Retro-Chic Revival at the Skyview Los Alamos 

The Skyview Courtyard was a former asphalt car park before being remodeled into a gathering spot featuring fire pits and native gardens. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

The Skyview Courtyard was a former asphalt car park before being
remodeled into a gathering spot featuring fire pits and native gardens. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

By Leslie Dinaberg

On the hilltop overlooking the quaint western town of Los Alamos sits a midcentury modern gem of a new hotel—the Skyview Los Alamos. This boutique, 33-room property—including two spacious suites and 16 deluxe rooms with private decks with outdoor showers and fire pits—opened last spring, somehow managing to maintain the historic 1950’s motel vibe, while infusing it with equal helpings of modern conveniences and hipster coolness.

“We were inspired by the western roots of Los Alamos, the midcentury architecture of the motel, and our love of travel,” explains Kimberly Walker, managing partner and co-owner of Skyview Los Alamos.

“Skyview was built in 1959 and changed hands quite a few times over the years,” says Walker. “At one point, locals used to be able to swim in the pool for 25 cents! We’ve heard many people say the Beatles stayed in room 33 at some point.”

The Midcentury golden starbust door welcomes visitors to Norman, the excellent onsite restaurant. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

The Midcentury golden starbust door welcomes visitors to Norman, the excellent onsite restaurant. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Like many others (myself included), Walker had driven past the motel for years and wondered what it was. “We always saw the motel sign going, ‘oh, what is that on the hill?’ But we fell in love with Los Alamos, the food, the wine and the people. When the motel went up for sale, we moved on it quickly. We purchased the property in 2016 and spent two years renovating the motel, sprucing up the grounds, updating the design and restoring its midcentury architecture. We also turned the former asphalt car park into communal native gardens with fire pits to create space for guests to relax and gather,” she explains.

The attention to detail is incredible. Guests are greeted with a cup of locally sourced Dart Coffee or a glass of local wine (and soon the 2.5-acre onsite Skyview Vineyards will yield their own Pinot Noir, overseen by winemaker Mikey Guigni of Scar of the Sea Wines).

Each room’s carefully crafted decor reflects both the location’s western heritage and modern luxury elements. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Each room’s carefully crafted decor reflects both the location’s western heritage and modern luxury elements. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Each room is its own bespoke design, with thoughtfully sourced and unique décor, including flat panel televisions, down duvets, leather club chairs and marble-clad bathrooms with hand-painted tiles and farm sinks, as well as luxury amenities such as locally made Fable Soap products in the bathroom and Abba-Zabba candy, Good Zebra munchies and Casamigos Tequila in the mini-bar.

“We completely designed the property ourselves,” says Walker. “My partner, Mike Kyle, oversaw the architectural design and I oversaw the interior design. This is our second project together as a design team—the first was Granada Hotel & Bistro in San Luis Obispo. As with the property in SLO, we let the building’s location and heritage guide the process. We’re proud and excited to have brought it back to its 1950’s glory.”

Another peek at the room's interior, with elements of both the location’s western heritage and modern luxuries. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Another peek at the room’s interior, with elements of both the location’s western heritage and modern luxuries. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

A large part of that glory is the restoration of the original 1950’s era pool, with the iconic neon “Motel” sign casting its glow over water that changes color from green to silver to purple and two shades of blue, with the help of an app. The ownership group, known as Nomada Hotel Group, took care to retain many of the motel’s original elements, like the quirky cactus columns in the porte-cochere, and the actual room keys instead of key cards. A fleet of Linus bikes offers a nostalgic way to explore the downtown area of Los Alamos—which is rapidly becoming a haven for foodies—as well as the surrounding wineries
and vineyards.

A restored vision of the iconic 1950s era pool and neon sign. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

A restored vision of the iconic 1950s era pool and neon sign. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Forest green doors with a midcentury golden starburst beckon guests to pay a visit to Norman—the excellent full-service bar and restaurant named with a wink to Psycho’s Norman Bates. Norman is well worth the drive on its own, and serves local wines, herb-infused cocktails and farm-fresh fare (think shareable plates and lots of salads, fish and house-smoked meats) both poolside and in the retro-chic reinvented dining room.

The dog-friendly property is a great spot for a romantic getaway but would also be a fun place to gather with a group of friends for a special occasion or just a weekend hangout.

SKYVIEW LOS ALAMOS, 9150 US-101, LOS ALAMOS,

805/344-0104, SKYVIEWLOSALAMOS.COM.

Originally published in the Winter 2019 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Jon Batiste

Jon Batiste, photo by Ambo Elliot.

Jon Batiste, photo by Ambo Elliot.

Jazz musician Jon Batiste, bandleader on The Late Show with Steven Colbert, makes his Santa Barbara debut on Friday, January 11 at 8 p.m. at UCSB Campbell Hall, in a UCSB Arts & Lectures presentation.

Wynton Marsalis describes him as “an elegant and electric performer with an unbelievably rich palette of techniques and styles rooted in New Orleans soul.”

Batiste is seen by millions on television five nights a week on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “The energy and the excitement, the love of the audience, the humanism that he brings to his music is everything that I want,” says Colbert.

With his soulful brand of high-energy pop mixed with New Orleans funk and American jazz standards, his 2013 album Social Music with his band Stay Human topped the charts as the No. 1 jazz album in the world. His new album was recorded in a church in native city of New Orleans and produced by T Bone Burnett. Batiste’s major label debut, Hollywood Africans, is a stunning showcase of the brilliant pianist and vocalist. Primarily just Batiste and his piano, it includes standards, unexpected covers and original songs. This release displays Batiste’s dynamic talents and highlights his musicality and virtuosity on his instrument.

The Forbes 30 under 30 honoree balances a demanding performance schedule—which often includes his signature, impromptu ‘love riot’ street parades—with his role as bandleader on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Artistic Director At Large of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, public speaking engagements, master classes and occasional acting gigs. He played himself on the HBO series Treme and most recently appeared in director Spike Lee‘s Red Hook Summer.

Batiste is also a coveted artist brand ambassador– currently featured in ad campaigns for Chase Bank, the Apple Watch, Lincoln Continental and numerous fashion brands including Polo Ralph Lauren Black Label, Frye, Kate Spade, Jack Spade Barneys, Nordstrom and H&M.

For tickets or more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805/893-3535 or purchase online at www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 9, 2019.

YI Shop | Youth Interactive Holiday Market

Photo courtesy YI Shop.

Photo courtesy YI Shop.

Buy local and help support the nonprofit Youth Interactive this weekend at their Makers Market on Saturday, December 22. This unique nonprofit creates youth led businesses to mentor students’ creativity, help ignite their imaginations and provide them with new opportunities to develop the life skills needed to succeed beyond school. 

YI Shop (located at 1219 State St. across from the Granada Theatre) is filled to the brim with local artists and craftsman working alongside students to celebrate the holiday season and create beautiful items for lucky holiday shoppers.

For the perfect gift, unique, LOCAL, handmade and crafted with love, stop in the YI Shop for everything you will need to make the holiday season shine bright for everyone on your list.

Photo courtesy YI Shop.

Photo courtesy YI Shop.

YI Shop is  partnering with some of the Central Coast’s most creative artisans to support our youth.  Among the gift items, you’ll find:

Turquoise Succulents by Ashley Rifkin 

Barry Tryon Ceramics

Photo courtesy YI Shop.

Photo courtesy YI Shop.

Kathy Burba Ceramics

Jess Conti Leather Goods

Dancing Flame Glass by Lindsey Cossman

Pedaling Paper by Barbara Booth

Karen Hazarian Fine Jewelry

Table Salt Screen Prints by Earl Arnold

Avi Hyman’s Green Eyed Art

Wolf Hietzke – Ceramics

Felicia Artisan Jewelry

Unite to Light

Elephant Project

Founded in 2012, Youth Interactive Santa Barbara (YI) is a grassroots after school Entrepreneurial Arts Academy that bridges opportunity & social divisions by providing creative young adults from all walks of life with the keys to self-sufficiency.

Past participants say, the YI approach has changed the pathway of their lives from a place of darkness & failure to success! Click here for more information. 

Youth Interactive Holiday Market is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 22 at 1219 State St. in Downtown Santa Barbara. www.youthinteractive.us

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 20, 2018.

Kids Helping Kids Benefit Concerts

San Marcos High School Kids Helping Kids program has to be one of the most interesting and unique. During the course of 16 years, students have raised more than 3.1 million dollars for charitable purposes—to improve the lives of disadvantaged children both globally and locally. This year’s student-run gala benefit concerts feature Ben Rector on Friday, Jan. 11, and JOHNNYSWIM on Saturday, Jan. 12.

Singer and songwriter, Ben Rector is most notably recognized for his smash hits such as “Drive” and “Brand New,” and he just released his sixth album, titled Magic, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Americana/Folk Charts and No. 44 on the Billboard 200 chart. The Oklahoma born and Nashville based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist uncovers that feeling of “magic” within 13 anthems equally rooted in whimsical nostalgia and excitement for the future. His ceaseless touring and prolific output paid off in a big way on the 2015 breakout Brand New. Clocking 41 million-plus streams on Spotify, the single organically landed over 40 film and television placements, including a trailer for The Edge of Seventeen, a TV spot for Disney’s Moana, and MLB World Series and Olympics primetime spots.

Kids Helping Kids is thrilled to bring back JOHNNYSWIM as the headliner for this year’s Saturday show on Jan. 12. Previously an opener for KHK, JOHNNYSWIM became a KHK fan favorite when they won over the crowd with hits like “Home” and “Diamonds.” Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano Ramirez make up JOHNNYSWIM. The pair met in Nashville in 2005. They clicked together musically and personally, beginning a romantic relationship along with their creative connection. JOHNNYSWIM can be easily recognized by their popular songs “Diamonds,” “Take the World,” and “Home.”

Both shows take place at The Granada Theatre (1214 State St., Santa Barbara). For more information, visit kidshelpingkidssb.org.

 

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 17, 2018.

The Christmas Revels: An Irish Celebration of the Winter Solstice

The Christmas Revels, Dec. 22-23 at the Lobero Theatre.

The Christmas Revels, Dec. 22-23 at the Lobero Theatre.

One of Santa Barbara’s favorite holiday traditions for the whole family is the annual Christmas Revels musical production. This year’s story, An Irish Celebration of the Winter Solstice, is a joyous theatrical production celebrating the spirit and strength of the Irish emigrants who came to America in the early 1900’s to build new lives in a new land. At sea over the holidays, these strangers bond over spinning stories, singing songs, and sharing seasonal traditions; friendships are formed, romance blossoms.

The Christmas Revels, Dec. 22-23 at the Lobero Theatre.

The Christmas Revels, Dec. 22-23 at the Lobero Theatre.

Joining the Revels Company are accomplished guest artists, including award-winning actors and Irish dancers as well as vocal soloists, a brass ensemble and a string and wind quintet.

The Christmas Revels is an exciting and heartwarming entertainment experience for every age and a favorite Santa Barbara holiday tradition created by and for our community for the past 11 years. The show takes place at the Lobero Theatre (33 E. Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara) Dec. 22 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 23 at 2:30 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

Leslie Dinaberg

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

Cocktail Corner: Wine World News & Happenings

Presqu’ile Winery scores big in National Tasting Room Rankings, releases Rescue Wine Collection; The Pillars Wines showcase Bien Nacido Estate; Brick Barn Wine Estate Scores Big in Competition; Guarachi Wine Partners Acquires Parker Station; Cambria Estate Winery joins Stewards of the Land with Leonardo DiCaprio

Presqu’ile Tasting Room, photo by Avis Mandel.

Presqu’ile Tasting Room, photo by Avis Mandel.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Presqu’ile Winery Rates #2 in USA Today’s 10 Best Tasting Rooms in the U.S.

Presqu’ile, the Murphy Family’s contemporary estate winery in the hills of Santa Maria, placed second in USA TODAY’s 2018 National Readers Poll of 10 Best Tasting Rooms across the United States, serving as the only representative and entry from Santa Barbara County.

“Our mission at the Presqu’ile tasting room is to share our passion for the wines from Santa Maria Valley and our estate vineyard in a relaxed, elegant setting while providing world-class hospitality,” states Matt Murphy, co-founder and president. “The nomination for the top 10 Best Tasting Rooms and second place finish in the poll is a testament to the hard work our team puts in daily to deliver this experience. They are an extension of our family and do an incredible job living up to our high expectations for the guest experience at Presqu’ile. A huge thanks to our friends and extended family who voted for us; we are so appreciative of the support.”

Nominees for USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards categories are chosen by a panel of relevant experts. Presqu’ile (pronounced press-KEEL) is a small, family-run winery dedicated to making exceptional cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Presqu’ile is a multigenerational collaboration between Madison and Suzanne Murphy, their three adult children, Matt, Anna and Jonathan, and their daughters-in-law, Amanda and Lindsey. No strangers to agriculture, four generations of the wine-loving Murphy family have been farming land in Louisiana for almost a century. Led by eldest son Matt Murphy, the family founded Presqu’ile—the Creole word for “almost an island”—both as a tribute to a beloved Gulf Coast family gathering place that was lost in Hurricane Katrina, and because they envisioned Presqu’ile as an island-like haven amid the vines. Also on the team is rising star winemaker Dieter Cronje.

Left: Murphy family members Charlie, Anna, Matt, Pokey, Suzanne and Madison; right: Assistant Winemaker Mike Chase with Gus and Nyla. Photo courtesy of Presqu’ile.

Left: Murphy family members Charlie, Anna, Matt, Pokey, Suzanne and Madison; right: Assistant Winemaker Mike Chase with Gus and Nyla. Photo courtesy of Presqu’ile.

Rescue Wine Collection

Presqu’ile also recently joined forces with the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society to release the Rescue Wine Collection named for the winning dog and cat of the Presqui’le Spokesdog and Spokescat Contest honoring the second annual Presqu’ile 5K9 Run & Walk held this fall. The contest and event benefited the work of the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society.

The Miller Family Releases of The Pillars Wines, Historically Inspired to Represent the Foundation of the Bien Nacido Estate
Nicholas Miller, Stephen Miller and Marshall Miller, proprietors of the Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Estates. Courtesy photo.

Nicholas Miller, Stephen Miller and Marshall Miller, proprietors of the Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Estates. Courtesy photo.

The Miller family, owners and stewards of the Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Estates, recently announced the release of The Pillars, a selection of three historically inspired wines from the most exceptional parcels within Bien Nacido Vineyard.

Since Bien Nacido Vineyard’s inception in 1973, the most impressive parcels of the vineyard have commanded the highest demand and demonstrated the greatest quality. It’s with this understanding that, after 45 years, the Miller Family has decided to craft these three special wines, anchored in the rich history of Bien Nacido and appropriately called the Pillars to represent the foundation of the winemaking program. 

 “The Pillars Wines were created to honor our family’s history, leadership and vision for growing the world’s best grapes and producing the highest quality wines from the Bien Nacido Estate,” shares Nicholas Miller, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “The name was really inspired by the pillars of our family.”

Bien Nacido & Solomon Hills Estates are part of The Thornhill Companies, the industry-leading umbrella brand owned by the Miller Family—one of California’s premier winegrowing families who have been farming California’s Central Coast for five generations. In addition to the Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Estates, The Thornhill Companies includes such well-respected brands as J. Wilkes, Ballard Lane, Smashberry and Barrel Burner wines, French Camp vineyard in Paso Robles and the custom crush facilities Central Coast Wine Services and Paso Robles Wine Services.

Brick Barn Wine Estate Scores Big in Competition
Brick Barn Wine Estate Winery, courtesy photo.

Brick Barn Wine Estate Winery, courtesy photo.

The Brick Barn Estate Winery & Vineyard recently won some awards at 2018 Sonoma County Harvest Challenge and the 2018 San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition. Here’s a round-up of the award-winning wines:

2016 Albariño: Block 1 / Albariño Clone 1 / 1.9 acres. A lively rendition of this classic Spanish variety. Bright white flower aromatics build in the glass, leading to a crisp and direct core of exotic citrus and pear. These qualities are enhanced with extended skin contact, light pressing and extended cold settling prior to fermentation and aging in stainless steel.  2018 Sonoma County Harvest Challenge:  Best in Class, Best in Show, Best White, Double Gold and Best of the Central Coast.2018 San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition: Double Gold.

2016 Vermentino: Block 7 / Vermentino Clone Tablas A / 2.1 acres. An aromatic white that offers both crispness and length. Grown in a wind-protected block behind the winery, this wine shows delicate floral notes of peach and honeysuckle followed by vibrant white fruit flavors—all layered over a fresh sea breeze salinity and a lasting, stony finish. 2018 San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition: Sweepstakes Winner White Wines.

2017 Grenache Rosé: Block 2 / Grenache Blanc Clone 141 / 3.28 acres Alive with a vibrant fragrance of rose petal and chalk followed by a juicy core of fruit and beach stones. This wine is whole cluster pressed, settled and co-fermented with Grenache Clone 136, Grenache Clone 513 and Grenache Blanc. 2018 Sonoma County Harvest Challenge: Silver Medal.

2016 Chardonnay: Block 5 / Chardonnay Clone 4 / 5.04 acres Block 6 / Chardonnay Clone 809 / 2.96 acres. A focused, terroir-driven  Chardonnay. Bright and alluring tones of citrus and pear are driven by a crisp mineral structure derived from the alluvial sands of our estate’s lower blocks. 2018 Sonoma County Harvest Challenge: Gold Medal.

2016 Cabernet Franc: Block 18 / Cabernet Franc Clone 332 / 2.64 acres. Grown in the upper blocks of our estate vineyard, this wine derives power and finesse from an east-west row orientation along a rocky, hillside terrain. Deep red fruit and spicy aromatics lead to flavors of currant, pepper and dark cherry, all supported by firm, structured tannins. 2018 Sonoma County Harvest Challenge: Gold Medal

The 35-acre Brick Barn estate vineyard, which opened its Buellton tasting room in 2018, is open to the pubic daily. For more information, visit www.brickbarnwineestate.com.

Guarachi Wine Partners Acquires Parker Station from Fess Parker Winery
Parker Station Wine, courtesy photo.

Parker Station Wine, courtesy photo.

Guarachi Wine Partners  and Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard recently announced Guarachi Wine Partners’ acquisition of Parker Station, a Central Coast Pinot Noir brand. Guarachi Wine Partners will be representing and supporting the brand by leveraging its experienced sales team, developing marketing campaigns and national distribution to grow brand awareness and overall volume. The wine will continue to be produced by Fess Parker Winery for a period of five years.

“Ten years ago, I saw an opportunity to expand past South American wines and into California produced wines. Our domestic portfolio now features Guarachi Family Wines  —a high-end luxury label sourced from micro lots within Estate vineyards in Napa and Sonoma, and a gathering of high quality wine brands at reasonable prices including Black Ink,  tenshǝn,  Surf/Swim  and  BACON,” says Alex Guarachi, founder of Guarachi Wine Partners and owner of Guarachi Family Wines. “Parker Station is the perfect addition and fits a niche for our portfolio with its great price point Pinot Noir and drinkability that consumers are looking for. Part of the future plan for the brand is to extend the line to include Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. I’m excited to share this wine with everyone and looking forward to a long term partnership with Fess Parker.”

Tim Snider, President of Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, adds, “As we enter our 30th year as a family owned and operated winery here in Santa Barbara County, we feel a return to our core identity by focusing on our higher-end and single-vineyard wines is the best path forward for the family.” Snider continues, “Connecting with Alex Guarachi about his vision to grow the Parker Station label is a mutually beneficial opportunity, and we know the brand will continue to flourish as part of their portfolio, which represents the richness and diversity of the global wine world.”

Cambria Estate Winery Partners with Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation for “Stewards of the Land” Grant Program 
Courtesy Cambria Estate Winery.

Courtesy Cambria Estate Winery.

Cambria Estate Winery recently announced the launch of its “Stewards of the Land” environmental sustainability grant program in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF). LDF has worked on environmental issues globally for the past 20 years and pulled from their broad network of leaders and organizations in the space to nominate the women for this new grant program.

The Cambria “Stewards of the Land” grant program identifies and empowers female leaders who are making meaningful contributions to environmental and community-based causes.  In partnership with LDF, Cambria Estate Winery’s co-proprietors Julia Jackson and Katie Jackson selected two recipients who will each receive a $25,000 grant to further their mission as Stewards of the Land.  The inaugural grant recipients, Calla Rose Ostrander and the Women’s Empowerment Program of Amazon Frontlines, were selected for their demonstrated commitment to environmental conservation and excellent stewardship of our natural resources, in California and around the globe, respectively.

“Our ‘Stewards of the Land’ program is not only focused on identifying inspiring female leaders in important environmental causes here at home, but the program seeks to extend its impact and reach to places around the globe that are not normally in our day-to-day conscience, like the Amazon,” says Julia Jackson, co-proprietor of Cambria and Family Ambassador for Jackson Family Wines. “We’re very excited to support Calla Rose Ostrander’s work to improve carbon capture and regeneration, and the Women’s Empowerment Program of Amazon Frontlines for its dedication to protecting over five million acres of rainforest that is vital to worldwide oxygen supply and sequesters vast amounts of carbon.”   

“We are excited to use our vast network of environmental change makers to help Cambria Estate Winery identify and champion women who are leading impactful efforts to protect the health of our planet,” says LDF Executive Director Justin Winters. “The inaugural grant recipients, Calla Rose Ostrander and the women from the Women’s Empowerment Program of Amazon Frontlines, are incredible examples of the type of thoughtful, innovative and collaborative leadership that we believe is the key to ensuring a vibrant our future.”

“We are proud to partner with LDF to help bring worldwide attention to environmental stewardship,” says Katie Jackson, co-proprietor of Cambria Estate Winery and Vice President of Sustainability and External Affairs for Jackson Family Wines. “We are supporting innovative initiatives that will have a real, lasting impact on improving soil health, while also empowering women to become environmental leaders in their own communities.”

Throughout its history, Cambria Estate Winery has taken serious, continuous steps to preserve and protect the land, take care of its employees, and support the local community.  Every aspect of the winery’s operations, from the cellar to the estate vineyard, practices sustainable farming and winemaking techniques. For more information, visit cambriawines.com/stewards-of-the-land. 

 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 December 14, 2018.

Everybody Dance Now! Holiday Performance

Everybody Dance Now! courtesy photo.

Everybody Dance Now! courtesy photo.

Looking for a fun, holiday performance to take the kids to? Everybody Dance Now! Invites you and your family to the Everybody Dance Now! Holiday Performance on Friday, December 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Santa Barbara County Education Office Auditorium(4400 Cathedral Oaks Rd., Santa Barbara).

Everybody Dance Now! courtesy photo.

Everybody Dance Now! courtesy photo.

“We are excited to continue building our diverse dance community, transforming our youth through the power of dance, and showing how a strong culture of unity and love can be created through the arts. Anyone who has attended one of our performances can tell you, the night is super high energy! In fact, you probably won’t stop smiling,” say the organizers. “This year we have performances by our weekly youth dance classes, guest dance performances, parent dance-offs, yummy baked goods, activities for the kids, and prize giveaways. This is an event for everyone, so invite your friends and family for a night of dance and holiday cheer!”

Guest artists include  DJ Sparx and MC Omar Khan in what is sure to be a fun, high-energy night of entertainment.

The event is donation-based and is free to attend.  Everybody Dance Now! will allocate all funds raised towards continuing to offer free or low-cost dance classes to hundreds of dancers each week. For more information about the event and this terrific organization, visit www.everybodydancenow.org.

Everybody Dance Now! courtesy photo.

Everybody Dance Now! courtesy photo.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 8, 2018.

Local Dish: An Edible Tribute to Hanukkah

As my grandmother used to say, the best way to come to Hanukkah feast is to come hungry! That advice definitely still holds for next week’s special event, 8 Nights {an Edible Tribute to Hanukkah}.

Courtesy K'Syrah Catering & Events.

Courtesy K’Syrah Catering & Events.

This exclusive holiday food happening is hosted by Chef Brooke Stockwell, Executive Chef for K’Syrah Catering & Events (www.kscateringandevents.com). A contemporary culinary twist on traditional Jewish celebratory foods, the event takes place on Dec. 7 at K’Syrah Catering & Events (478 4th Place, Solvang) from 6:30-10 p.m. The ticketed evening includes six seated courses of Chef Brooke’s special Hanukkah menu, preceded by two passed appetizer courses.

“This holiday holds so many happy family memories for me, and most of those, food-related. These Hanukkah events give me a chance to honor those memories and traditions, and share them with the whole community—and visitors.

Courtesy K'Syrah Catering & Events.

Courtesy K’Syrah Catering & Events.

I’m using local and seasonal ingredients that showcase this region, to craft a Hanukkah menu which would be fairly recognizable as such,” says Chef Brooke.

Raised in Lompoc, Chef Brooke’s culinary style has evolved over the past dozen years as she has plied her trade in Santa Barbara and Las Vegas, in Morro Bay, and now, back in the Santa Ynez Valley. Chef Brooke’s culinary career began as a private chef at age 19, while she was still in culinary school in Santa Barbara. After working for celebrity chef Rick Moonen in Las Vegas, Chef Brooke returned to the Central Coast where she happily fed locals and tourists alike, as the Executive Chef of the Inn at Morro Bay. Now, upon her return to the Santa Ynez Valley, Chef Brooke became the Executive Chef of K’Syrah Catering & Events, where she continues to share her passion for food and the stories that coincide with the ingredients she selects.

Participating Jewish Santa Barbara County winemakers who will be featured include Sandra Newman, Cebada Wine; Michael Roth, Lo-Fi Wines; and Larry Schaffer, tercero wines. In addition, a portion of the event’s proceeds will support the Santa Ynez Valley Jewish Community.

Courtesy K'Syrah Catering & Events.

Courtesy K’Syrah Catering & Events.

The “8 Nights” Menu for Friday, Dec. 7, with participating Jewish Winemakers, includes:

Tray Passed

1 — potato latke // house-cured salmon // black pepper crème fraîche // chives

2 — savory olive oil cake // cherry coulis // salted bay leaf Chantilly

Seated

3 — roasted beets // frisée // orange // honey vinaigrette // goat cheese crouton

4 — fritto misto // zucchini, winter squash, apple, fennel, lemon // sage brown butter // edible flowers

5 — savory kugel // kale, cipollini, broccolini, mushrooms // gruyere // challah bread crumbs // herbs

6 — grilled quail // parsnip latke // pomegranate // charoset

7 — smoked brisket // roasted apple sauce // grilled root vegetables // smoked Jerusalem artichoke cream // crispy taro root

8 — apple beignet // dulce de leche // sour cream ice milk // edible flowers

Tickets for the event are $85 per person, plus an onsite cash bar, and are available at 8-nights-edible-tribute-to-hanukkah.eventbrite.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

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

Cocktail Corner: Seasonal Sips & Bites at Finch & Fork

In the Pines, photo by Michael Sharp, courtesy Finch & Fork.

In the Pines, photo by Michael Sharp, courtesy Finch & Fork.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

We got the chance to taste Finch & Fork’s seasonal cocktail menu and the late fall/early winter dinner menu, both of which are delicious!

Lead Bartender George Piperis‘s new cocktails embrace the season with sensational sippers like the Daughter of Man with copper & kings brandy, honey crisp apple, black currant, honey and eucalyptus bitters, and the Captain Jack Sparrow with jack daniels rye, chairman’s forgotten cask rum, roasted banana and blackstrap and tobacco bitters. Christmas is definitely in the air with the In the Pines cocktail, made with death’s door gin, cardamaro, cocchi torino and pine pollen, and you can’t help but smile when you taste the frothy and tasty You Got Chocolate in My Peanut Butter, made with peanut butter–washed toki japanese whisky, tempus fugit créme de cacao and peanut butter foam. The little girl in me loved Barbie’s Bath Bomb, garnished with Barbie-sized shoes and made with Hangar One vodka, rhubarb, grapefruit, and a pouf of tarragon air. So fun!

Finch & Fork's Barbie Bath Bomb, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork’s Barbie Bath Bomb, courtesy photo.

All those great cocktails helped up work up an appetite, and Executive Chef Peter Cham‘s tasty selections fit the bill to a tee. Among our favorites were the Sweet Potato Baba Ganoush, a surprising mashup of sweet and savory served with incredible housemade bread and pickled veggies. The Harissa Buffalo Wings are another favorite starter, along with hearty Mushroom Soup made with puffed​ rice, black truffle powder and chives (so aromatic and lovely!).

The Burrata & Roasted Squash with pumpkin seed pesto, pomegranate, vadovan honey and rye croutons is a mouthwatering, original variation on one of our favorite cheese dishes. As for mains, the Fresh Ricotta Cavatelli with pork cheek ragout, poblano sofrito and aged manchego is fabulous. You also can’t go wrong with the Sea Scallops. This season’s version sits on a brown butter cauliflower puree, with romanesco, pickled kumquat and crispy capers. And even better yet, a  portion of the proceeds from the scallops is donated to No Kid Hungry, a movement of teachers, chefs, community leaders, parents, lawmakers and CEOs with a shared belief: no kid in America should go hungry.

Finch & Fork Sweet Potato Babaganoush, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork Sweet Potato Babaganoush, courtesy photo.

Speaking of hunger, Finch & Fork is offering yet another way to make your taste buds sing, when Chef Cham offers a special CHAMily Holiday DinnerGather around the table for an evening that takes you back to his Cambodian roots. The multi-course, family-style dinner features traditional Cambodian cuisine, like Prahok Ktiss and Noum Prajok, served alongside truly great company. The CHAMily Dinner is Saturday, December 8 at 7 p.m. Reservations can be made for $55 per person, which includes a welcome drink from lead bartender George Piperis. Optional wine and beer pairings are available. 

Call 805/879-9100 to make your reservation. Seating is limited. Finch & Fork is located at 31 W. Carrillo St. in the Kimpton Canary

Daughter of Man, photo courtesy Finch & Fork.

Daughter of Man, photo courtesy Finch & Fork.

Harissa Wings, photo courtesy Finch & Fork.

Harissa Wings, photo courtesy Finch & Fork.

Chocolate in my Peanut Butter, photo courtesy Finch & Fork.

Chocolate in my Peanut Butter, photo courtesy Finch & Fork.

Finch & Fork Scallops, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork Scallops, courtesy photo.

Finch in the Pines, photo by Kevin Claiborne, courtesy Finch & Fork.

Finch in the Pines, photo by Kevin Claiborne, courtesy Finch & Fork.

Finch & Fork's Burrata and Cauliflower, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork’s Burrata and Cauliflower, courtesy photo.

In the Pines, photo by Michael Sharp, courtesy Finch & Fork.

In the Pines, photo by Michael Sharp, courtesy Finch & Fork.

Finch & Fork's Black Pepper Cavatelli, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork’s Black Pepper Cavatelli, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork's Daily Special Board, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s Daily Special Board, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

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 30, 2018.

Mentors and Makers: The Artists of Westmont College

MENTORS AND MAKERS: The Artists of Westmont College, at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

MENTORS AND MAKERS: The Artists of Westmont College, at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

As part of its continuing commitment to exhibit the work of talented emerging artists alongside important established and historically significant artists, Sullivan Goss Gallery hosts an exhibition of works by the art department faculty of Westmont College. Mentors and Makers: The Artists of Westmont College opens on Dec. 6 with a 1st Thursday Reception from 5-8 p.m. The exhibition remains on view through Jan. 20.

The art department at Westmont College has always had an outsized influence on the art scene of the region. But tucked away in its bucolic Montecito campus, it can be easy to overlook how much concentrated talent is found there. “Currently, Westmont’s arts faculty consists of some of the most intriguing, adventurous, and distinct artists working in and around Santa Barbara, though their work is making waves over a much larger area,” says Curator Nathan Vonk.

Featured artists include:

Scott Anderson received his M.F.A. in illustration from The University of Hartford, and an M.A. in illustration from Syracuse University. His illustration work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, LA Weekly, The Village Voice, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and many others. He has also created numerous book covers for the popular “Who Is” series from the Grosset & Dunlap division of Penguin Books. His work has been awarded and recognized by Communication Arts, American Illustration, the Society of Illustrators New York, the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles, and in multiple volumes of Spectrum. A gallery painter as well, Anderson exhibits his figurative work annually with Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Scott Anderson, Wave 2, 2017, 7 x 11," oil on canvas, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Scott Anderson, Wave 2, 2017, 7 x 11,” oil on canvas, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

James Daly focuses on figurative work and classical methods in various genres. Most recently his art has been an exploration of movement, visual memory, and experience in the outdoors. Daly is a graduate of Westmont and UCSB with degrees in Studio art and a Masters in Education. For the last eleven years he has developed a classically based curriculum that follows atelier-style art education for Providence Upperschool and more recently joined Westmont as an adjunct instructor.

James Daly, Haskell's Sunset, 2018, 6 x 8 inches, oil on board, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

James Daly, Haskell’s Sunset, 2018, 6 x 8 inches, oil on board, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Nathan Huff earned his M.F.A. in Drawing and Painting, from California State University Long Beach, and also studied at Watts Atelier School of Art. Huff creates drawing and painting installations that function as freewheeling narratives: personal stories that explore the gaps between visual perception and modes of representation. Huff’s solo museum and gallery exhibitions have been featured at UCR Culver and Sweeney Galleries (Riverside), Los Angeles at D.E.N. Contemporary (West Hollywood), New Media Gallery (Ventura) Minthorne Gallery, (Oregon), and Gallerie View (Salambo, Tunisia.)

Nathan Huff, Skies and Schisms 5, 2018, 22 x 30 inches, gouache on paper, on board, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Nathan Huff, Skies and Schisms 5, 2018, 22 x 30 inches, gouache on paper, on board, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Sommer Roman was born and raised in California. She received her BA from UC Santa Cruz in 2004, and her MFA from UC Santa Barbara in 2014. She maintains a multi-disciplinary practice spanning sculpture, painting, and drawing and teaches part-time at California Polytechnic University (Cal Poly) & Westmont College in Santa Barbara. Some of her recent projects & exhibits include: Left Coast; Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Art, a group exhibit at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; Out of the Great Wide Open, a group exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara; Artist Residency & culminating solo exhibition, Passage at UC Santa Barbara; Artist Residency at The Squire Foundation, and most recently, In the Woods, Perpetual Youth, a solo exhibit at Ventura College.

Sommer Roman, Sighting no. 542, 2018, 55 x 20 x 26 inches, reclaimed fabric, clothing, pillows, feathers, paint, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Sommer Roman, Sighting no. 542, 2018, 55 x 20 x 26 inches, reclaimed fabric, clothing, pillows, feathers, paint, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Chris Rupp received his BA from Westmont College and an MFA from Azusa Pacific University. While trained primarily as a sculptor, Rupp does not limit his art making to traditional sculptural mediums or even three-dimensional forms. From graphite drawings, to molded plastic, or the use of unconventional store bought materials. His work has been exhibited at the Inland Empire Museum of Art, Biola University, Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, The Channing Peake Gallery, and the Santa Barbara Arts Fund.

Chris Rupp, Dreamers Welcome, 2018, 18 x 30 inches, acrylic enamel paint on coir door mat, on board, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Chris Rupp, Dreamers Welcome, 2018, 18 x 30 inches, acrylic enamel paint on coir door mat, on board, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Meagan Sterling has an M.A. and an M.F.A. in Printmaking from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her work has been displayed in many juried and group exhibitions, from Denver and Peoria to Seattle and Spokane. She says, “The paradox of daily life as safe and comfortable, juxtaposed with its polar opposite—defense against life’s uncertainties—appears to bully the American Dream itself. My art explores images of post World War II Americana where energy and resources were often used to advance comfort and promise safety and well being.”

Meagan Stirling, Everlasting Arms 5, 2018, 16 x 16 inches, Drypoint and Monoprint, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Meagan Stirling, Everlasting Arms 5, 2018, 16 x 16 inches, Drypoint and Monoprint, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Sullivan Goss – An American Gallery, is located at 11 E. Anapamu St. in downtown Santa Barbara.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 2, 2018.