La Arcada Christmas Walk

La Arcada Christmas Walk, courtesy La Arcada.

La Arcada Christmas Walk, courtesy La Arcada.

Get ready to get in the mood for the holidays! The spirit of Christmas—both past and present—is alive and well at this favorite annual celebration taking place on Wednesday, November 29, from 5–8 p.m. The charming, historic holiday open house has all the trimmings of the season, including twinkling lights, costumed carolers, refreshments and the chance to tell Santa what a good boy or girl you’ve been this year (and even snap a photo if you’ve been really, really good!).

In its 23rd year, the La Arcada Christmas Walk is a festive way to start the holiday season, and spend time with the whole family in a beautiful setting wandering down the enchanting, tree filled courtyard as it is transformed into a winter wonderland.  Hungry? Andersen’s, Viva, Jeannine’s, La Arcada Bistro, Petit Valentien and State & Fig will all be open for dining that evening.

Waterhouse Gallery, La Arcada, courtesy photo.

Waterhouse Gallery, La Arcada, courtesy photo.

Photos with Santa are FREE, as are fresh popped popcorn, treats in shops and the chance to sing-a-long to familiar holiday tunes.

Retail stores and specialty shops including Socorro, Renaissance, Ace Rivington, Lewis & Clarke, LaTavola Fine Linen, August Ridge Vineyards, The Barber Shop, Bread & Butter, Chocolats du CaliBressan, Coast 2 Coast Collection, Peanuts Maternity & Gifts, Sanford Winery and Urban Optics will extend their hours for this very special evening.  Art enthusiasts will enjoy visiting Gallery 113, Santa Barbara Arts, Waterhouse Gallery and the historically significant permanent collection of interactive sculptures throughout the Historic La Arcada Courtyard.

La Arcada is located at 1114 State St. between Figueroa and Anapamu streets.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 20, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

This weekend brings the first Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival to the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club on Saturday October 7. The festival combines polo, local wine, and music for a unique one-day experience. This unique, full day experience features two polo matches, great music and tastings from some of Santa Barbara’s finest wineries.

While not a requirement, organizers encourage attendees to dress as you would for a typical polo game—like the movie Pretty Woman, when they are at the polo match.

The famous "Pretty Women" polo match scene, courtesy photo.

The famous “Pretty Women” polo match scene, courtesy photo.

Musicial performances by LP, Nick Waterhouse, Durand Jones & the Indications, Vieux Farka Toure and Macy Gray are on the bill. The Festival also features local food and wineries, including local contemporary California cuisine by Barbareno, Empanadas by Buena Onda and Asian-inflected American plates from The Black Sheep. Local wineries  include Happy Canyon Vineyard, Sanford Winery, Standing Sun Wines, Summerland Winery, August Ridge Vineyards and more.

“After attending our first polo match in the summer of 2016, it immediately became clear to us that a combination of polo, wine, and music would create an amazing experience,” organizer Josh Elion says.  “It’s a way of bringing three aspects of a community together and introducing people to the game of polo, new local wineries, or incredible musicians.  … This is truly a celebration of Santa Barbara and Southern California living, held at one of the most gorgeous venues along the west coast.”

Courtesy Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival.

Courtesy Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival.

A dollar of every ticket sold will be donated to Notes For Notes, a nonprofit organization that designs, equips, and staffs after-school recording studios inside Boys and Girls Clubs, offering youth the opportunity to explore, create, and record music for free.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit sbpoloandwine.com.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

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

 Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 6, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: August Ridge Vineyards Opens Tasting Room in La Arcada

Manager Elise Kimball (left) and Hope Riley welcome visitors to the new August Ridge Tasting Room in La Arcada. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Manager Elise Kimball (left) and Hope Riley welcome visitors to the new August Ridge Tasting Room in La Arcada. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

A little gem of a tasting room recently opened its doors in La Arcada.  August Ridge Vineyardsa family-owned winery ten miles outside of Paso Robles in Creston, specializes in Italian varietals (Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Pinot Grigio, Primitivo and more).

The winery was started by John Backer and Jill Zamborelli Backer back in 2001, but their shared passions for food and wine have even deeper roots. John’s family has been growing grapes in California since the 1800’s, while Jill’s family brought their Italian food and wine traditions over from a small town just outside of Rome.

The charming new August Ridge Tasting Room in La Arcada. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

The charming new August Ridge Tasting Room in La Arcada. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

I tried both the regular and estate reserve tasting flights (with some assistance from my husband), and was pleased with the offerings from this small production winery. In particular, their flagship wines were delicious. Try the 2012 Jovial, an estate reserve super Tuscan blend with the tasty aromas of red cherry and plum, and the 2012 Ingenious, another estate reserve blend, primarily Nebbiolo-based, with a robust, earthy flavor.

These wines are all lovingly produced in very small quantities, so we are fortunate to be able to taste them right in our own backyard.

August Ridge Tasting Room hours are as follows: 

Charley is on hand to greet visitors at the August Ridge Tasting Room in La Arcada. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Charley is on hand to greet visitors at the August Ridge Tasting Room in La Arcada. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Wednesday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Sunday-Monday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Tuesday: closed

The tasting room is located at 5 E. Figueroa St. in La Arcada. Stop by and say hello to Tasting Room Manager Elise Kimball and her adorable doodle dog, Charley. For more information visit augustridge.com.

Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

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

 Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on August 4, 2017.