Cocktail Corner: Toasting the New Year

Local favorite band King Bee performs at Dargan's on New Year's Eve, courtesy photo.

Local favorite band King Bee performs at Dargan’s on New Year’s Eve, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to the New Year!  By Leslie Dinaberg

There’s no shortage of great ways to ring in the New Year in Santa Barbara County! Here are a few options to start 2018 off in style:

King Bee at Dargan’s, courtesy photo.

King Bee Dance Party at Dargan’s

One of my favorite local bands, King Bee, performs a rare New Year’s Eve at Dargan’s. They’ll have a full menu available, including a champagne toast and a filet and shrimp special, as well as loads of dancing and loads of fun! This is a ticket-only event ($10), with limited dinner seating.

Dargan’s is located at 18. E. Ortega St. in downtown Santa Barbara. For more information, click here.

The Bear and Star, photo by Grey Crawford.

The Bear and Star, photo by Grey Crawford.

The Bear and Star’s Jazzy Celebration

The Bear and Star, Los Olivos’ hot new restaurant, which has been quickly embraced by food lovers for Chef John Cox‘s inspired, refined ranch cuisine, celebrates New Year’s Eve with a lively jazz quartet reminiscent of bygone days and a five-course menu.

Begin the evening with a flute of complimentary Fesstivity Rosé Sparkling Wine and Sunny Side Quail Egg, Black River Caviar and Tater Tot; followed by a Spicy Winter Greens with Smoked Lamb Bacon, Caramelized Apple and Pomegranate Vinaigrette; then a course of Shrimp & Grits with Santa Barbara Spot Prawn and Stone Ground Grits. The main course is a Petite Wagyu Filet with Cast Iron Sunchoke Hash, Brussels Sprouts and Bone Marrow Bordelaise. Top off the evening with Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake with Fuyu Persimmon and Speculose. Pricing for the prix-fix New Year’s Eve Dinner is $95 per person, with optional pairings by General Manager and Sommelier Robert Williams offered at $50 per guest.

For reservations, call The Bear and Star (2860 Grand Ave., Los Olivos) at 805/688-7788 or visit OpenTable.com

Outpost at the Goodland, courtesy photo.

Outpost at the Goodland, courtesy photo.

New Year’s Eve 1920s Countdown Party at the Goodland

Party like its 1920 at Goleta’s Goodland and Outpost restaurant’s 1920s inspired countdown party! Wear your best flapper dress or pinstripe suit  and get into the speakeasy spirit. General admission tickets are $10, which gets you access to Goodbar and a champagne toast at midnight. VIP tickets are $20, which includes access to Goodbar and an exclusive speakeasy with a specialty welcome cocktail, passed appetizers specially a live jazz band and DJ, and a champagne toast at midnight.

The Goodland is located at 5650 Calle Real, Goleta. For tickets, go to https://nightout.com/events/new-years-eve-countdown-party/tickets.

DJ Darla Bea, courtesy photo.

DJ Darla Bea will spin into the wee hours on the rooftop at the Canary, courtesy photo.

Get Glitzed & Glammed Then Get Down at Finch & Fork and the Canary this New Year’s Eve

Kick off the New Year in style with dinner at Finch & Fork, where Executive Chef James Siao prepares a tasteful a la carte menu with specials set to festive décor and served with a champagne toast. Guests can also ring in the New Year by taking part in Finch & Fork’s New Year’s Eve tradition, where from 11 p.m.-midnight they’ll be serving complimentary passed bites and offering a midnight toast. Reservations: 805/879-9100

After dinner, head to the Canary’s rooftop for spectacular views and, starting at 9 p.m., the Canary’s Glitz, Glam & Get Down rooftop celebration, which includes a welcome cocktail, midnight toast and sweet bites from Finch & Fork. DJ Darla Bea will be spinning and setting the tone for the New Year! Tickets to the Glitz, Glam & Get Down party at Canary are $110, and can be purchased at NightOut.com.

 The Canary and Finch & Fork are located in downtown Santa Barbara at 31 West Carrillo St. Call 805/879-9100 for reservations.

Champagne, courtesy S.Y. Kitchen.

Champagne, courtesy S.Y. Kitchen.

Ring in the New Year at S.Y. Kitchen in Santa Ynez 

In dedication to the rich provisions found in the Central Coast, Chef Luca Crestanelli and his brother, Sous Chef Francesco, have planned a bountiful and elegant dinner to celebrate New Year’s Eve. 

In addition to S.Y. Kitchen’s dinner menu, start the evening off with a platter of freshly-shucked Kumamoto Oysters with Mignonette; or a Dungeness Crab Salad with Frisée, Mushroom, Green Apple and Pomegranate. For the Pasta course, try Francesco’s hand-made Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Oxtail Ragout and Pecorino Romano. Main courses include fresh Wood-Fired Roasted Orata with Saffron-Braised Fennel, Tomato Confit and Roasted Castelvetrano Olives; and a tender Wood-Oven Grilled Delmonico Steak with Porcini Mushrooms, Polenta and Black Truffles. Finish the evening with an extraordinary Italian Tortino al Cioccolato crafted by Francesco Crestanelli.

Optional wine suggestions by Sommelier Bingo Wathen are also available by the glass or bottle, featuring Contadi Castaldi Franciacorta Brut; Araldica Barbaresco 2014; and Ronco del Gelso Pinot Grigio 2015. The holiday menu items are offered à la carte and are meant to be enjoyed alongside other seasonal offerings and signature dishes from S.Y. Kitchen’s dinner menu.

S.Y. Kitchen is located at 1110 Faraday St. in Santa Ynez.  For reservations, call 805/691-9794. 

Chumash Casino Resort New Year’s Eve Dance Party featuring The Boogie Knights and The Spazmatics

Fill your New Year’s Eve with flashbacks from the 1970s and ’80s as you dance the night—and the year—away at the Chumash Casino.

The party kicks off at 9 p.m. in the Samala Showroom and is free for all Club Indulge members. The Boogie Knights were originally formed in 1992 as a Halloween gag in Los Angeles. Almost overnight, the group took the live music scene by storm. Complete with choreography, polyester, afros and bell bottoms, The Boogie Knights have been proclaimed “The greatest disco revival show in the world.” You can expect to hear covers from Disco sensations such as Heatwave, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, The Bee Gees, Kool and the Gang, the Village People, Rick James and Earth, Wind and Fire.

When The Spazmatics take the stage, you’ll find yourself feeling right back in the 1980s. Complete with skinny ties, brylcreem hair, and horn-rimmed glasses, The Spazmatics deliver the ultimate new wave ‘80s show. The band specializes in music from favorites such as Duran Duran, Men at Work, The Knack, Thomas Dolby, Men Without Hats and Devo.

The Chumash Casino is located  at 3400 Hwy. 246 in Santa Ynez, Tickets for all events are available at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Club Indulge or online at www.chumashcasino.com. 

For even more New Year’s Eve celebration ideas, Visit Santa Barbara has compiled a great list. Go here to to get the scoop!

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 December 22, 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: Easter Dining and a Toast to Spring!

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg  

Spring is in the air, so what better time to sample some of the lovely new libations at our local watering holes. Hop on over and give these spring cocktails and dining options a taste:

Bella Vista at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, courtesy photo.

Bella Vista at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, courtesy photo.

Ty Lounge at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara has a delicious Smoked Apricot Daiquiri—featuring Zaya 12 Year Rum, Apricot Puree, Chipotle Simple Syrup and Lemon—that will tingle your tastebuds. Bella Vista Restaurant at the Biltmore is always an elegant spot for brunch, but they’re an extra “Hoppy” Easter celebration for the whole family at Santa Barbara’s most beautiful al fresco setting, with an abundant holiday buffet, featuring traditional favorites as well as an extensive selection of seafood, salads, house-made pastas and carvings. Click here for reservations.

The Bottomless Bellini at Belmond El Encanto, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

The Bottomless Bellini at Belmond El Encanto, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

The beautiful rooftop Easter Brunch at the Canary is a special place to celebrate the holiday with breathtaking views, great food and live music. Finch & Fork Executive Chef James Siao has seasonal brunch items available like Create-Your-Own Omelets, a Pastry and Bread Bar, Seafood and Carving Stations, and an indulgent dessert table. Reservations can be made by calling 805/879-9100.

The Bottomless Bellini Brunch at Belmond El Encanto is another great way to toast the holiday season. The Moët & Chandon Impérial Champagne is flowing every Sunday, with delectable California-coastal cuisine and live jazz music. A seasonal selection of shared appetizers starts the experience. Then, select from à la carte entrées like Seared Local Swordfish or Riviera Clam Bake. Following this sumptuous meal, head to The Wine Room where an irresistible selection of desserts awaits. Click here for reservations.

Cocktails at the Outpost at the Goodland, courtesy photo.

Cocktails at the Outpost at the Goodland, courtesy photo.

Outpost at the Goodland is also serving brunch this Easter, where Chef Nick Bajal will be serving a buffet full of brunch favorites. Start with one of his tarts, like the PB&J or Summer Squash with cherry tomatoes and cheese, or the Crab Biscuit with uni butter. Then move on to Baked Egg Frittata with ham, asparagus and goat cheese, Chicken & Waffles with tabasco maple syrup and Build-Your-

Breakfast at Viva!, courtesy photo.

Breakfast at Viva!, courtesy photo.

Own Tacos. And don’t forget to order a brunch cocktail like a house Bloody Mary or lead bartender Chris Burmeister‘s signature Smokemosa (made with Scotch, orange juice and sparkling wine). Call 805/964-1288 to reserve your Easter brunch seat. 

Spice up your spring at Viva!, which is now serving both brunch and breakfast (and excellent Mimosas in three flavors—cranberry, peach or raspberry—Bloody Mary’s and “Turtle Juice” with homemade agua fresca and Cruzan Rum) on its beautiful patio with the turtle filled pond in La Arcada. Try the Upside Down Pancakes, assorted Breakfast Burritos, Southwest Scramble or Breakfast Tacos for some inspired modern Mexican cuisine. Click here for reservations.

Sunday Champagne Brunch at the Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch is always a treat, but their Easter Brunch menu is especially spectacular. It features specialties like Jumbo Lump Crab Benedict, Pepper Crusted Wagyu Striploin and Citrus Cured King Salmon, along with sparkling wine, mimosas and bellinis. Call 805/565-1700 for reservations.

Loquita, photo by Kaitlin Chamblin.

Loquita Tortilla Espanola, photo by Kaitlin Chamblin.

Loquita‘s three-course Easter brunch begins with a choice of Charcutería  y Queso or Manchego Tasting, followed with a choice of one Tapas per guest—Patatas Bravas,  Ensalada de Cítricos, Chorizo Picadillo, or Tortilla Espanola. That’s followed by Torrijas–Spanish French Toast with Cara Cara Orange & Crema Catalana—and a choice of their splendid Sangria–Sangria Rojo with Tempranillo, Torres Orange Brandy & Lemon;  Sangria Blanco with Albarino, Gin & White Peach or house Agua Frescas. Click here for reservations.

The Easter Brunch at Les Marchands features an array of menu items from Chef Weston Richards, including House-Made Ricotta with Seasonal Jam & Brioche Toast; House-Made Chorizo & Butternut Squash Frittata with Parmesan Cheese; Breakfast Poutine with Sausage Gravy, Cheddar Cheese & Poached Egg;  and Tres Leches French Toast with Cinnamon Whipped Cream & Berries, among others. Guests can also  indulge in specialty cocktails like the Easter Pamplemousse Spritz with Charbay Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka, Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit Juice, Muddled Basil Leaf, Topped with Crémant Rosé, Splash of Soda and Grapefruit Garnish, as well as variety of other cocktails, wines and beers. For reservations, click here.

Breakfast at the Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach is always beautiful

Breakfast at the BoatHouse, courtesy photo.

Breakfast at the BoatHouse, courtesy photo.

(can anyone beat that view!). Try one of their many Breakfast Benedicts (Classic, Pork Belly, California or Smoked Salmon style Eggs Benedict, all with breakfast potatoes) or French Toast with a “Pancake Breakfast Cocktail” (Tullamore Dew/Butterscotch schnapps, OJ chaser and a strip of smoked bacon) for a special Easter treat. They don’t take reservations, so go early and plan to take a stroll on the beach to work up an appetite.

If an Easter lunch is your preference, head to Santa Ynez, where Alberto Battaglini of S.Y. Kitchen presents five new spring cocktails inspired by the warming temperatures, first of the season local market produce, herbs and botanicals: the Chamomile Sour; Spring

Pear & Honey Bramble pear-infused gin, honey liquore, pear, lemon, gomme syrup, crème de mure, courtesy S.Y. Kitchen.

Pear & Honey Bramble, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci, courtesy S.Y. Kitchen.

Negroni; Rio Nexpa; Rustic; and the Pear & Honey Bramble. Try the T-Bone Truffle Sliders, Wild Mushroom Papardelle or Yellow Beet Salad for lunch. You won’t be sorry! The wrap-around patio is an especially lovely spot to toast the season as well. Click here for reservations.

The Lark offers a tasty array of Easter holiday dinner specials such as Deviled Easter Eggs, Grilled Texas Quail and Roasted Banana Panna Cotta, as well as debut spring menu that includes Brillat Savarin Triple Crème Brie, Colorado Lamb Sirloin Tartare; Dungeness Crab Risotto; Slow-Roasted Niman Ranch Ribs; and ‘Shrimp & Grits’ with Fresh Caught Kauai Prawns. Toast the holiday with craft cocktails, like the new-to-the-season Hummingbird and Jackrabbit; as well as house specialties like Alice’s Flip; JP’s Paloma; Black Manhattan; The Mule; Old Aztec; El Topo; Industry Sour; and the Dirty One-Thirty-One. Click here for reservations.

Cheers to the season! 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.”

 Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on April 7, 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: In the Mood for Love

A special Valentines Day Cocktail from Finch & Fork, courtesy photo.

A special Valentines Day Cocktail from Finch & Fork, courtesy photo.

 

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg 

Love is in the air this month, with Valentine’s Day cocktail specials from some of our favorite mixologists. Want to get in the mood for Valentine’s Day?  Try Inconceivable! from Joe Dohany of Finch & Fork (31 W. Carrillo St. in the Canary Hotel).

“A beautiful and balanced cocktail with tequila, strawberry shrub, zucca, mezcal and soda water. It will be served in a coupe with a dehydrated strawberry on top just for Valentine’s Day.”

Kiss Me Stupid Champagne Cocktail courtesy S.Y. Kitchen.

Kiss Me Stupid Champagne Cocktail courtesy S.Y. Kitchen.

Also on tap this holiday season is a special “San Valentino Dinner” for romance at SY Kitchen (1110 Faraday St. in Santa Ynez),  as well as mixologist Alberto Battaglini’s “Kiss Me Stupid” Champagne Cocktail, “a seductive champagne cocktail of vacuum-infused strawberry juice with mint, aperol and gin, topped with champagne.”

Another favorite sipping spot, Santa Barbara Wine Collective (131 Anacapa St.) has some special tastings available for the holiday, available Feb. 10-14:

For bubble enthusiasts, Fess Parker’s ‘Fesstivity’ Sparkling Wine Flight features a Blanc de Blancs, a Brut Cuvee and a Blanc de Noirs.

Santa Barbara Wine Collective, courtesy photo

Santa Barbara Wine Collective, courtesy photo

For those that love Pinot Noir, a Pinot Noir Flight includes Ca’ Del Grevino Estate Pinot Noir, Fess Parker ‘Pommard’ Pinot Noir, Babcock ‘Slice of Heaven’ Pinot Noir and The Hilt ‘Vanguard’ Pinot Noir.

The ‘Red is for love’ Flight is perfect for red wine fans, with Fess Parker ‘Rodney’s’ Syrah, Babcock Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, Ca’ Del Grevino Dolcetto, Notary Public Cabernet Sauvignon and The Paring ‘Red” Bordeaux Blend.

On Sunday, February 12 only, the “Little Sweet One” Tasting Flight, including Ca’ Del Grevino Estate wines (Riesling, Pinot

Raspberry Beret, courtesy Les Marchands.

Raspberry Beret, courtesy Les Marchands.

Noir, Grenache, Dolcetto & Syrah) is paired with chocolates from Heart & Sugar Confections.

The sommelier team at Les Marchands (131 Anacapa St.) is also in the mood for St. Valentine to strike, with an original cocktail known for its aphrodisiac-like qualities—The Raspberry Beret—with Plymouth Gin, Crème De Framboise, Lemon Juice & Rose Water. 

“This cocktail’s scented flavors of rose petal, spice and tart raspberry make this a classy and flirty drink for the cocktail enthusiast.”

Sounds good to me. 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 February 3, 2017.

 

 

Local Dish: Fall Desserts at Finch & Fork and Outpost

Fried Carrot Cake is part of the fall dessert menu at Outpost at the Goodland. Courtesy photo.

Fried Carrot Cake is part of the fall dessert menu at Outpost at the Goodland. Courtesy photo.

There’s something about this cooler weather that makes sweets taste even sweeter. Lucky for us, our local chefs have some new treats to share this fall.

At Outpost at the Goodland  (5650 Calle Real, Goleta) Chef Nick Bajal has added a few new things to the dessert menu, including Rice Flour Cake Tres Leche (with Puffed Black Rice and Yuzu Cream); Kaffir Lime Flan (with Chocolate Crumble and Marinated Strawberries); Matcha Green Tea Eclairs (with Coconut Eclairs and Grilled Peach); Mexican Spiced Chocolate Pudding (with Salted Carmel Whipped Cream and Crispy Sugar Cookie) and Fried Carrot Cake (with Burnt Orange Sauce, White Chocolate Creamed Cheese and McConnell’s Vanilla Ice Cream).

Over at Finch & Fork (31 W. Carrillo St.), Chef James Siao also has some new sweets to savor: Sticky Toffee Cake (with Local Dates, Brown Butter Whipped Cream and Maple Almond Popcorn); Cream–sicle (with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Mousse and Ginger Orange Crumble Orange Granita) and S’more Pot De Crème (with Chocolate and House Made Marshmallow Graham Cracker Crumble).

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 15, 2016.

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: Santa Barbara Wine Festival Gets Better With Age

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Santa Barbara Wine Festival—the first festival of its kind on the Central Coast—returns for the 29th year, hosted by the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (2559 Puesta Del Sol Rd.) on Saturday, June 25 from 2-5 p.m.

The beautiful grounds of Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History are a wonderful spot to appreciate being out in nature, and what better way to enjoy a summer weekend than sipping wine underneath the oaks along Mission Creek? Guests will sip, swirl, and savor a variety of wine from 75 wineries complemented by tasty hors d’oeuvres and desserts from famed local restaurants, farm-to-table caterers, and other top shelf food purveyors.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

They’ll also be celebrating the museum’s 100th birthday with, what else … bubbles! As a commemorative presentation this year, Santa Barbara Wine Festival features Sparkling Way; a special area dedicated to sparkling wines and the perfect opportunity to raise a glass to the occasion. Also, new to the event this year is the VIP Redwood Lounge, where VIP ticket holders can enter the festival one hour early and enjoy a private tasting before everyone else arrives.

Winemakers Paul Lato and Morgan Clendenen will be in the VIP Lounge from 1-2 p.m. to pour their world class wines, along with savory bites from Chef Pete Clements. The lounge will also offer access to intimate seating, delectable treats, late , and complimentary chair massages throughout the festival.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

The Cork Pull raffle is always one of my favorite things at this festival. For $30 to pull a cork, participants are guaranteed to win a prize worth at least $30, many of which are terrific wines and other prizes valued at $50 and above. Plus, all proceeds benefit the museum’s exhibits and education programs.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Participating wineries include: Alexander & WayneAlma RosaAndrew Murray VineyardsArthur EarlAu Bon ClimatBabcock WineryBeckmen VineyardsBedford WineryBlair Fox Cellars, Brander VineyardBrewer-Clifton ButtonwoodByronCambriaCargasacchi/Pt ConceptionCarr Vineyards and WineryCasa DumetzCebadaCinque StelleCOREConsilienceCrawford Family Wines, Daniel Gehrs WinesDierberg/Star LaneDe Paola VineyardEpiphany CellarsFalcone VineyardsFeliz NocheFess Parker Winery & VineyardFiddlehead CellarsFlying Goat CellarsFoxenGainey VineyardGrassini Family VineyardsGypsy Canyon, Jaffurs Wine Cellars  and Jamie Slone Wines.

Also pouring are:KalyraKen Brown WinesKenneth Volk VineyardsKita WinesKoehler WineryKuninLaFondLarner Wines and General StoreLongoriaLoring Wine CompanyLumenMargerum Wine CompanyMelvilleMosby Winery & VineyardMunicipal WinemakersOreanaPalminaPotekQupéRancho Sisquoc WineryRefugio RanchSanta Barbara WinerySilver WinesSunstone WineryTablas CreekTatomerTercero WinesToucan WinesTranscendence WinesWhitcraft WineryWilliam James and Zaca Mesa.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

In addition, participating food vendors are: BarbarenoBenchmark eatery, Brophy Bros., Ca DarioCountry CateringCoffee Bean and Tea LeafDuoFarmer BoyFinch & ForkFreezerMonkeyIl FustinoIndustrial EatsJessica Foster ConfectionsMichael’s CateringMr. E’s FreezeMulberry LoveNectar Eatery and LoungePacific Pickle WorksThe Stonehouse at San Ysidro RanchVia MaestraVillage Modern Foods and Patxi’s Pizza.

For more information and to purchase tickets for the Santa Barbara Wine Festival, please visit http://www.sbnature.org/winefestival.

Hope to see you there. Cheers!

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.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on June 17, 2016.