SBCC Brings the World to the Kitchen 

Free Tuition Program Covers School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management 

From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

SBCC Culinary Program, From Schools of Thought, Santa Barbara Independent, November 7, 2019.

Aspiring chefs whirl around the industrial-size kitchen classroom in clean white threads, cooking up a mouth-watering array of Northern African and Moroccan dishes like Mtuzi Wa Samaki (fish in coconut curry), homemade merguez sausage, and Ghanaian chicken-and-peanut stew. 

This intricate dance of chopping, stirring, sautéing, and learning is conducted by Chef Charlie Fredericks, who is clearly delighted to be orchestrating the SBCC class called “Modern Food: Style, Design, Theory, and Production.” Students create dishes from a different country every week — and once the global-themed feast is complete, they all share a meal together. 

“It’s so much fun,” said Fredericks, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, who has worked at restaurants in San Francisco, the Caribbean, Europe, and Napa before returning home to open bouchon in Santa Barbara in 1998. “This is definitely my favorite time,” he said. “It’s pretty much a Disneyland class.” 

Indeed, it’s a small world after all, and the Culinary Arts students seem to be enjoying the ride. “I really enjoy learning about the different countries and their different ways of cooking and different spices and how they have a connection to their culture,” said Claudia Garcia, a returning student who also has a son and a daughter enrolled at SBCC. 

The Chinese cooking lesson had a special resonance for Ava Engle, who grew up in Carpinteria and is attending the culinary school as part of the SBCC Promise Program, which provides the region’s high school graduates with the opportunity to attend for two years, free of charge. “I was actually adopted in China,” explained Engle, “and we made the Chinese food on my adoption day, just coincidentally, so that was great. I was kind of unfamiliar with the dishes we made, so it was fun to learn about them.” 

Alejandro Hernandez, a 2019 graduate of the SBCC School of Extended Learning Bilingual GED Program, is another one of 19 students enrolled in the Promise who’s attending the School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management Program this semester. Hernandez has supported himself and his family by working full-time at a Vietnamese restaurant for many years. He says the Promise — which covers enrollment costs and all required fees, books, and supplies for two years — is a great opportunity for him to bring a global perspective to combine with his family culinary roots from Guerrero, Mexico. “Hopefully, I’ll open my own restaurant in the future,” Hernandez said. 

“I’d love to work in a hotel and travel internationally,” said Miriam Martinez, another aspiring chef. “The Modern Foods is definitely my favorite class. I love the opportunity to taste — and cook — food from every country.”

Click here to read this story as it originally appeared in the Santa Barbara Independent on November 7, 2019. SB Independent Schools of Thought Insert 11.7.19

Roses in November

805 Living Roses in November

Macchiato Roses photo by Debbie Kline, Florabundance. Courtesy 805 Living Magazine.

During the fall, roses in warm earthy colors are in high demand. Among the newest additions to this palette are Macchiato roses. The color of blushing cheeks, these beauties are available locally at Florabundance (florabundance.com), a wholesale flower supplier in Carpinteria.

“Growers in the flower world are working on new varieties all the time,” says Florabundance buyer Debbie Kline, who suggests a few options to consider in an arrangement of Macchiato roses for the Thanksgiving table. “I personally like to see the brown tones mixed with burgundies and even blushes or peach; natural elements with texture always bring interest, too, like bronze Amaranthus, burgundy Scabiosa, and chocolate lace flowers.

“The process for creating new, natural varieties is actually quite fascinating,” Kline says, “and anticipating future trends is tricky. [Growers] also work on producing new colors and varieties that are stronger and more productive to grow.” —Leslie Dinaberg

805 Living Magazine, November 2019.

805 Living Magazine, November 2019.

Click here to read this story as it appeared in 805 Living magazine, November 2019 805 Living Magazine November 2019.

2019 Best of Santa Barbara

SB Independent Best of

From the Santa Barbara Independent, October 17, 2019.

So, I had the honor of writing up the Santa Barbara Independent‘s Best of Santa winners this year. It was a huge, fun project. People were so happy to hear from me and so excited to have won! You can read the whole thing (203 winners at last count) by clicking here, or on the PDF below.

Santa Barbara Independent Best Of Oct. 17 2019_Part1

Santa Barbara Independent Best Of Oct. 17 2019_Part2

Santa Barbara Independent Best Of Oct. 17 2019_Part3

Best of Independent Cover

Getting Schooled in Museum Education

student interns strike a pose. Courtesy UCSB Art, Design & Architecture Museum.

Art, Design & Architecture Museum student interns strike a pose. Courtesy UCSB Art, Design & Architecture Museum.

Interns at the Art, Design & Architecture Museum earn academic credit and valuable experience

By Leslie Dinaberg
Wednesday, August 28, 2019 – 06:00 Santa Barbara, CA

When this year’s cohort of interns take their place at UC Santa Barbara’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum (AD&A Museum), they’ll have the opportunity not only to add valuable skills to their own resumes, but also serve to the University and the broader Santa Barbara community.

“We are contributing to the development of the museum field by fostering future professionals,” said Elyse Gonzales, AD&A Museum’s acting director. “I also see the internship program, and all of our efforts really, as a means of developing future museum visitors, members, and donors for our museum and all museums in general. Our goals for the undergraduate internship program at the AD&A Museum are quite ambitious.”

Internships for academic credit are offered in the curatorial, collections management, archival management, programs/events, education outreach and public relations departments of the AD&A Museum. The museum also offers collaborative internships with the University Library’s special collections department; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, where interns serve as gallery guides for students in grades six through 12; and with online platform impactmania — in collaboration with the Neuroscience Research Institute, Department of Religious Studies and global partners — where interns work to deliver a suite of interviews, interactive presentations, and events related to the topic “Human Mind and Migration.”

“I approach all of our UCSB students — really all students — who come to the museum the same way, with a warm welcome, emphasizing that the museum is for them,” Gonzales said. “If we can get them to visit while they are at UCSB, give them a positive experience and help them understand that the museum is not an intimidating place — this is not a place that is about exclusion, it’s about inclusion — then you’ve hooked a museum-goer for the rest of their life.

The more we can reach out to and engage younger generations, the better we are going to be in the long run. And when I say ‘we’ I mean the AD&A Museum, but also museums in general.”

Gonzales credits much of the vision for the internship program to Bruce Robertson, the recently retired museum director. “Studies reveal that most museum professionals and others in the arts became interested in these fields because they had a pivotal moment with an object or a formative creative experience. Knowing that, and with education as the imperative of the entire university, we immediately understood that we could make a significant contribution to our field,” Gonzales said. “But, also the reality of our situation is that we have a lot of tasks, projects, and events that need to be executed and managed and loads of ambitions to do even more. Knowing this, it became clear that working with students would not only help them but help us achieve our goals and mission.”

Focused on professional development, the resulting program pairs students with employees at the museum.

“The students have been great to work with — they are excited to learn new things, go ‘behind the scenes’ at the museum, and are able to explore possible career paths,” said Architecture and Design Collection Reference Archivist Julia Larson. “The students are eager to come in for their intern shifts because they are working on concrete projects — putting materials in folders, organizing and labelling collections, assisting with cataloging which they can cite as examples of work projects for future jobs or grad school. They also ask a lot of good questions and force me to think through my work and how best to explain things.

“The students learn how to process archival collections,” she added, “which is very hands-on work.”

Said Susan Lucke, collections manager and registrar, “We rely on our interns so much. They’re just not doing entry-level work. They actually get to do work that I would do. We need the help, and they gain a lot of experience and that’s so useful when they start to look for a job.

“I think it’s helpful for kids to look at all their options in school and this is a really a good program,” Lucke continued. “It’s not like sitting in a classroom with 300 other kids. It’s more of an intimate experience, and students get a lot of one-on-one attention plus it enables them to look at another side of life.”

AD&A Museum interns have gone on to graduate school; the Peace Corps; and to careers at many different kinds of museums, including the Smithsonian, the Peterson Automotive Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara and the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara, among others.

For-credit internships are open to undergraduates in all majors. “We find that many of our interns love art and architecture but also feel like they need to have a degree in something else, something they perceive as being more stable,” said Gonzales.

“The impetus behind this internship program is primarily to help give students professional experiences but also to help alleviate student and parental concerns about future career opportunities,” she added. “In addition, one of my goals is to help reflect the diversity of our campus and to create opportunities to diversify the field for future museum leadership.”

What she feels most proud about the internship program is that when students leave, they have concrete real- world experiences they can put on a resume and several individuals willing to give them a great reference. “A really smart and committed intern can do wonders,” Gonzales noted. “We should know, our museum wouldn’t function half so well without their terrific help.”

Originally published in the UCSB Current on August 28, 2019.

A Standing Ovation for The Silver Bough

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough culinary team, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

By Leslie Dinaberg

Like its Irish mythological legend, The Silver Bough—the entry into the Celtic otherworld, believed to offer everlasting youth, beauty, health and joy, and a rich paradise of delights, where food was ever abundant and where travelers were treated as kings and queens—is an impressive bounty of elegantly prepared food and dramatic culinary theatrics. This intimate, eight-seat tasting menu fine dining experience is one of the most ambitious restaurant endeavors I’ve ever experienced.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

From the moment you enter the Montecito Inn, the new home of The Silver Bough, you are transported into an exquisite, magical world of high-class indulgence. The evening starts in the lobby lounge, where a personal concierge offers you specialty libations or champagne from a custom-made bar cart.  

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

Promptly at 7 p.m. (there’s only one seating per night, Thursdays-Sundays), you are escorted in a dark, theatrically anointed room, with an intricately designed Silver Bough-themed table as the focal point. Handcrafted and modeled after a voluminous Ginkgo tree, completed with painted brass butterflies and a glass top, the table—as well as the dishes, silverware, candelabras and serving pieces—was custom designed by award-winning American artist Michael Aram. Here the overture for the journey officially begins, with the host acting as narrator, guiding guests through the story of The Silver Bough and correspondingly gorgeous canapes that are almost too beautiful to eat—but I force myself, to the delight of my taste buds.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

At the end of the canape courses, a curtain I didn’t notice before is dramatically opened, revealing the main stage, a 16-foot, kitchen-facing Brazilian Quartzite chef’s counter, with Owner/Executive Chef Phillip Frankland Lee and his team of chefs there to greet us. There are from three to five executive-level chefs at your service on any given night. 

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

Owner/Executive Chef Phillip Frankland Lee at The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

Each chapter in the main room starts out with an introduction of the ingredients. Act 1, the seafood chapter, previews a platter of moving King Crab legs, live spiny lobster, sea urchin, caviar and more.

The theme—that guests are to be treated royally—is impressively executed, as we watch Chef Lee and his team prepare each dish as if it were a precious work of art. Indeed, this meal is probably museum worthy. With the precision of a jeweler, Chef Lee adds gold leaf to the Sturgeon Caviar, which sits atop a gorgeous concoction of Lobster Gelee, Hazelnut Cream and Smoked Eel.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

And, in a dramatic dance that takes place for each of the 18 courses, the chefs have mastered  impressive choreography to ensure that each dish gets to each patron (along with thoughtfully selected wine or nonalcoholic beverage pairings) at precisely the same moment. Additional seafood dishes, each more incredible than the next, include Live Spiny Lobster Tartare, topped with local Sea Urchin and puffed quinoa; Pommes Souffle stuffed with Lobster innards whipped with Crème Fraiche, and topped with Sea Urchin and Carnations; and Vermillion Crudo. The Act 1 finale, which includes almost every ingredient used in the seafood chapter, is a delicious preparation of lightly grilled King Crab in sea urchin emulsion, with sourdough bread crumbs and caviar.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

Act 2, an equally impressive series of land-based courses, is again introduced with a peek at the ingredients, including Kings Pigeon from Flying H Ranch in Carpinteria, Olive Wagyu Ribeye, pasture-raised venison, caviar and an abundance of truffles.

Dishes include Kings Pigeon Breast with Pistachio Crust; a Liver Tartlette with a tasty Mini-Parker House Roll; a Kings Pigeon Leg. Both the Aged Venison Saddle with brown butter Roasted Chestnuts and the Venison Tenderloin with butter roasted Chantrelles smell every bit as terrific as they taste. In fact, the whole dining room is designed for amazing aromatics. Despite the huge number of courses, each one continued to dazzle both my eyes and my nose. 

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

While I hesitate to choose a favorite in a menu so filled with delights, perhaps with most memorable dishes were the two made with Legendary Olive Wagyu Ribeye. According to Chef Lee, the Silver Bough is only restaurant in the world to have this beef, and it’s no wonder. Billed as “the rarest steak on the planet,” it currently retails for more than $200 a pound and is sourced via Santa Barbara resident Ethan Lowry, co-owner of the online meat seller Crowd Cow. 

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

A mouthwatering cheese course of Andazul Goat’s Milk Blue with Fried Sourdough, Warm honey and Black Truffle bridges the savory and the sweet worlds with amazing flavors. 

The Act 3 finale, the domain of talented Pastry Chef Margarita Kallas-Lee, who is married to Chef Frankland Lee, begins with a Citrus vanilla Tea emulsion combining blood orange sorbet with basil blossoms and black lime. Additional jewel box-worthy dessert courses include the Strawberry Duck Liver Mousse, a Chamomile Custard with Shaved Truffles, Candied Bee Pollen and 24k Gold Leaf, and literally, a jewel box of Mignardises, comprised of a Kalamansi Pate de Fruit, a Blood Orange Pate de Fruit, a Strawberry-Creme Fraiche Bon Bon and a Tarragon-Buttermilk Bon Bon.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

Not quite ready to end such an enchanted evening, the chefs invite us to continue to imbibe and enjoy after-dinner drinks and aperitifs with the team, which was quite fun and the perfect capper to an amazing culinary experience.  

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The all-inclusive tasting menu has a ticket price of $550/person, with a non-alcoholic specialty pairing available for $450/person (both inclusive of tax and gratuity). Obviously, this price point isn’t something most of us can indulge in every day, but I’m hopeful that a one-of-a-kind, gastronomic, theatrical experience like this will find its audience. 

For more information, visit silverboughmontecito.com 

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 1, 2019.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough opening culinary team, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

The Silver Bough, photo by Joel Schmelzer.

Celebrating 60 Years

Six decades strong, Arts & Lectures keeps education at the core of its mission

Ma’s visit to Santa Barbara — which includes a free, open-to-the-public, master class with UC Santa Barbara students, and the above-mentioned lecture, “Culture, Understanding and Survival” — marks a high point for the program.

“Our relationship with Yo-Yo is very special,” said Celesta M. Billeci, A&L’s Miller McCune Executive Director. “I think it’s unique to any program in the country, and I can say with confidence he has a very special relationship with us.” That relationship, she added, extends to Chancellor Henry T. Yang and his wife, Dilling.

This season, A&L has also co-commissioned a project with the Grammy Award-winning Silkroad Ensemble, founded by Ma in 1998. The genre-defying global musicians will perform the world premiere of “Take Their Stands” Friday, April 26, at the Granada.

“This is really research in action in the arts,” Billeci said. “We gave the money to this ensemble to create new work. They’ve created five new pieces they will premiere and will tour all over the world. And we did this here at UCSB. So that’s a real testament to the quality of this program and to being a leader in the arts.”

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Yannick Lebrun and Sarah Daley. Photo Credit: ANDREW ECCLES.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Yannick Lebrun and Sarah Daley. Photo Credit: ANDREW ECCLES.

During the week prior to their performance, the musicians will be on campus working with students in the music, dance and religious studies departments and in the Givertz School of Education.

For example, Silkroad members Haruka Fuji and Sandeep Das will conduct a lecture/demonstration and Kayhan Kalhor will conduct a Dastgah practicum in world music; Kojiro Umezaki and Cristina Pato will hold a workshop with Gevirtz School of Education student teachers; Ahmad Sadri and Wu Tong will lead a meet-the-artist conversation on Asian religious traditions; and Aparna Ramaswamy will share Bharatnatyam dance traditions with students in the theater and dance department.

Education, Billeci stressed, is at the heart of A&L’s programming. “Its purpose is to really be intertwined with the academic program and be a supplement for the academic experience of students on this campus,” she said. “It’s not peripheral; it’s definitely to the core of the academic mission.”

To that end, Billeci, Associate Director Roman Baratiak and their team, particularly program manager Heather Silva, work closely with academic departments and individual faculty members to set priorities for the types of lectures and performances they bring to campus. “The speakers and artists we bring are not just coming here and doing their public presentation,” explained Caitlin O’Hara, A&L writer and publicist. “They’re going to campus for class events or master classes. They’re very heavily enmeshed in the campus as part of their stay.”

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s recent visit is a prime example. Prior to her public lecture she met with honors students from the College of Letters and Science. “Frankly, I think some of our speakers are shocked at how much we expect them to do,” Baratiak quipped.

“We also present a lot of free events for students,” added Billeci, noting the recent concert with ukulele wizard Jake Shimabukuro in Storke Plaza. “This is the second time we’ve had him do that. He did it before and the students went nuts for him. They just love him. And he just loves them. He’s a great ambassador for our program and for music overall.”

Plans to bring performers to A&L are often in the works years ahead of time. With the dance series, for instance, Billeci meets with faculty members several times throughout the year to understand who they are interested in having come to campus. Professors and lecturers often build class visits into their curricula, and when these companies perform, hundreds of students are in the audience.

“On our lecture side, our education coordinator will reach out to academic departments and individual faculty members and say, ‘Here’s an opportunity,’” explained Baratiak. They can elect to send their students to an event or, if time can be spared in the performer’s or presenter’s schedule, he or she might meet with students. “We have collaborations with the College of Creative Studies, the writing program, pretty much most departments,” he added.

“I think we’ve got one of the most exciting and interesting public lecture programs in the country,” said Baratiak, whose 40-year tenure with the program began when he was a student at UC Santa Barbara. “So it’s obviously something that I think all of us are proud of here at A&L.”

Baratiak is particularly enthusiastic, he added, about the annual free summer film series presented at the Santa Barbara Courthouse in collaboration with the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture.

The truth is, over the last 60 years, A&L has enabled Santa Barbara audiences to spend time with some incredible individuals and performers: Upton Sinclair, Robert Oppenheimer, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Allen Ginsberg and The Dalai Lama (on three separate occasions), to name a few.

In addition to Yo-Yo Ma, A&L has more recently brought to the local stage Joan Baez, Trevor Noah, Laurie Anderson, Gloria Steinem, Bill T. Jones, the NYC Ballet, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Sonny Rollins and Twyla Tharp.

A&L also presented talks by Pakistani activist and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai (“We were the only university in the country that got that date,” Billeci pointed out) and comedian Jon Stewart (“We presented him to 5,000 students in the Thunderdome”), and a concert by alumnus Jack Johnson, who performed at Harder Stadium.

The talk by former vice president Joe Biden at the Arlington Theater also stands out. “We were doing a free simulcast for students on the campus, and as soon as it ended he jumped in the car and came to campus to meet with the students who’d watched the simulcast,” recalled O’Hara. “He sat and talked with them. I’ve had so many students talk to me and say how impactful that was.”

Similarly, a recent — and free — lecture by Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo Movement, also was a high point for students, according to O’Hara. So many students wanted to hear her talk that simulcasts to overflow rooms were required to accommodate them.

“If you go back 60 years,” Billeci remarked, “this program is really really amazing.”

On the community outreach side, the A&L initiative dearest to Billeci’s heart is ¡Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara! The program offers free performances and educational activities to students, at-risk youth and families in Santa Barbara County. “We have made the long-term commitment to bring high quality arts — not average or mediocre — the very best in music and dance to these communities and to the folks who live there,” Billeci said.

Putting on more than 100 events every year is a team effort, and Billeci is quick to credit the contributions of A&L staff, which includes roughly 75 work-study students. “Often Roman and I get a lot of credit, but this does not work without the amazing group of people that make this machine move,” she said. “For the size of this program — a nationally respected, top-five program in the country — this group of people is so dedicated and so hard working and it’s my privilege and my pleasure to work with them every day.”

More information about A&L, including and a schedule of events, is available at www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.

Originally published in the UCSB Current on April 19, 2019.

Local Lowdown: Montecito’s Upper Village Embodies the Spirit of Community

Montecito's Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

Montecito’s Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

By Leslie Dinaberg

Photos by Jordan Duggan

Despite the global sophistication of its residents, the spirit of small town American is alive and well in Montecito’s low key, charming upper village. While last year’s twin disasters wrecked heartbreaking havoc both personally and professionally, they also helped create an appreciative climate of reflection and gratitude for the simple joys of greeting neighbors and supporting local businesses. What better time to pay them a visit than during the holiday season.

East Valley Road carves a graceful path through the heart of the village, where several clusters of retail businesses and service providers make their homes on both the mountain and ocean sides of the street. The porch of the Montecito Coffee Shop/San Ysidro Pharmacy and the fountain patio of Pierre Lafond Montecito Market are both great spots to catch up on the latest scuttlebutt or watch the world go by. Other fine eateries include Pane e Vino, Via Vai Trattoria Pizzeria and Montecito Wine Bistro, as well as food purveyors like Montecito Village Grocery and Village Cheese & Wine (which reportedly kept the doors open and locals who didn’t evacuate fed throughout the nearly three weeks that Montecito was clamped down in a post-flood mandatory evacuation).

Montecito's Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

Montecito’s Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

Shopping for unique items is a pleasure at Imagine Artful Things, a beautiful gem of a store that defies categorization. Trust us, you’re sure to find distinctive gifts for the home as well as everyone on your list (including yourself). Other notable art, gifts and home good dealers in the area include Upstairs at Pierre Lafond (with everything from home dècor, to tabletop pieces and gorgeous local artwork), The Stationery Collection, Tecolote Book Shop (complete with a lovely grassy outdoor area to pull up a seat if you just can’t wait to dig into the latest bestseller), Village Frame & Gallery, Clare Swan Clothing & Travel and Jenni Kayne Home & Apparel.

An impressive number of antique stores are in the area, including Josephine’s Antiques, Davis & Taft Antiques, Country House Antiques, Carty & Carty Antiques, Brostrom Antiques, William Lahman Furniture (a charming mix of antiques, accessories and garden objects) and Haskell Antiques.

Montecito's Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

Montecito’s Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

Stylish women’s fashions can be found at Juniper Women’s Boutique (the handmade belts are one-of-a-kind), Glamour House Intimate Apparel (which has beautiful nighties and PJs for holiday gifting), Giuliana Haute Couture, Julianne Boutique and two stores—Wendy Foster Clothing and Wendy Foster Sportswear—from Santa Barbara’s long-time doyenne of style.

Health and wellness salons include Skin Essentials, Dadiana, Beauty & Hair Salon and Mareva International. Jewelers in the village include Bryant & Sons Jewelers, Tresor Fine Jewelry & Collectibles, George Meta Jewelry and Oliver & Espig Gallery of Fine Arts.

Montecito's Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

Montecito’s Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

In addition, there’s a wealth of services available in the upper village, including Automotive & Repair, Montecito Village Hardware, Sotheby’s International Realty (Sandy Stahl and an additional office), Wells Fargo Bank & Trust, ACI Jet, Blake Ashley Design, Montecito Executive Services, Montecito Library, Montecito Associates, Union Bank, Santa Barbara Travel Bureau, Elder Studio, Northern Trust (two offices), Coldwell Banker, Hogue & Co. Florists, House of Honey, American Riviera Bank and Gazebo Gardens.

In keeping with the small town retail vibe, many of these retailers are entirely owner run and operated, ensuring a
personal touch. Please call individual stores for hours of operation, as they can vary.

Originally published in the Winter 2019 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Retro-Chic Revival at the Skyview Los Alamos 

The Skyview Courtyard was a former asphalt car park before being remodeled into a gathering spot featuring fire pits and native gardens. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

The Skyview Courtyard was a former asphalt car park before being
remodeled into a gathering spot featuring fire pits and native gardens. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

By Leslie Dinaberg

On the hilltop overlooking the quaint western town of Los Alamos sits a midcentury modern gem of a new hotel—the Skyview Los Alamos. This boutique, 33-room property—including two spacious suites and 16 deluxe rooms with private decks with outdoor showers and fire pits—opened last spring, somehow managing to maintain the historic 1950’s motel vibe, while infusing it with equal helpings of modern conveniences and hipster coolness.

“We were inspired by the western roots of Los Alamos, the midcentury architecture of the motel, and our love of travel,” explains Kimberly Walker, managing partner and co-owner of Skyview Los Alamos.

“Skyview was built in 1959 and changed hands quite a few times over the years,” says Walker. “At one point, locals used to be able to swim in the pool for 25 cents! We’ve heard many people say the Beatles stayed in room 33 at some point.”

The Midcentury golden starbust door welcomes visitors to Norman, the excellent onsite restaurant. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

The Midcentury golden starbust door welcomes visitors to Norman, the excellent onsite restaurant. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Like many others (myself included), Walker had driven past the motel for years and wondered what it was. “We always saw the motel sign going, ‘oh, what is that on the hill?’ But we fell in love with Los Alamos, the food, the wine and the people. When the motel went up for sale, we moved on it quickly. We purchased the property in 2016 and spent two years renovating the motel, sprucing up the grounds, updating the design and restoring its midcentury architecture. We also turned the former asphalt car park into communal native gardens with fire pits to create space for guests to relax and gather,” she explains.

The attention to detail is incredible. Guests are greeted with a cup of locally sourced Dart Coffee or a glass of local wine (and soon the 2.5-acre onsite Skyview Vineyards will yield their own Pinot Noir, overseen by winemaker Mikey Guigni of Scar of the Sea Wines).

Each room’s carefully crafted decor reflects both the location’s western heritage and modern luxury elements. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Each room’s carefully crafted decor reflects both the location’s western heritage and modern luxury elements. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Each room is its own bespoke design, with thoughtfully sourced and unique décor, including flat panel televisions, down duvets, leather club chairs and marble-clad bathrooms with hand-painted tiles and farm sinks, as well as luxury amenities such as locally made Fable Soap products in the bathroom and Abba-Zabba candy, Good Zebra munchies and Casamigos Tequila in the mini-bar.

“We completely designed the property ourselves,” says Walker. “My partner, Mike Kyle, oversaw the architectural design and I oversaw the interior design. This is our second project together as a design team—the first was Granada Hotel & Bistro in San Luis Obispo. As with the property in SLO, we let the building’s location and heritage guide the process. We’re proud and excited to have brought it back to its 1950’s glory.”

Another peek at the room's interior, with elements of both the location’s western heritage and modern luxuries. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Another peek at the room’s interior, with elements of both the location’s western heritage and modern luxuries. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

A large part of that glory is the restoration of the original 1950’s era pool, with the iconic neon “Motel” sign casting its glow over water that changes color from green to silver to purple and two shades of blue, with the help of an app. The ownership group, known as Nomada Hotel Group, took care to retain many of the motel’s original elements, like the quirky cactus columns in the porte-cochere, and the actual room keys instead of key cards. A fleet of Linus bikes offers a nostalgic way to explore the downtown area of Los Alamos—which is rapidly becoming a haven for foodies—as well as the surrounding wineries
and vineyards.

A restored vision of the iconic 1950s era pool and neon sign. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

A restored vision of the iconic 1950s era pool and neon sign. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Forest green doors with a midcentury golden starburst beckon guests to pay a visit to Norman—the excellent full-service bar and restaurant named with a wink to Psycho’s Norman Bates. Norman is well worth the drive on its own, and serves local wines, herb-infused cocktails and farm-fresh fare (think shareable plates and lots of salads, fish and house-smoked meats) both poolside and in the retro-chic reinvented dining room.

The dog-friendly property is a great spot for a romantic getaway but would also be a fun place to gather with a group of friends for a special occasion or just a weekend hangout.

SKYVIEW LOS ALAMOS, 9150 US-101, LOS ALAMOS,

805/344-0104, SKYVIEWLOSALAMOS.COM.

Originally published in the Winter 2019 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Pebble Beach 
Takes Luxury to New Levels

A breathtaking view of Pebble Beach Golf Links, photo by Johann Dost.

A breathtaking view of Pebble Beach Golf Links, photo by Johann Dost.

As you step onto the greens, the beauty and drama of Pebble Beach simply takes your breath away. The fabled course celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2019 by hosting the U.S. Open Championships for the sixth time, and in preparation for the centennial milestone they’ve done loads of improvements and restorations on an already prime vacation destination.

An aerial of The Lodge at 
Pebble Beach and the 18th hole, circa 1920s. Photo courtesy, Pebble Beach Company Lagorio Archive.

An aerial of The Lodge at 
Pebble Beach and the 18th hole, circa 1920s. Photo courtesy, Pebble Beach Company Lagorio Archive.

Ranked the #1 public course in America by Golf Digest Magazine along with a #1 rating among the “Top 100 Courses You Can Play in the U.S.” by Golf Magazine, Pebble Beach Golf Links is certainly one of the greatest courses in the world, with a combination of coastal beauty, remarkable architecture and legendary golf history. Golf Digest Magazine describes the course as “not just the greatest meeting of land and sea in American golf, but the most extensive one, too, with nine holes [#4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #17, #18] perched immediately above the crashing Pacific surf.”

After missing the Crosby Pro-Am from 1947-1950, Bob Hope finally showed up 
to play in 1951. Bing Crosby decided he’d better catch the 
moment on film. Photo by J.P. Graham, courtesy Pebble Beach Company.

After missing the Crosby Pro-Am from 1947-1950, Bob Hope finally showed up 
to play in 1951. Bing Crosby decided he’d better catch the 
moment on film. Photo by J.P. Graham, courtesy Pebble Beach Company.

Clint Eastwood was paired with Ray Floyd in 
the Crosby Clambake in 
the late 1960s. Photo by W.C. Brooks, courtesy Pebble Beach Company.

Clint Eastwood was paired with Ray Floyd in 
the Crosby Clambake in 
the late 1960s. Photo by W.C. Brooks, courtesy Pebble Beach Company.

We recently got to stay at The Lodge at Pebble Beach—in a gorgeous ocean view room overlooking the 18th hole—and indulged in the legendary guest experience that makes Pebble Beach so special. While golf is obviously King at Pebble Beach, for the non-golfers like me, the other elements are equally royal: starting with the absolutely stellar service. From the moment we rolled up to the door to check in—our road weary Honda taking its place of honor amongst the perfectly detailed BMWs and Teslas—we were treated with the type of gracious hospitality that every inn in the world should aspire to emulate. 

I never wanted to leave.

Our casually luxurious, coastally inspired room was comfortable yet completely lavish, with every amenity you could imagine—including full-size, top-of-the-line shampoo and conditioner, which I loved! The ocean-front patio was a perfect spot to enjoy the sunset, watch the whales spout, as if on cue, and toast to the decadence of this plum assignment.

Our room had been recently renovated to expand the window walls to maximize views of the course and the ocean and double the size of the patio and deck to serve as an outdoor living space, as well as new indoor furnishings and accessories, bathroom upgrades, a signature fireplace wall, air conditioning and technology upgrades including 55-inch HDTVs, new lighting, energy management systems and state-of-the-art door locks. The place may be 100 years old, but the rooms are up-to-date in every way imaginable.

Fairway One Cottage Room, photo by Sherman Chu.

Fairway One Cottage Room, photo by Sherman Chu.

Another recent addition is Fairway One, which added 30 oversized guest rooms and cottages fronting the first fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links and a new meeting facility, as well as a 2,500-square-foot meeting room. 

“The Lodge and Pebble Beach Golf Links are where our story began in 1919, and now, as we approach our 100th anniversary, the addition of Fairway One will help us continue that legacy for the next 100 years,” says Bill Perocchi, CEO of Pebble Beach Company. The new section includes two gorgeous four-bedroom cottages with 1,000-square-foot living rooms with 17-foot-high wood-beam ceilings, wood-burning floor-to-ceiling stacked stone fireplaces, two king bedrooms, two queen/queen bedrooms, and an outdoor terrace with fire pits, as well as full kitchens.

 

Elizabeth Taylor celebrated her first honeymoon at Pebble Beach in 1950 with Conrad “Nicky” Hilton, Jr. Photo courtesy Pebble Beach Company Lagorio Archive.

Elizabeth Taylor celebrated her first honeymoon at Pebble Beach in 1950 with Conrad “Nicky” Hilton, Jr. Photo courtesy Pebble Beach Company Lagorio Archive.

What a perfect spot to make your home away from home. It’s almost enough to make you want to cook on vacation.

The other culinary options are also plentiful, with six restaurants onsite. Specializing in seafood, Stillwater Bar & Grill is an elegant destination for a relaxing dinner overlooking the fairways. The Tap Room serves a selection of American tavern-style classics, and The Terrace Lounge is a lovely spot to sit back and relax in one of the oversized armchairs while sipping on a cocktail and enjoying panoramic golf course views. Gallery Café offers home-style breakfast and lunch. For cove and ocean views, enjoy lunch at The Beach Club. The Bench is a casual spot overlooking the 18th hole, specializing in crafted cocktails and wood-roasted dishes, with a large central bar and patio tables with fire pits to warm your al fresco dining experience and roast marshmallows for símoreís.

If that’s not enough to entertain you, there’s a free shuttle service to sister property The Inn at Spanish Bay, offering another six dining options.

Guests are also provided complimentary access to The Beach & Tennis Club at Pebble Beach, a swanky venue near the renowned 17th hole, featuring tennis, workout facilities and a heated pool. Then there’s The Spa at Pebble Beach—one of only 56 spas in the world to receive the coveted Forbes Five-Star Award—offering an array of blissful body treatments that incorporate the healing properties of plants, herbs and minerals indigenous to the Monterey Peninsula.

The Spa at Pebble Beach, photo by Scott Campbell.

The Spa at Pebble Beach, photo by Scott Campbell.

Pebble Beach’s gorgeous 17-Mile Drive—one of the most scenic rides in the world, encompassing both stunning natural beauty and incredible architecture—is always one of the highlights of a visit to the area, and as guests of The Lodge at Pebble Beach we were able to do the drive in style, test driving a brand new Lexus sports car. 

Is it any wonder we didn’t want to leave? I may have to take up golf as an excuse to visit again soon.

For reservations or more information, call 800/654-9300 or visit pebblebeach.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

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

AIA Santa Barbara’s 10th Anniversary ArchitecTours

“Rediscover Downtown Santa Barbara – Imagine How You Can Live, Work & Play” at AIA Santa Barbara’s 10th Anniversary ArchitecTours on October 6.

The American Institute of Architects Santa Barbara‘s 10th anniversary ArchitecTours event will celebrate the fabric of Santa Barbara’s downtown, including historic properties, hidden gems, and recent additions. Join them on this walking tour of downtown Santa Barbara.

“There have been many conversations recently about the changing face of downtown Santa Barbara and how best to support its vitality, while making it more vibrant, livable, and welcoming. This year’s tour is designed to expand these discussions by exploring downtown housing, business and entertainment through its architecture. Some of the sites on the tour will have interactive stations for discovering the concepts that came from last year’s AIASB “Make State Street Work” collaborative charrette. You are invited to contribute your thoughts, experiences, and discussions while exploring the heart of downtown and its architecture,” say the organizers.

Tour Sites:

1. Alhecama Theatre

The Alhecama Theatre was built after the 1925 earthquake that left downtown Santa Barbara irreparably damaged. Following the disaster, a large-scale construction effort completely altered the character of the city center. Originally known as the Pueblo Theatre, the building was constructed in 1925 for the Santa Barbara School of the Arts. It has been in continuous use ever since. A recent remodeling project was completed in 2017 and includes a new roof, an accessible ramp and pathway, doors that open to the plaza, and completely restored interiors with original oak floors, a fully restored stage, new lighting, and drapes on custom historically accurate rods. A professionally restored mural by the noted California artist Ross Dickinson dominates the main wall of the audience space. Today, the Theatre is an inviting space, and a strong step towards revitalizing the historic plaza and bringing art into the community.

Architecture: Harrison Design

Photography: Jim Bartsch

Harrison Design, Alhecama Theatre, photo by Jim Bartsch.

Harrison Design, Alhecama Theatre, photo by Jim Bartsch.

2. Anacapa Studios

Anacapa Studios is a three-building mixed-use complex in Downtown Santa Barbara. Envisioned as a “creative compound” for living and working, Robin Donaldson AIA, Partner of ShubinDonaldson (SD) Architects developed the live-work campus for his Santa Barbara design office, while enabling him to live on campus and truly integrate his personal life with his life-long passion for Architecture. Anacapa Studios stitches into the historically commercial and manufacturing neighborhood by minimizing the mass of the project, breaking the 12,000 SF development into three separate buildings which are three stories tall with fourth story roof decks. The ultimate goal of Anacapa Studios is to be a demonstration project and catalyst for future Santa Barbara downtown living.

Architecture: ShubinDonaldson

Photography: Jim Bartsch

ShubinDonaldson, Anacapa Studios, photo by Jim Bartsch.

ShubinDonaldson, Anacapa Studios, photo by Jim Bartsch.

3. Arlington Village

Arlington Village is the first new rental project to emerge downtown in decades helping to fulfill one of the City’s goals of new rental housing. Originally the old Arlington Hotel, the site is directly adjacent to the historic Arlington Theater. The project design compliments the historic architecture of the theater, extending its surrounding Spanish-style village to the west. The new apartment building is three stories with 33 rental units, averaging 865 SF. The project features an exercise room, a parking garage, improved surface parking for theater patrons, and 984 SF of commercial offices on the ground floor. Central components are common courtyards and a public paseo. A “village green” is provided between the theater and the development. In addition, common and private courtyards are provided on the second, third, and rooftop levels. The 1,830 SF rooftop lounge has panoramic views of the Santa Barbara Mountains.

Architecture: RRM Design Group

Photography courtesy of Architecture firm

RRM Design Group, Arlington Village, courtesy photo.

RRM Design Group, Arlington Village, courtesy photo.

4. Cota + Salsipuedes

Cota + Salsipuedes is a 19,293 square feet three-story mixed on the edge of the funk zone. The project utilizes the Average Unit-Site Density Incentive Program and boasts 29 apartment units of an average unit size of 595 square feet on a lot just under a half acre within the Priority Housing Overlay. Many of the units have mountain or downtown views and range from the basic studio units to ampler two bedroom units. The design contrasts the traditional Spanish Revival architecture drawing from the more contemporary aesthetic of the funk zone. Through the use of strong striking lines wrapping the facade and the use of industrial materials and bold colors this building stands apart and creates its own identity.

Architect: Cearnal Collective 

Cearnal Collective, Cota+Salsipuedes, courtesy rendering.

Cearnal Collective, Cota+Salsipuedes, courtesy rendering.

5. El Zapato

This project has several comfortable units arranged around a small 50’x64’ downtown lot. The building is tucked between two industrial buildings, a parking lot, and a narrow and busy street.

The initial arrangement of the building was driven by the need for creating parking and a desire to preserve a beautiful Pink Flame Tree. Jeff Shelton arranged the buildings around an elliptical porte- cochère arch in the middle of the building.

Architect: Jeff Shelton, Architect

Photography: Alex Nye

Jeff Shelton, El Zapato, photo by Alex Nye.

Jeff Shelton, El Zapato, photo by Alex Nye.

6. Granada Penthouse

On the top two floors of the historic Granada Theatre Tower in the heart of the theatre district of downtown is a beautiful immaculate penthouse. The residence is a two bedroom, two full and two half baths with many more features. The resident’s office sits just off the private elevator lobby in the western corner of the tower. The master suite and an office are located along the central gallery of the home. The master suite faces out towards the expansive mountains. At the end of the gallery is the great room with views towards the southwest and southeast, and off the living room, stairs lead to the ninth floor of the tower in the mansard roof. The southern corner of the tower has a loft with a full bar connected to an exercise room. From the loft are stairs that lead to the rooftop deck of the tower. The views are spectacular with 360º flawless views of the city.

Architect: Cearnal Collective

Photography: Nick Parker

Cearnal Collective, Granada Penthouse, photo by Nick Parker.

Cearnal Collective, Granada Penthouse, photo by Nick Parker.

7. Impact Hub

Impact Hub Santa Barbara is a premier co-working office space, offering patrons state of the art shared and independent working spaces with extensive member benefits that serve to incubate local entrepreneurialism, philanthropy, and sustainable business modeling. Intended to enhance networking and collaboration, independent workstations are located in common thoroughfares while conference rooms and event spaces offer some level of transparency, via fixed glass, to the surrounding spaces.

Upon entry to the foyer, all members are greeted by a bustling bar specializing in one-of-a-kind wine varietals and gourmet vegetarian fare. An atmosphere intended to escalate conversation, interaction, and new introductions. The space also includes an outdoor area where members are able to meet, eat lunch, or work independently during all seasons. Located on State Street, in the core of downtown, the Impact Hub is an epicenter for ingenuity, innovation and passion, qualities that underscore our community’s pervasively entrepreneurial spirit.

Architect: ANACAPA

Photography: David Mendoza

ANACAPA, Impact Hub, photo by David Mendoza.

ANACAPA, Impact Hub, photo by David Mendoza.

8. Independence House

The Independence House is an adaptive re-use and conversion of a 1,776 square foot commercial garage structure into a 2,030 square foot, four bedroom residence. Extensive exterior decks adjacent to the new living spaces provide expansive Santa Barbara city views.

Architect: Arketype Architects Inc.

Photography: Joshua Curry

Arketype Architects Inc., Independence House, photo by Joshua Curry.

Arketype Architects Inc., Independence House, photo by Joshua Curry.

9. Jardin de las Rosas

Jardin de las Rosas provides 40 affordable one, two, and three-bedroom rentals units. In addition, it houses the Michael Towbes Community Center and the Jeanette Duncan Learning Center, which provide educational programs for children, workforce preparedness for adults. The architecture reflects classic Santa Barbara style complimented by drought-tolerant landscaping and an interior courtyard with a playground and a beautiful 35-foot mural by local artists. Jardin de las Rosas is one of the first projects approved through the priority housing overlay pilot program and a key implementation action of the City’s General Plan. Jardin de las Rosas allows dozens of Santa Barbara families to live close to downtown while adding energy to the Haley corridor.

Architect: RRM Design Group

Photography: Michelle C. Torres-Grant

RRM Design Group, Jardin de las Rosas, photo by Michelle C. Torres-Grant.

RRM Design Group, Jardin de las Rosas, photo by Michelle C. Torres-Grant.

10. Mini Craftsman Contemporary

Built at the turn of the Century, this 762 square foot cottage has been designated as a Structures of Merit in the historic Brinkerhoff district. Having been severely neglected for years, the Architect and current owners embraced the Historic quality of this one bedroom home to its historic originations. At the interior, Lori A. Kari created a great room experience through the removal of walls, exposure of the vaulted ceiling, and the addition of operable skylights. While there is limited outdoor space, two outdoor living areas were created for enjoyment at different times of the day. A modest cottage, the project provides an aesthetic and functional architecture for life downtown.

Architect: Lori A. Kari; Photo courtesy of architect

Lori A. Kari, Mini Craftsman, courtesy photo.

Lori A. Kari, Mini Craftsman, courtesy photo.

11. The Service Department

In response to the current retail environment, The Service Department is being transformed into an open concept, multi-tenant property, anchored by a brewery taproom, two restaurants, a separate craft cocktail bar and two micro-retail spaces. Designed by Kevin Moore Architect and developed by Miramar Group, the same team behind the popular Waterline property in the Funk Zone, the Service Department’s layout allows for multiple defined yet contiguous spaces, each opening into the others to encourage patrons to flow easily throughout. Featuring a transformed State Street frontage with a covered patio bar and common entrance, an emphasis on indoor/outdoor spaces, an expansive outdoor beer garden at the rear of the property and charming original architectural features, the Service Department i will be a welcoming new destination property on State Street.

For downtown Santa Barbara to be truly revitalized, Miramar Group believes that projects like the Service Department be envisioned and executed, projects that utilize innovative development and design strategies to attract quality, local-friendly vendors so that State Street can be reborn as Santa Barbara’s showpiece.

Architect: Kevin Moore Architect / Miramar Group, Inc. – Rendering courtesy of Architect

Kevin Moore Architect & Miramar Group, The Service Department, courtesy rendering.

Kevin Moore Architect & Miramar Group, The Service Department, courtesy rendering.

12. West de la Guerra

This underutilized half-acre site, located just a half block from Paseo Nuevo in Santa Barbara’s downtown, was a large parking lot with a small commercial building and a very old Norfolk Island pine. The owners wanted to expand the commercial space and build new courtyard housing behind, while preserving as much parking as possible. From the street it is comfortable but urban; providing 14 new homes in the downtown, from a mountain-view penthouse to three affordable units.

Architect: Cearnal Collective

Photography: Patrick Price

Cearnal Collective, West De La Guerra, photo by Patrick Price.

Cearnal Collective, West De La Guerra, photo by Patrick Price.

The walking tour will takes place on October 6  from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a tour party from 4-6 p.m. For additional information about the tour and to purchase tickets, visit aiasb.com or call 805/966-4198.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 3, 2018.