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.

Postcards from the Past

Cabrillo Boulevard, as it once looked. Note Los Banos del Mar pool in the foreground. Originally built in 1901, it was rebuilt with a Public Works Administration grant after the 1925 Earthquake and opened in 1939. Image from the collection of Peter Jordano.

You never know where story inspiration is going to come from.

When my brother-in-law, Eric States, casually mentioned that he was creating large-scale metal prints from vintage postcards that belonged to long-time local businessman and philanthropist Peter Jordano, I was intrigued. Especially when Eric said the collection was “impressive.”

The word impressive was definitely an understatement. It turns out that Jordano owns about 6,000 pre-1950 Santa Barbara postcards, all meticulously organized into photo albums that document the history of Santa Barbara’s waterfront and downtown development, as well as the leisurely lifestyle of days gone by.

A significant part of Jordano’s collection is from Osborne’s Book Store, a retail fixture on State Street until it closed in 1987, which published hundreds of Santa Barbara postcards. The postcard collection also parallels the Jordano’s history.

The Masonic Temple. Image from the collection of Peter Jordano.

 

Beach scene. Image from the collection of Peter Jordano.

 

Oil wells off the coast of Summerland. Image from the collection of Peter Jordano.

 

De la Guerra Plaza courtyard with cars. Image from the collection of Peter Jordano.

 

El Encanto hotel. Image from the collection of Peter Jordano.

 

A 1923 postcard of the beach at Castle Rock from the Osborne’s Book Store collection. The remainder of Castle Rock was removed to build the Santa Barbara Harbor, which was completed in 1930. Image from the collection of Peter Jordano.

 

El Paseo Restaurant during Fiesta. Image from the collection of Peter Jordano.

 

Santa Barbara street scene. Image from the collection of Peter Jordano.

 

Old De la Guerra mansion. Image from the collection of Peter Jordano.

 

El Paseo Restaurant. Image from the collection of Peter Jordano.

 

The Santa Barbara Mission, just after the 1925 earthquake. Image from the collection of Peter Jordano.

The family-owned business started in Santa Barbara in 1915, with four brothers, a family loan and a little grocery store on State Street. On March 1, 1915, the first Jordano Bros. opened at 706 State St., making deliveries by horse and buggy.

By the early 1970s, Jordano’s had weathered two world wars, the Depression and a number of minor recessions; had 18 stores throughout Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties; and operated a distributing business stocking hotels and restaurants. One son from each of the original four brothers joined the family business, including our postcard collector Peter C. Jordano, who leads Jordano’s Inc. today.

Under Jordano’s leadership, the company diversified into what it is today: a distributing conglomerate including food and beverage distributors, a kitchen supply business and an institutional foods distributor. Now it’s a multi-million-dollar corporation with more than 500 employees.

Jordano’s postcard collection has also continued to grow and, with help from Eric’s painstakingly high-resolution reproductions, will be digitized and preserved for generations to come. Here is a selection of our favorite postcards from the past. To view more of the collection and for more information about metal prints, visit santabarbaraphotographs.com.

Santa Barbara State Teachers College on the Riviera, the predecessor to UCSB. Image from the collection of Peter Jordano.

 

Mar Monte Hotel and East Beach. Image from the collection of Peter Jordano.

 

Winter bathing on Miramar Beach. Image from the collection of Peter Jordano.

 

Winter bathing on Miramar Beach. Image from the collection of Peter Jordano.

 

An overview of State Street. Image from the collection of Peter Jordano.

Leslie Dinaberg

This story was originally published in the Winter 2017-18 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

RFK, California 1968: Never Before Published Photographs by Jesse Alexander

RFK, California 1968. Photograph by Jesse Alexander.

RFK, California 1968. Photograph by Jesse Alexander.

Renowned photographer Jesse Alexander says he didn’t even have a press pass when he took a pilgrimage to Delano to see young Robert F. Kennedy on the campaign trail. “I was really a fan of RFK and was very aware of his interest in farm workers and his work with Cesar Chavez,” says Alexander. These never-before publically viewed images were taken on the campaign trail in San Francisco and the Central Valley in California a short time before Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles.

Alexander, a legendary motorsports photographer since the early 1950s when he covered the original Mexican Road Race, says that no matter what his subject, a passion for beauty and an interest in people consistently drive his work. “It doesn’t really matter what you’re shooting,” says the 88-year-old. “I’m just a happy snapper.”

Alexander will share these historic images for the first time in an exhibition from Aug. 19-Sept. 16 at Patricia Clarke Studio, 410 Palm Ave. A-18, Carpinteria. Fifty percent of all sale proceeds benefit The Fund for Santa Barbara. In addition, Alexander will give a free artist talk with Clarke at the studio on Sept. 9 from 4-5 p.m.

—Leslie Dinaberg

RFK, California 1968. Photograph by Jesse Alexander.

RFK, California 1968. Photograph by Jesse Alexander.

 

RFK, California 1968. Photograph by Jesse Alexander.

RFK, California 1968. Photograph by Jesse Alexander.

 

RFK, California 1968. Photograph by Jesse Alexander.

RFK, California 1968. Photograph by Jesse Alexander.

 

RFK, California 1968. Photograph by Jesse Alexander.

RFK, California 1968. Photograph by Jesse Alexander.

 

RFK, California 1968. Photograph by Jesse Alexander.

RFK, California 1968. Photograph by Jesse Alexander.

 

RFK, California 1968. Photograph by Jesse Alexander.

RFK, California 1968. Photograph by Jesse Alexander.

 

RFK, California 1968. Photograph by Jesse Alexander.

RFK, California 1968. Photograph by Jesse Alexander.

Originally published in the Fall 2017 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Val Kilmer Presents Cinema Twain LIVE

Val Kilmer as "Citizen Twain," courtesy photo.

Val Kilmer as “Citizen Twain,” courtesy photo.

Val Kilmer will be at the Lobero Theatre this Friday night (Jun. 30) at 8 p.m. to present a screening of his play about Mark Twain. The one-man show, Citizen Twain, played to sold-out houses at several performing arts venues in Los Angeles.

Kilmer transforms himself into Twain in a comedic and moving performance based on the life of the man, Samuel Clemens, and of course his writings as Mark Twain. From his thoughts on politics (including his famous disdain for the U.S. Congress), to his family and ultimately his faith and God, Twain spins a series of yarns with his timeless satire and incomparable wit.

Kilmer will conduct a question and answer period with the audience following the screening.

The Lobero Theatre is located at 33 E. Canon Perdido St.

Special meet and greet tickets are still on sale at the Lobero Box Office and here.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 28, 2017.

Local Lowdown: Happy 50th to Chuck’s of Hawaii

The bar at Chuck's opening night, courtesy Chuck's of Hawaii.

The bar at Chuck’s opening night, courtesy Chuck’s of Hawaii.

Surprisingly little has changed since owner Larry Stone opened Chuck’s of Hawaii in 1967. The staff still wears Hawaiian shirts, the menus are still painted on Lancers wine bottles (Stone did the originals himself), the steaks and seafood are still solidly good, the Tiki Torches still burn brightly on upper State Street and the Mai-Tais are still the best in town.

As an avid young surfer, Stone worked for the original Chuck’s founder Chuck Rolles in Hawaii, who was looking to expand his operation.  Stone had friends at UCSB and liked the town—plus he knew he’d be able to surf here.  As for the location, the Sumida family had a new building available, and Stone thought it might work as a restaurant. “I didn’t have a lot of options, but…they let me have that space and I knew it would be close to Hope Ranch and to people who could dine out daily instead of just weekends.”

This was before La Cumbre Plaza was even completed, but “the shopping center it was a big hit” and so was Chuck’s. “Opening day we served about 100 meals,” recalls Stone. “We’ve always had such a great local following.”

Chuck’s before construction, courtesy Chuck’s of Hawaii

The formula is simple: high quality food in a casual setting.

And then there’s the salad bar. Stone laughs when asked about it, “I’m not saying it was the first salad bar (although others make that claim) but we get credit for being the first company that popularized the salad bar on the mainland.” Stone also gives much credit for the success of Chuck’s to his longtime employees like manager Brad Schuette, who started at age 15, and Steve Hyslop, who started as a dishwasher and now co-owns and runs Chuck’s Waterfront Grill in the harbor.

Stone laughs when asked if he ever imagined that Chuck’s would still be going strong 50 years later. “I wasn’t even thinking about what I’d be doing in five or ten years at that point, but I didn’t think I’d be running around in short pants and Hawaiian shirts as an old man.”

Chuck’s of Hawaii is located at 3888 State St., 805/687-4417, chucksofhawaii.com.

The scene at Chuck's opening night, courtesy Chuck's of Hawaii.

The scene at Chuck’s opening night, courtesy Chuck’s of Hawaii.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in the Spring 2017 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Dreaming Big: Congregation B’nai B’rith’s 90 Year Celebration

Images from Congregation B'nai B'rith Dreamers Ball. Photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

Images from Congregation B’nai B’rith Dreamers Ball. Photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

Honoring yesterday, today and tomorrow, supporters of Congregation B’nai B’rith (CBB) recently gathered at Bacara Resort & Spa in tribute to the founding families who had the vision to create the home for Santa Barbara’s Jewish community in 1927.

This festive, elegant celebration was packed to the gills with 450 guests to mark the 90th anniversary of Congregation B’nai B’rith, Santa Barbara’s largest Jewish synagogue, which now serves as the spiritual home to more than 800 families.

Dubbed the Dreamers Ball, the Marc Chagall-inspired gala was beautifully reflected in decorations and touches throughout the ballroom and live music by We the Folk (whose talented accordion player is David Childs, son of Shari and Cantor Mark Childs).

Also honored at the event was Cantor Childs, who has served the congregation for the past 25 years, touching thousands of lives in the process.

The Dreamers Ball was organized by co-chairwomen Hallie Avolio, board president Judi Koper, Liat Wasserman, Marcy Wimbish, Bethy Fineberg and executive director Elizabeth Gaynes. Ruth Hartzman and Adele Rosen were the honorary co-chairwomen.

An impressive tribute book detailed the congregation’s history and leadership and was filled with glowing personal tributes to Childs and congratulations on the 90th anniversary of Congregation B’nai B’rith. Included in the tribute are excerpts from local historian Erin Graffy’s upcoming book about the history of Jewish Santa Barbara.

“Right now, we are setting the stage for the next 100 years of our CBB communal life,” writes Rabbi Steve Cohen. “We are establishing patterns of congregational life which draw deeply upon the best of Jewish tradition and values, and which are vibrantly alive … full of humor, creativity, moral integrity, intellectual rigor and honesty … and connect us deeply to this place, Santa Barbara, a place of awesome natural beauty and resources, nestled between the ocean and the mountains.”

For more information about Congregation B’nai B’rith, visit http://cbbsb.org/.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 16, 2017.

Hold Hope | Obama in Santa Barbara, 2007

HOLD HOPE: Obama in Santa Barbara, 2007, by Patricia Houghton Clarke.

HOLD HOPE: Obama in Santa Barbara, 2007, by Patricia Houghton Clarke.

International award-winning photographer (and Santa Barbara Seasons contributor) Patricia Houghton Clarke presents never-before seen black and white images from Barack Obama’s campaign stop in Santa Barbara in 2007.

She says, “The photographs embody the President’s abiding power, grace, and most importantly, HOPE.”

There will be an opening reception from 4-7 p.m. on Jan. 28 at PATRICIA CLARKE STUDIO at the Palm Lofts (410 Palm Ave., Space A 18, Carpinteria). A closing reception will also be held in that same location on Feb. 25 from 2-4 p.m.

Barack Obama, 6, 2007, photo by Patricia Houghton Clarke.

Barack Obama, 6, 2007, photo by Patricia Houghton Clarke.

Proceeds from the sales of these images will benefit the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and may also be purchased online through February 25 at: http://patriciahoughtonclarke.com/section/334090_obama_in_santa_barbara_2007.html.

All events are free and open to the public. Studio hours are also available by appointment and groups are welcome. For more information, call 805/381-1758 or email pcphotog@gmail.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 24, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: In the Beginning—The Early Years in the Santa Barbara Wine Country

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

“In the Beginning: The Early Years in the Santa Barbara Wine Country” is a bookend event for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History’s signature Santa Barbara Wine Festival. Courtesy photo.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg 

The history of Santa Barbara County’s wine industry takes center stage at The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History on October 23, with an autumn symposium featuring an all-star panel of Santa Barbara winemakers.

Panelists include Jim Clendenen (Au Bon Climat), Fred Brander (Brander Vineyards), Ken Brown (Ken Brown Wines), Bob Lindquist (Qupe), Lane Tanner (Lumen Wines) and Rick Longoria (Longoria Wines)—all of whom are pioneers in the industry. The moderator is Antonio Gardella, a local fine wine specialist.

Attendees will first mingle with the winemakers at a tasting from 1-2 p.m., followed by an hour Q&A and finished with two hours of socializing and tastings.

“These six winemakers have a wealth of information that they will share with the intimate group of guests and guests will have a chance to interact with all of them during the tastings,” says Meridith Moore, the museum event manager. Being in the presence of all of these heavy-hitters in such an intimate setting is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity for anyone with the slightest interest in the wine industry.

The panelists will have their wine on hand, as well as additional wines from Zaca Mesa, Mosby Winery and Whitcraft. Sweet and savory bites from local food purveyors Village Modern Foods, Pete Clements Catering, Jessica Foster Confections, Pico Restaurant, C’est Cheese and The Shop Café will also be on hand.

“In the Beginning: The Early Years in the Santa Barbara Wine Country” takes place on October 23 from 1-5 p.m. in Fleischmann Auditorium at the Museum of Natural History’s Mission Creek campus (2559 Puesta del Sol). Tickets are $75 for members and $100 for non-members, and are available now at www.sbnature.org/tickets 

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.”

This story was originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 7, 2016.

Fiesta Ranchera

Fiesta Ranchera, photo by Fritz Olenberger, courtesy Old Spanish Days.

Fiesta Ranchera, photo by Fritz Olenberger, courtesy Old Spanish Days.

Come celebrate Fiesta in June at the always fun Fiesta Ranchera party! Truly a great night out for locals, this is an awesome way to get into the spirit of Fiesta, Goleta style!

On June 16, Fiesta Ranchera opens the Fiesta summer season with the help of Old Spanish Days and the Goleta Valley Historical Society for an unforgettable night of food, fun and merriment. The event begins at 5 p.m. at the historic Rancho La Patera & Stow House, 304 N. Los Carneros Rd. in Goleta.

The beautiful gardens make this a perfect place for a night of pre-Fiesta fun that includes sampling of food from local restaurants, wines from award-winning local wineries, craft beer and signature drinks. Guitarist Tony Ybarra will play as the crowd mingles, followed by performances from the 2016 Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta. Then dance the night away to the ever-favorite sounds of Area 51.

Fiesta dancers, photo by Fritz Olenberger, courtesy Old Spanish Days.

Fiesta dancers, photo by Fritz Olenberger, courtesy Old Spanish Days.

“We look forward to welcoming you for a rare opportunity to enjoy this lovely, historic landmark after the sun sets for a magical night at the Ranch,” says Amanda De Lucia, executive director of Goleta Valley Historical Society.

Restaurants and chefs to showcase their fabulous fare include Anna’s Bakery, Angel Oak at Bacara Resort & Spa, Catering Connection, Country Catering & Meat Market, Goodland Kitchen, McConnell’s Ice Cream, The Nugget, Pepe’s Mexican Food, Rincon Events, Trattoria Grappolo, Caffe Primo, On The Alley, Benchmark Eatery, Farmer Boy, High Sierra Bar & Grill, Woodstock’s Pizza, Woody’s BBQ and Nothing Bundt Cakes.

Guests will sip wine by Alexander & Wayne, Arthur Earl, Bella Cavalli Vineyard, Sunstone, Windrun and Zaca Mesa, along with craft beer from Hollister Brewing Co., Enegren Brewing, Captain Fattys, Santa Maria Brewing, Telegraph Brewing and Knee Deep Brewing.

Fiesta photo by Fritz Olenberger, courtesy Old Spanish Days.

Fiesta photo by Fritz Olenberger, courtesy Old Spanish Days.

Tickets for the event are $65 and are now all inclusive (no more pesky drink tickets) and may be purchased online at http://www.sbfiesta.org. Tickets will also be available onsite for $80 at the door. Designated driver and group discounts are available, and guests must be 21 to enter. Attendees are encouraged to dress in Fiesta or ranch attire.

Leslie Dinaberg

Published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on June 9, 2016.

Spanish Colonial Style: Santa Barbara and The Architecture of James Osborne Craig and Mary McLaughlin Craig

Spanish Colonial Style, photo by Matt Walla, courtesy Santa Barbara Historical Museum

Spanish Colonial Style, photo by Matt Walla, courtesy Santa Barbara Historical Museum

This retrospective exhibition, the first in 90 years, celebrates the publication of a monograph on the work of two seminal Santa Barbara architects, who happen to be husband and wife.

James Osborne Craig is widely credited with establishing the Spanish Colonial style in Santa Barbara. He left two buildings of such potency—even precocity, given his age—completed posthumously, that one suspects he would have given George Washington Smith ample competition if not for his premature death at the age of 33. One was Casa Santa Cruz, the house for Irene and Bernhard Hoffmann. The other was El Paseo, which set the standard for Santa Barbara’s architectural rebirth in the twenties and continues to be a reference today. His wife Mary McLaughlin Craig, indelibly linked with the houses of Plaza Rubio, followed in his footsteps and established her own identity as an architectural designer for 36 years.Spanish Colonial Style book

Spanish Colonial Style: Santa Barbara and the Architecture of James Osborne Craig and Mary McLaughlin Craig, written by the Craigs’ granddaughter Pamela Skewes-Cox and architectural historian Robert Sweeney, was recently published by Rizzoli, in conjunction with the Museum. The exquisite book includes a stunning collection of contemporary photos by Matt Walla.

Experience the exhibition premiere with a cocktail reception, comments by noted architect and author Marc Appleton, and book signing by the authors, Pamela Skewes-Cox and architectural historian Robert Sweeney.

Opening Reception
October 22, 5:30 p.m.
Experience the exhibition premiere with a cocktail reception, comments by noted architect and author Marc Appleton, and book signing by the authors.  Reservation required.

Lecture
October 23, 11 a.m.
Pamela Skewes-Cox, author Spanish Colonial Style: Santa Barbara and the Architecture of James Osborne Craig and Mary McLaughlin Craig, will give a presentation about the book and the lives of her grandparents.   Reservation required.

First Thursday
November 5, 5-8 p.m.
Join us to view the exhibition after-hours during Downtown Santa Barbara’s art walk.  Wine, music and family-friendly activities.

All events take place at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, 136 E. De la Guerra St., 805/966-1601.

—Leslie Dinaberg
Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on October 16, 2015.