Wine Dinner Series at Belmond El Encanto Continues

Belmond El Encanto. Courtesy photo.

Belmond El Encanto. Courtesy photo.

Belmond El Encanto‘s delicious wine dinner series continues this week, with an exclusive dining experience featuring Daou Vineyards and Winery of Paso Robles on Wednesday, June 6.

Regionally inspired cuisine from Executive Chef Johan Denizot is paired with a fantastic selection of wines. A welcome reception begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by a multi-course tasting menu with wine pairings. For a peek at the menu, click here.

The series continues on August 23, featuring Santa Barbara County’s own Au Bon Climat.

On September 20, it’s Venetian Night: Evolution of Amarone (In Italian, the name Amarone literally means “the Great Bitter,” and is a typically rich Italian dry red wine made from the partially dried grapes of the Corvina , Rondinella and other approved red grape varieties).

Finally, Ridge Vineyards, featuring wines from Sonoma County and the Santa Cruz Mountains, is spotlighted on November 1.

The Daou dinner on Wednesday, June 6 is $120 per person. For reservations, call 805/770-3530.

Belmond El Encanto is located at 800 Alvarado Pl., Santa Barbara. For more information about the resort, click here.

Leslie Dinaberg

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.