Cocktail Corner: Sip, Swirl and be Merry at the Canary

Holidays at the Canary, courtesy photo.

Holidays at the Canary, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

The rooftop of the Canary will decked in the spirit of the holiday season this December with a special holiday Sip & Swirl Series.

First up is Dec. 7 with Bubbles Sip & Swirl, where guests can enjoy sparkling wine from top labels like Taittinger, Laurent-Perrier, Henriot and Gruet.

The Dec. 19 Sip & Swirl features Bourbons and Cabernets and will showcase cab producers such as DAOU, Freemark Abbey and Grassini, as well as bourbons from local and domestic distillers like Breaker Bourbon Whiskey and Four Roses Bourbon.

Holidays at the Canary, courtesy photo.

Holidays at the Canary, courtesy photo.

Both events feature festive décor, music and cheese pairings, as well as local chocolates for sale, and select wineries taking bottle orders.  

The Canary Holiday Sip & Swirl series will be held on Dec. 7 and Dec. 19 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35, and can be purchased at NightOut.com, or at the door.  The Canary Hotel is located at 31 W. Carrillo St.

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 November 25, 2017.

Local Dish: A Flavorful Feast at Finch & Fork

Finch & Fork's Kanpachi Crudo, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s Kanpachi Crudo, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Some good news for Goleta: longtime Finch & Fork Executive Chef James Siao has taken on the dual role as Executive Chef of the Canary Hotel‘s sister property, Outpost at the Goodland. For the past five years, Siao has done an excellent job creating elevated comfort food at Finch & Fork. Our recent meal was no exception. 

Executive Chef James Siao, courtesy photo.

Executive Chef James Siao, courtesy photo.

Leaving our menu in Siao’s very capable hands, we started the evening off with the beautifully bright Kanpachi Crudo, made with avocado and cilantro crema, pickled pearl onions, jicama, yuzu and jalapeño. This was followed by a seasonal salad of Burrata & Heirloom Tomatoes, complimented with stonefruit, kale & pistachio pesto and outstanding grilled bread.

Finch and Fork Burrata and Heirloom Tomatoes, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch and Fork Burrata and Heirloom Tomatoes, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

I could have died and gone to heaven quite happily right there, but Siao continued to bring out wonderful dishes, including a creamy Fresh Ricotta Cavatelli made with spinach, peas, preserved lemon and pecorino; and an incredibly flavorful Cauliflower, with romesco, hazelnut dukkah (an Egyptian nut and spice mix) and lemon.

Finch & Fork's Fresh Ricotta Cavatelli, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s Fresh Ricotta Cavatelli, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

The entrees (yes … there was still more!) were also terrific. A colorful Duck Breast with carrot cardamom puree, farro, onions and blackberry gastrique and perfectly prepared Sea Scallops with gold beet relish, grapefruit, chorizo vinaigrette and sliced avocado.

Finch & Fork's Cauliflower, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s Cauliflower, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

I can’t wait to see what Siao does with the Outpost menu. According to Spokeswoman Nicole Lazar, “Siao looks to add dishes that fit perfectly into the laid-back and sociable setting, including playful interpretations of classics. At Outpost, expect to see more sharable plates that highlight the season’s best, and focus on vibrant, flavorful ingredients. He and the culinary team at Outpost are currently working on new menus, starting with dinner, so stay tuned for exciting new creations.” 

Finch & Fork's Sea Scallops, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s Sea Scallops, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

For more information on Finch & Fork (31 West Carrillo St. at the Canary Hotel in downtown Santa Barbara), visit www.finchandforkrestaurant.com. For more information on Outpost (5650 Calle Real at the Goodland hotel in Goleta), visit www.outpostsb.com

Finch & Fork's Duck Breast, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s Duck Breast, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 14, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Sip & Swirl on the Canary Rooftop

The lovely rooftop of the Canary is the setting for the sip & swirl wine tasting series, courtesy photo.

The lovely rooftop of the Canary is the setting for the sip & swirl wine tasting series, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

You know that summer is finally here when Finch & Fork and the Canary Hotel start up their popular wine tasting series, Sip & Swirl. This monthly series features local wines, cheese and entertainment set to stunning views from downtown’s only rooftop terrace. 

Quite frankly, the scenery alone is enough to make me leap at any invitation to visit the roof, add in some terrific wines and nibbles and there’s no reason not to celebrate with a toast to one of Santa Barbara’s best views. 

Held once a month from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Sip & Swirl features a rotating collection of local wineries showcasing their best vintages. Sip & Swirl-goers have the opportunity to learn about one of Santa Barbara County’s leading industries, while enjoying entertainment and a selection of premium cheeses.

Upcoming Sip & Swirl dates are:  July 19, August 16, and September 20. Tickets are $40, which includes tastings of all the wines and cheeses. Buy online at NightOut.com, or purchase at the door. 

As of press time, wineries scheduled to pour on July 19 are Larner Vineyard & WineryBabcock Winery and Jaffurs Wine Cellars, with additional purveyors expected to join in on the fun.  The Canary Hotel is located at 31 W. Carrillo St.

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 June 16, 2017.

Local Dish: Finch & Fork’s New Flavors of the Season

Finch & Fork’s new Secret Garden, left, and Blood Brother are the latest additions to their craft cocktail menu. Photo courtesy Finch & Fork Instagram.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Finch & Fork Chef James Siao and his culinary team have added new items to the dinner menu, and diners are in for a treat.

Finch & Fork's Asparagus & Mascarpone Toast, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s Asparagus & Mascarpone Toast, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

We started our meal with a bright and flavorful new appetizer, Asparagus & Mascarpone Toast with marinated asparagus, whipped lemon mascarpone, mint pesto, and radicchio. Pair it with the Secret Garden—lavender-infused Tanqueray Gin, Luxardo Maraschino, lemon and honey—to make your taste buds sing a happy chorus of ode to spring!

Finch & Fork's Smoked Fish & Onion Dip with housemade kennebec chips, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s Smoked Fish & Onion Dip with housemade kennebec chips, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

We also tried another delicious appetizer, Smoked Fish & Onion Dip served with housemade potato chips, which was a clever reinterpretation of the old standby onion dip and paired quite nicely with another new cocktail, the Paper Plane, made with Maker’s Mark bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino and lemon.

Finch & Fork's new Secret Garden, left, and Paper Plane cocktails, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s new Secret Garden, left, and Paper Plane cocktails, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Next up were the superbly delicious Sugar Snap Peas served with miso butter, radish and crispy garlic. I could eat that miso butter with everything, it was so yummy!

Finch & Fork's Sugar Snap Peas with citrus miso butter, radish and crispy garlic, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s Sugar Snap Peas with citrus miso butter, radish and crispy garlic, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

I’m not usually a fan of duck, but our server Chef Siao’s perfectly prepared Duck Breast with carrot cardamom puree, farro, spring onions and blackberry gastrique was amazing, as was his newest take on Salmon with pork belly and potato hash, pea greens, tarragon aioli and peperonata.

Finch & Fork's Duck Breast with carrot cardamon puree, farro, spring onions and blackberry gastrique, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s Duck Breast with carrot cardamon puree, farro, spring onions and blackberry gastrique, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

I also tried another delicious new cocktail, the London Holiday with Aviation Gin, blueberry, egg white, lime, simple syrup and absinthe mist. 

Finch & Fork's Salmon with pork belly & potato hash, pea greens and tarragon aioli peperonata, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s Salmon with pork belly & potato hash, pea greens and tarragon aioli peperonata, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

If you’re not up for a whole dinner, Finch & Fork has a great Happy Hour every Monday through Friday from 4-7 p.m. Finch & Fork is located in the Canary Hotel at 31 W. Carrillo St. For more information, visit http://www.finchandforkrestaurant.com.

Finch & Fork's London Holiday cocktail, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s London Holiday cocktail, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 26, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Brunch at Finch & Fork

Finch & Fork Bloody Mary, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork Bloody Mary, courtesy photo.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg  

While nothing says “bloody good brunch” like a Bloody Mary, Finch & Fork bartender Joe Dohany has bumped it up a notch with some cocktails designed especially for day drinking.

New to the menu is Dohany’s Breakfast of Champions, a bold drink with bacon–washed bourbon, pecan syrup and peach bitters. He’s also added a Guava Margarita with jalapeño–infused tequila, guava and lime as well as the Stinger with cognac and crème de menthe.  

There’s always the brunch time favorite Bloody Mary, which has also been upgraded, while a variety of mimosas, like orange, grapefruit, cranberry and peach are still available refills for just $1.

Chef James Siao’s midmorning eats are also top notch. Pair the cocktails with Siao’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken, served with kale slaw, pickles and smoked honey mustard, the Roasted Pork Belly & Egg with poached eggs, smashed avocado, toasted bread, chipotle hollandaise and home fries, or the Caramelized Banana French Toast.

Brunch is served every Saturday and Sunday at Finch & Fork (31 W. Carrillo St.) from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Finchandforkrestaurant.com.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor ofSanta 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 February 17, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Welcoming Fall With Finch & Fork’s Joe Dohany

Finch & Fork Cocktails, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork Cocktails, courtesy photo.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg 

The spirits of fall are in the air, and Finch & Fork has a friendly new face behind the bar with an autumnal-inspired new menu. Joe Dohany—who most recently was a craft bartender at Shaker & Spear and Pennyroyal at Kimpton‘s Seattle property, The Palladian—is bringing a creative approach to the popular hotspot inside the downtown Santa Barbara Canary Hotel (31 W. Carrillo St.)

In addition to his mixology skills, Dohany went to culinary school, which definitely informs his holistic approach to creating cocktails.  His debut menu included half a dozen refreshing originals reflective of the season and the locale. While these will be switched up on a regular basis, Dohany assured us that the excellently balanced Witch’s Back—with Bulldog Gin, Strega orange liqueur, Pamplemousse Rose, lime and orange bitters, garnished with a fragrant sprig of rosemary (which resembles a witch’s broom)—will stay on the menu.

Finch & Fork's Witch's Back (left) and Rubies & Gold, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s Witch’s Back (left) and Rubies & Gold, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Other Dohany creations on the menu at the moment are the aromatic Puck’s Potion with Ketel One Vodka, Dolin Blanc, jasmine tea syrup, lemon and peach bitters and a kiss of absinthe; the Buzz Around Town with lavender–infused Tanqueray Gin, blackberry, honey, lemon and soda water; and the Do or Do Not, made with Dewar’s Scotch, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, lime and Scrappy’s Orleans bitters, among others.

The night we were there, Dohany was working on a new seasonal libation called Rubies & Gold, featuring gold rum, lime, cranberry and Becherovka, an herbal liquor with the distinctly fall flavors of cinnamon, anise and cloves. Expect to see that on the menu soon, alongside old favorites like the Guava Margarita (jalapeno-infused El Jimador Tequila, lime and guava) and the Figueroa (fig-infused Wild Turkey, Demerara Syrup and bitters).

Finch & Fork's The Figueroa, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Finch & Fork’s The Figueroa, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

I recommend you check out Finch & Fork on a Thursday night, when the bar features live music from 5-7 p.m. and an extended Happy Hour from 4-7 p.m.  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 October 14, 2016.

Cocktail Corner: Swirl & Sip Series on the Canary Rooftop

The Canary Rooftop, courtesy photo.

The Canary Rooftop is home to the popular Sip & Swirl wine tasting series during the summer, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

I jump at any opportunity to hang out at the rooftop at the Canary Hotel, which is one of the most exquisite—and exclusive—360-degree views of Santa Barbara. The scenery alone is enough to make me leap at any invitation to visit the roof, add in some terrific wines and nibbles at the popular Sip & Swirl and it’s hard to beat.

This monthly summer series is held the third Wednesday of the month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. starting June 15, and features a rotating collection of local wineries who will showcase their best vintages, while enjoying entertainment and tasty bites from C’est Cheese.

Here’s the schedule of local wineries:

June 15 Wineries             

July 20 Wineries               

August 17 Wineries        

September 21 Wineries                 

Tickets for the rooftop Swirl & Sip are $35 per person, and can be purchased the evening of at Finch & Fork. Hotel guests receive $5 off. Guests must be age 21 or older. For more information, visit FinchandForkRestaurant.com or call 805/879-9100. The Canary Hotel is located at 31 W. Carrillo St. Hope to see some of 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 Magazine on May 27, 2016.

 

Cocktail Corner: Farewell to Tiki Tuesday Luau

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Get out those Hawaiian shirts and leis, Finch & Fork is hosting a special “Farewell to Tiki Tuesday Luau” on Tuesday, August 26, beginning at 5 p.m.  The festivities, which run till dark, will include live entertainment. Chef James Siao will be roasting a whole pig and serving an island inspired buffet, and of course, there will be tiki cocktails galore.

Hula inducing libations include a Daiquiri bar (frozen or shaken, whatever you prefer), Mai Tais and a myriad of rum punches.

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Finch & Fork is located in the Canary Hotel, 31 W. Cabrillo St.

Tickets are available via Night Out:  https://nightout.com/events/tikituesdayfinale/tickets. For more information call 805/879-9100.

F&F_Luau

If summer has to end, you might as well end it island style.

Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on August 20 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.”

Town Hall for the Local Arts Community

Jayna Swartzman-Brosky at the 9th Annual Santa Barbara County Symposium for the Arts, photo by Leslie Dinaberg

Jayna Swartzman-Brosky at the 9th Annual Santa Barbara County Symposium for the Arts, photo by Leslie Dinaberg

Last week’s arts symposium, an annual event sponsored by The Santa Barbara County Arts Commission, served as a lively town hall of sorts for the local arts community.  Arts advocates, arts educators and youth advocates, arts administrators, foundations, arts and city and county officials (and yours truly) packed the meeting rooms at the Canary Hotel for a day packed full of presentations and opportunities for the arts community to discuss issues that impact the arts in Santa Barbara.

Talented Goleta Valley Junior High student Mary-Grace Langhorne, the 2014 Teen Star (one of many youth-centric arts programs supported by the Arts Commission) awed the crowd with a beautiful song, followed by a short welcome from Ginny Brush, executive director of the Arts Commission. Next up was Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, who led us in a rain dance of sorts. If only I had a video camera … Santa Barbara Poet Laureate Chryss Yost read a moving poem by the city’s first Poet Laureate, the recently-deceased Barry Spacks. This was especially fitting since April is National Poetry Month.

This year’s focus for the arts symposium was “Expanding Advocacy, Community Engagement and Investment in the Arts,” and keynote speaker Kerry Adams Hapner, executive director of the Office of Cultural Affairs for the City of San Jose, gave an excellent presentation spotlighting what San Jose has done to bring the arts to the forefront of that city’s economic development program.

ArtsCommisionlogo-RGBBasically, the San Jose model outlined ten goals for ten years. Number one was to support the resident’s personal participation in arts and culture. Number two: to support availability of diverse cultural spaces and places throughout the community. Number three was to strengthen downtown San Jose as the creative and cultural center of the region. Number four: integrate public art and urban design throughout the community. Number five: expand residents’ access. Number six was to foster destination quality events in San Jose. Number seven: strengthen marketing and engagement. Number eight was to enhance support for creative entrepreneurs and the commercial creative sector. Number nine, to strengthen the cultural community’s infrastructure. And finally, number ten, to increase funding.

What Hapner described as “working the plan” involved a number of partnerships and strategic investments from the tech companies that define the Silicon Valley region, creating a creative industries incentive fund to attract that type of business and allocating 1% of the city capital improvement projects to public art, among other strategies.

The second presentation was by Jayna Swartzman-Brosky, program director for the Center for Cultural Innovation. One of the programs she oversees is NextGen Arts, a grant program of which provides professional development grants and resources for emerging California arts leaders between the ages of 18-35. She also manages the Creative Capacity Fund Quick Grant Program, which provides reimbursement funds to nonprofit organizations and individual artists to enroll in workshops, attend conferences, and to work with consultants and coaches to build administrative and business skills and strengthen the economic sustainability of an organization or arts practice. The organization offers a number of low cost entrepreneurial workshops, practical publications and resources for artists and arts organizations, with loads of information available online as well.

Afternoon sessions were divided into smaller breakout groups to stimulate community dialogue and included a more in-depth discussion with Swartzman-Brosky, a panel on promoting arts education advocacy, a group focused on expanding Santa Barbara’s cultural footprint through collaborative marketing/promotion and a discussion of advocacy for artists/innovators.

All in all it was an invigorating and interesting day. For more information visit sbartscommission.org.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on April 22, 2014.