Father’s Day Gift Guide

By Leslie Dinaberg

Dads are notoriously hard to buy presents for, so here are a few Father’s Day gift suggestions that are sure to make him smile.

Daditude by Chris Erskine.

Daditude by Chris Erskine.

Daditude

Beloved Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune Columnist Chris Erskine‘s collection of essays about the joys and absurdities of modern fatherhood are sure to make any dad smile. As the promo says, “This handsome book is the perfect gift for the father who would have everything—if he hadn’t given it all to his kids.” Click here for more information.

Jackalope Beer Soap, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Jackalope Beer Soap, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Jackalope Beer Soap

An intoxicating way for dad to start his day, these Jackalope Beer Soap bars from Little Seed Farm are an all-natural way to give his morning shower a little extra kick! The Bourbon BarBearwalker Beer BarRompo Beer Bar and Thunder Ann Beer Bar are hand-crafted from fresh, raw goat’s milk produced on Little Seed Farm’s own dairy herd, in collaboration with a local distillery and brewery located in Nashville, Tennessee. Spent grains from the brewing process are added to each bar of soap, giving it a nice solid texture he’s sure to enjoy. www.littleseedfarm.com

Broo Shampoo, courtesy @Brooshampoo Instagram.

Broo Shampoo, courtesy @Brooshampoo Instagram.

BRÖÖ Craft Beer Shampoo

Continuing with the beer theme, BRÖÖ Craft Beer harnesses the power of all-malt, freshly-hopped craft beer in the form of a shampoo that dad is sure to enjoy. People have rinsed their hair with beer for ages, and this home-brewed remedy is brimming with B vitamins, proteins, and minerals to make his hair shiny, healthy and strong. broo.com

ZEROWater filter pitcher, courtesy photo.

ZEROWater filter pitcher, courtesy photo.

ZeroWater Filtration Pitcher

Perfect for the environmentally conscious and economically minded dad, eco-friendly ZeroWater filtration devices turn tap water into the equivalent of purified bottled water without the expense or waste of plastic bottles. Available in 8-cup, 10-cup and 20-cup dispensers. www.zerowater.com

DAZI Socks, courtesy photo.

DAZI Socks, courtesy photo.

DAZI Socks

Colorful, fun socks are a great way for even the most conservative dad to jazz up his look—and his mood. Whether he’s relaxing on the weekend, going to work, or dressed up for a night out, help him put his best foot forward with DAZI’s fashionable and comfortable men’s socks. This line features unique designs that are fun, but not over-the-top, to wear with almost any look. www.daziusa.com

Bindle Bottle, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Bindle Bottle, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Bindle Bottle

A clever gift for the dad who likes to travel light. The Bindle Bottle holds 24 ounces of his favorite beverage—keeping drinks hot or cold for hours—along with small necessities such as chapstick, keys and headphones in the bottom stash area. Plus the name is cool: “Bindles” were once used by train hoppers to carry their essentials on their shoulders as they went off on their next adventure—your dad is sure to love this gift as he goes off on his. bindlebottle.com

Happy Father’s Day!

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

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

By Leslie Dinaberg

Still struggling with what to buy your mom for Mother’s Day (or her birthday, or just to say “I love you” any time of the year, for that matter? Stress no more, here are a few things she’s sure to appreciate.

Once Upon a Book Club, courtesy photo.

Once Upon a Book Club, courtesy photo.

Put a new twist on her summer reading with a monthly subscription to Once Upon A Book Club! I loved this gift so much I bought it for both my mom and my mother-in-law (don’t tell …).  The way it works is you sign up for a monthly box to arrive at her front door.  You can do it once, or multiple times, it’s up to you.

Once Upon a Book Club, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Once Upon a Book Club, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

She’ll open the adorable book-shaped box and find the selected book, along with 3-5 perfectly wrapped gifts with page numbers.  They even have shredded book pages for stuffing. It’s so cute! Want to know what is in the gift? They are carefully curated to enhance the book.  For example, one of the characters in the story pulls out a magical stone from a leather bag at a heightened moment in the book. As mom reads this, she is signaled to open one of the gifts: a replica of the described stone (that’s actually a bar of soap) inside a useful/trendy leather purse!  You get the idea. It’s really fun!

Yummy Cupcakes in a Jar, courtesy photo.

Yummy Cupcakes in a Jar, courtesy photo.

Yummy Cupcakes are another favorite recent find. These are not your ordinary cupcakes (which she also probably loves), these are delicious gourmet cupcakes that come stacked four in a jar. The packaging is adorable (almost too pretty to eat), with flavors ranging from brown sugar cinnamon to French toast, nutty red velvet, Snickerdoodle and more. They even have a vegan version. I tried the Vegan Chocolate/Vanilla which was very tasty. And they deliver everywhere! 

 

Dear Heart Designs Jewelry, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Dear Heart Designs Jewelry, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Dear Heart Designs is a beautiful way to give your loved one with a necklace that will remind her how you feel about her every time she puts it on. The company is faith-inspired jewelry brand whose feminine yet minimalist pieces have garnered the attention of celebrity designer Joanna Gaines, among others. The You’re a Gem necklace (pictured) is one of my favorites, and they also have customized versions with the names of your children inscribed, or special messages with scripture verses just for mom.

The PediPocket Blanket, courtesy photo.

The PediPocket Blanket, courtesy photo.

For moms on the go, the PediPocket blanket is great for travel. These lightweight and easy to pack fleece blankets are nearly 6 feet long, so it covers her shoulders and her feet at the same time and a special 20” pocket keeps her feet extra warm and snuggly. With 10 different colors and patterns to choose from, these are actually great gifts for everyone in the family and are perfect for tailgate parties, beach barbecues, and outdoor concerts as well as on her next trip.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Originally published on May 11, 2018 in Santa Barbara Seasons.

Cocktail Corner: MOM-osas for Mother’s Day!

Photo vxla on Flickr: Pool-side Mimosas at The Standard Hotel, CC BY 2.0, courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Photo vxla on Flickr: Pool-side Mimosas at The Standard Hotel, CC BY 2.0, courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg 

It’s Mother’s Day weekend, which is the perfect time to indulge in Mimosas. According to new research from Versus Reviews, Mimosas are actually the most popular cocktail in California, as well as in Georgia, North Carolina and Maryland. It must be a coastal thing!

Traditional Mimosas are believed to have been invented at the Hotel Ritz Paris around 1925, and are probably named for their resemblance to the yellow flowers with the same name. They’re made with one part Champagne and one part orange juice and served in a Champagne flute, often at brunch.

Image and data source: Versus Reviews.

Image and data source: Versus Reviews.

Image and data source: Versus Reviews.

Image and data source: Versus Reviews.

While traditional Mimosas are great, there are load of variations. Here are a few favorites, which we’ll call MOM-osas in honor of this weekend:

The Buck’s Fizz, which has twice as much Champagne as orange juice!  

Daphne Oz‘s “Perfect Momosa Recipe” from The Chew, which adds elderflower liquor to the mix and substitutes Prosecco or another sparkling wine for the Champagne.

The Poinsettia switches the orange juice for cranberry juice, mixed with Champagne.

DrinkoftheWeek.com’s tasty MOMosa variation skips the OJ and mixes Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur and passion fruit juice with Champagne.

The Megmosa is equal parts Champagne and grapefruit juice, while pineapple juice and Champagne is called a Soleil.

Summer Mimosa, likely a Soilel variation, photo by waros, pixabay.com.

Summer Mimosa, likely a Soilel variation, photo by waros, pixabay.com.

Our friends at Seagram’s Escapes also have a fun “Momosa” recipe, which uses sparkling wine and their Wild Berry flavored drink.

Whatever you toast your mom with this weekend, make it a good one! 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 May 11, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Adult Easter Fun With Seasonal Jello Shots

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg 

When it comes to Easter celebrations, why should the kids have all the fun? Our friends at Seagram’s Escapes have provided some alcohol-infused jello recipes that will sure to enliven the egg hunt on Sunday.

Jamaican Me Happy Watermelon Slice Jello Shooters, courtesy Seagrams.

Jamaican Me Happy Watermelon Slice Jello Shooters, courtesy Seagrams.

 

Jamaican Me Happy Watermelon Slice Shooters: Impress guests and make memories with these adorable and delicious adult treats that look just like fresh watermelon wedges! 

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes + 6 hours chilling time

Makes: 40 pieces 

2 bottles (11.2 fl. oz. each)  Seagram’s Escapes Jamaican Me Happy

10  limes

2 pkg (3 oz each)  watermelon gelatin dessert crystals 

1 tsp black sesame seeds (optional) 

1. Scrub limes and cut in half crosswise. Use a paring knife to loosen flesh from skin. Scoop out flesh, scraping with a spoon to reveal clean white pith. Place each hollowed-out lime half in cup of a muffin tin.

2. Place gelatin dessert crystals in medium heatproof bowl. Pour 2/3 cup boiling water over crystals; stir for 2 minutes or until dissolved. Stir in Seagram’s Escapes Jamaican Me Happy. Divide mixture evenly among lime halves. Chill for 6 hours or until set.

3. Use a sharp knife to cut each lime in half. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds, if using. (Can be made up to 1 day in advance. Store covered in refrigerator.)

Tip: If you like, juice the halved limes before scraping out membranes. Use lime juice in meat marinades, salad dressings, lime curd or ice pops.

Strawberry Daiquiri Jello Shooters, courtesy Seagrams.

Strawberry Daiquiri Jello Shooters, courtesy Seagrams.

Strawberry Daiquiri Jelly Shooters: Be the life of the party and pass around these fun adult shooters served in hollowed-out fresh strawberries. 

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes 

Total time: 25 minutes + 4 hours refrigeration

Makes: 50 pieces 

1 bottle (11.2 fl. oz.) Seagram’s Escapes Strawberry Daiquiri

50 large strawberries, hulled (about 3 lb)

1 pkg (3 oz) strawberry gelatin dessert crystals 

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup sugar

2 limes, thinly sliced

1. Cut small slice off the tip of each strawberry so it sits flat. Use melon baller to hollow out each strawberry from hull end. Set aside. 

2. Place gelatin dessert crystals in medium heatproof bowl. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over crystals; stir for 2 minutes or until dissolved. Stir in Seagram’s Escapes Strawberry Daiquiri and lime juice. Divide mixture evenly among strawberries. Chill for 4 hours or until set. (Can be made to this point up to 1 day in advance. Store covered in refrigerator.) 

3. Just before serving, place sugar in small shallow dish. Roll the top of each strawberry in the sugar to resemble a rimmed glass. Cut lime slices into wedges. Garnish each strawberry with a lime wedge.

Tip: To fill hollowed-out strawberries without making a mess, transfer liquid strawberry mixture to a squeeze bottle or use a clean turkey baster.

Calypso Cream Jello Cubes, courtesy Seagram's.

Calypso Cream Jello Cubes, courtesy Seagram’s.

Layered Calypso Colada Cream Jelly Cubes: Feel like you’re in the islands anytime with these jelly shots made with a cool and creamy coconut base, topped with a clear blue layer of Seagram’s Escapes Calypso Colada, as breathtaking as the ocean. 

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes + 10 hours chilling time

Makes: 24 squares 

2 bottles (11.2 fl. oz. each) Seagram’s Escapes Calypso Colada

2 tbsp sugar

1 envelope (7 g) unflavored gelatin

1 can (14 oz) coconut milk

3 pkg (3 oz each) berry blue gelatin dessert crystals 

2 tbsp coarse sugar

2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut

24 fresh blackberries 

1. Combine sugar and gelatin in small heatproof bowl. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over mixture; stir constantly until granules are completely dissolved. Stir in coconut milk until well combined. Pour into 8 inch square cake pan. Chill for 4 hours or until set. 

2. Place gelatin dessert crystals in medium heatproof bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water over crystals; stir for 2 minutes or until dissolved. Stir in Seagram’s Escapes Calypso Colada. Let stand for 10 minutes.

3. Slowly pour blue mixture over set coconut mixture. Chill for 4 to 6 hours or until firm. Run a thin knife around the inside of cake pan to separate jelly from sides. Carefully invert onto parchment paper; tap pan gently to release jelly. Use a large sharp knife to cut into 24 cubes. Invert cubes onto serving platter. (Can be made to this point up to 1 day in advance. Store covered in refrigerator.)

4. Just before serving, stir together coarse sugar and coconut; sprinkle over cubes and top each with a blackberry.

Strawberry Guava Jello Shots, courtesy Seagram's.

Strawberry Guava Jello Shots, courtesy Seagram’s.

Strawberry Guava Jelly Shots: Add an element of class and sophistication with these decorative jellies that are bursting with vibrant tropical flavors, and look as beautiful as they are delicious. 

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes + 6 hours refrigeration

Makes: 18 pieces 

2 bottles (11.2 fl. oz. each) Seagram’s Escapes Jamaican Me Happy

3 envelopes (7 g each) unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup guava juice

12 strawberries 

1. Pour 1/2 cup cold water into medium heatproof bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Pour in 1/2 cup boiling water; stir until dissolved. 

2. Stir in Seagram’s Escapes Jamaican Me Happy and guava juice. Place bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice water. Let stand for 25 to 30 minutes or until mixture begins to set.

3. Dice strawberries. Place in 18 decorative 1 oz molds. Divide jelly evenly among molds. Chill for at least 6 hours or until set. (Can be made up to 1 day in advance.)

4. Dip molds into warm water for 5 seconds. Invert jelly shots onto serving platter, gently shaking to release. 

Tips: Decorative molds can be purchased from specialty baking and cooking equipment shops and online retailers. Substitute Seagram’s Escapes Peach Fuzzy Navel for a delicious twist. 

Cheers to an enjoyable holiday! 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 March 27, 2018.

Summer Solstice Poster & T-Shirt Contest

Heroes photo, courtesy Santa Barbara Summer Solstice.

Heroes photo, courtesy Santa Barbara Summer Solstice.

The 2018 Summer Solstice Parade & Festival theme is HEROES, which is certainly an apt choice for our community right now.

The organizers state, “we are so grateful and beyond moved by our local heroes and all of the beauty that has been shown by hundreds of emergency professionals and firefighters who have come to Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties to fight the Thomas Fire that has wreaked havoc on our area. Now with the recent mudslides in Montecito we are again finding heroes everywhere: in our neighbors, our community businesses and growing within ourselves.”

The theme was selected from more than 100 suggestions.

Organizers are now accepting artwork submissions for the 2018 Poster & T-shirt Contest. The deadline for submissions is Thursday, February 15, at 5 p.m.

The artist selected will win a $500 prize.

Submit up to three images (jpeg format, 72 dpi) by email, with titles, to soladmin@solsticeparade.com.

Don’t forget to include your name, address and phone number, as well as the email headline “2018 Poster & T-shirt Contest.”

Works are encouraged to support the Solstice 2018 theme: “Heroes,” though all artwork submitted will be considered.

The Summer Solstice Festival is June 22-24 and the parade is June 23. For more information, visit solsticeparade.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

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

 

Cocktail Corner: Toasting the New Year

Local favorite band King Bee performs at Dargan's on New Year's Eve, courtesy photo.

Local favorite band King Bee performs at Dargan’s on New Year’s Eve, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to the New Year!  By Leslie Dinaberg

There’s no shortage of great ways to ring in the New Year in Santa Barbara County! Here are a few options to start 2018 off in style:

King Bee at Dargan’s, courtesy photo.

King Bee Dance Party at Dargan’s

One of my favorite local bands, King Bee, performs a rare New Year’s Eve at Dargan’s. They’ll have a full menu available, including a champagne toast and a filet and shrimp special, as well as loads of dancing and loads of fun! This is a ticket-only event ($10), with limited dinner seating.

Dargan’s is located at 18. E. Ortega St. in downtown Santa Barbara. For more information, click here.

The Bear and Star, photo by Grey Crawford.

The Bear and Star, photo by Grey Crawford.

The Bear and Star’s Jazzy Celebration

The Bear and Star, Los Olivos’ hot new restaurant, which has been quickly embraced by food lovers for Chef John Cox‘s inspired, refined ranch cuisine, celebrates New Year’s Eve with a lively jazz quartet reminiscent of bygone days and a five-course menu.

Begin the evening with a flute of complimentary Fesstivity Rosé Sparkling Wine and Sunny Side Quail Egg, Black River Caviar and Tater Tot; followed by a Spicy Winter Greens with Smoked Lamb Bacon, Caramelized Apple and Pomegranate Vinaigrette; then a course of Shrimp & Grits with Santa Barbara Spot Prawn and Stone Ground Grits. The main course is a Petite Wagyu Filet with Cast Iron Sunchoke Hash, Brussels Sprouts and Bone Marrow Bordelaise. Top off the evening with Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake with Fuyu Persimmon and Speculose. Pricing for the prix-fix New Year’s Eve Dinner is $95 per person, with optional pairings by General Manager and Sommelier Robert Williams offered at $50 per guest.

For reservations, call The Bear and Star (2860 Grand Ave., Los Olivos) at 805/688-7788 or visit OpenTable.com

Outpost at the Goodland, courtesy photo.

Outpost at the Goodland, courtesy photo.

New Year’s Eve 1920s Countdown Party at the Goodland

Party like its 1920 at Goleta’s Goodland and Outpost restaurant’s 1920s inspired countdown party! Wear your best flapper dress or pinstripe suit  and get into the speakeasy spirit. General admission tickets are $10, which gets you access to Goodbar and a champagne toast at midnight. VIP tickets are $20, which includes access to Goodbar and an exclusive speakeasy with a specialty welcome cocktail, passed appetizers specially a live jazz band and DJ, and a champagne toast at midnight.

The Goodland is located at 5650 Calle Real, Goleta. For tickets, go to https://nightout.com/events/new-years-eve-countdown-party/tickets.

DJ Darla Bea, courtesy photo.

DJ Darla Bea will spin into the wee hours on the rooftop at the Canary, courtesy photo.

Get Glitzed & Glammed Then Get Down at Finch & Fork and the Canary this New Year’s Eve

Kick off the New Year in style with dinner at Finch & Fork, where Executive Chef James Siao prepares a tasteful a la carte menu with specials set to festive décor and served with a champagne toast. Guests can also ring in the New Year by taking part in Finch & Fork’s New Year’s Eve tradition, where from 11 p.m.-midnight they’ll be serving complimentary passed bites and offering a midnight toast. Reservations: 805/879-9100

After dinner, head to the Canary’s rooftop for spectacular views and, starting at 9 p.m., the Canary’s Glitz, Glam & Get Down rooftop celebration, which includes a welcome cocktail, midnight toast and sweet bites from Finch & Fork. DJ Darla Bea will be spinning and setting the tone for the New Year! Tickets to the Glitz, Glam & Get Down party at Canary are $110, and can be purchased at NightOut.com.

 The Canary and Finch & Fork are located in downtown Santa Barbara at 31 West Carrillo St. Call 805/879-9100 for reservations.

Champagne, courtesy S.Y. Kitchen.

Champagne, courtesy S.Y. Kitchen.

Ring in the New Year at S.Y. Kitchen in Santa Ynez 

In dedication to the rich provisions found in the Central Coast, Chef Luca Crestanelli and his brother, Sous Chef Francesco, have planned a bountiful and elegant dinner to celebrate New Year’s Eve. 

In addition to S.Y. Kitchen’s dinner menu, start the evening off with a platter of freshly-shucked Kumamoto Oysters with Mignonette; or a Dungeness Crab Salad with Frisée, Mushroom, Green Apple and Pomegranate. For the Pasta course, try Francesco’s hand-made Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Oxtail Ragout and Pecorino Romano. Main courses include fresh Wood-Fired Roasted Orata with Saffron-Braised Fennel, Tomato Confit and Roasted Castelvetrano Olives; and a tender Wood-Oven Grilled Delmonico Steak with Porcini Mushrooms, Polenta and Black Truffles. Finish the evening with an extraordinary Italian Tortino al Cioccolato crafted by Francesco Crestanelli.

Optional wine suggestions by Sommelier Bingo Wathen are also available by the glass or bottle, featuring Contadi Castaldi Franciacorta Brut; Araldica Barbaresco 2014; and Ronco del Gelso Pinot Grigio 2015. The holiday menu items are offered à la carte and are meant to be enjoyed alongside other seasonal offerings and signature dishes from S.Y. Kitchen’s dinner menu.

S.Y. Kitchen is located at 1110 Faraday St. in Santa Ynez.  For reservations, call 805/691-9794. 

Chumash Casino Resort New Year’s Eve Dance Party featuring The Boogie Knights and The Spazmatics

Fill your New Year’s Eve with flashbacks from the 1970s and ’80s as you dance the night—and the year—away at the Chumash Casino.

The party kicks off at 9 p.m. in the Samala Showroom and is free for all Club Indulge members. The Boogie Knights were originally formed in 1992 as a Halloween gag in Los Angeles. Almost overnight, the group took the live music scene by storm. Complete with choreography, polyester, afros and bell bottoms, The Boogie Knights have been proclaimed “The greatest disco revival show in the world.” You can expect to hear covers from Disco sensations such as Heatwave, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, The Bee Gees, Kool and the Gang, the Village People, Rick James and Earth, Wind and Fire.

When The Spazmatics take the stage, you’ll find yourself feeling right back in the 1980s. Complete with skinny ties, brylcreem hair, and horn-rimmed glasses, The Spazmatics deliver the ultimate new wave ‘80s show. The band specializes in music from favorites such as Duran Duran, Men at Work, The Knack, Thomas Dolby, Men Without Hats and Devo.

The Chumash Casino is located  at 3400 Hwy. 246 in Santa Ynez, Tickets for all events are available at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Club Indulge or online at www.chumashcasino.com. 

For even more New Year’s Eve celebration ideas, Visit Santa Barbara has compiled a great list. Go here to to get the scoop!

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 22, 2017.

The Biltmore’s Amazing Gingerbread House

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara's Gingerbread House, courtesy photo.

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara’s Gingerbread House, courtesy photo.

With the smoke starting to clear, we’re all in need of a little holiday cheer. I recommend you check out the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara‘s incredible gingerbread house!

To honor the Resort’s 90th anniversary, talented Pastry Chef Javier Franco and the rest of the pastry team created a stunning replica of the Resort out of gingerbread using 70 lbs. of powdered sugar. Pastillage, fondant, cooked sugar, royal icing, chocolate and gingerbread were the main components used for the construction and most of the pottery is made of pastillage, a type of icing that is similar to gum paste. This incredible creation took 1,500 roof tiles, all hand-made and hand-painted.

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara's Gingerbread House, courtesy photo.

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara’s Gingerbread House, courtesy photo.

Mini ice cream cones were used to make the pine trees, red hot gum sticks make the entrance driveway and pathways, the windows are made of clear sugar and the 140+ year old Moreton Bay fig tree is made of white chocolate. This masterpiece, along with a beautiful display of Christmas decorations are on display at the resort lobby until New Year’s Eve. All are welcome to stop by and view Chef Franco’s amazing creation.

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara's Gingerbread House, courtesy photo.

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara’s Gingerbread House, courtesy photo.

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara is located at 1260 Channel Dr.

Leslie Dinaberg

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara's Gingerbread House, courtesy photo.

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara’s Gingerbread House, courtesy photo.

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

Cocktail Corner: Oh Hanukkah!

The final 8 Days {an Edible Hanukkah Collaboration} takes places on Dec. 19 at K’Syrah Catering & Events, courtesy photo.

The final 8 Days {an Edible Hanukkah Collaboration} takes place on Dec. 19 at K’Syrah Catering & Events, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

The first night of Hanukkah is December 12, and that night also kicks off an awesome edible Hanukkah collaboration between two Santa Ynez Valley Chefs—PICO’s Drew Terp and Brooke Stockwell of K’Syrah Catering & Events—on an eight-day foodie fest building up to a final eight-course, seated dinner with wine pairings—featuring some of Santa Barbara Wine Country’s Jewish winemakers.

The “8 Days” event begins on December 12, with the first Hanukkah candle at PICO restaurant (458 Bell St., Los Alamos) and Chef Drew’s reveal of a new Hanukkah-themed dish hinting at the courses destined for the final night’s seated, eight-course dinner. Diners at PICO will be able to view all six nights’ special dishes, but will only be able to order the dishes as they are “lit”–in other words, “Dish #1” will be available on night one and all subsequent nights, whereas on night three, guests will be able to order Dish #1, #2 and/or #3. In addition, winemakers scheduled to pour at the final night’s event will pour their wines at PICO on select nights of candles one through six.  

The last two evenings of 8 Days {an Edible Hanukkah Collaboration} take place at K’Syrah Catering & Events, courtesy photo.

The last two evenings of 8 Days {an Edible Hanukkah Collaboration} take place at K’Syrah Catering & Events, courtesy photo.

Then, on Monday, December 18, the second-to-last night of Hanukkah, the holiday party travels to K’Syrah Catering & Events’ venue (478 4th Pl., Solvang), where a ticketed reception will showcase eight different Hanukkah-inspired plates in a passed hors d’oeuvres format. A cash bar will also be available that evening, offering a full bar plus creative craft cocktails entailing ingredients traditionally used in Jewish holiday celebrations. Tickets for the food portion of the evening of December 18 are $25 per person if purchased through December 13, or $30 per person if purchased after December 13 or at the event entrance, and are available at 8-days-edible-hanukkah-collaboration.eventbrite.com. (Cash cocktail bar is not included in the ticket price.)

The finale takes place on Tuesday, December 19 at K’Syrah Catering & Events and includes an eight-course collaborative Hanukkah menu from Chef Drew and Chef Brooke and an optional selection of associated wine pairings. 

Here’s the delicious sounding “8 Days” Finale Menu” (Wine Pairings TBA)

1 — Potato latke, smoked salmon, black pepper, salmon chicharrónes, crème fraîche, chive oil

2 — Roasted beet salad, honey vinaigrette, goat cheese crouton

3 — Fritto Misto (zucchini, winter squash, apple, fennel, with sage brown butter emulsion)

4 — Savory Kugel (kale, cipollini, gruyere, challah breadcrumbs)

5 — Parsnip latke, grilled quail, pomegranate, with charoset

6 — Braised brisket, fermented apple sauce, grilled root vegetables, smoked sunchoke cream, crispy taro root

7 — Olive oil cake, cherry soup, bay leaf chantilly lace

8 — Apple beignet, dulce de leche, sour cream ice milk

Tickets for the Tuesday, December 19 finale event run $85 per person with optional wine pairings for an additional $40 per person, and are available at 8-days-edible-hanukkah-collaboration.eventbrite.com (advance ticket purchase is required).

Courtesy 8 Days {an Edible Hanukkah Collaboration}.

Courtesy 8 Days {an Edible Hanukkah Collaboration}.

Are you cooking your own meal this Hanukkah? Israel’s leading wineries just released a food and wine-pairing guide for the holiday, offering an innovative spin on matching wine with traditional Hanukkah dishes.

The guide, from Israel’s Golan Heights and Galil Mountain wineries, and their North American importer, Yarden Inc., calls for creative pairings such as gewurztraminer with potato latkes and sour cream. “The spicy and off-dry notes of the gewurztraminer will accentuate the subtle spices of the latkes,” the wineries suggest. “The medium-bodied viscosity will work great with the cream.”

However, if you are among those who prefer applesauce with your potato pancakes, the wineries suggest sauvignon blanc should be your go-to bottle. “You will want a bit more acidity to go with the underlying acidity in the applesauce,” the guide says. “The dryness of the sauvignon blanc will make the applesauce taste slightly sweeter; and the grass and herbal notes will bring out the earthiness of the potato.”

Other creative twists include viognier with sweet potato latkes and applesauce, and chardonnay with zucchini latkes and sour cream. For those who prefer to head straight to the classic jelly doughnuts, the wineries suggest a moscato as “the perfect foil.” Download the entire, free guide here.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 6, 2017. 

Cocktail Corner: Sip, Swirl and be Merry at the Canary

Holidays at the Canary, courtesy photo.

Holidays at the Canary, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

The rooftop of the Canary will decked in the spirit of the holiday season this December with a special holiday Sip & Swirl Series.

First up is Dec. 7 with Bubbles Sip & Swirl, where guests can enjoy sparkling wine from top labels like Taittinger, Laurent-Perrier, Henriot and Gruet.

The Dec. 19 Sip & Swirl features Bourbons and Cabernets and will showcase cab producers such as DAOU, Freemark Abbey and Grassini, as well as bourbons from local and domestic distillers like Breaker Bourbon Whiskey and Four Roses Bourbon.

Holidays at the Canary, courtesy photo.

Holidays at the Canary, courtesy photo.

Both events feature festive décor, music and cheese pairings, as well as local chocolates for sale, and select wineries taking bottle orders.  

The Canary Holiday Sip & Swirl series will be held on Dec. 7 and Dec. 19 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35, and can be purchased at NightOut.com, or at the door.  The Canary Hotel is located at 31 W. Carrillo St.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 25, 2017.

La Arcada Christmas Walk

La Arcada Christmas Walk, courtesy La Arcada.

La Arcada Christmas Walk, courtesy La Arcada.

Get ready to get in the mood for the holidays! The spirit of Christmas—both past and present—is alive and well at this favorite annual celebration taking place on Wednesday, November 29, from 5–8 p.m. The charming, historic holiday open house has all the trimmings of the season, including twinkling lights, costumed carolers, refreshments and the chance to tell Santa what a good boy or girl you’ve been this year (and even snap a photo if you’ve been really, really good!).

In its 23rd year, the La Arcada Christmas Walk is a festive way to start the holiday season, and spend time with the whole family in a beautiful setting wandering down the enchanting, tree filled courtyard as it is transformed into a winter wonderland.  Hungry? Andersen’s, Viva, Jeannine’s, La Arcada Bistro, Petit Valentien and State & Fig will all be open for dining that evening.

Waterhouse Gallery, La Arcada, courtesy photo.

Waterhouse Gallery, La Arcada, courtesy photo.

Photos with Santa are FREE, as are fresh popped popcorn, treats in shops and the chance to sing-a-long to familiar holiday tunes.

Retail stores and specialty shops including Socorro, Renaissance, Ace Rivington, Lewis & Clarke, LaTavola Fine Linen, August Ridge Vineyards, The Barber Shop, Bread & Butter, Chocolats du CaliBressan, Coast 2 Coast Collection, Peanuts Maternity & Gifts, Sanford Winery and Urban Optics will extend their hours for this very special evening.  Art enthusiasts will enjoy visiting Gallery 113, Santa Barbara Arts, Waterhouse Gallery and the historically significant permanent collection of interactive sculptures throughout the Historic La Arcada Courtyard.

La Arcada is located at 1114 State St. between Figueroa and Anapamu streets.

—Leslie Dinaberg

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