Cocktail Corner: Local Restaurants Earn Wine Spectator’s Top Honors

The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch, courtesy photo.

The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

As if there were any doubt that Santa Barbara County is Wine Country, Wine Spectator recently honored 20 local restaurants with their highest honors for excellence.

“Wine Spectator‘s Restaurant Awards recognize restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers,” according to the guidelines.

The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch earned The Grand Award, which is Wine Spectator‘s highest honor, given to only 89 restaurants around the world. According to Wine Spectator, this honor is “given to restaurants that show an uncompromising, passionate devotion to the quality of their wine programs. These wine lists typically feature 1,000 or more selections, and deliver serious breadth of top producers, outstanding depth in mature vintages, a selection of large-format bottles, excellent harmony with the menu, and superior presentation. These restaurants offer the highest level of wine service.”

Angel Oak at the Bacara Resort & Spa, Los Olivos Wine Merchant & CafeOpal Restaurant & Bar and Wine Cask all earned The Best of Award of Excellence. “These wine lists display excellent breadth across multiple winegrowing regions and/or significant vertical depth of top producers, along with superior presentation. Typically offering 350 or more selections, these restaurants are destinations for serious wine lovers, showing a deep commitment to wine, both in the cellar and through their service team,” according to Wine Spectator.

“We are thrilled for the honor in our first year of opening,” says Anne Elcon, Director of Marketing & Communications at Bacara Resort & Spa.

Angel Oak Wine Cellar, LaFemme Photography, courtesy photo.

Angel Oak Wine Cellar, LaFemme Photography, courtesy photo.

Also receiving The Award of Excellence, for “wine lists, which typically offer at least 90 selections, feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers, along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style,” were several other local restaurants: BarbareñoBella Vista at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, Bouchon Santa Barbara, Chuck’s Steak House Of Hawaii, Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant, Olio Pizzeria, Olio e Limone Ristorante, S.Y. Kitchen, Sly’s, The Harbor Restaurant, The Hitching Post II, The Lark, Tre Lune and Willows at Chumash Casino Resort.

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 July 14, 2017.

Arthritis Foundation’s 33rd Annual Taste of the Town

Photo courtesy Arthritis Foundation's Taste of the Town

Photo courtesy Arthritis Foundation’s Taste of the Town

We got a preview last week of what’s in store for the 33rd annual Santa Barbara Taste of the Town, and there’s a lot to be excited about for this signature culinary event benefiting the Arthritis Foundation.

Taking place on Sunday, Sept. 7 at the picturesque Riviera Park Gardens, 2030 Alameda Padre Serra,  from noon-3 p.m., the fundraiser is expected to attract more than  1,000 guests for an afternoon of wine tasting and delicious nibbles presented from many of Santa Barbara’s finest restaurants and wineries.

Mingle and support a good cause over live entertainment overlooking the beautiful city below.

Opal Restaurant & Bar co-owners Tina Takaya and Richard Yates are co-chairs for the event. Some of the participating restaurants include: Aldo’s Italian Restaurant, Blue Tavern, Ca’ Dario, Fresco Café & Bakery, Il Fustino, Los Agaves, Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant, Louie’s California Bistro, Michael’s Catering, New West Catering/Industrial Eats, Olivos del Mar, Opal Restaurant & Bar, Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro, Santa Barbara City College, The Chase Restaurant, The Faculty Club, The Palace Grill and Via Maestra 42, among others.

Wine, beer and beverages will be provide by: Adelaida, Alexander & Wayne/Arthur Earl, Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards (winemaker Richard Sanford is a special honoree), Au Bon Climat, Babcock Vineyards, Brander Vineyard, Brewer-Clifton, Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard, Carr Vineyards & Winery, Consilience Winery/Tre Anelli, Daniel Gehrs Wines, Falcone Family Vineyards, Fess Parker Winery, Fiddlehead Cellars, Figueroa Mountain Brewery, Foxen, Giessinger Winery, Grassini, Island Brewing Company, Jaffurs Wine Cellars, Ken Brown Wines, Kenneth Volk Vineyards, Lafond Winery and Vineyards, Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards/Toccata Wines, Margerum Wine CompanyMelville Vineyards & Winery, Mosby Winery, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Qupe, Sanford WinerySanta Barbara Winery, Scott Cellars, Silver Wines, Sort This Out Cellars, Starlane & Dierberg Vineyards/Three Saints, Sunstone Vineyards, Tolosa, Whitcraft Winery, William James Cellars and Zaca Mesa, among others.

Photo courtesy Arthritis Foundation's Taste of the Town

Photo courtesy Arthritis Foundation’s Taste of the Town

Kendall Viera, a 13-year-old middle school student from Santa Ynez has been named this year’s Youth Honoree. She was diagnosed at the age of 6 with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) and is currently in remission, thanks to medical advances. To see a video of Viera talking about why she supports the Arthritis Foundation click here.

Dr. Timothy Spiegel has been named the event’s Medical Honoree. Hel is a rheumatologist (arthritis specialist) in Santa Barbara that has been diagnosing and treating patients for almost 40 years. 

All proceeds from Taste of the Town support local programs and services of the Arthritis Foundation. The foundation is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of 53 million people (including nearly 300,000 children) with arthritis through research and local programs of education, advocacy and juvenile arthritis support.

Taste of the Town tickets purchased in advance are $125 per person; tickets at the door will be $140, if available, and corporate group discounts are also available. Tickets are limited, so early reservations are encouraged. For tickets and information call 805/463-4685 or visit tasteofthetownsantabarbara.org.

Sponsors and their guests will also enjoy the exclusive Connoisseurs’ Circle, co-chaired by Jennifer Jaqua and Jacques Habra. Celebrating its fifth year, this unique VIP experience will feature a progressive tasting menu designed and prepared by a visiting chef of distinction at Belmond El Encanto on Friday, Sept. 5, along with a live auction. Taste of the Town sponsorship opportunities are still available by contacting Asher Garfinkel at 805/563-4685.

–Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on July 31, 2014.

Cocktail Corner: Downtown Art & Wine Tour

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

downtown art and wine tourGreat art & wonderful wine make excellent bedfellows, especially when you add in fabulous food (which they do) at the 2014 Downtown Art & Wine Tour, which takes place on Thursday, May 22 from 5:30-9:30 p.m.

Stroll along State Street with fellow art lovers. Each venue is paired with a restaurant and winery for you to savor. Venues include: The Painted Cabernet; Artamo Gallery; Santa Barbara Frame Shop & Gallery; Bella Rosa Galleries; Oliver & Espig; Metropolitan; Indigo Interiors; Distinctive Framing ‘N’ Art; Santa Barbara Arts; Churchill Jewelers; Ca’Dario Gallery and Captured Spirit Photography.

Wineries include: Babcock Winery; Sanford Winery; Buttonwood Winery; Grassini Family Vineyards; Au Bon Climat Winery; Deep Sea Wines; Fess Parker Winery; Santa Barbara Winery; The Brander Vineyard; Armada Wine & Beer Merchant; Windrun Vintners and Presidio Winery.

There are also nibbles at every venue and still more tasty food at the Final Party. Participants include: Brasil Arts Café; Cielito Restaurant; State & Fig; Enterprise Fish Company; Blush Restaurant & Lounge; Chase Bar & Grill; Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant; Ca’Dario Pizzeria; Savoy Café & Deli; Chuck’s Waterfront Grill; Alchemy Café; Finch & Fork; bouchon Santa Barbara; Opal Restaurant & Bar; Sugar Cat Studio cupcakes, Caribbean Coffee and from the Santa Barbara Public Market: Crazy Good Bread Co., Culture Counter, Santa Monica Seafood and Wine + Beer.

Downtown Art & Wine Tour flyerThe festivities are followed by a Final Party at The Santa Barbara Club (1105 Chapala St.), featuring Cutler’s Artisan Spirits doing tastings, as well as pouring a specialty cocktail created just for the tour, the “A&WT’ini,” along with yet more wine, food, music, dancing and fun. AMS Entertainment will capture the memories and DJ Darla Bea will keep your feet moving and fingers snapping throughout the evening. Plus, a silent auction will showcase wonderful gifts and packages, all benefiting the 62nd Annual Downtown Holiday Parade.

Tickets are $75 for the tour and Final Party and are on sale now online at this link or in person at the Arlington Theatre Box Office or  the Downtown Organization office (27-B E.t de la Guerra St., open Mon.-Fri 9 a.m.-4 p,m.). A limited number of tickets are available and advance purchase is a must. Check-in begins at 5:15 p.m. at The Santa Barbara Club. For more information, please call 805/962-2098, ext. 24 or visit santabarbaradowntown.com.

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 on May 9, 2014.