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: 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.

 

 

Enjoy the Holidays at Loquita

Paella from Loquita, photo by Laura Ray.

Paella from Loquita, photo by Laura Ray.

Executive Chef Peter Lee of LOQUITA and POQUITA—the new hot spots Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone—has special celebratory menus for Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. If you haven’t had the pleasure of checking these restaurants out yet, the holidays are a perfect time to do so.

In addition to the complete menu that Loquita has made popular with bold flavored Mediterranean dishes of olives, lemons, tomatoes, peppers, vinegars, Jamon and Sherries, simply executed and beautifully plated, on Christmas Eve, Chef Lee’s specials feature Bunuelo de Bacalao—Salt Cod, Potato, Lemon & Nora Chili Aïoli; and Cannelloni with Mushroom, Foie Gras; Bechamel & Manchego. Reservations are recommended and are available from 5–8:30 p.m.

Loquita, photo by Rob Stark.

Loquita, photo by Rob Stark.

Then, on New Year’s Eve, Loquita presents elegant New Year’s Eve specials, in addition to their acclaimed menu, perfect for an end of year celebration. Selections include Foie Gras with Figs, Dandelion Greens & Celery Root; Paella con Costilla – Iberico Pork Ribs with Artichokes, Mushrooms, Iberico Soffrito, Grilled Lemon & Herb Aïoli; and Cochinillo Asado – Suckling Pig with Asparagus, Mushrooms & Mojo Verde. Loquita’s chefs will display a live “performance art,” preparing the Paella con Costilla outdoors on the patio in a huge paella pan for all guests to experience. Reservations are recommended and are available from 5–10:45 p.m.

Also now open is Poquita, the little sister of Loquita, a perfect choice for both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve for those seeking a spontaneous evening. Drop in while exploring the Urban Wine Trail, drinking in the colorful ambiance of the Funk Zone.

Loquita, photo by Rob Stark.

Loquita, photo by Rob Stark.

Poquita serves many of the same delicious pintxos, tapas, cheeses and charcuterie as Loquita at their artful, standing-room-only pintxos bar, ideal for casual small bites without the structure of a reservation. Hours are 5 p.m. – midnight.

Also starting on New Year’s Day, Loquita begins serving Sunday Brunch. Chef Lee introduces his inspired daytime menu of exquisite Spanish specialties created with a Santa Barbara sensibility—a Paella Pan Skillet with either Mushroom, Tomato, Spinach, Potato, Eggplant, Chermoula & Eggs; or Chorizo with Bell Pepper, Tomato, Potato, Broccolini, Parsley & Eggs; Benedicts on Pan De Cristal in two versions – Jamon Serrano, Spinach, Eggs & Chorizo Hollandaise; or Cured Salmon, Pickled Red Onion, Eggs & Lemon Hollandaise. Try Lee’s two spins on the Tortilla Espanola – Traditional with Potato, Onion, Frisee & Herb Aïoli; or Especial with Avocado, Piquillo, Potato, Onion, Mushroom & Chorizo. Loquita brunch hours are 10 a.m.–2 p.m. and will continue every Sunday after the new year. 

To view all holiday menus visit Holiday Menus or www.loquitasb.com/nye.

Loquita, photo by Rob Stark.

Loquita, photo by Rob Stark.

Loquita, “an endearing Spanish colloquial term for a wild, fun loving young girl, is a playful love letter to the Spanish origins and history of Santa Barbara.” The space is designed by San Francisco restaurateur and designer Doug Washington, who created the distinctive styling at The Lark, Lucky Penny, Les Marchands, Santa Barbara Wine Collective and Helena Avenue Bakery. Architect Joe Andrulaitis and the Young Construction team led by Rick Musmecci completely restored the historic building that has served as numerous restaurants and the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission over the past century. Interior finishing touches by Stephanie Greene Fuller incorporated handsome furnishings fabricated by Brothers of Industry of Carpinteria.  

Loquita, photo by Rob Stark.

Loquita, photo by Rob Stark.

“I was inspired by a quote I read in a recent issue of Food & Wine magazine that said ‘Spain is a country with a big heart, a big thirst for wine, a big appetite for great food and a big affinity for art, music and sports.’ Those who live, work and play in Santa Barbara share these values,” says Sherry Villanueva, Managing Partner for Acme Hospitality, the group behind the restaurant. Bringing a Spanish restaurant to the Funk Zone has been something she has envisioned since the space first became available more than two years ago.

“Santa Barbara’s rich Spanish colonial history has defined our city in ways that span architecture, food, wine and even informs our community celebrations. It’s the right time to dedicate our next restaurant to the incredible culture and food that Spain is known for, but interpreted by a contemporary California sensibility that is our company’s signature,” says Villanueva. “It’s no wonder that Spain is recognized as one of the greatest countries for food and dining today.

The restaurant is located at 202 State St., 805/880-3380.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 19, 2016.

Cocktail Corner: South African Wine Safari

Wines of South Africa Tasting and Master Class at Les Marchands. Photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

Wines of South Africa Tasting and Master Class at Les Marchands. Photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Unfortunately, no passport was involved in my recent trip to South Africa’s wine country, but it was an exciting journey nonetheless.

Last weekend I had the good fortune to attend “South Africa in Santa Barbara Day” at Les Marchands, alongside a slew of our region’s top wine and food mavens. Boy was it eye-opening! Our charming host Jim Clarke, Marketing Manager for Wines of South Africa USA, took us on a lovely trek through his home terrain.

Jim Clarke, Marketing Manager for Wines of South Africa USA, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Jim Clarke, Marketing Manager for Wines of South Africa USA, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

We started our excursion as many great journeys begin, with some bubbly. In this case two sparkling wines: Noble Hill Method Cap Classique Blanc de Blancs 2011 (from the Simonsberg-Paarl appellation of origin, which has made some of South Africa’s finest wines dating back to the late 17th century) and Colmant Method Cap Classique Rose NV, from the Western Cape Region.

Clarke seeded our “master class” with interesting tidbits about the history of the region, as well as the terroir. South Africa’s wine growing areas, situated in the narrow viticultural zone of the southern hemisphere, have a mostly Mediterranean climate and the mountain slopes and valleys form the ideal habitat for wine grapes. Long, sun-drenched summers and mild, wet winters contribute to the ideal conditions for viticulture.

With the end of apartheid and the advent of democracy, South African wine industry exports have more than doubled between 2005 and 2015. According to the wosa.co.za, “the annual harvest in 2014 amounted to 1 519 708 tons (1 181.1 million liters), of which 81% was used for wine. … As far as international wine production is concerned, Italy leads with 17.7% of the total, France is second with 17.2%, Spain third with 13.3% and South Africa eighth with 4.1% (2015 figures).”

Just a few of the South African wines sampled, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Just a few of the South African wines sampled, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Of the 20 (!) wines we tasted, there truly wasn’t a dud in the bunch. Among the many standouts that made my tastebuds zing was the Luddite Chenin Blanc. According to Clarke, South Africa is home to the most Chenin Blanc (Steen) plantings in the world and is the most widely cultivated variety in the Cape. He described the wine as “a nice middle ground between Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay” and it, along with the Raats Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2013, and the Beaumont Chenin Blanc 2014, certainly pleased my palate.

Another highlight of the tasting was my first experience with Pinotage, a unique-to-South Africa cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (Hermitage). The 2013 Painted Wolf Guillermo Pinotage we sampled was an intense, rich, fruity flavor that paired well with the braai (South African Barbecue) meats we had for lunch. Two Santa Barbara wineries with South African winemakers—Dieter Cronje of Presqu-ile and Ernst Storm of Storm Wines—were also on hand to pour their wines and provide entertaining commentary about their homeland.

All in all it was a delightful journey to South Africa, minus the jet lag (although I could have used a nap after all of that wine tasting)! South African wines are becoming more and more available at our local retailers, including Les Marchands Wine & Bar Merchant, 131 Anacapa St., 805/284-0380.

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 June 10, 2016.

 

Cocktail Corner: Lots of Local Food & Libations

The Pullman Room at The Lark, photo by Rob Stark.

The Pullman Room at The Lark, photo by Rob Stark.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg 

There are a lot of fun spring festivities going on in town this month. Here are few worth checking out:

March 6: Wild Brew Fest 

Cultivate Events (CE), The Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival (SBFF) and Soho Restaurant & Music Club (Soho) host their first annual Wild Brew Fest on Mar. 6. The event is at Soho, 1221 State St., from 3-6 p.m.

Wild Brew Fest serves various traditionally brewed and fermented alcoholic beverages including spirits, beer, cider, mead and wine. Visitors can enjoy these drinks en plein air with snacks featuring the freshest and finest food of the county. Wild Brew Fest also features do-it-yourself stations such as a pickle station where guests can learn the art of fermentation, courtesy of the Pacific Pickle Works and Pure Order Brewing Company, and Valley Brewers‘ home-brew station.

For information and tickets visit wildbrewfest.nightout.com.

March 12: Buellton Wine and Chili Festival

Give your taste buds a thrill at the 2016 Buellton Wine and Chili Festival where over 20 chili/salsa chefs and 30 wineries will compete! Come and see these amazing individuals battle it out to win prizes such as the Best Red Chili, Chili Verde, and Homemade Salsa. And have your say with the People’s Choice Awards for both wine and chili categories. Ticket price includes a souvenir wine glass, unlimited tastings, and live music. Make it a family event and spend the day eating good food and playing games like horse shoes, table tennis, and bocce ball. Bonus: children under 12 get in for free!

The event takes place from noon to 4 p.m. at Flying Flags RV Resort, 180 Avenue of the Flags, Buellton. If transportation is a concern, take the Brew Bus from Santa Barbara for $25. Leaves at 10:15 a.m. from Figueroa Mountain Brewery, 137 Anacapa St.) and brings you back at the end of the festival.

Presqu'ile Photomontage, courtesy Presqu'ile.

Presqu’ile Photomontage, courtesy Presqu’ile..

March 12: Presqu’ile Winery’s Tri-Tip Cook-Off

Presqu’ile Winery hosts its first annual Presqu’ile Tri-Tip Cook-Off,  featuring a stellar lineup of top-ten local culinary talents, including Chef Nick Barainca, the Auten Boys and more. Manning the grills in our beautiful al fresco setting, each will prepare their own inspired take on tri-tip for our guests and a panel of distinguished culinary judges.

To purchase tickets, contact Estates Manager Cameron Porter at (805) 937-8110 ext. 103 or cameron@presquilewine.com.

March 16-20: Taste of Solvang

In its 24th year, Taste of Solvang  is a fabulous destination for food and wine lovers alike. Some of the highlights include the Taste of Solvang Blind Tasting Challenge on March 17 at 6 p.m. at Wandering Dog Wine Bar, where guests will challenge their palates while learning more about wine as they match up varietals, regions, alcohol percentage, vintage and price points. Tastings will include four half-glasses of red wine and cheese pairings.

Saturday, March 19 brings the Solvang “Tasting Trail” (various locations, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.), where guests will sample and shop their way through Solvang as dozens of food businesses welcome Tasting Trail guests with edible treats. The Tasting Trail will overlap with this year’s Wine & Beer Walk, (various locations, Saturday 2–7 p.m. and Sunday 12–4 p.m.) so attendees may simultaneously take part in both food and drink activities. The Wine & Beer Walk features 15+ wine & beer tasting spots, and is a great way to discover new favorites, and sample local, boutique wines and craft beers as you work up a hunger for more Taste of Solvang happenings.

Courtesy Wandering Dog

Courtesy Wandering Dog Wine Bar.

March 20, 6 p.m.: The Lark Presents “Local Treasures Dinner” With Telegraph Brewing Company

The Lark Executive Chef Jason Paluska teams with Brian Thompson of Telegraph Brewing Company for an exceptional tasting menu of seasonal and locally sourced products designed to complement the acclaimed brewery’s signature beers and ales. Thompson, Founder and Brewmaster of Telegraph will be on hand to describe how adjustments in process and recipe manifest themselves in the beer’s flavor profiles. Telegraph Brewing Company is the recipient of numerous Gold, Silver and Bronze awards from the Great American Beer Festival and the Beer World Cup.

The dinner begins with Steelhead Ocean Trout Crudo with Thai Chile & Avocado Mousse, Hearts of Palm, Pickled Kumquat and Candied Coriander Seed paired with Telegraph White Ale; followed by Grilled Delta Asparagus with Bone Marrow Hollandaise, Meyer Lemon Peel, Crispy Sunchokes and Nasturtium paired with Telegraph California Ale.  The main course is Paluska’s succulent Roasted Pork Belly Porchetta with Creamy Hominy, Red Cabbage, Escabeche Pickled Vegetables, Crispy Pig Ears, Preserved Lime and Oregano paired with Telegraph Los Padres Saison. Completing the dinner is a dessert of Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras & Warm Donuts with Hibiscus Caramel and Duck Fat Pecans, created by Executive Pastry Chef Jeff Haines and paired with Telegraph Reserve Wheat with Hibiscus.

Served in The Lark’s private Pullman Room (pictured), pricing for “Local Treasures” with Telegraph Brewing Company is $111 per person, all inclusive of taxes and service charge. Tickets may be purchased by calling The Lark at 805.284.0370 or visit Local Treasures at The Lark.  Seating is limited.

The Lark is located at 131 Anacapa St. in the Funk Zone.

Steve and Crystal Clifton, courtesy photo.

Steve and Crystal Clifton, courtesy photo.

March 22, 6:30 p.m.: Les Marchands and Palmina Wine Dinner

Another delicious event in Funk Zone is Les Marchands and Palmina Wines celebration of Spring with a five course paired dinner and an intimate evening with Palmina’s Steve and Crystal Clifton. For more than 20 years the pair has produced compelling, food friendly wines that showcase the tremendous versatility the Santa Barbara County wine growing region has to offer.  Add Chef Weston Richards into the equation and you get an exquisite five-course menu to compliment and showcase the depth and brilliance of the Palmina line-up! Chef Weston’s menu will be revealed later this week, but reservations are now being taken.

The cost is $99, excluding tax and gratuity, and seating is limited. To purchase tickets and reserve your seats, email dan@lesmarchandswine.com.

Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant is located at 131 Anacapa St., Suite B. in the Funk Zone.

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 March 4, 2016.

Cocktail Corner: Sip and Savor Valentine’s Day

Finch & Fork, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with your true love, or a true friend, our local watering holes and restaurants are working overtime to make the holiday a memorable one. Here are a few ideas:

A Classic Valentine Weekend at Finch & Fork

Finch & Fork (31 West Carrillo St.) is honoring the classics this Valentine’s Day. On both Feb. 13 and Feb. 14, order from their regular dinner menu, or from a variety of specials. Try the Lobster Bisque, served tableside and sure to impress. Next, order Chef James Siao’s Beef Wellington served with wild mushroom puree, speck, brioche, grilled asparagus salad and roasted garlic peppercorn sauce. For the ultimate finale, indulge in their tableside Hot Fudge Sundae, prepared with all the toppings.

The Hungry Cat SB | Photo by Andrew Stuart

The Hungry Cat SB | Photo by Andrew Stuart

Tempt Your Catch at the Hungry Cat’s Ocean-Inspired Valentine’s Day 

Gems from the sea set the scene for romance in Chef/Owner David Lentz’s Hungry Cat (1134 Chapala St.). For Valentine’s Day, guests may select from a prix fixe menu that includes Peruvian Scallops with fennel, sambal and granny smith apple; Prawns with chili, lime, shrimp chip and egg custard; Smoked Salmon with crème fraiche, caper berry, heirloom beet and cauliflower; Lobster Raviolo with black garlic, king trumpet and spinach; and Grilled Branzino for two with chickpea, green romesco, cucumber and mint. Meat lovers will savor a rich and tender Stout- Braised Lamb Shoulder. In addition, the restaurant’s signature Ocean-Fresh Raw Bar is available à la carte along with two specially created Valentine’s Day craft cocktails —the Laws of Attraction (made with Ford’s Gin, Pamplemousse Rose, lemon and chocolate bitters) and Love Me Forever (made with rose petal infused vodka, ginger, blood orange juice and gran classico).

Love Me Forever, Hungry Cat, photo by Dona Bridges.

Love Me Forever, Hungry Cat, photo by Dona Bridges.

The Lark Presents Three Nights of Valentine-Inspired Specials

Set the table for romance at The Lark (131 Anacapa St.), where Executive Chef Jason Paluska and Executive Pastry Chef Jeff Haines present a weekend of Valentine’s Day dining with enticing specials designed to be shared by two for the ultimate romantic dining experience. Chef Paluska’s creations include Santa Barbara Sea Urchin Toast with Perigord Black Truffle Butter, Grilled Sourdough Levain, Breakfast Radish & Chervil; and Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Pink Peppercorn-Buttermilk Biscuits with Roasted Strawberry Duck Jus, Pickled Fennel & Tarragon.

The Lark, courtesy photo.

The Lark, courtesy photo.

Couples may also share the luscious Dungeness Crab & House-made Gnocchi with Spanish Chorizo, Navel Orange, Castelvetrano Olives & Lobster Roe. For dessert, Chef Haines prepares a Classic Chocolate Cake with Hibiscus, Olive Oil, Raspberry Meringue and Passion Fruit Ice Cream. Served with the dessert is a toast for two of Sparkling Gamay from Patrick Bottex, La Cueille, Savoie, France. The Lark also offers the complete market-driven menu that has made the restaurant so popular.

Les Marchands| Photo Credit Rob Stark

Les Marchands| Photo Credit Rob Stark

Wining and Dining at Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant

Les Marchands (131 Anacapa St.) and Chef Weston Richards have a romantic weekend planned with three seductive dishes that are passionately playful for couples seeking a relaxed and casual evening of courtship. Begin with Les Marchands Valentine’s Day aphrodisiac of Crispy Fried Oysters with Lemon-Caper Remoulade and House-Made Hot Sauce. Then savor Chef Weston’s definitive burger—“Royale with Cheese,” two 1/4-pound beef patties with caramelized onions, Taleggio cheese and housemade thousand island served with a side of garlic-herb pommes frites. For the ultimate in decadent desserts, try a rich Dark Chocolate Mousse with Chocolate-Pistachio Crisp, Marshmallow, Ancho Chile Powder & Olive.

The sommelier team at Les Marchands has selected three preferred picks to be paired and discovered with each of the Valentine’s Day specials: Gaston Chiquet Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc to enjoy with oysters; Weihenstephaner Hefe Weiss as a match for the “Royale with Cheese” burger; and Domaine La Tour Vielle “Rimage” Banyuls to accompany the richness of Chef Weston’s dark chocolate mousse. Pricing is à la carte.

Vintage Love at Outpost

Celebrate a very special vintage Valentine’s Day at Outpost at the Goodland Hotel (5650 Calle Real, Goleta), where Executive Chef Derek Simcik has created the Vintage Love menu. It includes classic French dishes like Foie Tourchon with Sauternes, Beef Royale and Bouillabaisse. Pair your meal with the perfect cocktail, like the Novel Vintage with Woodford Rye, Maison Rouge VSOP, Earl Grey-Honey Syrup, Luxardo Maraschino, Orange Curacao and Lemon.

Outpost at the Goodland, courtesy photo.

Outpost at the Goodland, courtesy photo.

After dinner, stop by Goodbar and have lead bartender Chris Burmeister make one his newest creations. Try the Vendetta with Gran Lusso Vermouth, Lustau Palo Cortado Sherry, Amere Nouvelle, bitters and strawberry preserves, or the Handsome Haymaker with H by Hine Cognac, Avua Amburana, Masala Chai Syrup, milk and cream.

S.Y. Kitchen Presents a San Valentino Dinner Designed for Romance

The Courtyard at S.Y. Kitchen | Photo Credit Rob Stark

The Courtyard at S.Y. Kitchen | Photo Credit Rob Stark

S.Y. Kitchen‘s San Valentino Dinner features alluring holiday specials, a Valentine’s Day cocktail and stellar wine recommendations (1110 Faraday St., Santa Ynez). Starters include Black Truffle Ravioli with Burrata and Shaved Black Truffles; followed by main course selections of Filet Mignon with Mushrooms and Polenta and Grilled Giant Atlantic Prawns with Avocado Mousse, Local Tomatoes and Arugula. For dessert, there is a special additional dessert prepared by Chef Francesco—a rich Chocolate Terrine with Raspberry Sauce and Fresh Berries. Pricing is à la carte and reservations are recommended for one of the most popular dining nights of the year.

Rose & Hibiscus Martini | photo credit Alberto Battaglini

Rose & Hibiscus Martini | photo credit Alberto Battaglini

In addition, Mixologist Alberto Battaglini will make his special Rose & Hibiscus Martini: a stunning presentation of Rose-Infused Hendrix Gin with Fresh Rose Petals, Raspberry, Hibiscus-Blackberry Bitter, Lemon and Lime. Wine lovers will enjoy Sommelier Emily Johnston’s suggested bottle of Alma Rosa Brut Rosé ‘El Jabali’ 2013 among other recommendations to accompany dinner. Cuddle together in the courtyard at night or by the outdoor fire pit before or after dinner with an Aperitivo or Digestivo for a little extra flirting. In addition to the Valentine’s Day Specials, S.Y. Kitchen will offer their complete à la carte menu on Valentine’s Day for those that prefer the restaurant’s signature dishes. S.Y. Kitchen will also be serving their “Italian Breakfast” on Feb. 14 from 10 a.m. -2 p.m. for couples that want to get an early start on Valentine’s Day. 

Rose, Reds and Truffles at Santa Barbara Wine Collective

Santa Barbara Wine Collective (131 Anacapa St.), offers a special all- weekend Valentine’s Day tasting featuring two flights to sample from the Collective’s five talented Santa Barbara County members. Choose a flight of two exceptional Rosé selections from The Paring and Fess Parker or a flight of five reds from Babcock, Fess Parker, The Paring, Notary Public and Ca’ Del Grevino.

Both flights include pairings of artisan chocolate truffles created by Santa Barbara confectioner Jessica Foster, and are available all day Fri. Feb. 12-Sun. Feb. 14. To purchase advance tickets, visit NightOut.com: sbwcvdayflight.nightout.com. Tickets are also available in person.

Santa Barbara Wine Collective, photo by Erin Feinblatt.

Santa Barbara Wine Collective, photo by Erin Feinblatt.

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 February 5, 2016.

Cocktail Corner: Jamming at The Lark

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Fall Jams at The Lark, sourced from Chapala Farms, include, L-R, Star Ghost Chili Vodka, Cutler Stagecoach Whiskey and Wilder Gin. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Fall Jams at The Lark, sourced from Chapala Farms, include, L-R, Star Ghost Chili Vodka, Cutler Stagecoach Whiskey and Wilder Gin. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

It takes an awfully inventive mind to look at a jar of jam or marmalade and envision a cocktail, but that’s exactly what those clever folks at The Lark have done, in partnership with Chapala Farms, and the results are quite unique—and delicious!

I tried my first “Jam” over the summer, a delightful concoction of Star Ghost Chili Vodka (made locally by Ascendant Spirits in Buellton)  and Chapala Farms Plum Jam. Not only was it yummy, with a nice kick of sweet and spice, I also loved the fact that Chapala Farms is an urban backyard farm venture from locals Jason Banks and Michelle Decaris, located right down the road on Chapala Street.

The Lark’s “Fall Jams” have kicked up the fun even further.

Local "Jam Cocktail" ingredients at The Lark, photo by Macy Kremzar.

Local “Jam Cocktail” ingredients at The Lark, photo by Macy Kremzar.

You really have to try these cocktails to fully appreciate the unique flavors and textures.

For fall, Star Ghost Chili Vodka is now combined with Chapala Farms Strawberry Passion Fruit Jam for a spicy glass of sweet deliciousness that’s unlike anything I’ve ever tasted.

We also liked the Cutler Stagecoach Whiskey (from Funk Zone local Ian Cutler‘s Cutler’s Artisan Spirits) with Chapala Farms Cinnamon, Mint, Fig Jam, a perfect holiday libation, as well as the Wilder Gin (from Ventura Spirits Company) and Chapala Farms Tangelo Jam combo.

The genesis of these clever cocktails comes from Buffalo, New York, where following a visit to a family wedding, Acme Operations Manager Dan Russo (The Lark, Lucky Penny, Les Marchands and the Santa Barbara Wine Collective) discovered Jam Cocktails, conceived at Ballyhoo, a popular Buffalo bar owned by Tim Stevens and managed by his nephew, Frank Pusateri. Russo was then

Chef Jason Paluska's Housemade Charcuterie at The Lark, photo by Leslie Dinaberg

Chef Jason Paluska’s Housemade Charcuterie at The Lark, photo by Leslie Dinaberg

inspired to bring the concept to The Lark’s beverage program and teamed with Decaris and Banks of Chapala Farms to design distinctive summer cocktails made exclusively with local spirits— Cutler’s Artisan Spirits, Ventura Spirits and Ascendant Spirits—and a rotating menu of Chapala Farm’s premier jams and marmalades. That tradition has now continued into the fall.

“The flavors from the jams produce a subtle sweetness and tartness that is different from muddling fruits and other methods. And when combined with our Central Coast spirits they make a great … cocktail,” says Russo. All Fall Jam cocktails are priced at $11 are subject to change with seasonal harvests.

The Lark is located at 131 Anacapa St., 805/284-0370.

Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on November 20, 2015.

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.”

Cocktail Corner: Tasting Notes

Cheers to M. Special Brew Co., Bien Nacido/Solomon Hills Estate Tasting Room, Standing Sun … The Bodega, The Good Lion, Globe, The Nugget, Les Marchands and more!

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

M. Special kegs, courtesy photo

M. Special kegs, courtesy photo

Brewing in Goleta

The ever groovier Goleta has a cool new hangout, M. Special Brew Co. Tap Room and Brewery, located at 6860 Cortona Dr.

Their core line-up of beers includes:

    • M. Special American Lager – Based on a classic American craft lager
    • All Time Special – Farmhouse Ale
    • Pablo Special – Pale Ale
    • The Greatland Special – India pale Ale
    • Lazy Eye Special – Double India Pale Ale
    • Dozer Special – American Brown Ale

The tasting room features roll-up doors to create an open-air environment, with views of the brewing area through hand-made steel frame windows. The brewery also has four 50” televisions and a Sonos music system to provide additional entertainment. The bar is constructed from local wood from woodworker and artist John Birchim, who created over 40 feet of live edge bar made from a fallen Monterey Pine from the Santa Barbara coast. The brewery was designed by Patrick Housh of Piorier + Associates Architects and built by Michealsen Construction Company of Santa Barbara.

Not only is this place cool looking, you won’t go hungry. They have a partnership with Woodstocks Pizza, so pizza and salads are always available, and they’ll feature various food trucks on rotation. There was quite a spread the night we went—we’ll definitely be back!

M. Special Bar, courtesy photo

M. Special Bar, courtesy photo

Pouring in Los Olivos

The charming town of Los Olivos—always a great place for walkable wine tasting, shopping and dining—recently got even better, with the addition of the new Bien Nacido/Solomon Hills Estate Tasting Room. Located at 2963 Grand Ave., Unit B , the tasting room is open Thursday through Monday  from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bien Nacido

“Simply put, Bien Nacido Estate is now one of the hottest wineries in California,” writes wine critic Antonio Galloni, founder of Vinous, a well-respected wine publication. In Galloni’s recent report, the Bien Nacido Estate Chardonnay and the Solomon Hills Chardonnay were the two highest rated Chardonnays on California’s Central Coast. For more information, visit biennacidoestate.com.

Santa Barbara’s Oldest—and Newest—Wine Cellar

Another new place worth checking out (It’s gorgeous!) is Standing Sun … The Bodega, located in the historic Casa de la Guerra‘s original 1817 Bodega wine cellar. This rhone varietal wine tasting and art gallery is the oldest wine cellar on record in the city of Santa Barbara, and quite possibly the State of California. 

Standing Sun The Bodega is a new tasting room in the historic Casa de la Guerra. Courtesy photo.

Standing Sun The Bodega is a new tasting room in the historic Casa de la Guerra. Courtesy photo.

Standing Sun wines are handcrafted in small lots from some of Santa Ynez Valley’s premiere vineyards. The fruit is sourced as vineyard specific varieties, each with its own characteristics and diversity. Vineyards they work with include: Tierra Alta vineyard on Ballard Canyon, Clover Creek vineyard on Refugio Rd, Colson Canyon vineyard near Tepesquet and Camp four vineyard on Baseline Avenue.

The resulting wines are pure, un-manipulated wines, individually fermented and aged in neutral French oak barrels for 11 months.

Standing Sun The Bodega is a new tasting room in the historic Casa de la Guerra. Courtesy photo.

Standing Sun The Bodega is a new tasting room in the historic Casa de la Guerra. Courtesy photo.

Good Vibes at Good Lion

A couple of weeks ago at the Fermentation Festival I had the pleasure of trying several really delicious handcrafted cocktails from The Good Lion (1212 State St.) and was quite impressed. Everything is fresh and fun and their weekly rotating cocktail menu features the Central Coast’s finest fruits, herbs, spices, and produce, as well as local booze from Cutler’s Artisan Spirits and Ventura Spirits, among others.

World Cuisine With Small Town Prices

Another fun addition to the downtown cocktail scene is Globe, 18 E. Cota St., which features a big $10 and under menu of globally inspired small bites and cocktails. I really liked the Pink Grapefruit Drop (sort of a cross between a Greyhound and a Lemon Drop), and the Flaming Blood Orange Margarita.

Serious Drinking

Fancy cocktails are always fun, but sometimes you just want (need?) a stiff pour, and downtown’s new Nugget Restaurant (21 W. Victoria St.) certainly fits the bill. Between the strong, well-priced drinks, vintage Santa Barbara photos, friendly service and comfort food menu, I thought I was at Harry’s for a minute. I miss Arlington Tavern but this is a welcome addition to the downtown offerings.

Delicious Pairings

Giuseppe Quintarelli, courtesy photo

Giuseppe Quintarelli, courtesy photo

Coming up on Tuesday, October 6, Les Marchands presents a dinner celebrating the exceptional wines of Giuseppe Quintarelli, the revered wine producer from Veneto in northeast Italy. Quintarelli was internationally heralded for his Valpolicellas, reciotos and Amarones.

For this dinner, Les Marchands Executive Chef Weston Richards has created a four course menu of Duck Liver Mousse, radicchio and apple; Wild Mushroom Lasagna with house-made ricotta; Crispy Lamb Cheeks with cannellini beans, roasted figs and Pecorino; and Chef Weston’s selection of Ripe Cheeses that honors these stunning wines – Quintarelli’s 2011 Primofiore IGT, 2006 Rosso Ca’ del Merlo, 2006 Valpolicella Classico Superiore and the 2006 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico.

For further information call 805/284-0380 or visit lesmarchandswine.com/pages/events. Space is limited.

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 October 2, 2015.

Cocktail Corner: A Toast to Love and Valentines

S.Y. Kitchen's Valentine's Kiss cocktail, photo by mixologist Alberto Battaglini.

S.Y. Kitchen’s Valentine’s Kiss cocktail, photo by mixologist Alberto Battaglini.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Nothing says romance quite like a great bottle of wine or a sexy cocktail. Here are some ways to toast your beloved this Valentine’s Day.

The Santa Barbara Wine Collective has a special Valentine’s Day library flight of Babcock Cabernet Sauvignon

The Babcock Library Cabernet Flight, courtesy photo

The Babcock Library Cabernet Flight, courtesy photo

paired with local chocolate truffles created by Santa Barbara confectioner Jessica Foster. The flight includes Babcock’s 2004 Nucleus Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 Nucleus Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 Block 15 Cabernet Sauvignon and a special release of Babcock’s “Naughty Little Nectar” Late Harvest Pinot Gris. All wines will be paired with Jessica Foster Truffles and winemaker Bryan Babcock will be on hand from 4-7 p.m. to offer an in depth look at each wine. The Santa Barbara Wine Collective, 131 Anacapa St., www.santabarbarawinecollective.com, 805/456-2700.

Jessica Foster Confections, courtesy photo.

Jessica Foster Confections, courtesy photo.

Chef Derek Simcik at Outpost has created a special “Get Your Freak On” aphrodisiac-filled Valentine’s Day Prix Fixe menu that includes: oysters with pork cheek, green curry and coconut (aphrodisiac: oysters & spicy chilies in the curry); rabbit with soba noodles, red wine, pomegranate, pine nuts (aphrodisiac: red wine, pomegranate and pine nuts); and a special Cocoa Boba Tea made with cocoa and cayenne (aphrodisiac: cocoa, cayenne pepper). In addition, bartender Chris Burmeister will have a number of specialty “love potions” – available all weekend at both Outpost and Good Bar, including: Roses are Red (Vodka, passion tea infused aperol, rose water, prosecco); Violets are Blue (Gin, dolin blanc vermouth, blueberry syrup, crème de violet, lemon juice), Between the Sheets (White rum, Cognac VSOP, Cointreau, simple syrup, lemon juice) and With a Bottle of Booze (Tequila, carpano bianco, Pimm’s No 1, Peychaud’s Bitters). Outpost and Good Bar at the Goodland Hotel,  5650 Calle Real, Goleta, www.outpostsb.com, 805/964-1288.

The very romantic dining room at the Wine Cask features a special three-course menu with chocolate truffles from Jessica Foster Confections (she’s obviously in demand this holiday season). The Wine Cask, 813 Anacapa St., www.winecask.com, 805/966-9463.

El Beso De Luz, courtesy Casa Noble

El Beso De Luz, courtesy Casa Noble

Not every man can serenade his sweetheart the way Carlos Santana can, and the man can also mix a mean cocktail. Santana named this drink El Beso de Luz (The Kiss of Light) as a tribute to his wife Cindy, because the first sip of the cocktail reminded him of the feeling one gets when they first

The Raspberry Kiss cocktail from Eureka! , courtesy photo.

The Raspberry Kiss cocktail from Eureka! , courtesy photo.

fall in love. Combine 2 oz Casa Noble Crystal Tequila with ½ oz Licor 43 and 1 oz Lime juice. Then squeeze an orange wedge over the cocktail and drop it into the glass. www.casanoble.com.

Eureka! is offering both His & Hers Special Valentine’s Day Cocktails. His is a collaboration with Mission Brewery on a version of their Dark Seas Russian Imperial Stout that was aged for eight months in Four Roses Bourbon Barrels.  Hers is the Raspberry Chocolate Kiss cocktail featuring Prichard’s Double Chocolate Bourbon, raspberry gomme syrup, and red grapefruit juice. Both are available from Feb. 9 on. Eureka! , 601 Paseo Nuevo,             www.eurekarestaurantgroup.com, 805/618-3388.

Les Marchands has a Valentine’s Day menu designed to inspire passion. Begin with Oysters on the Half Shell with Champagne Mignonette and then sample one of Chef Weston Richard’s acclaimed Ramen dishes—a Pork Belly Ramen for carnivores or, for vegetarians, a Roasted Butternut Squash Ramen. For dessert, a Dark Chocolate Mousse with Earl Grey Custard, Strawberries, Pistachio and Chocolate Tuile (sounds amazing!). Available from 4-10 p.m. with no reservations required and à la carte pricing, this is a great option for people who don’t like to plan far ahead. In addition, a flight Rosé hand-selected by Brian McClintic MS is available. Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant, 131 Anacapa St., www.lesmarchandswine.com, 805/284-0380.

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

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

Just over the hill, S.Y. Kitchen has a San Valentino dinner designed for romance. Beginning with a first course for two of a Branzino Carpaccio with Osetra Caviar and Dill Crème Fraiche, guests will share Sous Chef Francesco’s House-Made Ravioli with Porcini and Black Truffles. The main course is a choice of a tender Filet Mignon with Foie Gras, Pineapple and Port Reduction or a Maine Lobster Catalana, to be selected by each guest. Chef Francesco will prepare a Chocolate Trilogy for the table completing a perfect Valentine’s Day evening in the Valley. Plus, Mixologist Alberto Battaglini has crafted his special Valentine’s Kiss cocktail —a stunning presentation of Rose Infused Gin with Lime, Lemon, Rose Liquor and Lavender. S.Y. Kitchen, 1110 Faraday St., Santa Ynez, www.sykitchen.com, 805/691-9794.

Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 6, 2015.

 

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.”

Happy Anniversary to Les Marchands

Eric Railsback and Brian McClintic: Photo credit | Macduff Everton ©2013

Eric Railsback and Brian McClintic: Photo credit | Macduff Everton ©2013

Tuesday, August 26 is your night to hit the town and join the team at Les Marchands to celebrate their doors being open for one year!

From 5:30–7 p.m. Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant toasts its one year anniversary with an exceptional lineup of Santa Barbara, French and Austrian rosé wines, including Vallin and Lieu Dit, the stunning wines produced by Les Marchands partners Brian McClintic and Eric Railsback.

Selected wines are:

Lieu Dit Rosé Santa Ynez Valley 2013

Vallin Rosé Santa Ynez Valley 2012

Gros Nore Bandol Rosé 2013

Fontsainte Gris de Gris 2013

Jager Rosé Wachau 2013

Abbatucci Faustine Rosé 2013

In addition, Chef Weston Richards will prepare food to stimulate conviviality and complement the wines. His menu features a Cheese Board with Breads and Accompaniments; House-Made and Imported Charcuterie with Weston’s own Mustards, Pickles and Olives; and Crostini with Fava Beans, House Ricotta, Mint and Chili Oil.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here:http://lesmarchandswinebar.securecheckout.com/product/detail/OneYearAnni8-26-14.html.

Les Marchands is located at 131 Anacapa St. in the Funk Zone.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on August 20, 2014.