Hotel Chefs Dish

Opening spread 805 Living Hotel Chefs Dish March 2020Creators of the farE served at 10 prestigious area resorts share their best new menu items, observations on industry trends, favorite local ingredients, and go-to eats made by other chefs.

By Leslie Dinaberg

Great chefs love great food. So who better qualified to share their insights on the 805 dining scene than top chefs at local resorts? With their insider intel on what’s new in Central Coast restaurants right now, crave-worthy dishes from their own kitchens and other chefs, as well as their favorite local ingredients, here’s what 10 area hotel chefs say is trending in the 805.

EXECUTIVE CHEF JOHAN DENIZOT

Belmond El Encanto, Santa Barbara

What’s trending on the 805 restaurant scene right now? Upscale Mexican cuisine. At least three new Mexican restaurants opened between last year and this year.

Of your latest dishes, which is your favorite? Our vegan ramen. It’s comfort food that pleases everyone.

What is your current go-to dish by another chef? The veggie burger at the Goat Tree restaurant [hotelcalifornian.com] in Santa Barbara’s Hotel Californian is very tasty, my to-go dish for lunch.

What other 805-area chef is doing particularly creative, interesting things with food? Chef Yoichi Kawabata at the Japanese restaurant Yoichi’s [yoichis.com] in Santa Barbara, for clean flavors and clean presentations.

What 805-area ingredient has contributed the most to the elevation of your culinary creations? There are too many to list, but one in particular is the finger lime caviar. It’s fun to use and fits many dishes—from raw fish to desserts—with its bright and bold flavor.

Second spread 805 Living Hotel Chefs Dish March 2020

EXECUTIVE CHEF EDWARD RUIZ

The Gardens of Avila, Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, San Luis Obispo, sycamoresprings.com

What is your current go-to dish by another chef? My go-to dish is always a steak, medium rare. My favorite steak place is The Hitching Post II [hitchingpost2.com] in Buellton. I remember having one on my birthday. It was a 32-ounce rib eye grilled over oak.

What other 805-area chef is doing particularly creative, interesting things with food? Chef Brian Collins at Ember in Arroyo Grande. He does farm-to-table and the menu changes every month. It’s a really good experience from the service to the food.

What 805-area ingredient has contributed the most to the elevation of your culinary creations? I’m very lucky to have a one-acre garden that we harvest a lot of our ingredients from, including melons, cucumbers, radishes, heirloom tomatoes, beets, greens, herbs, and edible flowers. We have a full-time farmer on-site—Haley Trengove—who is super helpful and really knowledgeable. That is something most restaurants in the area don’t have, and it sets us apart.

EXECUTIVE CHEF MATT JOHNSON

San Ysidro Ranch, Montecito, sanysidroranch.com

What’s trending on the 805 restaurant scene right now? Microbrews are popping up everywhere, which has food trucks coming to serve small plates, whether they’re taco, wood-fired pizza, or barbecue trucks. Also with more and more vegans and gluten-free diners, a lot of restaurants are going in that direction with healthier and lighter dishes. There are so many different options now in the 805 compared to 10 years ago when it was mainly tacos, Italian food, and cafés.

Of your latest dishes, which is your favorite? One of our dishes at Stonehouse restaurant is Local Spiny Lobster with gnocchi, romanesco, speck ham, and Meyer lemon emulsion. The lobster is from Santa Cruz Island and the Meyer lemons that make up the sauce are from our gardens at San Ysidro Ranch.

What is your current go-to dish by another chef? One of my favorite dishes is at Kitanoya Ramen & Sushi [805-382-1222] in Oxnard. It’s the Fried Chicken Ramen with crispy garlic, pickled egg, and spicy miso, along with a side of their house-made kimchi. It is my comfort dish on a cold evening; it’s so good.

What 805-area ingredient has contributed the most to the elevation of your culinary creations? My favorite ingredient right now is definitely Meyer lemons from our property. We also have beehives on the property that make our honey. It’s got flavors of rosemary and lavender.

EXECUTIVE CHEF RICHARD PFAFF

Lido, Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa, Pismo Beach, thedolphinbay.com

What’s trending on the 805 restaurant scene right now? Not just in the 805 but countrywide, diners have moved to either a plant-based diet or have chosen to omit gluten and carbs from their diets. We here at Lido make an effort to accommodate diners with a host of different diets. Recently we released a house-made vegan burger consisting of edamame, shiitake mushrooms, garbanzo beans, and hominy, which is very popular. We also appeal to gluten-free diners who frequent our resort. I am most proud of this, considering 80 percent of our menu is gluten-free or has the option to be prepared that way, everything from our crab cakes and French fries all the way to our garbanzo bean flour–breaded fritto misto appetizer.

What is your current go-to dish by another chef? Oh, hands down the pork belly and abalone dish by chef Brian Collins at Ember [emberwoodfire.com] in Arroyo Grande. I usually am off on Mondays when they are closed, but every time I visit Ember that is my go-to dish!

What other 805-area chef is doing particularly creative, interesting things with food? Nicola Allegretto at Mistura [misturarestaurants.com] in San Luis Obispo. Mistura stands out because of the lack of Peruvian food represented here in the 805. With fun, eclectic flavors and beautiful presentation, it’s just a fun and interesting place all around.

Third spread 805 Living Hotel Chefs Dish March 2020

EXECUTIVE CHEF TRAVIS WATSON

Blackbird, Hotel Californian, Santa Barbara, hotelcalifornian.com

Of your latest dishes, which is your favorite? My favorite dish on the Blackbird menu right now is our Prime New York Steak. It is a grass-fed, all-natural product that is aged for at least 33 days. It’s so tender and delicious by itself, but we accompany it with heirloom carrot variations, caramelized cipollini onions, chimichurri, and a smoked–blue cheese bread pudding. The preparation is beautiful and over-the-top delicious!

What is your current go-to dish by another chef? The buttermilk fried quail from chef Jason Paluska at The Lark [thelarksb.com] in Santa Barbara. It is spectacular, and I love that he took such a classic approach to a great ingredient.

What 805-area ingredient has contributed the most to the elevation of your culinary creations? One of the best things about living and cooking in Santa Barbara is the access to great seafood. Right now we are getting the best spiny lobsters I can remember. At Hotel Californian we have great relationships within our local fishing community and are able to get fresh lobsters right off the boat. It doesn’t get any fresher than that! Forging those partnerships means that Hotel Californian will always be able to source the best product in the area. I have such respect for the fishermen and farmers who are passionate about sustainability and being stewards of our natural resources.

EXECUTIVE CHEF MICHAEL PATRIA

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, fourseasons.com/santabarbara

Of your latest dishes, which is your favorite? We just introduced a new dish to the Bella Vista menu which is, to me, Santa Barbara on a plate! Santa Barbara Uni with cauliflower panna cotta, smoked crême fraîche, trout roe, finger lime, and sea grass. This dish is not only absolutely gorgeous but also packed with flavor.

What are your current go-to dishes by other chefs? In Santa Barbara, The Tia Juana [spanish octopus and wild white shrimp] tacos at Corazon Cocina [corazoncocinasb.com] from chef Ramon Velazquez. I crave these weekly! The Ceviche Verde at Santo Mescal Restaurante [santomezcalsb.com] from executive chef Ricardo Garcia. The Tri Tip at Barbareño [barbareno.com] by executive chef Julian Martinez is seriously one of the most tender and flavorful pieces of meat in town. Of course I am pretty new to town, so I’m still exploring.

What other 805-area chef is doing particularly creative, interesting things with food? I would have to say chef Yoichi Kawabata from Yoichi’s [yoichis.com] in Santa Barbara. The kaiseki is steeped in tradition but packed full of creativity. His attention to detail is amazing. And his use of micro-seasonal Japanese ingredients is inspirational.

What 805-area ingredient has contributed the most to the elevation of your culinary creations? The amazingly fresh local seafood. Coming from Atlanta, which is minimally three to four hours from the ocean, I find it pretty fantastic being able to work with seafood that is literally only a couple hours out of the water.

EXECUTIVE CHEF JOSE FERNANDEZ

Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, fourseasons.com/westlakevillage

What’s trending on the 805 restaurant scene right now? What I see now is more attention to flavors, how you can take the best avocado, the best cabbage, or the best carrot to the next level.

Of your latest dishes, which is your favorite? Our whole California avocado with Santa Barbara pistachios and seaweed. I think this dish really symbolizes what our restaurant, the region, and the farmers are all about: putting vegetables on the front seat of the plate. The dish has such an interesting story, it is so simple yet so complex and delicious, especially in peak seasons when we get the avocados from Apricot Lane Farms [apricotlanefarms.com].

What is your current go-to dish by another chef? Lately I have been in Tyger Tyger [tygertygersb.com] in Santa Barbara more than once. I love what Daniel Palaima has done in that space—best Crispy Chicken Wings and Crispy Brussels Sprouts.

What other 805-area chef is doing particularly creative, interesting things with food? Collin Crannell from Moody Roster [moodyroosterwlv.com] in Westlake Village is super creative in the way he prepares the dishes and incorporates seasonal ingredients into the mix.

What 805-area ingredient has contributed the most to the elevation of your culinary creations? From this particular area, so many: fresh avocados, strawberries, Santa Barbara spot prawns, pistachios, citrus, and the list continues.

Fourth spread 805 Living Hotel Chefs Dish March 2020

EXECUTIVE CHEF LISA BIONDI

Westlake Village Inn, westlakevillageinn.com

What’s trending on the 805 restaurant scene right now? Trending in the 805 and the restaurant scene in general are regional foods that highlight a specific cuisine and serving more vegetable-centered items.

Of your latest dishes, which are your favorites? Mediterraneo’s Roasted Cauliflower Bagna Cauda, which is roasted and bathed with a garlic anchovy sauce that has such umami-rich flavors. Salatim, because it offers a different, healthy way to start your meal with vegetables that are marinated and turned into dips and spreads, and our grilled Whole Branzino.

What other 805-area chef is doing particularly creative, interesting things with food? Executive chef Peter Lee at Loquita [loquitasb.com] in Santa Barbara is doing fantastic fresh Spanish small plates with a lot of seafood and vegetables.

EXECUTIVE CHEF JUSTIN PICARD

Allegretto Vineyard Resort, Paso Robles, allegrettoresort.com

Of your latest dishes, which is your favorite? An example of old made new is the Burgundy Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs. I have rejuvenated and improved a perennial favorite. These were on the menu the entire five years [I was] at Roberts Restaurant & Wine Bar [now closed]. It’s like reuniting with an old friend, old faithful. It starts off right, using prime grade steak, heavily marbled and thick-cut, lots of fresh herbs picked right here on the Allegretto property, fistfuls of toasted spices, gallons of burgundy, and three hours of slow cooking—and that’s just the beginning.

Brian Terrizzi and his crew at Etto [ettopastificio.com] pasta help to take this dish to the next level with their great pappardelle noodles, which I get fresh every few days. A luxurious sherry cream sauce with oak-roasted oyster and cremini mushrooms coats everything. Rustic, rough-chopped parsley, lemon, and green onion gremolata brighten the palate. The surprise for this dish, which I discovered while snacking in the kitchen late one night, is that the carrots used in the braising of the beef become so delicious. They get their own groove on and just melt in your mouth, so yes, they go on the dish, too.

What is your current go-to dish by another chef? Larb ga—Thai chicken salad—is my perennial favorite morning, noon, and night. Extra fish sauce, extra lime, extra cilantro, and brown rice. In Paso Robles, Basil Thai [805-238-9945] and Thai Classic [805-226-9032] always hook me up.

What 805-area ingredients have contributed the most to the elevation of your culinary creations? Tomatoes! Paso Robles tomatoes are the best I’ve ever had. Vanessa Harris from Heart of Paso Produce [heartofpasoproduce.com] and Zina Engel of Loo Loo Farms [looloofarms.com] have blessed me with an unlimited abundance of simply amazing fruit, when the season happens. Harris had plus or minus 180 tomato varieties growing. That means they start early and stay late in the season, and the diversity of color and flavor is mind-blowing. Also plum-basil balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil from Chaparral Gardens [chaparralgardens.com] in Atascadero, sea salt, basil, real mozzarella di buffalo, and pink peppercorns.

CHEF DE CUISINE ANDREW FOSKEY

Olivella at Ojai Valley Inn, ojaivalleyinn.com

What’s trending on the 805 restaurant scene right now? Simplicity. Looking around at what other chefs and restaurants are doing throughout Ventura County, I feel they all kind of echo this philosophy of simplicity, and that food doesn’t need to be so far out of the box. It should just taste delicious and make diners feel warm and satisfied.

Of your latest dishes, which is your favorite? I do have a soft spot for our pan-roasted lamb loin. Beside the fact that it tastes yummy, what makes this dish special is the skill and patience required to execute it consistently. It all starts with the sauce, making a proper lamb jus, simmering it down with marsala, roasted lemons, aromatics, and proper seasoning. The sauce must be just right, balanced between sweet and savory, playing off the flavors of ground espresso seasoning on the lamb loin. Every component on the plate must be done with 100 percent thought and focus, from beginning to end. The result showcases balanced flavors in what I would consider a very simple and restrained dish.

What is your current go-to dish by another chef? The Lamb Korma at The Taj Cafe [thetajcafeventura.com] in downtown Ventura is without a doubt my go-to dish. It is just simply delicious!

What other 805-area chef is doing particularly creative, interesting things with food? What Ted and Yong Kim of Seoul Sausage Co. [seoulsausage.com] are doing at The Annex in the Collection at RiverPark in Oxnard is some of the most thoughtful and creative food in the county. It is flat‑out soul-satisfying and delicious.

What 805-area ingredient has contributed the most to the elevation of your culinary creations? The largest contribution that the local farming community has provided us at Olivella is the bounty of fruits that are being showcased year-round. Whether it’s persimmons, pixies, lemons, limes, strawberries, or melons, they all give us an opportunity to elevate our food and add unique flavors and textures.

805 Living Cover, March 2020.Click here to read this story as it appeared in 805 Living magazine 805 Living March 2020 Hotel Chefs Dish

Menu Mergers

805 Living March 2020, Menu Mergers story by Leslie Dinaberg.

805 Living March 2020, Menu Mergers story by Leslie Dinaberg.

Crazy culinary mash-ups can sometimes turn out to be pure gold. Here are three such surprisingly delicious creations in the 805.

The Homemade Breakfast Lasagna at Ventura’s Immigrant Son Caffe (facebook.com/immigrantsoncaffe) quickly attracted a following after the restaurant opened on January 1. The traditional strips of pasta are layered with spinach and prosciutto cotto in a béchamel marinara and topped with a fried egg.

“All of our dishes come from a long line of family traditions and recipes that are incredibly special to us personally,” says Matt Coulter, who co-owns the restaurant with Alessandro Tromba. “Growing up in the family business, Alessandro knew that if he could create [a restaurant with] the warm feelings of home and bring that atmosphere to downtown Ventura, it would be a special place for so many friends and family to create lifelong memories.”

History also plays a role in the Reuben Egg Roll at Lovejoy’s Pickle Room (threepickles.com) cocktail lounge in downtown Santa Barbara. The hybrid dish was created to honor Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens, the Chinese restaurant that previously occupied the space and was a favorite of the Lovejoy family, founders of the Pickle Room and Three Pickles Subs & Sandwiches, which now share the historic landmark building.

In what owner Clay Lovejoy calls “a great conversation starter,” the classic ingredients for a Reuben sandwich (hot pastrami, sauerkraut, Russian Dressing and Swiss cheese) are wrapped in eggroll skin and deep fried.

Why put a waffle on a plate when it can be served on a stick? Inspired by Mexico’s mangos and other treats on sticks, “Don” Francisco Lara decided to go vertical with his Don Waffly waffle on a stick (instagram/donwaffly), making it from scratch and dipping it in milk chocolate, white chocolate, matcha-flavored white chocolate, or cajeta (Mexican caramel sauce) before sprinkling it with toppings like shredded coconut, crushed Oreo cookies, Fruity Pebbles cereal, chopped almonds, or sprinkles. The waffle sticks are available at Dolce Vita (805-746-5009) in the Oxnard Transit Center and can be ordered for on-site catering.

Lara’s son Javier says he and his father plan to expand the offerings to include savory varieties and add a food truck to the mix.        —Leslie Dinaberg

805 Living Cover, March 2020.Click here to read this story as it appeared in 805 Living magazine, (805 Living Pulse March 2020).

Santa Barbara Visitor’s Magazine

Santa Barbara Visitor's Magazine 2020

I had the honor of writing several pieces for the Santa Barbara Visitor’s Magazine this  year, as well as serving as the copy editor.  To read the magazine in its entirety, click here.

Pretty Persian Pastries

Pretty Persian Pastries, from 805 Living, Winter 2020.

For something sweet and special to share with loved ones this Valentine’s Day, check out Simi Valley–based ZoZo Baking Studio (zozobaking.com), where owner and pastry chef Fariba Nafissi brings international flavors to the 805. The heart-shaped kolompeh is a “traditional pastry that has no added sugar, and it’s naturally sweetened by dates,” says Nafissi. “Guided by an international palate, I use traditional Persian baking techniques to create interesting flavors.”

Each pastry is pressed with a handmade walnut-wood stamp, then carefully crimped. Her kolompeh comes in a strawberry-pistachio flavor, blueberry-almond, and the original, saffron-infused date. All of Nafissi’s treats can be purchased directly from the bakery or ordered online to be shipped. She also offers recipes and baking classes.

Photo courtesy ZoZo Baking Studio.

Photo courtesy ZoZo Baking Studio.

Photo courtesy ZoZo Baking Studio.

Photo courtesy ZoZo Baking Studio.

This story was originally published in the Winter 2020 issue of 805 Living Magazine. Click  here  to read the story as it appeared in 805 Living. 805 Living Pulse Winter 2020

SBCC Brings the World to the Kitchen 

Free Tuition Program Covers School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management 

From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

SBCC Culinary Program, From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

Aspiring chefs whirl around the industrial-size kitchen classroom in clean white threads, cooking up a mouth-watering array of Northern African and Moroccan dishes like Mtuzi Wa Samaki (fish in coconut curry), homemade merguez sausage, and Ghanaian chicken-and-peanut stew. 

This intricate dance of chopping, stirring, sautéing, and learning is conducted by Chef Charlie Fredericks, who is clearly delighted to be orchestrating the SBCC class called “Modern Food: Style, Design, Theory, and Production.” Students create dishes from a different country every week — and once the global-themed feast is complete, they all share a meal together. 

“It’s so much fun,” said Fredericks, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, who has worked at restaurants in San Francisco, the Caribbean, Europe, and Napa before returning home to open bouchon in Santa Barbara in 1998. “This is definitely my favorite time,” he said. “It’s pretty much a Disneyland class.” 

Indeed, it’s a small world after all, and the Culinary Arts students seem to be enjoying the ride. “I really enjoy learning about the different countries and their different ways of cooking and different spices and how they have a connection to their culture,” said Claudia Garcia, a returning student who also has a son and a daughter enrolled at SBCC. 

The Chinese cooking lesson had a special resonance for Ava Engle, who grew up in Carpinteria and is attending the culinary school as part of the SBCC Promise Program, which provides the region’s high school graduates with the opportunity to attend for two years, free of charge. “I was actually adopted in China,” explained Engle, “and we made the Chinese food on my adoption day, just coincidentally, so that was great. I was kind of unfamiliar with the dishes we made, so it was fun to learn about them.” 

Alejandro Hernandez, a 2019 graduate of the SBCC School of Extended Learning Bilingual GED Program, is another one of 19 students enrolled in the Promise who’s attending the School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management Program this semester. Hernandez has supported himself and his family by working full-time at a Vietnamese restaurant for many years. He says the Promise — which covers enrollment costs and all required fees, books, and supplies for two years — is a great opportunity for him to bring a global perspective to combine with his family culinary roots from Guerrero, Mexico. “Hopefully, I’ll open my own restaurant in the future,” Hernandez said. 

“I’d love to work in a hotel and travel internationally,” said Miriam Martinez, another aspiring chef. “The Modern Foods is definitely my favorite class. I love the opportunity to taste — and cook — food from every country.”

Click here to read this story as it originally appeared in the Santa Barbara Independent on November 7, 2019. SB Independent Schools of Thought Insert 11.7.19

2019 Best of Santa Barbara

SB Independent Best of

From the Santa Barbara Independent, October 17, 2019.

So, I had the honor of writing up the Santa Barbara Independent‘s Best of Santa winners this year. It was a huge, fun project. People were so happy to hear from me and so excited to have won! You can read the whole thing (203 winners at last count) by clicking here, or on the PDF below.

Santa Barbara Independent Best Of Oct. 17 2019_Part1

Santa Barbara Independent Best Of Oct. 17 2019_Part2

Santa Barbara Independent Best Of Oct. 17 2019_Part3

Best of Independent Cover

A Standing Ovation for The Silver Bough

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough culinary team, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

By Leslie Dinaberg

Like its Irish mythological legend, The Silver Bough—the entry into the Celtic otherworld, believed to offer everlasting youth, beauty, health and joy, and a rich paradise of delights, where food was ever abundant and where travelers were treated as kings and queens—is an impressive bounty of elegantly prepared food and dramatic culinary theatrics. This intimate, eight-seat tasting menu fine dining experience is one of the most ambitious restaurant endeavors I’ve ever experienced.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

From the moment you enter the Montecito Inn, the new home of The Silver Bough, you are transported into an exquisite, magical world of high-class indulgence. The evening starts in the lobby lounge, where a personal concierge offers you specialty libations or champagne from a custom-made bar cart.  

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

Promptly at 7 p.m. (there’s only one seating per night, Thursdays-Sundays), you are escorted in a dark, theatrically anointed room, with an intricately designed Silver Bough-themed table as the focal point. Handcrafted and modeled after a voluminous Ginkgo tree, completed with painted brass butterflies and a glass top, the table—as well as the dishes, silverware, candelabras and serving pieces—was custom designed by award-winning American artist Michael Aram. Here the overture for the journey officially begins, with the host acting as narrator, guiding guests through the story of The Silver Bough and correspondingly gorgeous canapes that are almost too beautiful to eat—but I force myself, to the delight of my taste buds.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

At the end of the canape courses, a curtain I didn’t notice before is dramatically opened, revealing the main stage, a 16-foot, kitchen-facing Brazilian Quartzite chef’s counter, with Owner/Executive Chef Phillip Frankland Lee and his team of chefs there to greet us. There are from three to five executive-level chefs at your service on any given night. 

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

Owner/Executive Chef Phillip Frankland Lee at The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

Each chapter in the main room starts out with an introduction of the ingredients. Act 1, the seafood chapter, previews a platter of moving King Crab legs, live spiny lobster, sea urchin, caviar and more.

The theme—that guests are to be treated royally—is impressively executed, as we watch Chef Lee and his team prepare each dish as if it were a precious work of art. Indeed, this meal is probably museum worthy. With the precision of a jeweler, Chef Lee adds gold leaf to the Sturgeon Caviar, which sits atop a gorgeous concoction of Lobster Gelee, Hazelnut Cream and Smoked Eel.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

And, in a dramatic dance that takes place for each of the 18 courses, the chefs have mastered  impressive choreography to ensure that each dish gets to each patron (along with thoughtfully selected wine or nonalcoholic beverage pairings) at precisely the same moment. Additional seafood dishes, each more incredible than the next, include Live Spiny Lobster Tartare, topped with local Sea Urchin and puffed quinoa; Pommes Souffle stuffed with Lobster innards whipped with Crème Fraiche, and topped with Sea Urchin and Carnations; and Vermillion Crudo. The Act 1 finale, which includes almost every ingredient used in the seafood chapter, is a delicious preparation of lightly grilled King Crab in sea urchin emulsion, with sourdough bread crumbs and caviar.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

Act 2, an equally impressive series of land-based courses, is again introduced with a peek at the ingredients, including Kings Pigeon from Flying H Ranch in Carpinteria, Olive Wagyu Ribeye, pasture-raised venison, caviar and an abundance of truffles.

Dishes include Kings Pigeon Breast with Pistachio Crust; a Liver Tartlette with a tasty Mini-Parker House Roll; a Kings Pigeon Leg. Both the Aged Venison Saddle with brown butter Roasted Chestnuts and the Venison Tenderloin with butter roasted Chantrelles smell every bit as terrific as they taste. In fact, the whole dining room is designed for amazing aromatics. Despite the huge number of courses, each one continued to dazzle both my eyes and my nose. 

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

While I hesitate to choose a favorite in a menu so filled with delights, perhaps with most memorable dishes were the two made with Legendary Olive Wagyu Ribeye. According to Chef Lee, the Silver Bough is only restaurant in the world to have this beef, and it’s no wonder. Billed as “the rarest steak on the planet,” it currently retails for more than $200 a pound and is sourced via Santa Barbara resident Ethan Lowry, co-owner of the online meat seller Crowd Cow. 

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

A mouthwatering cheese course of Andazul Goat’s Milk Blue with Fried Sourdough, Warm honey and Black Truffle bridges the savory and the sweet worlds with amazing flavors. 

The Act 3 finale, the domain of talented Pastry Chef Margarita Kallas-Lee, who is married to Chef Frankland Lee, begins with a Citrus vanilla Tea emulsion combining blood orange sorbet with basil blossoms and black lime. Additional jewel box-worthy dessert courses include the Strawberry Duck Liver Mousse, a Chamomile Custard with Shaved Truffles, Candied Bee Pollen and 24k Gold Leaf, and literally, a jewel box of Mignardises, comprised of a Kalamansi Pate de Fruit, a Blood Orange Pate de Fruit, a Strawberry-Creme Fraiche Bon Bon and a Tarragon-Buttermilk Bon Bon.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

Not quite ready to end such an enchanted evening, the chefs invite us to continue to imbibe and enjoy after-dinner drinks and aperitifs with the team, which was quite fun and the perfect capper to an amazing culinary experience.  

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The all-inclusive tasting menu has a ticket price of $550/person, with a non-alcoholic specialty pairing available for $450/person (both inclusive of tax and gratuity). Obviously, this price point isn’t something most of us can indulge in every day, but I’m hopeful that a one-of-a-kind, gastronomic, theatrical experience like this will find its audience. 

For more information, visit silverboughmontecito.com 

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 1, 2019.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough opening culinary team, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

Local Dish: A Chic Update at the Goodland

The Outpost at the Goodland dining room, courtesy photo.

The Outpost at the Goodland dining room, courtesy photo.

By Leslie Dinaberg

Keeping the carefree, casual vibe intact, Goleta’s Outpost Restaurant and Goodbar at the Goodland recently updated their digs to brighten up the space, making the chic, California-themed Kimpton hot spot even cooler. Sunny new yellow tones in the dining room and a removable roof addition over the outdoor seating make it feel like summer year-round at the Outpost. The excellent fare includes easily shared plates like fried brussels sprouts with yellow curry, and roasted seabass lettuce cups, as well as larger entrees like the juicy strip steak, tasty salmon or hearty lamb burger.  

Sunset at the patio at the Goodbar at the Goodland, courtesy photo.

Sunset at the patio at the Goodbar at the Goodland, courtesy photo.

Right across the lobby, the Goodbar’s spaciously redesigned patio is a great stop to watch the sun set as you sip from its excellent crafted cocktail menu. Creative libations like the Aviation Gin-based “Park Your Car Don’t Drive” and “Who’s Your Daddy?”—made with Del Maguey Vida Mezcal—share the spotlight with a nice variety of spirits (tasting flights are available too) and a fine array of local wines and beers. 

Outpost at the Goodland, Goodbar at the Goodland, 5650 Calle Real, Goleta, outpostsb.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 2, 2019.

The patio at the Goodbar at the Goodland, courtesy photo.

The patio at the Goodbar at the Goodland, courtesy photo.

Bossie’s Kitchen: Something to Moo About 

Bossie's Kitchen, 901 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, 805/770-1700, bossieskitchen.com. Courtesy photo.

Bossie’s Kitchen, 901 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, 805/770-1700, bossieskitchen.com. Courtesy photo.

By Leslie Dinaberg

Old Bossy, the iconic cow atop the Live Oak Dairy Building (and former home to McConnell’s Ice Cream) on Milpas street, has a cool new restaurant in the herd: Bossie’s Kitchen, from Chef-Owners Lauren Herman and Christina Olufson.

Featuring delicious seasonal farmer’s market salads and sides, garlic-herb rotisserie chicken, grilled market fish, mac ‘n cheese, Korean fried chicken and more, this casual, counter-style restaurant focuses on fresh comfort food, with everything made in house, including the breads for the sandwiches. Herman’s savory dishes are a perfect complement to Olufson’s delicious breads and sweets. Everything from carrot cake to cookies, and buttery biscuits to brownies and pastries is baked daily on site. 

Bossie's Kitchen, 901 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, 805/770-1700, bossieskitchen.com. Courtesy photo.

Bossie’s Kitchen, 901 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, 805/770-1700, bossieskitchen.com. Courtesy photo.

Open Tuesday-Sunday for dinner, with  lunch on weekdays and brunch on weekends, Bossie’s features local beers (currently Figueroa Mountain, Captain Fatty’s, Third Window and Topa Topa) on draft and a variety of California wines, with special happy hour pricing on drinks and small bites from 4:30-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday.

As the closest restaurant within walking distance to the Santa Barbara Bowl, Bossie’s plans to have pre- and post-show happy hour specials on concert nights, with a limited menu available till 11 p.m.

Bossie's Kitchen, 901 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, 805/770-1700, bossieskitchen.com. Courtesy photo.

Bossie’s Kitchen, 901 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, 805/770-1700, bossieskitchen.com. Courtesy photo.

“The reception has been fantastic—we’ve been getting so much love from our neighbors, and we are so humbled and grateful,” says Herman. 

Locals first tasted the couple’s cuisine at Somerset, which later became (and remains) Smithy Kitchen + Bar on Anapamu Street. Both chefs also bring fine dining experience with Los Angeles’ James Beard award-winning Lucques Group to the new, casual concept at Bossie’s, their first restaurant as owners.

Bossie’s Kitchen, 901 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, 805/770-1700, bossieskitchen.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 1, 2019.

Bossie's Kitchen, 901 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, 805/770-1700, bossieskitchen.com. Courtesy photo.

Bossie’s Kitchen, 901 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, 805/770-1700, bossieskitchen.com. Courtesy photo.

Bossie's Kitchen, 901 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, 805/770-1700, bossieskitchen.com. Courtesy photo.

Bossie’s Kitchen, 901 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, 805/770-1700, bossieskitchen.com. Courtesy photo.

Bossie's Kitchen, 901 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, 805/770-1700, bossieskitchen.com. Courtesy photo.

Bossie’s Kitchen, 901 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, 805/770-1700, bossieskitchen.com. Courtesy photo.

Bossie's Kitchen, 901 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, 805/770-1700, bossieskitchen.com. Courtesy photo.

Bossie’s Kitchen, 901 N. Milpas St., Santa Barbara, 805/770-1700, bossieskitchen.com. Courtesy photo.

Local Dish: Santa Barbara Restaurant Week

Courtesy Santa Barbara Restaurant Week.

Courtesy Santa Barbara Restaurant Week.

Experience and explore the best of Santa Barbara’s food scene at a great price during the second annual Santa Barbara Restaurant Week from February 22-March 3. This ten-day events will showcase the vast culinary world of Santa Barbara with restaurant options ranging from Asian to Farm-to-table to Vegan and more. Prix-fixe menu options include a $25 two-course lunch and a $40 three-course dinner option. In addition, some local wine tasting rooms are offering special tasting experiences.

Sama Sama, courtesy Santa Barbara Restaurant Week.

Sama Sama, courtesy Santa Barbara Restaurant Week.

The list of participants include:

Lunch

Bluewater Grill

Tyger Tyger

Jane Santa Barbara

Jane at the Marketplace

 Helena Avenue Bakery

 Convivo (at Santa Barbara Inn)

 Due Lune Cucina

 Tre Lune Ristorante

 Olio e Limone Ristorante

 Bella Vista at the Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore

The Middle Child

The Monarch (at Montecito Inn)

Lucky's, courtesy Santa Barbara Restaurant Week.

Lucky’s, courtesy Santa Barbara Restaurant Week.

 Dinner

Blackbird (at Hotel Californian)

 Joe’s Cafe

 The Brewhouse

The Monarch (at Montecito Inn)

 Sama Sama

 Jane Santa Barbara

 Jane at the Marketplace

 Roof Top Bistro & Bar

 Smithy Kitchen & Bar

 The Dining Room at Belmond El Encanto

 Les Marchands

 Loquita

 The Little Door

 Bella Vista at the Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore

Tre Lune, courtesy Santa Barbara Restaurant Week.

Tre Lune, courtesy Santa Barbara Restaurant Week.

 Convivo (at Santa Barbara Inn)

 Due Lune Cucina

 Olio e Limone Ristorante

 Toma

 Tre Lune Ristorante

 Cava

 Los Arroyos Montecito

 Los Arroyos Goleta

 Bluewater Grill

Chuck’s Waterfront Grill

 Lucky’s

 Wine Cask

 Corktree Cellars

Santo Mezcal

The Middle Child

Tasting Rooms

Jamie Slone Wines

Grassini Family Vineyards

Cebada

Visit SBRestaurantWeeks.com for more details. 

This year, proceeds from restaurant registration will help support ProStart, a two-year culinary arts and hospitality management program developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and run by restaurant associations on a state level. Over 127 public high schools in California use this curriculum reaching 9,000 students. Santa Barbara Restaurant Week’s donation will specifically go to the California Restaurant Association Foundation’s ProStart  program.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 20, 2019.