Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks Jan. 27-Feb. 10

Root 246's Creekstone Ranch Burger is one of the specials on the menu at Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks, taking place Jan 27 to Feb 10. Courtesy photo.

Root 246’s Creekstone Ranch Burger is one of the specials on the menu at Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks, taking place Jan 27 to Feb 10. Courtesy photo.

The Santa Ynez Valley has so many great restaurants, and the upcoming annual foodie celebration is the perfect time to check out a new one or revisit and old favorite.

Part of Visit California’s California Restaurant Month, this year’s Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks feature three-course meal deals—all $20.19—at a record 32 restaurants in the six Santa Ynez Valley towns of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, and Solvang.

Why is it two weeks long?

“We continually heard from local restaurants and from diners that the only way to improve Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks is to offer more of it,” says Shelby Sim, President/CEO of Visit the Santa Ynez Valley. “The event has been successful from year one, expanding well beyond what can be fit into just one week. It is exciting to continue to see it grow.”

Representing each of the Santa Ynez Valley’s six distinct communities, 32 restaurants will participate in Restaurant Weeks in 2019. In addition to the offerings of the Valley’s restaurants, many Santa Ynez Valley wineries will offer wine and small bite pairings in their tasting rooms for $20.19. And special lodging deals are available at hotels throughout the Valley.

“Santa Ynez Valley’s food scene is rapidly evolving in terms of both quality and quantity; it’s even challenging the region’s reputation for world-class wines. Our restaurants these days—rule,” says Sim. 

The Courtyard at S.Y. Kitchen | Photo Credit Rob Stark

The Courtyard at S.Y. Kitchen | Photo Credit Rob Stark

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks menus shine with farm-fresh examples of wine country’s seasonal bounty, with tasting menus crafted by celebrated chefs. Exemplary, and locavore, Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks dishes include S.Y. Kitchen executive chef Luca Crestanelli’s “Bird’s Nest Lasagna” (with fontina cheese, roasted butternut squash, chanterelle mushrooms), his “Fried Sous Vide Organic Egg” (with cheese fondue and chicory), and his “Saffron Gnocchetti (with butter and sage, optional bone marrow, raspadura cheese). At The Bear and Star in Los Olivos, chef/partner John Cox’s Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks menus include the likes of his “Wagyu Empanada” (with black beans and Cotija cheese), utilizing proteins pulled from nearby Fess Parker Ranch.

In Solvang, new chef de cuisine at Root 246, Crystal “Chef Pink” DeLongpré, puts her locally- and sustainably-sourced, TV chef touches on an “American Lamb Burger” (Bellwether Farms Jersey ricotta, house-pickled mustard seed, smoky tomato jam, served with fries or Chef Pink’s famous Brussels sprouts), which is destined for the eatery and lounge’s Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks menu.

Norman, courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Norman, courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

The food-centric hotspot of Los Alamos will boast chef and restaurant participants like the town’s culinary founders, chef Jesper Johansson of Plenty on Bell and chef Clark Staub at his Full of Life Flatbread enterprise; chef Drew Terp of PICO fame; chef Conrad Gonzales’ Valle Fresh; and Norman restaurant and bar, the dining and drinking component at mid-century motor lodge marvel, Skyview Los Alamos.

At Buellton’s pioneering Santa Ynez Valley food-scape player, Industrial Eats, chef/owners Jeff and Janet Olsson will celebrate the foods of—with 100% of proceeds benefitting—the People of Yemen. Yemeni dishes will comprise the bistro’s Restaurant Weeks menu, with specialties like Shourba Bilsen (lamb broth lentil soup with coriander), Hor’ee (braised beef shank with basmati rice), and Bint Al-Sahn (dough cake with honey).

Dates of participation vary by establishment, but the list of participating restaurants, wineries, and lodging properties includes:

Ballard

The Ballard Inn & Gathering Table, 2436 Baseline Ave., 800/638-2466

Buellton

Campfire Café at Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground, 180 Avenue of Flags, Buellton, 805/688-3716

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.,45 Industrial Way, 805/694-2252

Firestone Walker Brewing Co., 620 McMurray Rd., 805/697-4777

Hitching Post II, 406 E Hwy 246, 805/688-0676

Industrial Eats, 181 Industrial Way, 805/688-8807

La Tequila Mexican Restaurant, 35 W. Highway 26, 805/697-7776

Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, 555 McMurray Road, 805/688-1000

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks is taking place Jan 27 to Feb 10. Courtesy photo.

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks is taking place Jan 27 to Feb 10. Courtesy photo.

Los Alamos

Full of Life Flatbread, 225 Bell St., 805/344-4400

Norman, 9150 US Highway 101, 805/344-0080

Pico at The Los Alamos General Store, 458 Bell St., 805/344-1122

Plenty on Bell, 508 Bell St., 805/344-3020

Valle Fresh, 380 Bell St., 805/865-2282

Los Olivos

The Bear & Star, 2860 Grand Ave, 805/686-1359

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café, 2879 Grand Ave., 805/688-7265

Santa Ynez

The Lucky Hen Larder, 1095 Meadowvale Rd., 805/691-9448

S.Y. Kitchen, 1110 Faraday St., 805/691-9794

Trattoria Grappolo, 3687 Sagunto St., 805/688-6899

Willows Restaurant & Bar, 3400 E. Highway 246, 805/686-0855

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks is taking place Jan 27 to Feb 10. Courtesy photo.

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks is taking place Jan 27 to Feb 10. Courtesy photo.

Solvang

Cecco Ristorante, 475 1st St., 805/688-8880

First & Oak, 409 1st St., 805/688-1703

Fresco Valley Café, 442 Atterdag Rd., 805/688-8857

Hill Haven Provisions, 448 Atterdag Rd., 805/691-9025

Hummingbird Restaurant, 453 Atterdag Rd., 805/403-7100

Leonardo’s Ristorante, 632 Alamo Pintado Rd., 805/686-0846

Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant & Take Out, 1992 Old Mission Dr., 805/693-2994

Mad & Vin at The Landsby, 1576 Mission Dr., 805/688-3121

River Grill at The Alisal, 150 Alisal Rd., 805/688-7784

Root 246, 420 Alisal Rd., 805/686-8681

Solvang Brewing Co., 1547 Mission Dr., 805/688-2337

Succulent Café Wine Charcuterie, 1555 Mission Dr., 805/691-9444

Toscana Pizzeria, 485 Alisal Road #163, 805/697-7445

Alma Rosa’s eco-chic tasting room in Buellton, built by Allen Construction, incorporates a 15-foot olive tree, local river stone and recycled Douglas Fir. Photo by Patrick Price.

Alma Rosa’s eco-chic tasting room in Buellton, built by Allen Construction, incorporates a 15-foot olive tree, local river stone and recycled Douglas Fir. Photo by Patrick Price.

Wineries

Alma Rosa Winery, 181-C Industrial Way, Buellton, 805/691-9395

Hitching Post Wines, 420 E. Highway 246, Buellton, 805/688-0676

Kalyra Winery, 343 N Refugio Rd., Santa Ynez, 805/693-8864

Loring Wine Company, 201-B Industrial Way, Buellton, 805/691-1300

Pence Vineyards & Winery, 1909 W. Highway 246, Buellton, 805/735-7000

Roblar Winery & Vineyards, 3010 Roblar Ave., Santa Ynez, 805/686-2603

Sunstone Winery, 125 N. Refugio Rd., Santa Ynez, 805/688-9463

 

Lodging

Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground, 180 Avenue of Flags, Buellton, 805/688-3716

Hampton Inn & Suites Buellton/Santa Ynez Valley, 600 McMurray Rd., Buellton, 805/686-1555

King Frederik Inn, 1617 Copenhagen Dr., Solvang, 805/688-5515

The Landsby, 1576 Mission Dr., 805/688-3121

New Haven Inn, 271 Alisal Rd., Solvang, 805/618-8541

Pea Soup Andersen’s Inn, 51 E. Highway 246, Buellton, 800/732-7687

Santa Ynez Inn, 3627 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez, 805/688-5588

Sideways Inn, 114 E. Highway 246, Buellton, 805/688-8448

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Week menus do not include tax, tip, or beverages, and reservations are strongly encouraged. For the latest updates, including menus and dining hours, visit www.DineSYV.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 24, 2019.

Cocktail Corner: Constellation Pop-Up at Hotel Californian

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Looking for something fun to do to chase those winter blues away. Why not check out the first-ever foodie, wine, mixology & indie music weekend at Hotel Californian (36 State St., Santa Barbara) from January 25-27.

“This is the first of a new quarterly weekend series that will bring inspiring culinary, musical and cultural experiences to Santa Barbara’s hip Funk Zone neighborhood,” says Niki Jenson, who represents Hotel Californian.  

Featuring chefs, indie musicians, vibey DJ beats and community vintners, this sounds like something that shouldn’t be missed. Highlights include Friday night’s “meet the makers” opening night reception with a vibey beats from Boom Forest, along with Bittercube Cocktails, Potek Wine and light bites.

There will be a Bittercube mixology class—the Seven Pillars of Classic Cocktails—on Saturday in Hotel Californian’s sexy new Djinn lobby bar. Bittercube is a Wisconsin-based line of densely flavored cocktail bitters that are created by hand with real botanicals, taking as long as 25 days to complete the process. 

As part of Hotel Californian's Constellation Pop Up Weekend, Bittercube co-founder Ira Koplowitz will host a mixology class, complete with cocktail tasting and curated snacks. Courtesy photo.

As part of Hotel Californian’s Constellation Pop Up Weekend, Bittercube co-founder Ira Koplowitz will host a mixology class, complete with cocktail tasting and curated snacks. Courtesy photo.

Saturday evening features a chef & winemaker reception and six-course dinner from Guest Chefs Justin Carlisle & Chris Mangless, featuring wines by Russel From of Herman Story (Paso Robles), Vailia Esh of Desparada (Paso Robles), and Dave Potter (who we just featured in the winter issue of Santa Barbara Seasons) of Municipal Winemakers (22 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara).

 

Later that night (Jan. 26) is an indie pop-up concert with Langhorne Slim, Stelth Ulvang of The Lumineers and Chris Porterfield of Field Report.

Stelth Ulvang – Clocktower (live at Scandinavia) from The Sights Of Sounds on Vimeo.

And if that’s not enough excitement, Sunday features a winemaker brunch featuring wines from Dave Potter of Municipal Winemakers.

Tickets are still available, click here to access them (choose among individual event tickets or two VIP Packages). This should be a really fun weekend. I hope to see some of you there.

Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

 

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 21, 2019.

 

 

Local Dish: Cafe Ana

Cafe Ana, photo by Leela Cyd.

Cafe Ana, photo by Leela Cyd.

The long-anticipated Cafe Ana is now open across the street from the historic Santa Barbara County Courthouse, in the Arts District neighborhood, and we’re so excited to have this new “fine-casual” cafe downtown. 

Located at 1201 Anacapa St., at the corner of Anacapa and Anapamu streets (hence the clever name “Cafe Ana”), the former Coffee Cat location has been reborn into a beautiful, light-filled space offering specialty coffee, a curated wine and beer program, and a vibrant menu from Chef Ryan Whyte-Buck.

Whyte-Buck, formerly of Golda in New York, has created a clever menu inspired by California’s varied culinary landscape. “It feels great to be back home and have all this amazing produce at my fingertips.” says Whyte-Buck, an Ojai-native, “I’m also looking forward to building our community at Cafe Ana, one of the most inspiring things about being a chef is bringing people together with hospitality and food.”

Cafe Ana, photo by Leela Cyd.

Cafe Ana, photo by Leela Cyd.

The menu offers both unusual and classic dishes for breakfast, lunch and light evening fare. Yummy breakfasts include Housemade Yogurt with Granola alongside a classic warm Sausage, Egg, and Cheese sandwich and a platter that includes soft egg, cheese, sliced ham, and a seasonal assortment of sides. A selection of toasts, such as Salmon Conserva Toast, and Avocado & Cucumber Toast with Pickled Onion and Togarashi Shichimi, are available all day.

Lunch features salads like Golden Beets with Snow Peas, and Baby Kale and Roast Carrot and Squash, as well as a selection of sandwiches and heartwarming soups that are perfect for this cooler weather.

Cafe Ana, photo by Leela Cyd.

Cafe Ana, photo by Leela Cyd.

Evening offerings include a variety of small bites like a Housemade Country Pate (I sampled it at the media preview and it was delicious), a Seafood Gratin, a Carta De Musica of the Day (an ultra-thin Sardinian sandwich) and mouthwatering Kettle Chips with Caviar, as well as a variety of other Roe & Caviar options, served by the ounce with accoutrements.

A selection of house made pastries is available all day, and brunch and a full dinner service are planned for the near future. Prices are reasonable for downtown Santa Barbara, with pastries in the $2.50-4.50 range, the morning menu in the $8-15 range, afternoon menu in the $5-16 and the evening menu in the $8-18 range. We tried an array of bites at the preview, and honestly, all were delicious.

Cafe Ana, photo by Leela Cyd.

Cafe Ana, photo by Leela Cyd.

The food isn’t the only thing to get excited about at Cafe Ana. The beverage program, curated by Owner/Beverage Director Julian Sanders, features coffee and tea from award-winning specialty coffee roaster LAMILL COFFEE. The wine list spotlights vineyards from around the world, along with some local gems such as Tyler, Presqu’ile, and Jalama Canon Ranch. Craft Beer offerings include selections from around the country along with some interesting imports.

An open kitchen and enlarged windows fill Cafe Ana’s interior space with sunlight and warmth, punctuated with decor that brings together a modern Scandinavian feel with traditional touches. A crisp palate of white and black contrasts with warm walnut accents throughout the space. An eight-seat bar frames the main dining room, with additional seating throughout.

Cafe Ana Owners Katherine Guzman Sanders and Julian Sanders, photo by Leela Cyd.

Cafe Ana Owners Katherine Guzman Sanders and Julian Sanders, photo by Leela Cyd.

Cafe Ana is a project from local company Maxwell Hospitality, which was started by third-generation Santa Barbaran Julian Sanders, his wife Katherine Guzman Sanders, and Julian’s father Richard Sanders. Julian, a certified sommelier and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America’s Accelerated Wine and Beverage program, and Katherine, a front-of-house vet turned hospitality publicist, pooled their passion for the industry with Richard’s local commercial development experience to launch their first restaurant.

Cafe Ana is located at 1201 Anacapa St. Current hours are Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.CafeAnaSB.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

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

Les Marchands’ “Feast of The Seven Fishes”

Courtesy Les Marchands.

Courtesy Les Marchands.

Chef Weston Richards designs a modern take on an Italian Christmas Eve tradition, served from Friday, December 21 through Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24 at Les Marchands Restaurant & Wine Shop, in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone.

For these four days only, Chef Richards features his contemporary Central Coast feast, adapted with Santa Barbara-sourced seafood. “Feast of The Seven Fishes” first emerged in the United States in the 1900s, when Italian-Americans  celebrated the holidays with a multi-course meal of seven seafood dishes, bringing together family and friends to commemorate Christmas. Expect inspired wine pairings from France, Spain, Germany and Hungary for each course selected by Les Marchands’ Wine Director Hayden Felice, and expertly mixed craft-cocktails from the talented bartenders perfect for guests’ individual tastes.

Here’s the menu for Les Marchands “Feast of The Seven Fishes” 2018 by Chef Weston Richards with recommended wine pairings by Hayden Felice:  

first

Wild American Caviar 

Les Marchands' Chef Weston Richards, photo by Rob Stark.

Les Marchands’ Chef Weston Richards, photo by Rob Stark.

potato chips, crème fraîche, chives

Salt-Roasted Fingerling Potato, House-Smoked Salmon, Egg Yolk

Lassalle Cachet Or Brut 1er Cru NV Champagne

second

Crispy Smelt

blackening spice, saffron aïoli

 Hondarribi Zuri, Getariako Txakolina, Bengoetxe, 2016, Olabarria, Basque Country

 third

(choice of)

Spanish Octopus

charred radicchio, orange, mint, red onion

Grenache Gris/Roussane/Macabeo, Domaine Gardies, Les Glaciaires, 2014, Vingrau, Roussillon

or

Chilled Squid Ink Noodles

dungeness crab, jalapeño, tobiko

Riesling Trocken, Keller, Von der Fels, 2016, Rheinhessen

fourth

(choice of) 

Les Marchands, photo by Kate Winter.

Les Marchands, photo by Kate Winter.

Ridgeback Prawns

strozzapretti, prawn bisque, sherry, fava beans, parsley

Valdespino Fino “Inocente” NV

or

Santa Barbara Fisherman’s Stew

local mussels & halibut, grilled bread, herb aïoli

Kékfrankos, Wetzer, 2016, Sopron, Hungary

Reservations may be booked by phone or online at www.opentable.com and are available from 5 p.m. Space is limited. For information call 805-284-0380 or email Info@Lesmarchandswine.comLes Marchands Restaurant and Wine Shop is located at 131 Anacapa St., Ste. B, Santa Barbara, at the Corner of Yanonali and Anacapa Streets.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 15, 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.

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.

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.

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.

Local Dish: Outpost’s New Executive Chef Hits a Home Run

Outpost Executive Chef Damien Giliberti, photo by Nicole Lazar.

Outpost Executive Chef Damien Giliberti, photo by Nicole Lazar.

Outpost at the Goodland recently promoted Damien Giliberti to Executive Chef, and if our recent meal was any indication, the Kimpton-run property made a great decision to put the kitchen in his capable hands.

The property’s former Executive Sous Chef, Damien Giliberti, a native of Northern New Jersey, worked at Finch & Fork for four years, then Outpost for the past two years. He draws his culinary inspiration from his Italian-American upbringing, where his family owned and lived next to their pizzeria. A graduate of Johnson and Wales University in Miami, he worked in kitchens from North Carolina to Miami, before heading West to Santa Barbara, where he now specializes in contemporary and rustic American cuisine with touches of Latin and Asian influences.

Outpost’s Fried Brussels Sprouts with Yellow Curry, Roasted Garlic Aioli and Chili Flakes, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Outpost’s Fried Brussels Sprouts with Yellow Curry, Roasted Garlic Aioli and Chili Flakes, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Our dinner started out with one of my favorite dishes of the night, Fried Brussels Sprouts with Yellow Curry, Roasted Garlic Aioli and Chili Flakes. Brussels Sprouts are, as they say, “having a moment” on local menus, but this preparation was both unique and delicious, with the warm notes of curry trumpeting the beginning of the fall season.

Outpost’s Tuna Crudo with Yuzu Dressing, Fuji Apples, Avocado Puree, Red Radish and Chili Oil and Some Like It Hot cocktail, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Outpost’s Tuna Crudo with Yuzu Dressing, Fuji Apples, Avocado Puree, Red Radish and Chili Oil and Some Like It Hot cocktail, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Next up was a bright Tuna Crudo dish with Yuzu Dressing, Fuji Apples, Avocado Puree, Red Radish and Chili Oil, followed by another fall favorite, Carmelized Sweet Potato with Tumeric Yogurt, Crispy Chickpeas and Garam Masala. 

Outpost’s Carmelized Sweet Potato with Tumeric Yogurt, Crispy Chickpeas and Garam Masala, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Outpost’s Carmelized Sweet Potato with Tumeric Yogurt, Crispy Chickpeas and Garam Masala, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

We also loved the Pork Belly Bao Buns (even my sometimes vegetarian friend indulged) with Pickled Cucumber, Jalapeno Kewpie, Sesame Seed, Cilantro and Hoisin Sauce. The larger entrees—Pork Chop with Carmelized Fuji Apples, Spicy Mustard Aioli and Upland Cress; and Salmon with Romanesco Puree, Roasted Heirloom Carrots, Sauteed Sugar Snap Peas and Chipotle Hollandaise—were also very tasty.

Outpost’s Pork Belly Bao Buns with Pickled Cucumber, Jalapeno Kewpie, Sesame Seed, Cilantro and Hoisin Sauce, photo by Leslie Dinaberg

Outpost’s Pork Belly Bao Buns with Pickled Cucumber, Jalapeno Kewpie, Sesame Seed, Cilantro and Hoisin Sauce, photo by Leslie Dinaberg

Other new menu highlights include the Lamb Burger with Date Chutney, Harissa Yogurt, Pickled Red Onion and Watercress; and Grilled Strip Loin with crispy Red Potatoes, charred Mexican Green Onions and Chimichurri Sauce.

Outpost’s Pork Chop with Carmelized Fuji Apples, Spicy Mustard Aioli and Upland Cress (left), and Salmon with Romanesco Puree, Roasted Heirloom Carrots, Sauteed Sugar Snap Peas and Chipotle Hollandaise, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Outpost’s Pork Chop with Carmelized Fuji Apples, Spicy Mustard Aioli and Upland Cress (left), and Salmon with Romanesco Puree, Roasted Heirloom Carrots, Sauteed Sugar Snap Peas and Chipotle Hollandaise, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

“Working and living in Santa Barbara has allowed me to experience first-hand how food brings people together. It feels good to be a part of a community like ours, and to connect with our guests through food,” says Giliberti.

With food like this, let’s hope he continues to feed our community for a good long time!  

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

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 14, 2018.