Cocktail Corner: Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Get ready for another fun festival when the Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival returns to the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club on Saturday, September 8.

The festival combines polo, local wine, and music for a unique one-day experience that includes musical performances by ZZ Ward, Booker T. Jones, California Honeydrops, Quinn DeVeaux and DJ Sets by Soul Dust Productions.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

The Festival features a careful curation of local food and wineries, including Jardesca, Lavender Oak Vineyard, Old Creek Ranch, Sanford Winery, Standing Sun Wines, Summerland Winery and more. In addition to a wine tasting hour from 1 -2 p.m. where attendees will having a chance to sample all of the featured wines, there’s also a VIP champagne and cheese hour from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

In addition, sommelier guided wine tasting tours will be available on a first come first serve basis and attendees will be guided across all of the wineries of the festival and given an overview, history, and tasting notes at each winery as well.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

There are several different levels of experiences and perks available at the Festival, so visit sbpoloandwine.com for all of the specifics.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by David Lominska.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by David Lominska.

In addition, this year, the Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival is the kick-off event to the 8-goal polo series at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. This will be an official polo game of the series, and is sure to be an incredible match. While not mandatory, the game’s elegant atmosphere will encourage guests to get in touch with their inner Julia Roberts (think the polo match scene in Pretty Woman). The bigger and more elaborate the hat the better, although September 8 is my birthday, so I might just wear my tiara! 

Hope to see you there. Cheers!

Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is located at 3300 Via Real, Carpinteria.

Nick Waterhouse at Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

Nick Waterhouse at Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

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 August 3, 2018.

Local Lowdown: Flip Your Disk at Cachuma Lake

Cachuma Lake disk golf is fun for all ages. Photo courtesy County of Santa Barbara.

Cachuma Lake disk golf is fun for all ages. Photo courtesy County of Santa Barbara.

Add flipping frisbees to the long list of fun recreational activities of­fered at Cachuma Lake, which now has an 18-hole championship level disc golf course! The 2.25-mile course is designed to challenge both newbies and experts, with multiple basket positions available to make the course different each time you play.

This rapidly growing sport—disc golf is the 4th fastest-growing sport in United States, behind MMA, Roller Derby and Parkour, according to parkeddiscgolf.org—has rules that are similar to golf, with a set course and baskets set up as targets. Players seek to complete the course—which begins and ends in front of Cachuma Store—in the lowest number of total throws.

Play is free with a $10 parking fee. Cachuma Lake is located off scenic Hwy. 154 in Santa Barbara County.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, visit countyofsb.org/parks/cachuma.sbc.

Leslie Dinaberg

This story was originally published in the spring 2018 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

It’s Football Season at the Garden

Courtesy The Garden at Santa Barbara Public Market.

Courtesy The Garden at Santa Barbara Public Market.

Sunday Funday is now happening every week at The Garden inside the Santa Barbara Public Market. With NFL Sunday Ticket and wide coverage of NCAA Football, you’ll never miss a game. Plus, the Garden is now serving up breakfast on weekends starting at 9 a.m. in this fun, family-friendly new venue.

Plant yourself in The Garden and enjoy Fried Chicken & Waffles, Chilaquiles, Monster Breakfast Burritos and lighter fare including egg white omelettes and housemade granola served with yogurt and locally grown fruit. Breakfast drink specials also include fresh mimosas and micheladas.

Courtesy the Garden at Santa Barbara Public Market.

Courtesy the Garden at Santa Barbara Public Market.

Located inside the Santa Barbara Public Market, The Garden offers guests the ability to view all the games while enjoying food and 41 craft beers and eight wines on the always rotating on-tap menu.

The Garden is located at 38 W. Victoria St. (at Chapala) with free underground parking. For more information, visit sbpublicmarket.com.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Fried Chicken and Waffles from the Garden at Santa Barbara Public Market.

Fried Chicken and Waffles from the Garden at Santa Barbara Public Market.

Mary’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich topped with jalapeno slaw & house pickles on a sesame bun from the Garden at Santa Barbara Public Market.

Mary’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich topped with jalapeno slaw & house pickles on a sesame bun from the Garden at Santa Barbara Public Market.

Courtesy the Garden at Santa Barbara Public Market.

Courtesy the Garden at Santa Barbara Public Market.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 6, 2016.

iSurf 3rd Annual Block Party

Early bird tickets are available now and include food from Full of Life Flatbread, ice cream from McConnell’s, music from Green Flag Summer, a silent auction, live auction, wine, beer and lots of good times!

Alelia Parenteau, director of the program, explains, “The Watergirl Program launched two years ago with the intention of introducing the wonders of surfing to girls who would not normally have access to the sport. We continue to work closely with Girls Inc Santa Barbara and inspire girls to try something new and exciting. The program continues to FAR exceeded our expectations two years in and so many girls are getting to experience the stoke of surfing. Last year we raised almost $20,000, which allowed us to close to 500 total lessons, completely free of charge. The girls who participated would not have been able to attend without the valuable support of the community and the confidence, camaraderie and community they gained from the experience is unparalleled. Additionally, the Surf Like a Girl Foundation is a 1% For the Planet Non-Profit Member—committed to doing good for the planet as well as young surfers.”

The event takes place from 5-9 p.m. on Sept. 3 at Casa De La Guerra – 15 E. De La Guerra St.  Check out the the Foundation’s website to learn more about the program: www.SurfLikeaGirl.org

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on August 26, 2016.

SBIFF CLOSES WITH THE US PREMIERE OF NIKI CARO’S “MCFARLAND, USA”

McFARLAND USA stars Carlos Pratts (left) and Kevin Costner, courtesy SBIFF

McFARLAND USA stars Carlos Pratts (left) and Kevin Costner, courtesy SBIFF

On Closing Night, Saturday February 7 at the Arlington Theatre, Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) presents Disney’s McFarland, USA, directed by Niki Caro and starring Kevin Costner and Maria Bello.

Based on the 1987 true story, McFarland, USA follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California’s farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. Coach White and the McFarland students have a lot to learn about each other but when White starts to realize the boys’ exceptional running ability, things begin to change. Soon something beyond their physical gifts becomes apparent—the power of family relationships, their unwavering commitment to one another and their incredible work ethic. With grit and determination, the unlikely band of runners eventually overcomes the odds to forge not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well. Along the way, Coach White realizes that his family finally found a place to call home and both he and his team achieve their own kind of American dream.

For more information, please visit www.sbiff.org.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 1, 2015.

iSurf Block Party Launches Watergirl Initiative

Courtesy iSurf

Courtesy iSurf

Santa Barbara’s women’s surf program, iSurf School, has launched a new Watergirl Fund to help introduce girls to the joys of surfing. The fund is a scholarship program that will provide needs-based scholarships for surf instruction and will introduce the wonders of surfing to girls, ages 5-15, who would don’t have access to the sport.  The fund will also provide 100% scholarship and sponsorship funded surf programing to Girls, Inc. throughout the year, according to a statement from Alelia Parenteau, the owner of iSurf School.

The Fund will officially launch on Aug. 17 at the  iSurf Block Party, produced by WA Event Management & Consulting and hosted by The Valley Project (AVA Santa Barbara) and Pali Wine Co. The festivities include a silent auction, raffle, music, pig roast, ice cream stand and beer and wine.

Parenteau says “The goal is to raise $15,000 to provide needs-based scholarships up to 30 girls to attend a quarter of after school program. The girls selected would not have been able to attend without the invaluable support of the community.”

“Everyone has their own unique way of surfing,” says Gabi Turnbull, age 9 and an alum of the iSurf After School Program, “some surf schools teach the “one” way to surf but at iSurf you’re encouraged to develop your own style and explore your interests. Plus, I feel like a part of something bigger – a connection with the environment and the global surf community. My life IS surfing now, that’s how much I love it.”

iSurf has already partnered with prominent businesses in the Santa Barbara community to make this event a success.  Donors include Lole Atelier, SeaVees, Horny Toad, The Valley Project, Pali Wine Co, the Canary Hotel, and many more (for a complete list please see the Watergirl Fund webpage).

“We are completely humbled by the support of the community to make this event a major success,” says Parenteau, “it’s amazing to see how many people think this cause is important and see the value of this program and of surfing in general to the young girls in our community.”

The event will be held on Sunday, August 17 from 5–9 p.m. at the Valley Project and Pali Wine Co, 116 E. Yanonali St. in the Funk Zone. For more information click here.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on August 10, 2014.

Todd Rogers + Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore = An Exclusive Extraordinary Experience

Olympic Gold Medalist Todd Rogers, courtesy Four Seasons The Biltmore Santa Barbara

Olympic Gold Medalist Todd Rogers, courtesy Four Seasons The Biltmore Santa Barbara

Olympic Gold Medalist Todd Rogers, courtesy Four Seasons The Biltmore Santa Barbara

Olympic Gold Medalist Todd Rogers, courtesy Four Seasons The Biltmore Santa Barbara

Looking for the summer adventure of a lifetime (or the perfect gift for the man or woman who has everything)?  Four Seasons has a new collection of exclusive Extraordinary Experiences, one of which takes place right here in our own backyard.

Looking to improve your sky ball and finally master that serve? How about a beach volleyball workshop with USA Olympic gold medalist Todd Rogers as your personal coach? Spend a day on the sand sharpening your beach volleyball skills with the two time Olympian, gold medalist and Santa Barbara native as your personal coach. You’ll meet at East Beach, where Rogers will share the tips he’s picked up in 19 years as a professional player. If you ask nicely, he may even let you touch his gold medals!

Then, when you’re ready to show off your new skills, join Rogers for a friendly match. When the sand settles, sit back and enjoy a delicious beach picnic catered by Four Seasons The Biltmore Santa Barbara, while you recap the morning’s highlights and hear about Roger’s journey to becoming one of the most decorated male American players.

This experience can be tailored to any age, skill level, and interest to include lesson, match play, or advanced training for already skilled players. In addition, to enhance the experience for single players and families, Rogers can also arrange for additional players to participate, whether training partners or his own family (all volleyball players in their own rights).

For reservations call 805/565-8291. The experience may be booked through the resort concierge.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on July 21, 2014.

Amgen Tour of California Blazes Through Santa Barbara

Jersey Winners, photo by Leslie Dinaberg

Jersey Winners.

The excitement buzzed down Cabrillo Boulevard this week when BMC Racing Team’s Taylor Phinney (Boulder, CO) whizzed to a solo victory 12 seconds ahead of the peloton to capture his first Amgen Tour of California stage win in a 107.4-mile ride from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara.

Phinney is one of the biggest cyclists in this year’s Amgen Tour, at 6′ 5″ and 185 pounds. He says he used his weight on the descent off San Marcos Pass, about 15 miles from the finish. “If you’re heavy and have speed, you can go faster than everybody else,” says Phinney.  “I was able to tuck and pull away and accelerate up to speed and then tuck and keep pulling away.”

This was Phinney’s seventh career stage win, though only the second in a road race. Phinney’s impressive victory also earned him the Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey.

“Sometimes you just have a voice inside you that says go. It just got more and more painful as I went on but I knew that if I made it, it would be worth it, and it definitely, definitely was. It’s the best way to win, to win like that,” says Phinney.

Mike Moxness spoke about his battle to fight cancer, photo by Leslie Dinaberg

Mike Moxness spoke about his battle to fight cancer, photo by Leslie Dinaberg

As part of Amgen’s effort to honor and celebrate cancer survivors and to raise awareness about its Breakaway from Cancer initiative, the Santa Barbara finish featured a Breakaway Mile, a special walk along the race course that crosses the race finish line to honor the millions of cancer survivors worldwide. Santa Barbara cancer survivor Jack Bianchi was recognized as the local Breakaway from Cancer Champion. He has been in remission 22 years and, in that time, has helped raise more than $1.5 million for cancer programs in the Santa Barbara area. Bianchi dedicates his time to organizing events to raise money for the Santa Barbara Cancer Center and other cancer organizations.

He was joined by approximately 150 community members impacted by cancer and cancer survivor Mike Moxness, scientific director at Amgen, who plays a crucial role in developing innovative medicines to treat cancer and other serious illnesses.

Here’s a summary of the Stage 5 Jersey Winners

Amgen Leader Jersey – Bradley Wiggins (GBR), Team Sky (GBR); Michelob Ultra King of the Mountain (KOM) Jersey – Will Routley (CAN); Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)

Taylor Phinney takes in his victory, photo by Leslie Dinaberg

Taylor Phinney takes in his victory, photo by Leslie Dinaberg

Visit California Sprint Jersey – Peter Sagan (SVK),Cannondale Pro Cycling (ITA

Crunchies Best Young Rider Jersey – Lawson Craddock (USA), Team Giant-Shimano (NED)

Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey – Taylor Phinney (USA), BMC Racing Team (USA)

Stage 5 Men – Top 3

·         FIRST— Taylor Phinney (USA), BMC Racing Team (USA)

·         SECOND – Peter Sagan (SVK),Cannondale Pro Cycling (ITA)

·         THIRD – Matthew Goss (AUS), ORICA-GreenEDGE (AUS)

—Leslie Dinaberg
Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on May 18, 2014.

Amgen Tour of California—Editor’s Pick for Spring

Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images, courtesy Visit Santa Barbara

Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images, courtesy Visit Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara once again hosts the Stage 5 finish of the Amgen Tour of California, a challenging route that the world’s top cyclists travel for more than 700 miles during America’s premier professional cycling race. Riders start the day in Pismo Beach before ending in Santa Barbara, which hosts the race for the second consecutive year and the 5th time in the race’s nine years. “This annual event showcases amazing athleticism and philanthropic generosity,” says Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider. “I’m so pleased that the City of Santa Barbara is able to host such a worthwhile and fun event and look forward to seeing the finish firsthand.” May 15. AmgenTourofCalifornia.com.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in the Spring 2014 issue of Santa Barbara SEASONS Magazine.

Generation BMX

Young racers test their mettle with their pedals

Faster, higher and often younger than you might imagine, BMX racers are tearing up the dirt at Elings Park every Friday night.

Elings Park BMX (courtesy photo)

Elings Park BMX (courtesy photo)

The sport, which first became popular in the 1970s, is one of the fastest-growing competitions in the country, partially due to the popularity of the X Games and BMX-inspired DVDs, video and computer games. BMX (bicycle motocross) is scheduled to become an Olympic sport in 2008 and, according to Dale Bowers, track director of Santa Barbara BMX, there are three or four local bikers who “could be peaking” at that time.

Several local BMX racers will be competing in the National Bicycle League NBL Grands in Louisville, Ky., this weekend, including Logan Beebe, Chris Burke, Austin Davis, Michael Davis, Austin Hamilton, Jarrett Kolich Kolich, Amber Melgoza, Brianna Wiley and Jason Wiley.

While the level of expertise in Santa Barbara is high, Bowers emphasized that there’s a BMX skill level race for everyone, including beginners — and grownups. If you can ride a bike, you can BMX, which means there are some pretty impressive 5- and 6-year-olds out there.

Racers work their way up, depending on their age and how good they are, said Scott Berry, a 13-year-old La Colina Junior High student.

“I saw commercials on TV and really wanted to try it … we came up on a Friday night and just watched,” he said. “I just liked what I saw and wanted to try it.”

Bowers recommended that interested families follow Scott’s lead: just come to the track and check it out. “It doesn’t cost anything to come in and watch. Not much you can do for free on a Friday night, and its exciting entertainment.”

For participants, too, BMX is very affordable, said Scott’s mother, Debbie Carder.

It costs $45 per year to join the NBL, with a 30-day trial membership available for $30 (which is credited toward the full membership). Races, which take place most Fridays beginning at 6 p.m., are $8, and practices, at 6 p.m. Wednesdays, are $5.

“They’re so helpful, too,” emphasized Carder. “Even the older kids … they take the time to help the little ones. They go out of their way. They’re not snotty. They just take them under their wing … without being asked. It’s kind of like a family in a way.”

Originally published in South Coast Beacon