About lesliedinaberg

When she's not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS Magazine, Leslie Dinaberg writes feature articles, columns and grocery lists.

Cocktail Corner: Loquita’s Libations

Loquita's Porrón Hour takes place week days from 5-6 p.m., courtesy photo.

Loquita’s Porrón Hour takes place week days from 5-6 p.m., courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Loquita, the Funk Zone favorite restaurant that celebrates the flavors of Spain, has announced a new bar and wine club program just in time for the holiday season. 

Featuring Porron Hour, a Spanish Sherry Flight and the Loquita Wine Club, Loquita’s Bar Manager David Medina has curated these new beverage programs to enjoy at the restaurant or for your home entertaining.

“Our Porron Hour is designed to share the traditional Spanish method for enjoying wine while also offering an approachable price on some of our most popular wines by the glass. Sampling these selections from our hand-blown wine carafes create a singular experience where our guests can pour directly into their mouths from an outstretched arm. Sounds a bit crazy, but that’s Loquita,” says Medina.

Demonstrating the ancient Spanish tradition of porrón, designed for the ease sharing of wine. Photo by Daniel Julia Lundgren, courtesy Flickr.

Demonstrating the ancient Spanish tradition of porrón, designed for the ease sharing of wine. Photo by Daniel Julia Lundgren, courtesy Flickr.

Porron Hour is offered weekdays from 5 – 6 p.m. Come discover and challenge your palate with varieties of exceptional and lesser-known Spanish wines. A Porron is a traditional Spanish wine pitcher that holds .75 liters and is used predominately in the Northwestern part of Spain—Catalonia, Aragon and Valencia. Porron hour features four distinguished varietals, 2017 Avinyo “Petillant” Cava; 2017 Columna Albariño; 2017 Menguante Garnacha and 2015 Finca Torremilanos “Los Cantos” Tempranillo, priced at $20 per Porron.

Medina is also enthusiastic about the Spanish Sherry Flight.  “This offers our guests an introduction to different styles of Spanish Sherry found only in southwest Spain and they pair so well with our menu.

Loquita Sherry Tasting Flight, photo by Kate Winter.

Loquita Sherry Tasting Flight, photo by Kate Winter.

Loquita’s Spanish Sherry Flight presents this unique Spanish wine made from white grapes grown near the city of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia, Spain. It’s produced in a variety of styles made primarily from the Palomino grape, and ranges from light white table wines to darker and heavier versions such as Amontillado and Oloroso. The flights are available nightly at the bar or table and are the perfect complement to Chef Peter Lee’s Spanish cuisine. The Spanish Sherry Flight includes four one-ounce glasses of some classics—Osborne Manzanilla, Sanlucar Barrameda; Lustau “Almacenista Obregón” Amontillado, El Puerto; Faustino Gonzalez “Cruz Vieja”, Oloroso en Rama, Jerez de la Frontera; and Barbadillo, Cream, Jerez De La Frontera,  priced at $16 per flight. 

Loquita Parron Hour, photo by Kate Winter.

Loquita Parron Hour, photo by Kate Winter.

And, with perfect timing for the holidays, Loquita launches the Loquita Wine Club. “Spanish wines are quite special and we wanted our guests to share the experience outside Loquita’s doors so we decided to offer a wine club that highlights our favorite Spanish producers,” says Medina.  Each quarter Medina selects wines from renowned regions of Spain, including world-class producers from Rioja, Priorat, Ribeira Sacra, Bierzo and the Canary Islands. Selections will showcase diverse climates, winemaking techniques, both modern and traditional, and include information about each producer and the terroir represented. Loquita Wine Club membership includes quarterly shipments of three bottles. Pricing is $75 – $95 per shipment plus tax and shipping charges.

For more information call the restaurant at 805/880-3380 or email info@loquitasb.comLoquita is located at 202 State St., 805/880-3380, loquitasb.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 believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 16, 2018.

Local Dish: Tyger Tyger, Dart Coffee and Monkeyshine Roar With Flavors

Follow the pink lanterns to the Tyger Tyger team, waiting to serve you at the new Funk Zone spot. Photo by Rob Stark.

Follow the pink lanterns to the Tyger Tyger team, waiting to serve you at the new Funk Zone spot. Photo by Rob Stark.

Follow the pretty pink lanterns to a terrific new place in the Funk Zone.

The neighborhood marketplace home to Tyger Tyger, Dart Coffee Co. and Monkeyshine is finally open, and this yummy addition to the waterfront area was well worth the wait!

Acme Hospitality (of The Lark, Loquita and Lucky Penny fame, to name just a few) has created a collective that’s been a hit from day one.  The three-concept venue includes Tyger Tyger, a fast-fine restaurant with Thai-Vietnamese influenced dishes; Monkeyshine, with exotic soft serve ice cream and popsicles; and local roaster Dart Coffee Co., to keep everyone caffeinated and happy,. The marketplace is located  at 121 E. Yanonali St., on the corner of Gray Avenue near the Arts Fund.

It’s hard to miss the hundreds of illuminated pink lanterns on the interior and exterior ceilings of this pretty new food hall. Large windows peek into the building and bring all-day sunshine into the airy room. The palette of bright pink, saffron yellow, orange and turquoise warm the interiors and definitely let you know that you’re in for a unique treat, evoking elements of Thailand, Vietnam and the Central Coast—flavors which are also echoed in the menu.

Inside the Funk Zone's new marketplace, which features Tyger Tyger, Dart Coffee Co. and Monkeyshine. Photo by Rob Stark.

Inside the Funk Zone’s new marketplace, which features Tyger Tyger, Dart Coffee Co. and Monkeyshine. Photo by Rob Stark.

Tyger Tyger and sister operation Monkeyshine are led by Santa Barbara born-and-raised Chef Daniel Palaima who returned home from Chicago to lead the team after stints with internationally acclaimed, award-winning chefs. Bold Thai and Vietnamese inspired dishes we’ve tried so far include melt-in-your-mouth Weeping Brisket with coconut sticky rice; almost-too-pretty-to-eat Shrimp Summer Rolls; Spicy Pork Larb Salad (we tried the impossible “pork” meatless version and it was amazing); Octopus Salad with glass noodles and nouc cham; and Curried Noodles with braised pork and fermented mustard greens, among others. Everything was delicious and great to share with friends.  

Tasty Thai and Vietnamese-inspired dishes at Tyger Tyger. Photo by Rob Stark.

Tasty Thai and Vietnamese-inspired dishes at Tyger Tyger. Photo by Rob Stark.

Offering the perfect deserts to accompany Tyger Tyger’s spicy flavors, Monkeyshine  is an ice cream counter serving frozen treats flavored with Asian spices and ingredients. The menu features soft serve ice cream flavors like Green Tea; Toasted Rice; Ginger; Thai Chili Chocolate; Orange Szechuan Pepper; Vegan Coconut Lemongrass; and Black Sesame, with exotic toppings, as well as house-made Popsicles. 

Monkeyshine offers a pretty array of toppings for soft service ice cream served in fish-shaped cones. Photo by Rob Stark.

Monkeyshine offers a pretty array of toppings for soft service ice cream served in fish-shaped cones. Photo by Rob Stark.

Dart Coffee Co. completes the trio with its specialty coffee counter. The Funk Zone’s own small-lot specialty coffee roaster, Dart Coffee offers espresso drinks, cold brew, nitro cold brew and locally-made kombucha. Fair trade organic beans are roasted onsite daily and retail coffee is available in addition to an extensive menu of espresso drinks—try the Corena Cortado for the most delicious cinnamon churro-like treat, or the June Bug for a sweet kiss of lavender with your java—and specialty loose leaf organic teas alongside locally made pastries and bites.

Dart Coffee Co. is owned and operated by husband and wife team Erika Carter Dart (a beloved local artist) and David Dart (a beloved local dentist) who have lived and worked in the Funk Zone for more than 16 years. This location marks their first retail shop, bringing ethical craft-roasted coffee to the public, sourcing only the finest organic, fair-trade coffee beans from small-lot indigenous farmers who share their vision. Plus a percentage of every bean sold helps sustain artist studios in Santa Barbara’s diverse art districts through The Yanonali Street Artist Fund.

The Dart Coffee team (that's owner Erika Carter Dart in front) is ready to serve delicious, sustainably roasted coffee and treats. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

The Dart Coffee team (that’s owner Erika Carter Dart in front) is ready to serve delicious, sustainably roasted coffee and treats. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Follow the bright pink lanterns to the marketplace. A delicious adventure awaits!

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 15, 2018.

13th Annual Kirk Douglas Award Honoring Hugh Jackman

Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) honors Academy Award nominee Hugh Jackman with the 13th annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film. The award will be presented at a black-tie Gala dinner at The Ritz Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara (8301 Hollister Ave.) on Monday, November 19.

Jackman is best known for Oscar-nominated films The Greatest Showman and Les Miserables, and for starring as Wolverine in The X-Men franchise. Jackman will next be seen in Jason Reitman’s The Front Runner, in theaters this month.

“I am delighted that Hugh Jackman will receive the 13th annual Kirk Douglas Award. He’s an exceptional talent of stage and screen, and one of the nicest people in the business. It’s my honor to have my name linked with his on this year’s award,” states Douglas.

Since 2006, the annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film has been awarded to a lifelong contributor to cinema through their work in front of the camera, behind, or both. Past honorees include Dame Judi Dench, Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, Forest Whitaker, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Harris and John Travolta.

The black tie event is a fundraiser for SBIFF’s educational programs. For tickets and additional information, visit http://sbiff.org/events/kirk_douglas_award/.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 12, 2018.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art at MCASB

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art , Installation view at SITElab, SITE Santa Fe, NM, October 7, 2017 - January 10, 2018, Photo: Eric Swanson.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art , Installation view at SITElab, SITE Santa Fe, NM, October 7, 2017 – January 10, 2018, Photo: Eric Swanson.

The new exhibit opening this weekend at Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB), “Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art,” is a series of light-boxes and video animations by Oakland-based artist Kota Ezawa that chronicles some of the most infamous and high-profile museum heists in history. At the heart of this exhibition is a series of images paying homage to the 13 artworks—including those by Degas, Manet, Rembrandt and Vermeer— stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art , Installation view at SITElab, SITE Santa Fe, NM, October 7, 2017 - January 10, 2018, Photo: Eric Swanson.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art , Installation view at SITElab, SITE Santa Fe, NM, October 7, 2017 – January 10, 2018, Photo: Eric Swanson.

Ezawa’s digital interpretations of the stolen masterpieces are presented to scale and illuminated in light-boxes that serve as modern apparitions of the centuries-old works. According to MCASB, “These technological vestiges are at once copies of the originals, while also carrying the mark of Ezawa’s animated hand. Reduced to flat planes of color, the original paintings take on new life as Ezawa plays with ideas of appropriation and originality.”

Kota Ezawa, Still from Exquisite Corpse , 2017, Single-channel color video, Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Kota Ezawa, Still from Exquisite Corpse , 2017, Single-channel color video, Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Also on display with the light boxes are video works, including a black and white reproduction of the security footage of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist.

“My prior drawings exclusively used photographs as source material. This series for the first time draws upon painting only to recognize that painters before 1850, like Rembrandt and Vermeer, were essentially the photographers of their time. In the absence of photographs, their paintings take on the task of recording reality with the scrutiny and minuteness that we now expect from cameras,” says Ezawa. “In this way, the new series extends my project ‘The History of Photography Remix’ into the pre-photography age of images. In addition, I feel compelled to produce an exhibition dealing with ‘stolen artworks’ because my own process could be regarded as a form of image theft. One could say I’m hoping to steal these images back and give them a new life.”

Kota Ezawa, Still from Exquisite Corpse , 2017, Single-channel color video, Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Kota Ezawa, Still from Exquisite Corpse , 2017, Single-channel color video,
Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery,
San Francisco.

“In the absence of the original works, viewers must rely solely on reproductions of the lost Stewart Gardner paintings. Whether printed in a textbook, projected in a lecture hall, or gathered from Google image search results, artwork reproductions are ubiquitous. In this way, Ezawa asks: what does it mean to be original?” say the Organizers.

Kota Ezawa, Empty Frame , 2015, Duratrans transparency and LED lightbox, 24 x 33 in., Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Kota Ezawa, Empty Frame , 2015, Duratrans transparency and LED lightbox,
24 x 33 in., Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Ezawa’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions at SITE Santa Fe (2017), Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2013), Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite (2012) and Hayward Gallery Project Space, London (2007), as well as in recent group

Kota Ezawa, Munch Theft , 2017, Duratrans transparency and LED lightbox, 40 x 50 in., Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Kota Ezawa, Munch Theft , 2017, Duratrans transparency and LED lightbox, 40 x 50 in., Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines
Gallery, San Francisco.

exhibitions at Hamburger Kunsthalle (2018); Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2017); Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain (2017); and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2016). Ezawa’s work has earned a number of awards, including the SECA Art Award of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006), a Eureka Fellowship from the Fleishhacker Foundation (2010), and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award (2003). His work is included in renowned collections such as: Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Kunsthalle Bremen, among others.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art  was curated by Irene Hofmann and organized by SITE Santa Fe with the Mead Art Museum.

The opening reception is Saturday, November 10, from 6 – 8 p.m., with a special discussion session, “In Conversation: Kota Ezawa with Curator Irene Hofmann,” that evening from 5-6 p.m.  The show will remain on view through February 3, 2019 at MCASB, 653 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara, mcasantabarbara.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 9, 2018.

Paths of Gold: Japanese Landscape and Narrative Paintings from the Collection

Views of Itsukushima and Wakanoura (detail), Japanese, Edo period, mid-17th century. Ink, color, and gold leaf on paper; pair of six-panel folding screens. SBMA, Museum Purchase, Peggy and John Maximus Fund.

Views of Itsukushima and Wakanoura (detail), Japanese, Edo period, mid-17th century. Ink, color, and gold leaf on paper; pair of six-panel folding screens. SBMA, Museum Purchase, Peggy and John Maximus Fund.

Choice selections from Santa Barbara Museum of Art‘s extensive Japanese painting collection are on view beginning Saturday, November 10, in the new exhibit Paths of Gold: Japanese Landscape and Narrative Paintings from the Collection.

Traditional Japanese houses were constructed of wood with paper windows and doors, and rice-straw matting (tatami mats) covering the floors. Each room—separated by sliding door panels—was like a virtual blank slate that could be repurposed and redecorated to suit each purpose, and, for certain occasions, could be outfitted with glistening screens and objects of color and gold.

Screens were changed seasonally or commissioned specifically for a celebration, a gathering of like minded friends, or a political assembly. A gilded screen enhanced the ambient light in a room, and at the same time, impressed, or even humbled visitors as it reflected the wealth or status of the patron.

Crows in Early Winter (detail), Kishi Chikudō, Japanese, 1826-1897. Ink and color on gold ground; pair of six-panel folding screens. SBMA, Museum purchase with funds provided by Lord and Lady Ridley-Tree, Priscilla Giesen, and special funds.

Crows in Early Winter (detail), Kishi Chikudō, Japanese, 1826-1897. Ink and color on gold ground; pair of six-panel folding screens. SBMA, Museum purchase with funds provided by Lord and Lady Ridley-Tree, Priscilla Giesen, and special funds.

This exhibition examines the aesthetics of Japanese art within both private and public interiors by showcasing nine folding screens, two scroll paintings, and examples of lacquerware selected from the permanent collection, supplemented by two local loans. Paths of Gold features screens dating from the 16th through the 19th centuries, at the end of which Japan opened to European and American trade.

Among the treasures in the exhibition is a lavishly decorated 17th-century set of three handscrolls, attributed to Tosa Mitsuoki (1617–1691). Painted with exquisite mineral pigments and gold, The Tale of Bunshō narrates a story about the rise of the merchant class and the struggles of women. On display as well are a hanging scroll and screen paintings from the Meiji era (1868–1912), a time when formats and subjects were introduced for the newly-conceived public exhibition hall. Also on display are examples of lacquerware from the collection, decorated with various gold techniques, adding to the multi-faceted painterly splendor in the Japanese interior.

This exhibition is co-curated by Hollis Goodall, Curator of Japanese Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Susan Tai, Elizabeth Atkins Curator of Asian Art at SBMA. It is on view November 10, 2018 – February 10, 2019. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is located at 1130 State St. in downtown Santa Barbara. It is open Tuesday – Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with Free Thursday Evenings from 5 – 8 p.m. For more information, call 805/963-4364, or visit www.sbma.net.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 9, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Spirited New Cocktails at The Lark for Fall

The Lark Bar at Night, photo credit by Macduff Everton.

The Lark Bar at Night, photo credit by Macduff Everton.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

The talented team at The Lark, led by Bar Manager Nicholas Priedite, has

California Rattlesnake with fennel-infused rye, yellow chartreuse, cardamom, lemon, fennel blossoms, courtesy The Lark.

California Rattlesnake with fennel-infused rye, yellow chartreuse, cardamom, lemon, fennel blossoms, courtesy The Lark.

some gorgeous new seasonal cocktails on the menu that are perfect for celebrating the change of season in Santa Barbara County.

Fall additions to The Lark’s cocktail menu include:

Jackrabbit

carrot, burnt sage, mezcal, aquavit, dry vermouth, lime

Baker Street Old Fashioned

Baker Street Old Fashioned coconut-washed bourbon, pear brandy, piloncillo, house chicory bitters with scotch rinse, courtesy The Lark.

Baker Street Old Fashioned
coconut-washed bourbon, pear brandy, piloncillo,
house chicory bitters with scotch rinse, courtesy The Lark.

coconut-washed bourbon, pear brandy, piloncillo,

house chicory bitters with scotch rinse

California Rattlesnake

fennel-infused rye, yellow chartreuse, 

Jackrabbit with carrot, burnt sage, mezcal, aquavit, dry vermouth, lime, courtesy The Lark.

Jackrabbit with carrot, burnt sage, mezcal, aquavit, dry vermouth, lime, courtesy The Lark.

cardamom,

lemon, fennel blossoms

La Vie en Rose

concord grape-infused vodka, rosemary, lillet rouge, lemon, sparkling wine 

A Night in Tunisia

apple brandy, scotch, orange, ginger, turmeric, lemon  

La Vie en Rose concord grape-infused vodka, rosemary, lillet rouge, lemon, sparkling wine, courtesy The Lark.

La Vie en Rose
concord grape-infused vodka, rosemary, lillet rouge, lemon, sparkling wine, courtesy The Lark.

Driftwood

passionfruit, Barbados rum, cacao nib, cinnamon, vanilla, lime

Kashmir

blackberry-infused reposado, cynar, byrrh, lemon

Dream Weaver

vodka, fino sherry, bianco vermouth, elderflower, castelvetrano olives

Located in a historic warehouse built in the 1920’s in Santa Barbara’s The Funk Zone, The Lark’s fresh market-driven drinks are influenced by the California

A Night in Tunisia apple brandy, scotch, orange, ginger, turmeric, lemon, courtesy The Lark.

A Night in Tunisia
apple brandy, scotch, orange, ginger, turmeric, lemon, courtesy The Lark.

climate and are designed to complement the seasonally changing menu of small and large plates by Executive Chef Jason Paluska. All fall drinks are now available through December.

The Lark (131 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara) is open Tuesday-Sunday at 5 p.m. For more information, visit thelarksb.comCheers! 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 believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 9, 2018.

Jeff Goldblum and The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra

Jeff Goldblum, photo by Universal Music Paridukovic, courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

Jeff Goldblum, photo by Universal Music Paridukovic, courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

Jeff Goldblum is a man of many talents. The Academy Award-nominated actor reveals his jazz piano skills with his longtime jazz quintet The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures  on Sat., Nov. 3,  at 8 p.m. at UCSB Campbell Hall.

“The bass, sax and drums complement Goldblum’s piano prowess and electric personality for a high-energy traditional jazz music performance that brings the audience to its feet, while Goldblum’s quirky, intelligent and suave humor makes for a hilarious and captivating evening. Goldblum’s fans will delight in his banter, games and selfies as he works the room,” according to A&L.

“You haven’t truly heard your name until you’ve heard Jeff Goldblum say it,” Los Angeles Magazine says. “The 65-year-old actor loves savoring–and sometimes butchering–names when he works the room at Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Feliz. Goldblum’s signature, oft-imitated speaking style has a bebop quality: a swingin’ rhythm and distinct musicality, punctuated with those jazzy ‘uh’s and ‘um’s.”

While Goldblum and his jazz band have been making weekly appearances at Rockwell for years, only recently has he decided share this insiders’ club experience with those of us a bit father afoot. On his first-ever formal tour with The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, Jeff Goldblum will bring that intimate jazz club experience to Santa Barbara. The music is first-rate jazz, but if part of the appeal is to get some of that Jeff Goldblum charm, we suggest that you don’t stray too far during intermission.

For Tickets/Info call 805/893-3535,  or visit ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 1, 2018.

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation Exceeds Fundraising Goal

Justin Fox, lead singer of Dishwalla, performs a song with TBCF children, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

Justin Fox, lead singer of Dishwalla, performs a song with TBCF children, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s (TBCF) annual Gold Ribbon Campaign and Luncheon was a deservedly huge success. The September fundraising campaign and October 4 benefit yielded $494,000 to benefit TBCF’s education advocacy, emotional support and financial stability programs.

The gathering at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara was a lovely al fresco luncheon and incredibly heartwarming program to celebrate and support the work of TBCF, the only nonprofit organization that provides financial, emotional and educational assistance to families who have a child with cancer in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties. Guests had the opportunity to bid on a unique range of items in a silent auction, including beautiful pieces from Carol Burnett’s cherished silver collection.

TBCF Executive Director Lindsey Leonard spoke about many of the young recipients she had met throughout the year, some who went on to beat their struggle with cancer, others who tragically did not beat the disease. “One thing that everyone here today has in common is the desire to help others,” said Leonard. “Everyone has chosen to give of their time and resources because you know our sick children need you because they are literally fighting for their lives.”

TBCF Encouraging Youth Philanthropy program participants were introduced by the Luncheon’s Premier Sponsor, Earl Minnis. Courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

TBCF Encouraging Youth Philanthropy program participants were introduced by the Luncheon’s Premier Sponsor, Earl Minnis. Courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

An inspiring group of young philanthropists who participated in TBCF’s Encouraging Youth Philanthropy program—which guides youth from elementary school through college ages through facilitated fundraisers of their choice, from concept to implementation to delivering the oversized check—were introduced by Premier Sponsor Earl Minnis. Some of the youth included: Dayne Carlson, who hosted bake sales, collected recyclables and raised funds through a percentage of his mother’s business income; Lily Groves, the youngest participant at age 8, who hosted a series of lemonade stands in her neighborhood; Isa Mireles & Talia Gerstenfeld, who produced a musical showcase featuring some of the best youth talents in Santa Barbara; Chloe & Griffin Kossen, who hosted a kick-a-thon event at their Hapkido studio; Alisha Mergaliyeva, who sold handmade art on Etsy; Reese Termond, who is organizing a dance showcase at her ballet studio; Ava Schuette, who donated her babysitting money to TBCF; Mia Young & Sarah Thielst, who started the Teddy Bear Club at San Marcos High School and hosted a series of bake sales at football games; Bella, Savannah & Paloma Valenzuela, who hosted a series of bake sales at Vons and at Isa & Talia’s Musical Showcase; and Sylvia Gilbar, Kian & Nica Greene and Sofia Tasca, who all raised funds online using Facebook and Mobile Cause. Together through their heroic efforts, these big-hearted young members of our community raised $18,000.

Attendees also learned about TBCF’s work from a mother, Nicci Carter, whose family was a recipient. She shared a moving account of her experience, which began when her toddler Garhett was diagnosed with high risk neuroblastoma and began treatments at Cottage Children’s Medical Center—ultimately losing his courageous battle at the age of 3. “After our son died,” Carter tearfully recalled, “my husband and I showed up at the funeral home to make arrangements and were told that TBCF would be covering the cost. The organization also provided Christmas that year for our children who had just lost their brother. It came complete with the tree and gifts picked out specifically for each child. TBCF does everything they can to offer support not just for the child battling cancer, but for the siblings and parents too.”

Nicci Carter, TBCF mother from Santa Maria, shares a moving account of her experience with TBCF. Courtesy photo.

Nicci Carter, TBCF mother from Santa Maria, shares a moving account of her experience with TBCF. Courtesy photo.

With TBCF’s mission so vividly exemplified by the Carter family’s experience, the event emcee, Andrew Firestone, presented the opportunity for attendees to Fund A Family through items of descending value, such as a hotel room for a parent to stay near the hospital if they live far away.

The Rudolf Schulte Family Foundation was presented with the Heart of Gold Award, highlighting the Schulte family’s enduring support for TBCF kids and families.

The Rudolf Schulte Family Foundation from Santa Barbara was presented with the Heart of Gold Award, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

The Rudolf Schulte Family Foundation from Santa Barbara was presented with the Heart of Gold Award, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

The Trejos family, who received support from TBCF when Madix Trejos was diagnosed with ganglioneuroblastoma at age 5, was presented the Pay It Forward Award for their ongoing work to raise funds and awareness for local families who have a child battling cancer. Madix is 13-years-old now and doing great!

The Trejos family from Moorpark was presented with the Pay It Forward Award, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

The Trejos family from Moorpark was presented with the Pay It Forward Award, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

Robyn Howard-Anderson was presented with the Humanitarian Award for working in close conjunction with TBCF for more than a decade as the pediatric oncology social worker at Cottage Hospital, and later as the pediatric oncology social worker at Ventura County Medical Center.

Robyn Howard-Anderson (center left) from Ventura was presented with the Humanitarian Award, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

Robyn Howard-Anderson (center left) from Ventura was presented with the Humanitarian Award, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

The Helping Hands Award was presented to longtime friends Tracy Angel and Shannyn Tupper. In addition to serving on committees and coordinating events for TBCF, they started, and have continued to run, a Santa Barbara-North County beneficiary event, Sangria Soiree.

The Helping Hands Award was presented to Tracy Angel (left) and Shannyn Tupper from Santa Ynez, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

The Helping Hands Award was presented to Tracy Angel (left) and Shannyn Tupper from Santa Ynez, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

It would have been difficult to match the feeling of warmth and spirit of giving, were it not for TBCF children coming together to end the program with a joyful song led by Grammy Award-winning musician Justin Fox, lead singer of Dishwalla. Fox had graciously been practicing with the kids, spending time with them in his studio to record the track.

Since its founding in 2002, TBCF has awarded more than $2 million in financial assistance to 2,142 individuals living in the Tri-County Region. For more information or to make a donation, call 805/962-7466 or visit teddybearcancerfoundation.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 30, 2018.

Happy Haunting in Downtown Santa Barbara

Skeleton Window at Lovebird, courtesy photo.

Skeleton Window at Lovebird, courtesy photo.

It’s a Happy Halloween season downtown this week!

The Halloween Window Décor Contest has Downtown Santa Barbara judges hitting the street to critique the spooky Halloween windows, and you can judge for yourself until October 31.

Be sure to keep an eye on Lovebird (535 State St.) – In celebration of Halloween they have replaced their mannequins with skeletons. Each day, they’ll dress the skeletons in new outfits and create a scene involving and promoting a local Downtown Santa Barbara business.

“This idea appealed to us because we want to support downtown and do what we can to help revitalize State Street while having a good time,” says owner Jennifer Scarbrough. “We’ll keep it up through November 3rd – Day of the Dead!” 

 Also in the mix is the annual Downtown Halloween Trick or Treat on Wednesday, October 31 from 3-6 p.m. for any and all kids in costumes. Bring your own treat bag and look for balloons and window signs for the Downtown businesses handing out treats.

For more information, follow @DowntownSantaBarbara on Instagram.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 27, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Cheers to Chaplin’s Martini Bar

The perfect martini at Chaplin's Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

The perfect martini at Chaplin’s Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Looking for an intimate spot for a private tête-à-tête? The new Chaplin’s Martini Bar at the Montecito Inn offers a step back in time—to Charlie Chaplin‘s era—with a nicely curated menu of classic cocktails and a big dose of retro charm. 

Both the hour and the era are quickly forgotten when you step into this cozy lounge, which was briefly home to Frankland’s Crab & Co, is now a quietly sophisticated cocktail lounge. This new concept from Scratch|Restaurants Chef-Owners Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee has a speakeasy vibe meant to hearken back to the Montecito Inn’s early days.

The "master of ceremonies" at Chaplin's Martini Bar mixes up a variety of golden era-inspired cocktails, courtesy photo.

The “master of ceremonies” at Chaplin’s Martini Bar mixes up a variety of golden era-inspired cocktails, courtesy photo.

At the center of the room, a “master of ceremonies” shakes and stirs a clever cocktail menu– including the perfect, old school martini. Also available are the gin-focused, 1920s-era Corpse Reviver #2 (Tanqueray Gin, Lemon, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, Kina L’Aéro d’Or), Bee’s Knees (Tanqueray Gin, Lemon, Honey), French 75 (Tanqueray Gin, Lemon, Simple Syrup, Sparkling Wine) and Hanky Panky (Tanqueray Gin, Fernet-Branca, Carpano Antica).

The French 75 at Chaplin's Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

The French 75 at Chaplin’s Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

The late 1930s provide the inspiration for Scotch and Whiskey cocktail offerings: the Rusty Nail (Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch, Drambuie, Angostura) and Vieux Carré (Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, Angostura, Peychaud’s Bitters, Carpano Antica, Vermouth Rouge, Pierre Ferrand 1840).

The Rusty Nail at Chaplin's Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

The Rusty Nail at Chaplin’s Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

From the 1940s – 1960s, Rum and Vodka cocktails are the center of attention, with the Kangaroo Kicker (Charbay Vodka, Carpano Dry), and Air Mail (Bacradi Superior, Mint Leaves, Honey Syrup, Lime Juice, Sparkling Wine).

The Air Mail at Chaplin's Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

The Air Mail at Chaplin’s Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

All of the craft cocktails are priced from $12 – $15 (a deal by Montecito standards), and a large selection of wine, craft beer and spirits are also available.   

“Margarita and I have been spending the majority of our time in Montecito at The Monarch (the excellent new restaurant at the hotel), and I have consistently been told by locals that they miss the previous bar that once occupied this space,” says Chef-Owner Phillip Frankland Lee. “I wanted to restore what many felt was absent, but with my spin; a place you’d want to get dressed up for, but where cocktails and conversation are ultimately your only focus.”        

The bar snacks available also have a retro vibe, and include French cheeses and Italian charcuterie, homemade sourdough and accoutrements; Endive Salad with candied walnuts and shaved apple; Jumbo Shrimp with a housemade cocktail sauce; Steak Tartare with cornichons, quail egg and shallots; and Local Oysters served On the Half Shell or Rockefeller style.

Oysters at Chaplin's Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

Oysters at Chaplin’s Martini Bar, courtesy photo.

It’s hard to believe that just weeks ago this place was brightly lit crab shack. The transformation is quite dramatic. Designed in collaboration with Montecito Inn Co-Owner and Designer Danny Copus, Chaplin’s design features warm tones, with wood-trimmed booths in tufted jet-black leather and dark, coffee-colored oak bar. 1960s era James Bond would be quite at home here—it feels like the perfect spot for an assignation.

“As we worked on the design, I wanted the room to feel like a secret; but one worth sharing with your friends,” Danny Copus. “Chaplin’s Martini Bar is a place where you can trade the limelight for candlelight, and we are very excited to have it here at the Montecito Inn.”

Chaplin’s Martini Bar, 1295 Coast Village Rd., Montecito, chaplinsmartinibar.com818/906-9609, open daily from 4 p.m. – midnight, without reservations.  

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 believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 26, 2018.