Cocktail Corner: Local Restaurants Earn Wine Spectator’s Top Honors

The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch, courtesy photo.

The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

As if there were any doubt that Santa Barbara County is Wine Country, Wine Spectator recently honored 20 local restaurants with their highest honors for excellence.

“Wine Spectator‘s Restaurant Awards recognize restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers,” according to the guidelines.

The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch earned The Grand Award, which is Wine Spectator‘s highest honor, given to only 89 restaurants around the world. According to Wine Spectator, this honor is “given to restaurants that show an uncompromising, passionate devotion to the quality of their wine programs. These wine lists typically feature 1,000 or more selections, and deliver serious breadth of top producers, outstanding depth in mature vintages, a selection of large-format bottles, excellent harmony with the menu, and superior presentation. These restaurants offer the highest level of wine service.”

Angel Oak at the Bacara Resort & Spa, Los Olivos Wine Merchant & CafeOpal Restaurant & Bar and Wine Cask all earned The Best of Award of Excellence. “These wine lists display excellent breadth across multiple winegrowing regions and/or significant vertical depth of top producers, along with superior presentation. Typically offering 350 or more selections, these restaurants are destinations for serious wine lovers, showing a deep commitment to wine, both in the cellar and through their service team,” according to Wine Spectator.

“We are thrilled for the honor in our first year of opening,” says Anne Elcon, Director of Marketing & Communications at Bacara Resort & Spa.

Angel Oak Wine Cellar, LaFemme Photography, courtesy photo.

Angel Oak Wine Cellar, LaFemme Photography, courtesy photo.

Also receiving The Award of Excellence, for “wine lists, which typically offer at least 90 selections, feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers, along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style,” were several other local restaurants: BarbareñoBella Vista at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, Bouchon Santa Barbara, Chuck’s Steak House Of Hawaii, Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant, Olio Pizzeria, Olio e Limone Ristorante, S.Y. Kitchen, Sly’s, The Harbor Restaurant, The Hitching Post II, The Lark, Tre Lune and Willows at Chumash Casino Resort.

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 July 14, 2017.

Local Dish: Angel Oak Celebrates its One-Year Anniversary

Angel Oak at Bacara, courtesy photo.

Angel Oak at Bacara, courtesy photo.

Believe it or not, it was about a year that Angel Oak first opened its doors, offering a unique twist on the traditional steak and seafood concept—not to mention that killer ocean view! 

The signature restaurant of Bacara Resort & Spa celebrates its one-year anniversary with a community party on June 25. To showcase Angel Oak’s appreciation to the local community, the restaurant hosts a “One Under the Sun” party on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. The leisurely afternoon includes chef bites, lawn games, live music and dozens of local wine and craft beer tastings. All of the festivities take place on Angel Oak’s expansive outdoor patio and bluff overlooking captivating ocean views.

The bar at Bacara Resort & Spa's new fine dining restaurant, Angel Oak, courtesy photo.

The bar at Bacara Resort & Spa’s new fine dining restaurant, Angel Oak, courtesy photo.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate our first anniversary, which represents a significant milestone for our resort and destination,” says Vincent Lesage, executive chef of Bacara Resort & Spa. “Our goal was to build a restaurant that would stand the test of time. We are honored our local community has embraced us.”

Tickets for One Under the Sun are $50 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity. A special guest room rate starting at $250 (normally $500) is also available. Space is limited. For tickets and more information, please visit AngelOakSB.com. Angel Oak at Bacara Resort & Spa is located at 8301 Hollister Ave.

Leslie Dinaberg

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

Cocktail Corner: Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend

Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend, photo by Coast Photography.

Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend, photo by Coast Photography.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg  

If your ideal weekend involves food, wine and philanthropy in a beautiful setting, then the 4th Annual Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend April 7-9 at the Bacara Resort & Spa is the spring event for you.

Sponsored by The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, this three-day weekend features a dazzling array of culinary celebrities and wine wunderkinds and pays tribute to the late Julia Child. Among the featured rock stars are wine pioneer Richard SanfordChef Nancy Silverton, and Child’s Great-Nephew, author Alex Prud’homme.

Some of the weekend highlights include:

Richard Sanford hosts a "Celebration of Santa Rita Hills" dinner as part of the Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend, courtesy photo.

Richard Sanford hosts a “Celebration of Santa Rita Hills” dinner as part of the Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend, courtesy photo.

“Celebration of the Santa Rita Hills” Dinner on Saturday, April 8 at 7 p.m.
This year’s Grand Dinner features wine pioneer Richard Sanford as the guide for a “Celebration of the Santa Rita Hills.” The evening traces the evolution of this unique Santa Barbara appellation, founded by Sanford, as eight wines from four Santa Rita Hills wineries will be paired with a special four-course menu created by Bacara’s Executive Chef Vincent Lesage.

Featured Wineries & Guests include hosts Thekla and Richard Sanford, along with Jeanette and Nick de Luca, from Alma Rosa Winery; Diana and Rick Longoria, from Longoria Winery; Sonja Magdevski and Greg Brewer, from Brewer Clifton and Diatom Wineries; and Justin Willett and Mandy Willett, from Tyler Winery.

Santa Barbara Vintners’ Wine Reception with Chef Nancy Silverton on Friday, April 7 at 7 p.m.
Join celebrated Los Angeles chef and multiple James Beard Award-winner, Nancy Silverton, and the Santa Barbara Vintners Association for a magical evening of tastes and sips. The Bacara’s ocean view Angel Oak restaurant makes a glorious setting for this extensive wine tasting reception featuring local wines and a specially curated menu by the talented Chef Silverton.

Scratch Kitchen's Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee will do a cooking demonstration as part of the Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend, courtesy photo.

Scratch Kitchen’s Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee will do a cooking demonstration as part of the Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend, courtesy photo.

Cooking Demonstration with Scratch Bar & Kitchen on Saturday, April 8 at 10:15 a.m.
Join the husband and wife duo behind the new Scratch Bar Montecito coming to Montecito Inn later this year, Executive Chefs and Owners Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee. Experience how their collaboration in the kitchen has inspired the menu for their award winning restaurant and sample a preview of their latest Santa Barbara installment. Philip was named “Best Young Chef in America” by San Pellegrino and holds the record with The Food Network for Most Consecutive Wins, beating out the competition on Chopped, Guy’s Grocery Games and Cutthroat Kitchen. A few of Margarita’s accolades include Zagat’s “30 Under 30” and being nominated for the Young Gun award.

Craft Brewer’s Garden on Saturday, April 8 at 2 p.m.

The Bacara’s lush Ocean Lawn hosts tastings of craft cider, mead, beer, kombucha, spirits and cocktails—all produced locally. With your tasting you’ll have the opportunity to meet the talented brewers and mixologists to discover what makes their delicious libations unique. In between sips, savor bites of the specially-made culinary pairings. To complete the experience, live music by Rent Party Blues will entertain and enchant.

For more information and a complete schedule of events, click here.

The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts mission is to honor and further Julia’s legacy, which centers on the importance of understanding where food comes from, what makes for good food, and the value of cooking.  Headquartered here in Santa Barbara, the Foundation is a nonprofit which makes grants to support research in culinary history, scholarships for professional culinary training, internships in food writing as well as professional development and food literacy programs.

Hope to see you there! Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

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

 Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 31, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Walt Wines

Clos Pepe Vineyard, photo courtesy Walt Wines.

Clos Pepe Vineyard, photo courtesy Walt Wines.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg  

“Wines of a Place” was the theme for a recent media event put on by Walt Wines, and this place was certainly a beauty!

We started the day boarding a shuttle at the Bacara Resort & Spa, which was all abuzz with World of Pinot Noir festivities coming up that weekend. Thanks to our recent rains, the hills were abundantly lush and green as we made our way north on the freeway to the renowned Clos Pepe Estate Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA in Lompoc.

Megan Gunderson Paredes and Steve Leveque lead a tasting of Walt Wines "Clos Pepe" Pinot Noir, photos courtesy Walt Wines.

Megan Gunderson Paredes and Steve Leveque lead a tasting of Walt Wines “Clos Pepe” Pinot Noir, photos courtesy Walt Wines.

Founder Steve Pepe (who retired in 2015, giving Walt Wines a long-term lease on the vineyard) led us on a walking tour of the vineyard, which is acclaimed for producing excellent wines under the Clos Pepe label, as well providing grapes, from 1998-2014, to pinot noir and chardonnay producers such as Walt (Hall Wines), Siduri/Novy Wines, AP Vin, Liquid Farm, Arcadian, Au Bon Climat, Hitching Post, Ojai Vineyard, Ken Brown Wines, Longoria Wines, Babcock Winery, Loring Wine Company, Flying Goat Cellars, Small + Tall, Conarium and Wan Fiore Project.

“Great wine is about place,” said Pepe, as a lead in to our vertical tasting of Walt “Clos Pepe” Pinot Noir vintages 2013, 2014 and 2015. All were delicious—and unique—and as we sipped Walt winemaker Megan Gunderson Paredes walked us through

WALT Clos Pepe Pinot Noir, courtesy photo.

WALT Clos Pepe Pinot Noir, courtesy photo.

the process that went into creating these three wines. They use optical sorter technology to hand-sort the fruit, with the ability to make adjustments throughout the process, as she explained. For example, in 2013 harvest took place in October and in 2015 they lost 30-40% of the crop to frost and started harvest much earlier, in late August.

The company—is part of the Hall Wines family in Napa Valley, owned by Vintners Kathryn Walt Hall and Craig Hall—has a unique approach to crafting Pinot Noir. Essentially, as Vice President of Winemaking Steve Leveque explained, Walt sources its fruit from premier vineyards along the Pacific Coast representing 1,000 miles of Pinot. Each wine is designed to express the character of the site where it is grown.

Tasting the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Clos Pepe Walt Wine Pinot Noirs, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Tasting the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Clos Pepe Walt Wine Pinot Noirs, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

In addition to Clos Pepe, in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA Walt also sources grapes from Rita’s Crown, Radian, Bentrock and Fiddlestix.  They also create estate and single vineyard wines from Santa Lucia Highlands, Anderson Valley, Los Carneros (Napa County), Sonoma Coast and Willamette Valley—hence, the 1,000 miles of Pinot.

Clos Pepe Vineyard, courtesy Walt Wine.

Clos Pepe Vineyard, courtesy Walt Wine.

After the tasting we made our way to S.Y. Kitchen in Santa Ynez for a delicious Italian feast, paired with Walt Wines from other appellations, including:

—Lobster tail, onion mousse, fried salsify and citrus with Walt 2015 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

—Yellow beet, pickled plum, hazelnuts, goat cheese and fresh lemon thyme with Walt 2014 Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir

—Prosciutto and Burrata with Walt 2014 Rita’s Crown Hills Pinot Noir

and

—Ricotta gnocchi with taleggio and porcini with Walt 2015 Bob’s Ranch Pinot Noir.

Walt Wine pairing lunch at S.Y. Kitchen, photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

Walt Wine pairing lunch at S.Y. Kitchen, photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

Talk about a delicious day. For more information, visit www.waltwines.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 March 10, 2017.

Dreaming Big: Congregation B’nai B’rith’s 90 Year Celebration

Images from Congregation B'nai B'rith Dreamers Ball. Photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

Images from Congregation B’nai B’rith Dreamers Ball. Photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

Honoring yesterday, today and tomorrow, supporters of Congregation B’nai B’rith (CBB) recently gathered at Bacara Resort & Spa in tribute to the founding families who had the vision to create the home for Santa Barbara’s Jewish community in 1927.

This festive, elegant celebration was packed to the gills with 450 guests to mark the 90th anniversary of Congregation B’nai B’rith, Santa Barbara’s largest Jewish synagogue, which now serves as the spiritual home to more than 800 families.

Dubbed the Dreamers Ball, the Marc Chagall-inspired gala was beautifully reflected in decorations and touches throughout the ballroom and live music by We the Folk (whose talented accordion player is David Childs, son of Shari and Cantor Mark Childs).

Also honored at the event was Cantor Childs, who has served the congregation for the past 25 years, touching thousands of lives in the process.

The Dreamers Ball was organized by co-chairwomen Hallie Avolio, board president Judi Koper, Liat Wasserman, Marcy Wimbish, Bethy Fineberg and executive director Elizabeth Gaynes. Ruth Hartzman and Adele Rosen were the honorary co-chairwomen.

An impressive tribute book detailed the congregation’s history and leadership and was filled with glowing personal tributes to Childs and congratulations on the 90th anniversary of Congregation B’nai B’rith. Included in the tribute are excerpts from local historian Erin Graffy’s upcoming book about the history of Jewish Santa Barbara.

“Right now, we are setting the stage for the next 100 years of our CBB communal life,” writes Rabbi Steve Cohen. “We are establishing patterns of congregational life which draw deeply upon the best of Jewish tradition and values, and which are vibrantly alive … full of humor, creativity, moral integrity, intellectual rigor and honesty … and connect us deeply to this place, Santa Barbara, a place of awesome natural beauty and resources, nestled between the ocean and the mountains.”

For more information about Congregation B’nai B’rith, visit http://cbbsb.org/.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 16, 2017.

Congregation B’Nai B’Rith Celebrates 90 Years

 

Cantor Mark Childs to be Honored at Dreamers Ball on Jan. 22 

Congregation B’nai B’rith celebrates its 90th anniversary at a Chagall-inspired Dreamers Ball to be held at the Bacara Resort on January 22.

The dreamers theme—which honors yesterday, today and tomorrow—pays homage to the 14 founding families who had a vision to build a home for the Jews in Santa Barbara in 1927. What started as a dream thrived beyond expectation to the temple of today—a beautiful sanctuary that serves as a spiritual home to more than 800 families.

The Dreamer’s Ball celebrates the rich history of Congregation B’nai B’rith, the vibrant current community, led musically by Cantor Mark Childs,  and the commitment to innovation and strength into the future.

Cantor Mark Childs, photo by Jay Farbman.

Cantor Mark Childs, photo by Jay Farbman.

“This is a moment to pause in a long continuum of time to celebrate our growth, to honor those who kept us going over the decades, to remember those who have passed along the way, to sigh as we recollect the hard times, to laugh as we recall the high moments, to marvel at the vision of those upon whose shoulders we stand, and to embrace each other as we face our road forward,” says Cantor Childs who will be honored at the gala for his 25 years of service at Congregation B’nai B’rith.

“Congregation B’nai B’rith has been, and will always be filled with the spirit of close community and the priority of educating the next moral, ethical and literate Jewish generation,” says Rabbi Stephen Cohen, who has been the synagogue’s spiritual leader since 2014, and works in partnership with Cantor Childs.

“I believe that right now, we are setting the stage for the next 100 years of Congregation B’nai B’rith communal life. We will maintain our deep connections to the Jewish people around the world, and throughout history, but we are also finding our place in Santa Barbara, alongside the Chumash, and the Latinos, the marvelous interfaith community of Muslims, the Catholics, Unitarians, Episcopalians, Evangelicals, Mormons, Hindus and Buddhists. Here in Santa Barbara, we Jews have a role to play. Our congregation should be a light to our entire city, and a model of healthy, feisty, dynamic, reverent, warm and welcoming community,” explains Rabbi Cohen.

Through song, Jewish teaching and humor, Cantor Childs has touched thousands of lives in Santa Barbara since his arrival 25 years ago. From his weekly song sessions with preschoolers at Beit Ha Yeladim, to his work with hundreds of b’nai mitzvot students, to his inspired leadership, interfaith partnerships and connection with seniors and community members throughout Santa Barbara, Cantor Childs has been a role model and an inspiration, marking everyday moments and significant life-cycle milestones with music and prayer. “He is an exceptional human being, a brilliant and humble leader, a supremely reliable teammate and partner, and a gifted singer,” says Rabbi Cohen.

Congregation B’nai B’rith serves as a spiritual sanctuary to its diverse and inclusive community (the temple has over 25% interfaith families), but is also integral to the greater Santa Barbara community, through social action and religious outreach programs and collaborations with the Santa Barbara Interfaith Initiative, Cottage Hospital, assisted living homes, Showers of Blessings, Anti-Defamation League, UCSB Hillel, and many others.  A temple-wide annual Mitzvah Day sends volunteers into the community to benefit dozens of nonprofits. In addition, Congregation B’nai B’rith has ongoing programs serving food to the homeless community in Pershing Park and working with Transition House in their community kitchen. The temple’s reach even extended to build the Ubumwe Center preschool and elementary school in Rwanda, Africa.

The celebration takes place on January 22 at 5:30 p.m. at Bacara Resort & Spa, 8301 Hollister Ave., Goleta. To find out more about the Dreamers Ball, visit the event page at www.cbbsb.org/dreamersball, call 805/964-7869, or email dreamersball@cbbsb.org.

—Leslie Dinaberg

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

 

Cocktail Corner: World of Pinot Noir Makes a Delicious Gift

Photos courtesy World of Pinot Noir.

Photos courtesy World of Pinot Noir.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg 

If you’re looking to splurge on a gift for that special someone, who happens to be a wine lover, why not plan your Pinot Noir adventure together and take them to the World of Pinot!

I get to go to a LOT of wine festivals and this event, which takes place March 3 – 4 at the Bacara Resort & Spa, is definitely one of my favorites.

There are two days of tastings, seminars and dinners where guests can taste wines from more than 200 wineries —all Pinot Noirs—from areas including Burgundy, Mendocino, Monterey, New Zealand, Oregon, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo and Sonoma. It’s the ultimate tasting experience!

Courtesy World of Pinot Noir

Courtesy World of Pinot Noir

Right now there’s even a special holiday gift offer available until January 3. Enter code “Pink” to receive a discount on the Rosé Lunch and Grand Tasting on Friday, March 3. Enjoy a selection of Pinot Noir Rosé wines with lunch prepared by Bacara’s culinary team in the new Angel Oak restaurant, then continue your journey of Pinot Noir at the Grand Tasting.

Also on special for the holidays is the Sparkling Brunch and Grand Tasting on Saturday, March 4. Kick off your day with bubbles! A selection of sparkling wine and Champagnes will be featured with brunch prepared by Bacara’s culinary team in the new Angel Oak restaurant. Then continue on to the Grand Tasting. Enter code “Bubbles” to receive your special discount.

Additional highlights include: Hirsch Seminar and Tasting; Kosta Browne 20th Anniversary Dinner; Louis Latour Tasting & Dinner; Edna Valley Winery Collective Dinner; Cheese Seminar featuring Sonoma Wines; Vintage Burgundy Dinner with the Guild of Sommeliers; Rock Stars of Pinot Noir featuring Merry Edwards and the Hitching Post Vertical Tasting & Barbecue; as well as the Grand Tasting on both Friday and Saturday.

Click here for the entire lineup of events or visit worldofpinotnoir.com for more information. Hope to see you there! 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 December 16, 2016.

 

Style File: Natura Bissé’s Pure Air = Pure Bliss

Natura Bisse Bubble Pure Air at Bacara Resort & Spa, photo by Savannah Johns-Pedrocchi.

Natura Bisse Bubble Pure Air at Bacara Resort & Spa, photo by Savannah Johns-Pedrocchi.

Bacara Resort & Spa (8301 Hollister Ave., Goleta) recently added Spanish cosmetics brand Natura Bissé to its world-class 42,000-square-foot Spa and Wellness Center, and as a special treat, had a pop-up appearance of Natura Bissé’s infamous Bubble Pure Air last week.

I was one of the lucky ones who got to be the “girl in the plastic bubble,” and my facial was amazing! The bubble creates an exclusive place to perform treatments where according to a company spokeswoman, “the air guests breathe is 99,995 percent pure. The exclusive experience allows spa goers to immerse themselves in a serene environment filled with soft aromatic notes that take guests on an exquisite journey to well-being. It is a singular experience, providing exceptional results that rejuvenate and purify.”

I have to agree: it felt great and my skin has never looked better!

Established in Barcelona, Natura Bissé has become a worldwide success in the cosmetics industry as one of the fastest growing beauty companies with a strong commitment to research and innovation. The Bacara has launched a new treatment line and service menu with Natura Bissé, with special pop-up appearances of the Bubble Pure Air, so stay tuned for your chance to be the next girl (or guy) in the bubble.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 12, 2016.

 

Angel Oak at the Bacara

The bar at Bacara Resort & Spa's new fine dining restaurant, Angel Oak, courtesy photo.

The bar at Bacara Resort & Spa’s new fine dining restaurant, Angel Oak, courtesy photo.

Angel Oak, which recently opened at Bacara Resort & Spa, is a heavenly new addition to the local fine dining scene.

First of all, the restaurant is beautiful. The open-air design takes full advantage of the oceanfront views, with each of the 162 seats from the dining room and bar ensured a view of the Pacific Ocean. The dark wood and earth-toned accents of restaurant are dramatic and unique and include a hand-carved granite podium, exotic Chamcha wood table, hand-blown chandeliers, and an Amazonite bar that serves as a focal point and anchor in the dining room. And of course, the ocean view from the outdoor dining terrace can’t be beat.

Starters at Angel Oak include, clockwise from top left, American Wagyu Beef Tatki, Dungeness Crab Cake and Beef Tartare. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Starters at Angel Oak include, clockwise from top left, American Wagyu Beef Tatki, Dungeness Crab Cake and Beef Tartare. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

The bar is also top notch. A List Mixologist Cassie Hesse spearheads the cocktail program, which includes hip takes on time-honored classics such as the Manhattan’s Angel with High West Rendevous Rye, Sweet Vermouth, and Bitters; Our Signature Daiquiri No 6 with Denizen, Lime, Sugar and Absinthe; and the very impressive Smoke on the Water, a cherry wood smoked spirit forward cocktail served tableside. 

Angel Oak’s wine and spirits program features a curated selection of Old and New World wines housed inside the restaurant’s 12,000-bottle cellar. The expansive cellar is climate controlled to ensure quality, doubling as an impressive event space for up to 40 seated guests. If you ever get invited to an event there, don’t miss it! 

Angel Oak's local fish ravioli, bouillabaisse broth, sardines and basil foam, courtesy photo.

Angel Oak’s local fish ravioli, bouillabaisse broth, sardines and basil foam, courtesy photo.

Then there’s the food, the absolutely mouthwatering food. Executive Chef Vincent Lesage says, “the inspiration behind the menu was to reimagine the ordinary, what you classically see in a steakhouse with a twist. We wanted to showcase the best of seasonal ingredients and preparing every single one of them with an element of surprise.”

He’s definitely succeeded. The Angel Oak menu celebrates the theme of duality, showcasing traditionally robust steakhouse offerings juxtaposed alongside refined seafood dishes, all crafted with Lesage’s classically-trained and deft hand.

Angel Oak's Dry Aged New York steak with shaved black truffle, brown butter. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Angel Oak’s Dry Aged New York steak with shaved black truffle, brown butter. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

We tried a variety of dishes, all delicious. Some of the highlights:

Market Seafood, poached Maine lobster, daily selection of oysters, split king crab legs, boiled jumbo shrimp, fresh lump crab ceviche, house cocktail sauce, signature mignonette, lemon caviar

Kobe Beef Tataki, soy-cured melon, yuzu, puffed rice

Angel Oak Dry Aged New York (12 oz.), shaved black truffle, brown butter

Dungeness Crab Cake, pan seared, local citrus sabayon, lobster claw

Beef Tartare, potato crisp, black garlic, egg yolk spinach

Pan Seared Jumbo Scallops, brown butter puree, pickled cauliflower

For dessert, Pastry Chef Brooke Martin’s Warm Dark Chocolate Molten with malt ganache, almond nougatine, and a bailey’s milkshake; and Cinnamon Apple Cobbler with hazelnut feuilletine crunch and vanilla ice cream, were both amazing. 

Angel Oak's Warm Chocolate Molten, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Angel Oak’s Warm Chocolate Molten, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Angel Oak is open for dinner from 5–10 p.m. seven days a week. For more information or to make reservations, visit angeloaksb.com

Angel Oak's Heirloom tomato salad from Elwood farm, courtesy photo.

Angel Oak’s Heirloom tomato salad from Elwood farm, courtesy photo.

Angel Oak's Pan Seared Jumbo Scallops, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Angel Oak’s Pan Seared Jumbo Scallops, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Angel Oak's Halibut Crudo, chili oil, nuoc nam, mint & cilantro, courtesy photo.

Angel Oak’s Halibut Crudo, chili oil, nuoc nam, mint & cilantro, courtesy photo.

Angel Oak's Cinnamon Apple Cobbler, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Angel Oak’s Cinnamon Apple Cobbler, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on October 3, 2016.

Warren Beatty to Receive SBIFF’s Kirk Douglas Award

Legendary filmmaker Warren Beatty stars as Howard Hughes in RULES DON’T APPLY, which Beatty wrote, directed and produced. Photo Credit: Francois Duhamel.

Legendary filmmaker Warren Beatty stars as Howard Hughes in RULES DON’T APPLY, which Beatty wrote, directed and produced. Photo Credit: Francois Duhamel.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) will honor Academy Award winner Warren Beatty with the 11th annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film at the Bacara Resort & Spa on December 1, with all funds raised supporting SBIFF’s free year-round educational programs.

Known for his iconic roles in films such as Bonnie and Clyde, Shampoo, Heaven Can Wait, Reds and Dick Tracy, all of which he produced; Beatty’s next film, Rules Don’t Apply—an original story which he wrote, directed, produced and stars—will be released on November 23.

“Warren Beatty upholds the highest artistic standards of the film industry,” says Kirk Douglas, original award recipient. “His choice of material has entertained us as well as made us think more deeply about the world we live in. I’m delighted he is accepting this recognition of his extraordinary talent.”

Since 2006, the annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film, which this year coincides with Douglas’s 100th birthday, has been awarded to a lifelong contributor to cinema through their work in front of the camera, behind, or both. Past honorees include Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, Forest Whitaker, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Harris and John Travolta. All funds raised from the event will be used to support SBIFF’s free educational programs, like its 10-10-10 Student Filmmaking and Screenwriting Competitions, Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies, National Film Studies Program, AppleBox Family Films, 3rd Weekend and educational seminars.

The 32nd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place February 111. For more information, please visit sbiff.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on September 20, 2016.