollister Ave.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 20, 2017.

Local Dish: Carrots and Curry and Cocktails at Outpost

by lesliedinaberg on June 20, 2017

 

Outpost "Rabbit Season" cocktail, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Outpost “Rabbit Season” cocktail, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

By Leslie Dinaberg

It’s officially summer time, and the seasonal offerings at Outpost are designed to savor during those warm, lazy summer nights. We recently enjoyed a terrific tasting of Chef Nick Bajal‘s latest menu. Here are some of the highlights:

Outpost Mussels, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Outpost Mussels, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

I started off the evening with fun new cocktail, Rabbit Season, which features carrot infused Ford’s Gin (I have to get my veggies in somehow), mellow corn bonded, honey, lemon, orange and chocolate bitters. It’s rather unusual, but trust me, it’s delicious, especially when paired with spicy dishes like the Classic Mussels with lemongrass, red curry and coconut milk. Served with a mouth-watering grilled baguette, that curry sauce is so good, you’ll want to sop up every drop. 

Outpost Fried Brussels Sprouts, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Outpost Fried Brussels Sprouts, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Another delectable, curry-forward dish is the Fried Brussels Sprouts, made with yellow curry, roasted garlic aioli and chili flakes. They’re simply fabulous. I could eat this dish every day.

Outpost Bibimbap, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Outpost Bibimbap, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

I would have been perfectly content ending the meal right there, but the chef insisted we try the new Chicken & Pork Meatballs with onion soubise and preserved lime giardiniera, as well as the beautifully plated Pan Seared Monkfish, with sweet pea puree, roasted garlic, and crème fresh, served with roasted Maitake mushrooms and shaved raw asparagus. We also had the Bibimbap for good measure, made with pork shoulder, egg yolk, bok choy, rice, chili-braised carrots and cucumber—it’s a vibrant feast of color and texture. 

Outpost Monkfish, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Outpost Monkfish, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

We topped it all off with the innovative Fried Carrot Cake, served with burnt orange sauce, white chocolate creamed cheese and McConnell’s vanilla ice cream. This was definitely a meal we won’t soon forget!
Outpost Fried Carrot Cake, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Outpost Fried Carrot Cake, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Outpost Pork & Chicken Meatballs, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Outpost Pork & Chicken Meatballs, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Outpost at the Goodland Hotel is located at 5650 Calle Real, Goleta. For more information, visit outpostsb.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 19, 2017.

 

Local Lowdown: State Street Ballet Extends Reach

by lesliedinaberg on June 19, 2017

company members teach a free jazz dance class as part of State Street Ballet’s community outreach effort. Photo by Andre Yew.

Company members teach a free jazz dance class as part of State Street Ballet’s community outreach effort. Photo by Andre Yew.

By Leslie Dinaberg

Reaching out beyond the professional stage to make ballet accessible and fun for everyone is an important part of State Street Ballets community outreach programming. This summer, company dancers Meredith Harrill, Deise Mendonca, Cecily Stewart, Edgar Zendejas, John Piel, Noam Tsviskin, Skyler Rodgers and Alvaro Oquita hit the road for a series of free performances in Santa Barbara and beyond.

The 30-minute performances feature not only ballet, but also hip-hop and contemporary pieces, with excerpts from State Street Ballet productions of Cinderella, An American Tango, Common Ground and w.

State Street Ballet Company member Edgar Zendejas demonstrates a dance move. Photo by Andre Yew.

State Street Ballet Company member Edgar Zendejas demonstrates a dance move. Photo by Andre Yew.

In addition, the company offers free dance classes in a variety of styles, including ballet, jazz, contemporary, choreography, Latin combo, hip hop and yoga.

As of now, confirmed dates are: June 23, Ventura Boys and Girls Club; June 24, Santa Barbara Boys and Girls Club; June 29, Santa Maria Boys and Girls Club; June 30, Fresno (location to be determined); July 1, Salinas, Breadbox Recreation Center; and July 7, San Bernardino, Garcia Center for the Arts.  

For more information on State Street Ballet and the community outreach program, visit statestreetballet.com.

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

Cocktail Corner: Sip & Swirl on the Canary Rooftop

by lesliedinaberg on June 16, 2017

The lovely rooftop of the Canary is the setting for the sip & swirl wine tasting series, courtesy photo.

The lovely rooftop of the Canary is the setting for the sip & swirl wine tasting series, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

You know that summer is finally here when Finch & Fork and the Canary Hotel start up their popular wine tasting series, Sip & Swirl. This monthly series features local wines, cheese and entertainment set to stunning views from downtown’s only rooftop terrace. 

Quite frankly, the scenery alone is enough to make me leap at any invitation to visit the roof, add in some terrific wines and nibbles and there’s no reason not to celebrate with a toast to one of Santa Barbara’s best views. 

Held once a month from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Sip & Swirl features a rotating collection of local wineries showcasing their best vintages. Sip & Swirl-goers have the opportunity to learn about one of Santa Barbara County’s leading industries, while enjoying entertainment and a selection of premium cheeses.

Upcoming Sip & Swirl dates are:  July 19, August 16, and September 20. Tickets are $40, which includes tastings of all the wines and cheeses. Buy online at NightOut.com, or purchase at the door. 

As of press time, wineries scheduled to pour on July 19 are Larner Vineyard & WineryBabcock Winery and Jaffurs Wine Cellars, with additional purveyors expected to join in on the fun.  The Canary Hotel is located at 31 W. Carrillo St.

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 June 16, 2017.

Local Lowdown: The Dish on Santa Ynez Valley’s New Eateries

by lesliedinaberg on June 15, 2017

Bacon & Brine burger by Tenley Fohl Photography.

Bacon & Brine burger by Tenley Fohl Photography.

From refined ranch cooking to gourmet burgers and creative couplings of unexpected ingredients to upscale wine country cuisine, the Santa Ynez Valley has a host of terrific new places to dine out and indulge in this summer.

By Leslie Dinaberg

Beer & (Big) Bites in Buellton

“The Kitchen” at FigMtnBrew is now open and, as Executive Chef Brian Champlin vows, this place definitely has, as he modestly states, “under-promised and over-delivered!” The eatery now offers a full menu of beer-friendly gastropub fare such as creative burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, tacos, salads and more. Our group particularly loved the 21+ and over grilled cheese, 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 and Paradise Rd. Pilsner.

Jeff Hawxhurst, left, and Brian Champlin of The Kitchen at FigMtnBrew, courtesy photo.

Jeff Hawxhurst, left, and Brian Champlin of The Kitchen at FigMtnBrew, courtesy photo.

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

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.” The Kitchen, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company, 45 Industrial Way, Buellton,
FigMtnBrew.com.
 

Refining Ranch Cuisine at The Bear and Star

The Bear and Star (a nod to patriarch Fess Parker’s California and Texas roots) gets its culinary inspiration from the 714-acre Fess Parker Home Ranch located seven miles away, where 75 head of Wagyu cattle are raised and finished with the spent grains and pomace from the family brewery and winery, along with chickens, quail, rabbits, pigs, bees and a number of heirloom fruits and organic vegetables.

The Bear and Star by Kodiak Greenwood.

The Bear and Star by Kodiak Greenwood.

This impressive ecosystem was developed under Chef/Partner John Cox’s passion and vision. Also integral to the restaurant is a 30’ custom reverse-flow Texas smoker that he specially designed for slow smoking and barbecuing many of the dishes. Cox, formerly with Sierra Mar at Big Sur’s renowned Post Ranch Inn, has created an inventive ranch-inspired menu offering lunch and dinner items like Wagyu Fries with garden herb aioli; deviled ranch eggs with Santa Barbara urchin and espelette; fried green tomatoes with “cheese wiz” and BBQ spice; Parker Ranch Wagyu burger with smoked cheddar, tomato jam and butter pickles; crispy catfish with re-fried black-eyed-peas and “blackened” smoked tomato sauce; Wagyu meat loaf with potato puree, garden vegetables and pan jus; Parker Ranch chile with cheddar, chives and cornbread crouton; local stuffed quail with farro risotto, bay laurel and red wine demi glace; and an array of steaks, ribeyes and filets, among other items.

Highlights for breakfast are dishes of cheddar biscuit and country gravy; steel cut oatmeal brûlée with local blueberries and caramelized palm sugar; and smoked Wagyu hash with farm eggs, root vegetables and lemon-thyme hollandaise.

The Parker family’s acclaimed wines are prominently featured and the offerings also showcase expressive small-production wines from Santa Barbara County’s most sought-after wineries, and beyond, as well as a stunning
wine-walled private dining room. The Bear and Star, Fess Parker’s Wine Country Inn, 2860 Grand Ave., Los Olivos, 805/686-1359, thebearandstar.com.

Bottlest Winery Bar & Bistro

Already offering one of the most unique wine-tasting experiences in California—with its expansive “Wine Wall” of 52 constantly changing wines available by the taste, half glass or full glass—the new Bottlest Winery Bar & Bistro has stepped up its cuisine tremendously, with a new restaurant concept from Executive Chef Owen Hanavan, the former Head Chef of Barbareño, whose culinary résumé includes time spent at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara and the Michelin-starred COI Restaurant in San Francisco.

Utilizing a bounty of locally sourced organic produce, meats and fish, a recent sampling of Chef Owen’s creations was so delicious that it’s hard to name a favorite dish. Definitely high on my list are the beautifully plated “Sixteen Spiced Pork Shoulder” (with almond rice pilaf, date glaze, romanesco broccoli and lemon oil), melt-in-your-mouth New York strip (with sousbise, duck fat potato, chimichurri and crispy leeks) and yellowtail (with poached tuna, rice cracker, nori vinaigrette and micro cilantro). In addition to the elevated evening cuisine, the lunch and midday menus include a variety of small plates (the lamb meatballs on housemade potato chips are divine), as well as sandwiches, salads and pizzas sure to please every palate.

Bottlest Winery Bar & Bistro, photo by Bottle Branding.

Bottlest Winery Bar & Bistro, photo by Bottle Branding.

Also a crowd pleaser is the view of Terravant Winery’s popular custom-crush facility, which shares the space with Bottlest Bistro and the soon-to-be-launched bottlest.com online wine experience, where you can craft your own wine (and labels) from start to finish, based on a sliding scale of personal preferences. For more information, visit bottlest.com. Bottlest Winery Bar & Bistro, 35 Industrial Way, Buellton, 805/686-4742,
bottlest.com/bistro.

Blissful Bellies at Bacon & Brine

Hyper local culinary entrepreneurs Chef Pink and Courtney Rae DeLongpré’s Bacon & Brine sits at the top of the ever-evolving Santa Ynez Valley food chain. This delicious addition to the Solvang scene opened last summer to eager fans and customers of the duo’s previous sandwich shop. With guidance from Chef Pink, we ate our way through much of the menu, an impressive gastronomic collection of delights that evidence the couple’s full commitment to utilizing local organic vegetables and organic grass-fed pasture-raised animals. In fact, none of their food items come from more than 10 miles away, except spices and seasonings, which are all fair-trade.

Bacon & Brine by Tenley Fohl Photography.

Bacon & Brine by Tenley Fohl Photography.

Beef, chicken and vegetarian options mingle with the pork menu items (all of the cattle and poultry come from Shadow Creek Ranch, a small Santa Ynez Valley farm), but the flavors are even more impressive than the menu’s provenance. Our favorites include Korean Fried Chicken (KFC), “The Hipster” sandwich (buttermilk fried chicken, shredded lettuce, pickle and aioli on a doughnut bun), the kimchi burger (wagyu beef, bacon, housemade “legit” kimchi, farm egg, chives and bacon aioli), fried Brussels sprouts, roasted beets and the to-die-for salted caramel bacon doughnuts.

Chef Pink, the “bacon” half of this business, is a 17-year food and restaurant industry veteran who has worked with California chefs and restaurants stretching from Los Angeles to San Francisco, as well as in New York and Paris kitchens. She’s also a bit of TV food celebrity, appearing on Spike TV’s Bar Rescue, Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen and FYI’s Man vs. Child.

The “brine” half of “Bacon & Brine” is Courtney Rae DeLongpré, a proponent of healthy eating with a passion for food, nutrition and small-scale homesteading, which led to her studies of traditional old-world food preparations, segueing to her fermentation craft.

“We want to share with the surrounding community our personal mix: fine dining techniques using local ingredients and our use of fermentation to create flavor profiles, which let those ingredients shine,” says Chef Pink. “I’m meshing my years of training as a proper chef, with our philosophies of hyper-local organic, whole, sustainable food systems…and my love of, and allegiance to, a great food experience that’s accessible to everyone.” Bacon & Brine, 1618 Copenhagen Dr., Solvang, 805/688-8809, baconandbrine.com. Hours vary by season.  

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

Cocktail Corner: Eureka!

by lesliedinaberg on June 12, 2017

Eureka Holy Smokes cocktail, courtesy photo

Eureka Holy Smokes cocktail, courtesy photo

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Conveniently situated just a hop, skim and jump away from our office, Eureka! (located at 601 Paseo Nuevo in the downtown mall) is one of my go-to places to grab a quick drink after work, and a slew of new menu items make it an even better place to drink and dine these days.

In addition to an extensive selection of American beers on tap, the cocktail program at Eureka! revolves around the restaurant’s commitment to serving all-American premium products, including over 40 small batch whiskeys, served straight, on the rocks or in one of their signature cocktails. Try a Whiskey Sour, an Old Fashioned or the Holy Smokes! with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, tart cherry liqueur, maple syrup, Aztec chocolate bitters, then smoked in house with hickory chips.

Eureka Butcher’s Flat Iron Dip, courtesy photo.

Eureka Butcher’s Flat Iron Dip, courtesy photo.

On the food side of the menu, the Butcher’s Flat Iron Dip topped with caramelized onions, pickled Fresno chiles, horseradish mustard aioli, Havarti, and side of au jus is delicious, as is the new Turkey Chipotle Burger with charred tomato salsa, avocado, feta, and arugula. 

Eureka Turkey Chipotle Burger, courtesy photo.

Eureka Turkey Chipotle Burger, courtesy photo.

On the appetizer side, try the Mac N’ Cheese Balls, a fun twist on an old favorite. I’m also a fan of the Osso Buco Riblets with sherry braised pork and firecracker aioli sauce, as well as the Lollipop Corn Dogs made with Polish sausage and a sweet corn batter and served with spicy porter mustard. All of the new—and classic—menu items, pair well with beer or whiskey, as does the new Bourbon Barrel Cake with candied pecans, caramel, and vanilla bean ice cream.

Eureka Whiskey Sour, courtesy photo.

Eureka Whiskey Sour, courtesy photo.

Father’s Day is coming up soon (June 18) and Eureka! has got a special treat for all of the whiskey-loving dads out there. Guests who celebrate Father’s Day will receive a complimentary engraved whiskey glass for dad, with any whiskey cocktail purchase.

Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Eureka Mac 'n Cheese Balls, courtesy photo.

Eureka Mac ‘n Cheese Balls, courtesy photo.

Eureka Bourbon Barrel Cake, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Eureka Bourbon Barrel Cake, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

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 June 9, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Santa Barbara Wine & Food Festival

by lesliedinaberg on June 2, 2017

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Food & Wine Festival.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine & Food Festival.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History‘s beloved wine festival, and they are commemorating the event with a new name—the Santa Barbara Wine & Food Festival—which more accurately reflects the bounty of sips and bites found at this signature fundraiser.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Food & Wine Festival.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine & Food Festival.

While the food and the wine have always flowed freely at the festival, this year events manager Meridith Moore has set a goal to have 50 food vendors on the roster this year to accompany the 50 wineries. “My hope is that the name change will help to attract even more of Santa Barbara county’s incredible food vendors and highlight the ones that have been participating all these years,” she says.

As of press time, food vendors include: BarbarenoBenchmarkBob’s Well BreadBrophy Bros.Buena OndaCa’ DarioCoffee Bean and Tea LeafChooket/Your Cake Baker, Corazon CocinaCountry CateringFarmer BoyFinch and Fork RestaurantGelson’s ~ Santa BarbaraHelena Avenue BakeryHippypopIl FustinoIndustrial EatsLa MousseLa SorelleLoquitaMichael’s CateringMr. E’s FreezeMulberry LovePacific Pickle WorksPicoRenaud’s Patissiere and Bakery , Slate Catering CoSolvang BakeryThe Bear and StarThe Berry ManTondi GelatoVia Maestra 42 and Whole Foods Santa Barbara.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Food & Wine Festival.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine & Food Festival.

Wineries pouring this year include: Alexander & WayneAlma RosaAndrew Murray VineyardsArea 5.1Arthur Earl WineryAu Bon ClimatBabcock WineryBeckmen VineyardsBedford WineryBlair FoxBrander VineyardBrewer-CliftonButtonwoodByron by NielsonCa Del GrevinoCambriaCarr Vineyards and WineryCasa DumetzCebada, ConsilienceCORECrawford Family WinesDierbergDe PaolaEpiphany CellarsFalcone Family VineyardsFeliz NocheFess Parker Winery & VineyardFiddlehead Cellars,

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Food & Wine Festival.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine & Food Festival.

Flying Goat CellarsFoxenGainey VineyardsGrassini Family VineyardsHilliard BruceJaffurs Wine CellarsJamie SloneKalyraKen Brown WinesKenneth Volk VineyardsKoehler WineryKuninLaFond WineryLarner WinesLongoriaLoring Wine CompanyLumenMargerum Wine CompanyMelvilleMosby Winery & VineyardMunicipal WinemakersNotary Public WinesOreanaPalminaPoint ConcepcionPotekPure Order Brewing CompanyQupéRancho Sisquoc WineryRefugio RanchRideauSagebrush Annie’sSanta Barbara WinerySilver WinesSpear WineryStar Lane VineyardSunstone WineryTablas CreekTatomerTercero WinesThird Window BrewingToucan WinesTranscendence WinesVogelzangWhitcraft Winery and Zaca Mesa.

The beautiful grounds of Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (2559 Puesta del Sol) are a wonderful spot to appreciate being out in nature, and what better way to enjoy a summer weekend than sipping wine underneath the oaks along Mission Creek? Especially when the proceeds go to support the work of the museum. The event takes place on Saturday, June 24.

Guests 21 and older may purchase admission on the Museum’s website (www.sbnature.org/winefestival). This event is always a sellout, so if you want to join in the fun, act quickly or you not get tickets.

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 June 2, 2017.

Local Dish: Finch & Fork’s New Flavors of the Season

by lesliedinaberg on May 26, 2017

Finch & Fork’s new Secret Garden, left, and Blood Brother are the latest additions to their craft cocktail menu. Photo courtesy Finch & Fork Instagram.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Finch & Fork Chef James Siao and his culinary team have added new items to the dinner menu, and diners are in for a treat.

Finch & Fork's Asparagus & Mascarpone Toast, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s Asparagus & Mascarpone Toast, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

We started our meal with a bright and flavorful new appetizer, Asparagus & Mascarpone Toast with marinated asparagus, whipped lemon mascarpone, mint pesto, and radicchio. Pair it with the Secret Garden—lavender-infused Tanqueray Gin, Luxardo Maraschino, lemon and honey—to make your taste buds sing a happy chorus of ode to spring!

Finch & Fork's Smoked Fish & Onion Dip with housemade kennebec chips, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s Smoked Fish & Onion Dip with housemade kennebec chips, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

We also tried another delicious appetizer, Smoked Fish & Onion Dip served with housemade potato chips, which was a clever reinterpretation of the old standby onion dip and paired quite nicely with another new cocktail, the Paper Plane, made with Maker’s Mark bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino and lemon.

Finch & Fork's new Secret Garden, left, and Paper Plane cocktails, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s new Secret Garden, left, and Paper Plane cocktails, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Next up were the superbly delicious Sugar Snap Peas served with miso butter, radish and crispy garlic. I could eat that miso butter with everything, it was so yummy!

Finch & Fork's Sugar Snap Peas with citrus miso butter, radish and crispy garlic, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s Sugar Snap Peas with citrus miso butter, radish and crispy garlic, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

I’m not usually a fan of duck, but our server Chef Siao’s perfectly prepared Duck Breast with carrot cardamom puree, farro, spring onions and blackberry gastrique was amazing, as was his newest take on Salmon with pork belly and potato hash, pea greens, tarragon aioli and peperonata.

Finch & Fork's Duck Breast with carrot cardamon puree, farro, spring onions and blackberry gastrique, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s Duck Breast with carrot cardamon puree, farro, spring onions and blackberry gastrique, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

I also tried another delicious new cocktail, the London Holiday with Aviation Gin, blueberry, egg white, lime, simple syrup and absinthe mist. 

Finch & Fork's Salmon with pork belly & potato hash, pea greens and tarragon aioli peperonata, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s Salmon with pork belly & potato hash, pea greens and tarragon aioli peperonata, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

If you’re not up for a whole dinner, Finch & Fork has a great Happy Hour every Monday through Friday from 4-7 p.m. Finch & Fork is located in the Canary Hotel at 31 W. Carrillo St. For more information, visit http://www.finchandforkrestaurant.com.

Finch & Fork's London Holiday cocktail, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s London Holiday cocktail, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 26, 2017.