If these walls could talk: The hallowed history of La Casa de Maria’s stone house

Photo courtesy immaculateheartcenter.org.

Photo courtesy immaculateheartcenter.org.

In the Montecito hills, off of El Bosque Road, sits a bastion of peace and serenity in today’s busy world. Heading up the oak tree-lined driveway to the grand stone house at the center of La Casa de Maria, one can’t help but be overcome with feelings of calm and tranquility, as if driving into the distance brought one back to a quieter, simpler time.

This property was originally part of the San Ysidro Ranch, owned by Taylor Goodrich and John Harleigh Johnston. Richard Hogue, of Montana, purchased 20 acres of the ranch in 1886, and named it El Prado Rancho (the meadow). At the time there was an orange orchard on the property, but a few years later Hogue obtained road access and water rights and created the first lemon orchard in the area. Some of those old lemon trees can still be seen in front of the stone estate house that now resides on the property.

In 1924, Hogue sold the property to Emmor J. Miley, a building contactor and one of the pioneers in Kern County oil development. As an oilman, Miley made a sizeable fortune, some of which he planned to show off in his new estate.

Renaming the property Rancho El Bosque (the woodlands), Miley hired architectural designer Mary Craig to design a showpiece house.

Craig was the widow of architect James Osborne Craig, who succumbed to tuberculosis in 1922 at the age of 33. In his short career Mr. Craig played a large role in the development of Spanish Colonial architecture in Santa Barbara, including designs for El Paseo downtown and the Bernard Hoffmann House on the Riviera. Though she did not have any formal design training, Mary had worked at her husband’s side and took over his practice when he died, going on to become a notable architect in her own right, designing Plaza Rubio, the group of cottages below the Santa Barbara Mission; the W.C. Logan Building arcade (222 E. Carrillo Street); the Anacapa Annex to El Paseo; and many private homes in the area.

The 13,000 square-foot Miley home, which remains mostly intact today, features hand-carved teak ceilings, nine distinctive Italian stone fireplace mantels, and courtyard tiles from Spain and Czechoslovakia. It was Miley who put in the monkey tree and star pine tree that now highlight the entrance to the property, and most notably, it was Miley who commissioned hand hewn stone quarried from the fields and banks of nearby San Ysidro Creek for the house and walls around the estate.

“ Mr. Miley used to come up every weekend to see how the work was progressing,” recalls Mary Skewes-Cox, daughter of Mary and James Osborne Craig. “We would go to church on Sunday morning and then from church we went to the Miley’s. They were living in a house on the property and we would go and have breakfast with them and then my mother would go over the work with Mr. Miley. I was just a little girl at the time,” says Skewes-Cox, who is now 87.

“I remember driving around the property. They quarried all that stone for the house on the property. But all of the stonework came right off of that land,” she says.

According to Maria Herold of the Montecito History Committee, “You will see in the inside hall that there are vertical striations of stone. On the inside staircase is where you can see it best. This is a very time-consuming and therefore very expensive treatment of stone that you don’t really need to do, but they went to all the trouble of doing this very special treatment. And of course, the outside is spectacular because of the way the stone is cut. It’s a masterpiece.”

“The beautiful stonework in which the local sandstone was quarried from the place and cut by hand was not done by any particular firm of stone masons, Instead it was done by individuals and very fine stone masons engaged by (building contractors) Snook and Kenyon,” according to a 1985 letter from John de Blois Wack, who later purchased the property.

Pamela Skewes-Cox, the granddaughter of Mary and James Osborne Craig, is working on a book about their lives, along with co-author Robert Sweeney, an architectural historian. In researching Mary Craig, Skewes-Cox found that “she wasn’t outspoken and she didn’t advertise herself in an aggressive way at all, she sort of just kept her nose to the grindstone and she met people and she was very social and people liked her. But it was unusual for a woman in that time to be professionally-oriented.”

She continues, “My mother remembers going up to property with her mother to discuss building this very, very elegant house. They had no lack of money at the time that they were discussing the design and she had free reign to do this elaborate and very expensive home and they were not nervous about it at all because they had money and money to spend and they really wanted a showplace.”

Unfortunately, Miley ran into financial difficulties with the stock market crash and the onset of the Great Depression in 1929, and he was forced to sell the estate before his dream house was completed.

“He literally had to just stop construction,” says Pamela Skewes-Cox. “Fortunately Mary Craig had a mechanic’s lien on the property which meant that if Miley forfeited she and her draftsman, Ralph Armitage, owned the property until they were paid for their work.”

In 1932 John and Ethel de Blois Wack purchased the estate for $100,000.  John was a successful Wall Street investor who had come to the area to raise horses and play polo at the Bartlett field in Montecito and the Fleischmann fields in Carpinteria. He later became president of the Santa Barbara Polo Association. His father was the co-founder of Field and Stream magazine and as a young man he was an editor there. John and Ethel were both avid aviators who flew their private plane all over North America, often checking in on their cattle operation in Arizona.

Soon after the purchase, the Wack’s hired architect Chester L. Carjola to finish the estate house. There has been some debate over how “finished” the house was at this point.

Pamela Skewes-Cox would like to set the record straight. “We have determined by looking at the drawings, my co-author and I, that the great majority of the house was completed, even though the Miley’s had not moved in yet. The working drawings that were done later for Mr. Wack by the architect Carjola, those show basically a finished house and you can see on the drawing where it says unfinished. We studied those pretty carefully and so a great deal of the detail, even the ceilings, were conceived by Mary Craig with Mr. Miley’s input. A lot of people say, ‘well it wasn’t finished and Carjola finished it.’ It’s Mary Craig’s house, there’ s absolutely no hesitancy in my saying that.”

Mr. de Blois Wack’s 1985 letter also states, “it is my feeling that Mrs. Craig should be looked upon as the architect.”

“Mary Craig wasn’t asked by the Wack’s to finish it, for whatever reason, but she was friends with the Wack’s,” says Pamela Skewes-Cox.

When the house was completed in 1933, the property included a swimming pool and tennis courts, as well as additional structures, including a little cottage for Mr. Wack’s mother, Mrs. Lillian Wack, which is now called Santa Teresita; the Browning house for Mr. Wack’s piano accompanist and his family; a garage, stables, and a gardener’s cottage later named the Bayberry House. There was also a large studio called the study, which has since burned, where Mrs. Wack, an accomplished artist, painted portraits in oil.

The Wack’s plunged into the local social scene with gusto and became known for their parties. They were music aficionados—Mr. Wack had even done some professional singing—and one of the wings looking out on the rear court was used as a music room with stone walls, high-beamed ceilings and balcony for an orchestra.  Many famous musicians performed at the Wack’s parties, including conductor Leopold Stokowski, who did Walt Disney’s Fantasia;  Ozzie Nelson and his swing band; Victor Trucco, assistant conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, and the great baritone John Charles Thomas, who served for a year as director at the Music Academy of the West.

Mary Skewes-Cox recalls grand parties at the Wack’s house. “I was in my teens when the Wack’s owned it. They had a coming out party for their daughter Ethel and it was a lovely, lovely party with things going on all throughout the house. I remember the tables were set up on the tennis court and there was music and dancing and it was a wonderful party.”

Held in August of 1941, Ethel Wack’s debutante party had 700 guests; the Royal Hawaiian Orchestra played on the tennis court, which was converted into a terrace for dining and dancing; Ozzie Nelson’s band was in the art studio for more dancing; and there was a sit-down dinner for all of the guests.

The estate was also a site for Pearl Chase’s garden tours. In addition to the citrus orchards and spacious lawns, both Miley and Wack had imported many exotic plants. There was also a “sun garden” with rose and camellia bushes, and a “shade garden” with begonias and ferns.

After a decade in the house, Mr. Wack found that his growing numbers of thoroughbred horses didn’t have enough room on the estate, and the grounds were too rocky for his horses, so in 1942 he put the place up for sale and moved to Hope Ranch to open Yolo Breeding Stables on a 42-acre parcel.

Meanwhile, Mother Eucharia, Mother Superior of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart in Hollywood, asked her cousin, realtor Charles Dunn, to help her find a quiet place for a novitiate, to train their novice nuns. Dunn first looked at the estate ,which later became Marymount School on the Riviera before recommending the Wack estate in Montecito, which the sisters purchased in December of 1942. Because it was during World War II and many estates were up for sale, the sisters were able to purchase the estate for $32,500. On Easter Monday 1943, four sisters moved in, one of them sister Regina McPartlin, and 12 aspiring novices.

They made the upstairs of the main house into a dormitory by dividing the rooms up with freestanding metal frames and curtains, thus the walls and hardwood floors were never marred. “When we stayed in those rooms, because we just had those little cells, we never saw what the whole room looked like. Even though in the morning after we got up and made our beds and got dressed we were supposed to open the cell curtains, when you were in there your curtain was closed. It was really funny because many years later we returned and the cell curtains had all been removed and everything. People were like, ‘Whoa, look at that beautiful ceiling. Was that there when we were here?’ And that was kind of a common experience. All of those teak ceilings,” says Stephanie Glatt, a former novice who is now the director of La Casa de Maria.

“I guess we were busy learning to be nuns and being spiritual and praying and we didn’t spend a lot of time in there. It’s just that it was so strange because everybody felt like the house had been remodeled and it hadn’t, it was just our perception.”

All of the novices (aspiring nuns) and postulants (aspiring novices) had chores assigned to them. Glatt recalls working on the vegetable porch. “There was a big cutting board out there … and of course, we’re supposed to be working in silence. They used to bring the vegetables in newspapers and at that time we’re supposed to be totally sequestered from the world, so we weren’t supposed to read the newspapers. … They would always put the newspapers upside down so we couldn’t read them. It was kind of funny because your eye would catch a part of a headline and you’d kind of try to see what’s going on out there, and then somebody would read the headline and say, ‘Did you see that?’ (Laughs) when we were all supposed to be working in silence.”

The number of postulants and novices continued to increase and under the guidance of Sister Regina the stables were renovated with two dormitories upstairs and two downstairs. A two-story extension was added to the art studio (which burned in 1972) with a recreation and sewing room upstairs and two classrooms downstairs.

The basement entertainment room was transformed into a refectory, where the women would eat all of their meals. “On feast days we decorated tables. Decoration meant the tables, which had blue linoleum tops, and we would get rolls of white butcher paper and roll the roll down and tape it on the underneath side, and then put flowers on. I’m sure every year some group was asked to decorate the tables and every year some group went out and cut poison oak, not knowing it was poison oak because of the lovely color,” laughs Glatt. “They would put it in vases and then someone would go, ‘Oh my god, you got poison oak.’”

The ballroom became a chapel and the musician’s balcony became a choir loft. “You should have heard 90 of us singing in there,” says Glatt. “The choir loft that was pointless because there were 90 of us in the chapel. But the sisters that taught at Mount Carmel lived there and some other visitors would come and they couldn’t fit in the chapel, so they all kind of huddled up there.”

While the aspiring nuns pursued religious life on La Casa’s grounds, the peaceful surroundings were also gaining a reputation in Hollywood. Stars like Irene Dunne, Loretta Young, and Ricardo Montalban came for retreats, holding prayer services in the Novitiate by day, while staying overnight at the Biltmore. In 1955, La Casa de Maria Retreat House formed on the property and became the first retreat center for Catholic married couples.

During the 1960s, there were conflicts between James Francis McIntyre, the Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles who oversaw the Immaculate Heart community and the sisters. They eventually shed their habits in 1970 and became the Immaculate Heart Community, an ecumenical group of men and women. Since 1974, the community has operated the Immaculate Heart Center for Spiritual Renewal in the historic old stone house, opening its doors for private retreats for people of all faiths.

With its long and storied history, the grand house still has new stories to tell. “I always feel that somehow that spirit is still there, you know that all those prayers everybody said there weren’t lost,” says Glatt. “It’s like they’re still hanging out.”


Special thanks to Pamela Skewes-Cox and Maria Herold of the Montecito History Committee for their assistance in researching this story.

Originally published in Montecito Magazine, Fall 2008.

Cocktail Corner: Barbecue Delights

Andegavia Cask Wines are perfect for picnics (courtesy photo).

Andegavia Cask Wines are perfect for picnics (courtesy photo).

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Time to fire up the coals (or gas up the grills). Barbecue season is here, along with a wealth of winning wine options to pair with your favorite foods.

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical at first, but the 2012 Ruthven Napa Valley Chardonnay we tried from Andegavia Cask Wines, billed as “the first ever portable, eco-friendly luxury wine brand with online direct-to-consumer delivery” was excellent. Other California varietals now available include a 2011 Ruthven Napa Valley Red Blend, a 2012 Merrill Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and a 2011 Nadalini Red Blend. According to the manufacturer, “the eco-friendly packaging … also means that a larger share of production dollars goes toward the quality of the wine, rather than expensive glass bottles, so as a result, Andegavia’s wine casks are 30-40% less expensive than bottled wines of comparable quality.”

Here’s another summer tip: my friend Doris says she stocks up on cask wines for camping trips because of the lighter weight, and also says their seals keep the wine tasting fresh a bit longer than corks do.

Himalayan salt platters from SALT in downtown Santa Barbara are a great way to season your summer gatherings (courtesy photo).

Himalayan salt platters from SALT in downtown Santa Barbara are a great way to season your summer gatherings (courtesy photo).

Andegavia reps say, “the casks have a one month shelf life once opened (12 months unopened), so you can enjoy the wine long after your party or summer outing has ended. No more throwing away half-finished bottles of wine!” I’m not sure what this “half-finished bottle of wine is,” but for more information, visit andegavia.com.

Whether you’re celebrating a 4th of July BBQ, or simply grilling for family in your backyard, experts say wines that are high in natural acidity are a refreshing choice for barbecues as they can handle even the fattiest cuts of meat.

I’m a Rosé fan, especially this time of year. For a versatile wine for any course on your grill, try Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé. Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine is a bit bigger than your typical Rosé so it can stand up to heavier, meat-based dishes, yet still maintains the refreshing qualities that a Rosé should possess.

The Dragonette Cellars 2012 Rosé, Happy Canyon is another lovely and local selection for barbecue pairings like sausages and bratwurst, as is Beckmen’s 2013 PMV Grenache Rosé.

On the lighter side, grilled vegetables are great right, especially paired with Arnaldo Caprai Grecante, a crisp and flavorful wine that’s full of minerality, with an exceptionally long finish.

The crisp acidity of Longoria 2013 Pinot Grigio from Santa Barbara County pairs really well with seafood, as well as chicken and other light meats.

Margerum M5 is a great choice for barbecues (courtesy photo)

Margerum M5 is a great choice for barbecues (courtesy photo)

For a steak and burger wine, you can’t go wrong with an Italian blend like Tenuta Frescobaldi di Castiglioni, this bold Tuscan blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Merlot goes beautifully with the simply prepared T-bone steak.

On the local front, one of my favorites is Margerum M5, a delicious Rhone blend that uses five grape varieties—Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Counoise and Cinsault—from vineyards in Santa Barbara County.

Now that you’ve got the wine covered (Ahem, priorities, folks!), don’t forget some special seasonings.  Did you know that right in our very own neighborhood lies 45 tons of 250 million year old pure Himalayan Crystal Salt, perfect for seasoning your BBQ celebration?

Check out SALT‘s selection of edibles, or better yet, serve up your summer seafoods and salads on a pretty pink salt platter. If you can part with it, it also makes a great host or hostess gift.

Happy barbecuing. Cheers!

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Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on June 27, 2014.

Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

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


Best Seat for Solstice Parade may be at the Granada Theatre

Enjoy the Solstice Parade from the comfort of the Granada. Photo courtesy "Parades at the Granada."

Enjoy the Solstice Parade from the comfort of the Granada. Photo courtesy “Parades at the Granada.”

Here’s your chance to support a great cause and avoid fighting the parade crowds too! “Parades at The Granada Theatre” offers an opportunity to experience Santa Barbara’s State street parades from seats right in front of the theater.

As part of the Santa Barbara Center for Performing Arts’ Jurkowitz Center for Community Engagement, contributors to the SBCPA Annual Fund, at any level, are invited to come watch the Summer Solstice Parade on Saturday, June 21 with fellow friends and supporters of The Granada Theatre. Guests will enjoy special seating on State Street in front of the theater and have the opportunity to visit inside the theater for festive sips and bites.

After debuting last year, “Parades at The Granada Theatre” are a popular way to build a broader base of support within the community and engage supporters with the not-for-profit Granada Theatre in a family-friendly way.

“The Summer Solstice Parade is one of Santa Barbara’s most festive and whimsical celebrations, and we are thrilled to open our doors so that our generous supporters can enjoy the parade from our grandstands,” says Nancy O’Connor, SBCPA board member. “Our ‘Parades at The Granada Theatre” are a wonderful opportunity to welcome all of the community, both young and old, to the theater and share in the rich history of performing arts.”

This year, The Jurkowitz Center for Community Engagement is presenting “Parades at The Granada Theatre” for the Summer Solstice, Fiesta, and the Downtown Holiday Parades.

For more information,  please visit The Granada Theatre’s website, granadasb.org, or call 805/899-3000. For more information on supporting The Jurkowitz Center for Community Engagement, please contact Kristi Newton, Director of Development, at 805/451-2932 or at knewton@granadasb.org.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on June 20, 2014.

Cocktail Corner: Sublime Summer Sips

Courtesy Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club

Courtesy Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Sublime Summer Sips are on the menu with a variety of opportunities to wine down on those long summer days.

Pony up for Happy Hour at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. The club now welcomes visitors to take in the excitement of world-class polo competition combining the beauty and speed of thoroughbred horses with the thrill and skill of team competition on Friday nights, as well as every Sunday during the summer. Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, 3375 Foothill Rd., Carpinteria, 805/684-5819, sbpolo.com.

Les Marchands is the place to be on Tuesday June 24, when “the King of Rheingau Riesling,” Johannes Leitz, will sit down to dinner and pour four of his wines.  The German winemaker is considered a modern master by people in the know, and Chef Weston Richards will pair stunning Riesling-friendly dishes such as crispy pig ear salad with frisee, avocado and herbs;crab bisque, red curry and puffed rice; housemade ramen, pork belly, spicy garlic pork broth, brussel sprouts and scallions; and pittig aged gouda, lavender honey and apricots for dessert. Space is limited, so click here for reservations. Les Marchands, 131 Anacapa St. 805/284-0380, lesmarchandswine.com.

Santa Barbara Wine Festival on Saturday, June 28, is a wonderful way to appreciate being out in nature underneath the oaks along Mission Creek at the museum, while enjoying more than 50 tantalizing wines from the Central Coast’s premier wineries—everyone from Alma Rosa to Zaca Mesa is there, often with the winemakers themselves pouring and chatting up the crowd—complemented by fitting pairings of savory and sweet delights from local chefs, caterers, bakers and restaurateurs. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, 2559 Puesta de Sol, 805/682-4711, sbnature.org.

Local winemaker and owner of Larner Vineyards and Winery, Michael Larner is teaming up with Chef Jason Paluska at The Lark for a Local Treasures dinner, which should be amazing! Expect a complete six-course dining experience, pairing locally sourced ingredients with wines from Ballard Canyon in the Santa Ynez Valley. Seating is limited, so please contact mkremzar@thelarksb.com for reservations. The Lark, 131 Anacapa St., 805/284-0370, thelarksb.com.

Tickets must be purchased by June 22 for the 29th annual Central Coast Wine Classic, a weekend in Avila Beach (July 10-13) centered around fine wine and cuisine that features local wineries and restaurants, and draws crowds from across the country and around the world. Many charities on the Central Coast will be awarded gifts, including the Rona Barrett Foundation, a local nonprofit that seeks to provide a solution to affordable housing and supportive services for seniors in need with the development of the Golden Inn & Village, where seniors may access a variety of care that meets their needs as they age in place. Various Avila Beach locations, centralcoastwineclassic.org.


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Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

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

Cocktail Corner: Miró’s—and Nanette’s—Ticket to Paradise

Miró restaurant bartender Nanette Rapuzzi muddles cucumbers for her new cocktail, "Ticket to Paradise." Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Miró restaurant bartender Nanette Rapuzzi muddles cucumbers for her new cocktail, “Ticket to Paradise.” Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Five years ago, Miró restaurant bartender Nanette Rapuzzi came with big dreams from her native Peru—where she trained at the front desk of another five-star resort—to work at the Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara.

“I love working with people. I always have. People on vacation, or enjoying themselves at a beautiful resort, are always so happy,” says the bubbly blonde, who started out at the Bacara’s front desk but soon asked for opportunity to train as a bartender. Her goal, generously supported by hotel management, is to work in many different aspects of the hotel business and ultimately to own and run her own resort in Peru.

“But I want something a bit smaller than the scale of the Bacara,” she laughs.

Currently enrolled in the Santa Barbara City College School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management Program, a unique local program which develops skills and competencies for positions in the hospitality industry and is recognized nationally as a leading center for hospitality training, Rapuzzi is on her way to making her long-term dream come true.

Meanwhile, she has a smaller, but still impressive ambition: to win Restaurant Hospitality’s Best Cocktail in America Contest.

Miró restaurant bartender Nanette Rapuzzi and two versions of her new cocktail, "Ticket to Paradise."

Miró restaurant bartender Nanette Rapuzzi and two versions of her new cocktail, “Ticket to Paradise.”

“You know how Cosmopolitans are so popular … I’d like for my drink to be the next Cosmopolitan,” says Rapuzzi. “But I think people are ready for something a little less sweet and more refreshing, that was my inspiration for this drink.”

The “Ticket to Paradise,” whose name was inspired by the glorious panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean, which is always visible from her perch at Miró Bar, is the one that Rapuzzi hopes will be her ticket to national cocktail fame and glory. The cocktail is made with muddled cucumbers, Hendricks Gin, St. Germain and a splash of fresh lime juice, and served either straight up in a Martini glass or on the rocks.

The cheese plate at Miro is almost as beautiful as the ocean view. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

The cheese plate at Miro is almost as beautiful as the ocean view. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

We tried it both ways. I preferred the rocks and my husband liked it straight up. Either way, the drink is absolutely delicious and refreshing! Gin isn’t usually my spirit of choice, but the cucumber, citrus and St. Germain balance it out perfectly. Try the Ticket to Paradise with the museum-worthy fruit and cheese plate, featuring edible flowers and a pretty Pistachio emulsion—it was almost too lovely to eat (but somehow we managed).

Meanwhile our fingers—and swizzle sticks—are crossed that Rapuzzi’s drink brings home big honors. We’ll keep you posted.


Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

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

Cocktail Corner: Intermezzo’s New Lineup of Handcrafted Cocktails


Handcrafted cocktails, courtesy IntermezzoHandcrafted cocktails, courtesy IntermezzoHandcrafted cocktails, courtesy IntermezzoHandcrafted cocktails, courtesy Intermezzo

Handcrafted cocktails, courtesy Intermezzo

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Those clever mixologists at Intermezzo are at it again with a new lineup of handcrafted cocktails.

Check out the new Tangerine Falls, made with Coruba Dark Rum, muddled tangerine, lemon, and Regan’s Orange Bitters. It pairs perfectly with long summer nights on the patio—why not try their Montecito Urban Farms Green Salad with field greens, nectarines, toasted pistachios and herbed goat cheese.

You know we’re fans of Pisco around here, and now Intermezzo is serving up a delicious El Pasion de Peru, made with Pisco La Diablada, lemon, simple syrup, egg white, and a splash of passion fruit.

In the mood for something refreshing? The Cucumber Martini is mixed with Zubrowka Buffalo Grass Vodka, cucumber, and a drop of lemon. What a great way to eat your veggies! There’s also  “So Pitted Sour” with Michter’s Sour Mash Whiskey, fresh muddled cherries, lemon, and thyme. Or why not drink Mad Men style and try the Margerum Manhattan, made with Barrel 33 bourbon, Margerum Amaro (the digestif featured as Jeffrey Doornbos’ favorite in the summer issue of Santa Barbara SEASONS),  Margerum White and Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth?

Then again, Intermezzo is also offering a new version of a warm weather favorite, El Salud, a habanero-infused tequila margarita, featuring house-infused tequila, cherimoya puree, lime juice and agave nectar, served with a lime and sugared rim.

How can we possibly choose just one? We’ll definitely be back, and hope to see you soon on the patio—or inside the beautiful bar and dining area—at Intermezzo, 819 Anacapa St.


Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

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