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: 2019 World of Pinot Noir

The annual World of Pinot Noir event gathers the planet’s foremost Pinot Noir wineries and winemakers, renowned chefs, sommeliers and leading wine scholars in a weekend-long seaside celebration of this delicious and storied wine. Courtesy photo.

The annual World of Pinot Noir event gathers the planet’s foremost Pinot Noir wineries and winemakers, renowned chefs, sommeliers and leading wine scholars in a weekend-long seaside celebration of this delicious and storied wine. Courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Looking for a special gift for that special wine lover? Tickets to the 2019 World of Pinot Noir are sure to please even the pickiest palates.

Always one of my favorite wine festivals, this year’s event includes more than 200 wineries from around the globe, pairing dinners, Pinot Noir parties and expert-led seminars.

Some of the highlights include:

Exploring the New World of Pinot Noir with Elaine Chukan Brown, the American Specialist for JancisRobinson.com and a contributing writer to Wine & Spirits Magazine, leading a winemaker panel discussion and tasting exploring the exciting wines being produced in New Zealand, Oregon, Chile and California. The discussion will explore how these pioneering regions are helping shape the future of Pinot Noir.

Tasting the Signature Styles of Burgundy with David Glancy, Master Sommelier and founder of the San Francisco Wine School, focuses on identifying the signature styles of the marque region.

Local writer and Wine Enthusiast Contributing Editor Matt Kettmann will host a dozen famous winemakers during Stars of the Central Coast Dinner.

The World of Pinot Noir takes place Feb. 28 – Mar. 2 at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara. Courtesy photo.

The World of Pinot Noir takes place Feb. 28 – Mar. 2 at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara. Courtesy photo.

Burgundy Dinner: Celebrating Domaine Chanson: One of the great historic producers of Burgundy, Chanson is one of only six producers in Burgundy still remaining from the 18th century. For this five-course dinner, the host, Chanson’s Managing Director Vincent Avenal, will be selecting verticals of some of his favorite wines to pair with the menu, created by Ritz-Carlton Bacara’s Executive Chef Umit Kaygusuz. The wines will include choice vintages of Chanson’s Beaune Clos de Fèves Monopole, Savigny Lès Beaune Dominodes, Chamberton Clos de Bèze, and Beaune Cuvée de Salins Hospice de Beaune. The dinner will open with Champagne Bollinger, Chanson’s sister Champagne house.

Savoy Vineyard: The Apex of Anderson Valley with Esther Mobley, Wine Critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, exploring the wines from Anderson Valley’s famous Savoy Vineyard.

A great gift idea for any wine lover, The World of Pinot Noir takes place Feb. 28 – Mar. 2 at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara. Courtesy photo.

A great gift idea for any wine lover, The World of Pinot Noir takes place Feb. 28 – Mar. 2 at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara. Courtesy photo.

Fess Parker Dinner to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Fess Parker Winery, WOPN hosts a five-course dinner and retrospective of one of California Pinot Noir’s most pioneering and influential wine families. Members of the Parker family, as well as head winemaker Blair Fox, will be on hand to walk guests through rare library wines representing the breadth and depth of the winery’s portfolio. Chef John Cox of The Bear and Star restaurant will deliver a carefully paired menu of his signature refined ranch cuisine to complement the tasting.

The World of Pinot Noir Grand Tasting, courtesy photo.

The World of Pinot Noir Grand Tasting, courtesy photo.

In addition, there are more special winemaker dinners and seminars, an Opening Night Party, Grand Tasting events on both Friday and Saturday, and a lovely Rosé Lawn Party on the bluff Saturday as well.

The Rose Lawn Party at World of Pinot Noir at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara. Courtesy photo.

The Rose Lawn Party at World of Pinot Noir at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara. Courtesy photo.

The World of Pinot Noir takes place February 28 – March 2 at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara (8301 Hollister Ave.).

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit WorldofPinotNoir.com. Hope to see 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 December 7, 2018.

Local Dish: An Edible Tribute to Hanukkah

As my grandmother used to say, the best way to come to Hanukkah feast is to come hungry! That advice definitely still holds for next week’s special event, 8 Nights {an Edible Tribute to Hanukkah}.

Courtesy K'Syrah Catering & Events.

Courtesy K’Syrah Catering & Events.

This exclusive holiday food happening is hosted by Chef Brooke Stockwell, Executive Chef for K’Syrah Catering & Events (www.kscateringandevents.com). A contemporary culinary twist on traditional Jewish celebratory foods, the event takes place on Dec. 7 at K’Syrah Catering & Events (478 4th Place, Solvang) from 6:30-10 p.m. The ticketed evening includes six seated courses of Chef Brooke’s special Hanukkah menu, preceded by two passed appetizer courses.

“This holiday holds so many happy family memories for me, and most of those, food-related. These Hanukkah events give me a chance to honor those memories and traditions, and share them with the whole community—and visitors.

Courtesy K'Syrah Catering & Events.

Courtesy K’Syrah Catering & Events.

I’m using local and seasonal ingredients that showcase this region, to craft a Hanukkah menu which would be fairly recognizable as such,” says Chef Brooke.

Raised in Lompoc, Chef Brooke’s culinary style has evolved over the past dozen years as she has plied her trade in Santa Barbara and Las Vegas, in Morro Bay, and now, back in the Santa Ynez Valley. Chef Brooke’s culinary career began as a private chef at age 19, while she was still in culinary school in Santa Barbara. After working for celebrity chef Rick Moonen in Las Vegas, Chef Brooke returned to the Central Coast where she happily fed locals and tourists alike, as the Executive Chef of the Inn at Morro Bay. Now, upon her return to the Santa Ynez Valley, Chef Brooke became the Executive Chef of K’Syrah Catering & Events, where she continues to share her passion for food and the stories that coincide with the ingredients she selects.

Participating Jewish Santa Barbara County winemakers who will be featured include Sandra Newman, Cebada Wine; Michael Roth, Lo-Fi Wines; and Larry Schaffer, tercero wines. In addition, a portion of the event’s proceeds will support the Santa Ynez Valley Jewish Community.

Courtesy K'Syrah Catering & Events.

Courtesy K’Syrah Catering & Events.

The “8 Nights” Menu for Friday, Dec. 7, with participating Jewish Winemakers, includes:

Tray Passed

1 — potato latke // house-cured salmon // black pepper crème fraîche // chives

2 — savory olive oil cake // cherry coulis // salted bay leaf Chantilly

Seated

3 — roasted beets // frisée // orange // honey vinaigrette // goat cheese crouton

4 — fritto misto // zucchini, winter squash, apple, fennel, lemon // sage brown butter // edible flowers

5 — savory kugel // kale, cipollini, broccolini, mushrooms // gruyere // challah bread crumbs // herbs

6 — grilled quail // parsnip latke // pomegranate // charoset

7 — smoked brisket // roasted apple sauce // grilled root vegetables // smoked Jerusalem artichoke cream // crispy taro root

8 — apple beignet // dulce de leche // sour cream ice milk // edible flowers

Tickets for the event are $85 per person, plus an onsite cash bar, and are available at 8-nights-edible-tribute-to-hanukkah.eventbrite.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 30, 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.

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: 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.

Cocktail Corner: CA Brew & BBQ Festival

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Summer may be coming to a close, but the festival season continues. Next up, on Saturday, September 29 is the lovely, oceanfront California Brew & BBQ Festival

Featuring more than 50 top breweries, cider makers and wineries, as well top Santa Barbara chefs competing for Best BBQ honors, the Chase Palm Park Field location makes this an ideal place for a day full of sun, sea, beer, BBQ and music.

California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

One2Tree, a soulful reggae band, and Neighborhood Thieves, and alternative rock and pop group, keeps the beat for this all-day feast for the senses where beer is king.

General admission includes:

  • All beer, cider and wines tastes
  • BBQ and food samples from local restaurants and food purveyors
  • Souvenir pint glass
California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

Limited VIP tickets include all of the above, plus:

  • VIP Pavilion catered by Patxi’s Pizza with pizza, salads and appetizers
  • Rare brews offered in the VIP area
  • Wines
  • Oceanside seating with an unobstructed view of the stage
  • VIP Restrooms
California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

For a complete list of beer and beverage vendors, click here.

For a complete list of food vendors—including BBQ competitors, who will be sampling tri-tip—click here.

California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

Not only is this guaranteed to be a day full of fun, the California Brew Festival also benefits the Surf Happens Foundation, whose mission it to enrich the lives of local youth through environmental education and the sport of surfing.

Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

California Brew & BBQ Festival, photo by Luis Esparza.

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 September 14, 2019.

Cocktail Corner: Saddle Up to Hitching Post Wines

Top Row: Hitching Post Wines Exterior, Hitching Post Wines Interior. Middle: Frank Ostini and Olive deliver lunch; l-r Frank Ostini, Jami Ostini, Charlotte Hartley and Gray Hartley. Bottom: Hitching Post Wines Interior, the Hitching Post Burger and Triple Fried Fries. Photos by Rob Stark, courtesy Hitching Post Wine.

Top Row: Hitching Post Wines Exterior, Hitching Post Wines Interior. Middle: Frank Ostini and Olive deliver lunch; l-r Frank Ostini, Jami Ostini, Charlotte Hartley and Gray Hartley. Bottom: Hitching Post Wines Interior, the Hitching Post Burger and Triple Fried Fries. Photos by Rob Stark, courtesy Hitching Post Wine.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

You know the saying, “location, location, location?” Well, sometimes it takes a while for the right one to become available—but in the case of Hitching Post Wines‘ long-awaited tasting room, it was well worth the wait!  

Located right next door to the famed Hitching Post 2 restaurant in Buellton (which was so memorably immortalized in the movie Sideways), Hitching Post Wines just opened their first-ever tasting room, after almost 40 years of winemaking. The spacious new nearly 12-acre property, formerly occupied by Loring Wine Company, belongs to Frank and Jami Ostini and Gray and Charlotte Hartley. The new tasting room is housed in a mid-century farmhouse with trailing walkways and outdoor seating areas with a view of the Santa Ynez Mountain landscape—including the Ostrich Farm next door. Throughout the property are walkways and casual picnic areas that invite guests to linger over a bottle of wine while taking in the dramatic landscape. Dogs are welcome too.

Bottles on display at the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Bottles on display at the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Longtime friends, Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini have been making wines in Santa Barbara County since 1979. Hartley, a former Alaskan salmon fisherman and Ostini, chef and owner of the Hitching Post 2 Restaurant, came together through their love of wine and winemaking. Over the years what was once their backyard hobby has turned into a highly acclaimed winemaking venture, with Pinot Noir as their primary focus. 

Currently, the winery produces about 17,000 cases a year.

Outdoor seating at the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Outdoor seating at the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

The Traditional Tasting at Hitching Post Wines offers a flight of five Hitching Post Wines consisting of Pinks 2017, Hometown Pinot Noir 2016, Cork Dancer Pinot Noir 2015, Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir 2015 and Gen Red 2016, priced at $15 per guest.

A Reserve Tasting, priced at $20, includes five wines—Highliner Pinot Noir 2015, Perfect Set Pinot Noir 2015, Bien Nacido Pinot Noir 2015, Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir 2015 and Four Top  2012. The caveat of the Reserve Tasting will be its ever-changing menu featuring rare single-vineyard bottling and special older vintages of Hitching Post.

Hitching Post Wines also offers customized Private Winemaker Tastings with Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini for $60 per guest (by appointment only).

A sign welcomes visitors to the new Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room.

A sign welcomes visitors to the new Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room.

The other beauty of this location is easy access to Hitching Post 2’s Santa Maria Style BBQ food pairings. Classics from the restaurant include HP Burgers, Triple-Fried French Fries, Santa Maria BBQ Artichokes and Grilled Corn Quesadillas. Coming soon, the public will experience an expanded lunch menu served from a refurbished 1970s Vintage Airstream trailer, relocated from Seaside, Florida, and converted into a first-class Santa Maria BBQ kitchen on wheels.

In the coming months, look for the phase two restoration of the rear building into a public wine bar with an enclosed patio overlooking the river with mountain views and a natural stage, ideal for live performances. The classic Airstream trailer and Hitching Post Santa Maria grills will offer a broader menu, cooked onsite surrounding by casual seating. Also planned is a phase three restoration and remodel of the original barn that oversees the Santa Ynez Mountains specifically for private Hitching Post events.

Inside the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Inside the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Hitching Post Wines is open Sunday – Thursday from  11 a.m. – 5  p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.  Food service from The Hitching Post 2 is available from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. daily, with limited cheese and charcuterie available for purchase in the tasting room. Hitching Post Wines is located at 420 E. Hwy. 246, Buellton. 

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 August 31, 2018.