Local Dish: Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Week

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Week returns Jan. 21-27 to showcase wine country restaurants at once-a-year prices.  Back for the eighth consecutive year, Restaurant Week features three-course meals prepared by the Valley’s most creative chefs for just $20.18 Foodies can savor a rare value to celebrate the food and wine pairings that have made this region a gem in California Wine Country.

Representing each of the Santa Ynez Valley’s six distinct communities, 26 restaurants—ranging from the region’s emerging establishments to long-time favorites—will participate in Restaurant Week this year. The list includes a Puerto Rican-inspired menu at Industrial Eats in Buellton, which is donating 100% of the proceeds to hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

This year’s list of participating restaurants includes:


The Ballard Inn & Gathering Table, 2436 Baseline Ave., 800/638-2466



Bottlest Winery Bar & Bistro, Bottle Branding photo.

Bottlest Winery Bar & Bistro, Bottle Branding photo.

Bottlest Winery Bar & Bistro, 35 Industrial Way, 805/686-4742

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.,45 Industrial Way, 805/694-2252

Firestone Walker Brewing Co., 620 McMurray Rd., 805/697-4777

Hitching Post II, 406 E. Hwy 246, 805/688-0676

Industrial Eats, 181 Industrial Way, 805/688-8807

Los Alamos

Bob’s Well Bread Bakery, 550 Bell St., 805/344-3000

Plenty on Bell, 508 Bell St., 805/344-3020

Valle Fresh, 380 Bell St., 805/865-2282

The Bear and Star, photo by Grey Crawford.

The Bear and Star, photo by Grey Crawford.

Los Olivos

The Bear and Star, 2860 Grand Ave., 805/6861359

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café, 2879 Grand Ave., 805/688-7265

The romantic S.Y. Kitchen Firepit at Night , Photo by Rocco Ceselin.

The romantic S.Y. Kitchen Firepit at Night , Photo by Rocco Ceselin.

Santa Ynez

The Lucky Hen Larder, 1095 Meadowvale Rd., 805/691-9448

S.Y. Kitchen, 1110 Faraday St., 805/691-9794

The Vineyard House, 3631 Sagunto St., 805/688-2886

Trattoria Grappolo, 3687 Sagunto St., 805/688-6899


Cecco Ristorante, 475 1st St., 805/688-8880

First & Oak, 409 1st St., 805/688-1703

Fresco Valley Café, 442 Atterdag Rd., 805/688-8857

Leonardo’s Ristorante, 632 Alamo Pintado Rd., 805/686-0846

Mad & Vin at The Landsby, 1576 Mission Dr., 805/688-3121

Petros Kafe, 487 Atterdag Rd., 805/686-5455

Root 246, 420 Alisal Rd., 805/686-8681

Santa Ynez Café, 606 Alamo Pintado Rd. #1, Solvang, 805/688-3543

Solvang Brewing Co., 1547 Mission Dr., 805/688-2337

Succulent Café Wine Charcuterie, 1555 Mission Dr., 805/691-9444

The Ridge, 1618 Copenhagen Dr., 805/325-9820

For the latest updates on Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Week, including menus and dining hours, visit www.DineSYV.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 20, 2018.

Local Lowdown: Pico

Pico is located in the Los Alamos General Store, courtesy photo.

Pico is located in the Los Alamos General Store, courtesy photo.

By Leslie Dinaberg

Headquartered in the wee Western-style town of Los Alamos and sharing its 1880s vintage building with The Los Alamos General Store is PICO, a farm-to-table foodie destination that’s quickly building a buzz among diners up and down the coast.

Owners Will Henry and Kali Kopley, a husband and wife duo, chose the building because of its history and place in Los Alamos’s timeline. It continues to fulfill its original destiny as a mercantile through the retail portion of General Store, which includes a 2,000-bottle wine shop. The restaurant side of the business takes its name from historical figure Salomon Pico, an infamous local bandit said to have been part of the inspiration behind the legend of Zorro.

Housemade charcuterie from Pico, courtesy photo.

Housemade charcuterie from Pico, courtesy photo.

PICO’s seasonal menu is a tribute to the symbiotic farmer-restaurant relationship, using strictly in-season ingredients and primarily showcasing the bounty of Santa Ynez Valley. Dishes are created based on the food items at hand from local farmers and ranchers, all under the guidance of Chef Drew Terp.

Terp’s top-notch credentials include Michelin-starred kitchens from Napa (Auberge du Soleil) to New York City (Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, Masa and barMasa), Spain (under Chef Pedro Subijana at Akelare), Las Vegas (barMasa and Shaboo), Washington, D.C. (Jaleo) and most recently with the now-shuttered Mattei’s Tavern in Los Olivos. Terp makes all of his ingredients in-house—including the ketchup and mustard.

Pico's Seared Duck Breast, courtesy photo.

Pico’s Seared Duck Breast, courtesy photo.

PICO recently added a 2,000-square-foot outdoor area with additional seating, a fire pit, a chicken coop, bee hives and raised gardens, bringing the locally sourced menu even closer to home.

With the outdoor area, “the restaurant’s eggs come from right outside our back door; our bees will provide honey for our dishes and drinks, as well as our house-made condiments and provisions; and the garden will offer up home-grown herbs and produce, to supplement the fabulous ingredients that we receive from our local providers,” says Terp.

Current menu highlights include charcuterie (locally sourced meats, house-made by Terp) and cheese plates with delicious bread from the neighboring Bob’s Well Bread Bakery; starters like pork cannelloni with béchamel, manchego and asparagus with house-made bacon and a 63 degree egg, and mushroom salad with bacon and arugula; and entrées such as a juicy heart of rib eye, served sliced over crispy potatoes, cedar-wrapped halibut with morels, English peas and Meyer lemon or grilled local lamb loin with ratatouille mille feuille and polenta. 

Pico's creative menu features approachable Californian cuisine sourced from locally-farmed, seasonal ingredients, courtesy photo.

Pico’s creative menu features approachable Californian cuisine sourced from locally-farmed, seasonal ingredients, courtesy photo.

As for the wine, Will Henry is co-owner of Lumen Wines (with esteemed vintner Lane Tanner), and the list includes their labels, along with other gems. Definitely leave room for dessert, which includes house-made ice creams (also available from the mercantile) with mouth-watering flavors like dulce de leche, tarragon and granddaddy’s favorite (bourbon-Wild Turkey 101), the chef’s homage to his grandfather.

PICO at The Los Alamos General Store, 458 Bell St., Los Alamos, 805/344-1122, losalamosgeneralstore.com.

Originally published in the Fall 2017 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine

Cocktail Corner: Meet the Winemakers of Los Alamos

Mike Roth & Craig Winchester’s Lo-Fi 2014 Chenin Blanc are among the Los Alamos wines being poured at Bob's Well Bread Bakery on Feb. 4.

Mike Roth & Craig Winchester’s Lo-Fi 2014 Chenin Blanc are among the Los Alamos wines being poured at Bob’s Well Bread Bakery on Feb. 4. Courtesy photo.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg 

Take a road trip to Los Alamos next weekend when Bob’s Well Bread Bakery presents Meet the Winemakers of Los Alamos on Saturday, February 4.

This popular monthly tasting series invites guests to come meet the people behind some of Los Alamos’ best known wineries, including Angela Osborne of A Tribute to Grace, Mike Roth and Craig Winchester of Lo-Fi Wines and Ryan Roark of the Roark Wine Company.

The following complimentary wines will be paired with Bob’s Well Bread Bakery foods (which are really delicious, by the way!):

  • Angela Osborne’s A Tribute to Grace 2015 Grenache & a Rosé of Grenache
  • Mike Roth & Craig Winchester’s Lo-Fi 2014 Chenin Blanc
  • Ryan Roark’s Roark Wine Company 2014 Malbec

Here’s a little background about the winemakers.

Photo courtesy of A Tribute to Grace / Angela and Grace.

Photo courtesy of A Tribute to Grace / Angela and Grace.

Angela Osborne of A Tribute to Grace is a New Zealand born winemaker who moved to California in 2006 with the dream of making Grenache. New Zealand’s climate is too cool to ripen the beautiful, sun-loving Grenache grape, so she searched the world and ended up in California where both sunshine and entrepreneurial spirit are abundant. In 2007 she sourced her first Grenache fruit 33 miles inland, nestled high above the Pacific Ocean, from the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard. This high-desert vineyard provides the perfect balance of heat and light. Osborne named her label after her Grandmother Grace, and her most beloved attribute. A Tribute to Grace’s winemaking intention is to capture this spirit, and stay as close to nature as humanly possible. The trio is completed by the grape itself, which encapsulates grace.

Photo courtesy of Lo-Fi Wines.

Photo courtesy of Lo-Fi Wines.

Lo-Fi Wines is a partnership between two lifelong friends, Mike Roth and Craig Winchester, who believe in hand crafted honest wines that are made for every day drinking. Wines to be enjoyed not to be collected. Easy drinking, lower alcohol wines made to pair well with all types of foods, from pizza to paté. Lo-Fi believes in neutral barrels, native yeasts, little to no sulfur additions, and no adjustment of pH. They love whole cluster fermentation and carbonic maceration. Lo-Fi Wines embrace a nothing added, nothing taken away philosophy that gives birth to wines that are young, vibrant and alive. But in all reality, Lo-Fi is less about what it is and more about what it is not. It is not over manipulated. It is not over extracted. It is not over ripe and it is not over priced. Less is more.

Native Texan Ryan Roark of Roark Wine Company studied abroad in France,

  Photo courtesy of Roark Wine Company.

Photo courtesy of Roark Wine Company.

learning the ropes of grape growing and winemaking from a small family winery. The French family managed every aspect of the business from farming, to winemaking, to sales and marketing. After moving to Santa Barbara, he wound up in vineyard management and uncovered a jewel of Chenin Blanc grapes from vineyards planted in the 1960s. He purchased the grapes and made 60 cases at a friend’s winery. That small batch was Roark’s first step in becoming a winemaker. Patterning his approach after the French family, Roark is a one-man show farming his own land, picking the grapes, making the wine, hand bottling the wine and selling it by mail order. He relies on word of mouth. His adherence to simplicity extends to his facility, living in his winery; minimalism lets him cut all the extraneous costs, keeping his wine affordable. Roark Wine Company specializes in small batch winemaking showcasing variety, vintage and place letting the land and fruit speak for itself. 

Since its inception in 2014, locals, travelers and journalists alike have embraced Bob’s Well

Courtesy Bob's Well Bread Bakery.

Courtesy Bob’s Well Bread Bakery.

Bread artisan breads and bakery.Bob’s Well Bread is committed to products that are hand-made with only the finest ingredients and natural starters. No added preservatives will be found in any of their baked items, and they strive to source ingredients locally using farmers and growers who practice the purest growing initiatives. They allow their loaves to take their time, and practice old world European traditions and techniques to make the very best breads and baked goods possible. Their commitment to being “well bread” means doing good things, supporting the community and donating what they don’t sell to local food banks. These practices showcase Los Alamos and the Central Coast and have elevated the region to a respected culinary destination.

Meet the Winemakers of Los Alamos takes place on Saturday, February 4, from 1 – 3 p.m. at Bob’s WELL BREAD Bakery, 550 Bell St., Los Alamos, 805/344-3000

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 January 27, 2017.