Paseo Nuevo Holiday Fun

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Black Friday kicks off the holiday season at Paseo Nuevo on Friday, November 23. Here’s the lineup of this season’s shopping, events and activities:

Black Friday  –The official start to the holiday shopping season, Black Friday on November 23 is getting an early start opening at 7 a.m., although some retailers will open even earlier.  For a full list of store hours, visit PaseoNuevoShopping.com.

On the retail front, new to Paseo Nuevo  this year is Mama Luma, a local children’s wear boutique specializing in beautiful dresses for little girls. Always a great place to purchase locally made gifts, the Yes Store is back again this year with their collection of artisanal items including wood pieces, pottery, jewelry and photographs. New to downtown is the Santa Barbara Night Market located in the former Macy’s department store.  Here you can experience a European-style night market complete with twinkle lights and holiday décor. Shop handcrafted items and holiday gifts or enjoy the food and beverage village. Open Thursday-Sunday from 4-10 p.m.  There’s also a Trinidad3 pop-up shop, in a one-of-a-kind Airstream trailer, outfitted with a denim bar featuring premium denim made in the USA. Trinidad3 is popping-up on Sundays in De La Guerra Place.

  

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Let It Snow – Check out Santa Barbara’s “best in snow” when nightly snowfall shows take place twice each evening in Center Court as a flurry of white snow falls down on the Christmas tree, singing carolers, and shoppers, a magical tradition enjoyed by the entire family. Snowfall shows will start promptly at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. from Friday, November 23 to December 31 (no shows on Christmas Day).

Silent Night Silent Disco – On Thursday, November 29 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., join Paseo Nuevo for Silent Night, a silent disco holiday dance party for the entire family! Wear your ugliest sweater and be prepared to dance and sing-a-long to your favorite holiday tunes through headphones! Come early to get headsets for the entire family. Jam to your favorite songs and watch the snowfall at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. for the merriest night of the season—and it’s free!

Visit Santa – Santa takes up residence in his Santa Barbara home at Paseo Nuevo’s Center Court starting Friday, November 23. Children will be able to visit him daily through December 24. Santa will be open early on December 2 & 9 from 9-11 a.m. for children with special needs while Tuesday evenings will be open for pet photos where even the furriest family members can snap a photo with Santa. Every child will receive a free gift and Santa’s elves will be on hand to catch the precious moment in a photo.

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Breakfast With Santa – On December 1 and December 8, from 8-10 a.m., California Pizza Kitchen hosts a breakfast event featuring a special guest, Santa Claus! Breakfast includes a breakfast pizza, drink, and crafts for $10/child, $15/adult. Children under 3 eat for free. Call Evelyn at 805/962-4648 for reservations.

Live Entertainment – It wouldn’t be the holidays without costumed carolers, holiday horns, colossal choirs, and the occasional squeezebox roaming throughout the center filling the paseos with holiday cheer! A robust schedule of over 20 live entertainment ensembles will perform throughout the season daily. For the full schedule of performers, dates and times, visit https://paseonuevoshopping.com/events/holiday-music/


 
https://youtu.be/IzU8dyIpMfo

Win Prizes with #PaseoNuevoMagic –  For a chance to WIN weekly holiday themed contests, guests can snap, share and tag their holiday experience on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with @ShopPaseoNuevo and hashtag #PaseoNuevoMagic. Winners will be chosen every week beginning November 23.

Leslie Dinaberg 

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 20, 2018.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art at MCASB

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art , Installation view at SITElab, SITE Santa Fe, NM, October 7, 2017 - January 10, 2018, Photo: Eric Swanson.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art , Installation view at SITElab, SITE Santa Fe, NM, October 7, 2017 – January 10, 2018, Photo: Eric Swanson.

The new exhibit opening this weekend at Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB), “Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art,” is a series of light-boxes and video animations by Oakland-based artist Kota Ezawa that chronicles some of the most infamous and high-profile museum heists in history. At the heart of this exhibition is a series of images paying homage to the 13 artworks—including those by Degas, Manet, Rembrandt and Vermeer— stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art , Installation view at SITElab, SITE Santa Fe, NM, October 7, 2017 - January 10, 2018, Photo: Eric Swanson.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art , Installation view at SITElab, SITE Santa Fe, NM, October 7, 2017 – January 10, 2018, Photo: Eric Swanson.

Ezawa’s digital interpretations of the stolen masterpieces are presented to scale and illuminated in light-boxes that serve as modern apparitions of the centuries-old works. According to MCASB, “These technological vestiges are at once copies of the originals, while also carrying the mark of Ezawa’s animated hand. Reduced to flat planes of color, the original paintings take on new life as Ezawa plays with ideas of appropriation and originality.”

Kota Ezawa, Still from Exquisite Corpse , 2017, Single-channel color video, Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Kota Ezawa, Still from Exquisite Corpse , 2017, Single-channel color video, Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Also on display with the light boxes are video works, including a black and white reproduction of the security footage of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist.

“My prior drawings exclusively used photographs as source material. This series for the first time draws upon painting only to recognize that painters before 1850, like Rembrandt and Vermeer, were essentially the photographers of their time. In the absence of photographs, their paintings take on the task of recording reality with the scrutiny and minuteness that we now expect from cameras,” says Ezawa. “In this way, the new series extends my project ‘The History of Photography Remix’ into the pre-photography age of images. In addition, I feel compelled to produce an exhibition dealing with ‘stolen artworks’ because my own process could be regarded as a form of image theft. One could say I’m hoping to steal these images back and give them a new life.”

Kota Ezawa, Still from Exquisite Corpse , 2017, Single-channel color video, Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Kota Ezawa, Still from Exquisite Corpse , 2017, Single-channel color video,
Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery,
San Francisco.

“In the absence of the original works, viewers must rely solely on reproductions of the lost Stewart Gardner paintings. Whether printed in a textbook, projected in a lecture hall, or gathered from Google image search results, artwork reproductions are ubiquitous. In this way, Ezawa asks: what does it mean to be original?” say the Organizers.

Kota Ezawa, Empty Frame , 2015, Duratrans transparency and LED lightbox, 24 x 33 in., Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Kota Ezawa, Empty Frame , 2015, Duratrans transparency and LED lightbox,
24 x 33 in., Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Ezawa’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions at SITE Santa Fe (2017), Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2013), Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite (2012) and Hayward Gallery Project Space, London (2007), as well as in recent group

Kota Ezawa, Munch Theft , 2017, Duratrans transparency and LED lightbox, 40 x 50 in., Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Kota Ezawa, Munch Theft , 2017, Duratrans transparency and LED lightbox, 40 x 50 in., Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines
Gallery, San Francisco.

exhibitions at Hamburger Kunsthalle (2018); Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2017); Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain (2017); and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2016). Ezawa’s work has earned a number of awards, including the SECA Art Award of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006), a Eureka Fellowship from the Fleishhacker Foundation (2010), and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award (2003). His work is included in renowned collections such as: Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Kunsthalle Bremen, among others.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art  was curated by Irene Hofmann and organized by SITE Santa Fe with the Mead Art Museum.

The opening reception is Saturday, November 10, from 6 – 8 p.m., with a special discussion session, “In Conversation: Kota Ezawa with Curator Irene Hofmann,” that evening from 5-6 p.m.  The show will remain on view through February 3, 2019 at MCASB, 653 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara, mcasantabarbara.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 9, 2018.

Local Dish: Bibi Ji

Bibi Ji interior, photo by Collin Dewell.

Bibi Ji interior, photo by Collin Dewell.

By Leslie Dinaberg

An innovative take on Indian food paired with locally made wines and locally sourced seafood with Australian influences all adds up to what is easily one of the most exciting new restaurants to hit downtown Santa Barbara in a long, long time!  

Bibi Ji, the new restaurant from James Beard Award-winning sommelier Rajat Parr (who also makes his own wine labels—Domaine de la Cote and Sandhi—nearby in Lompoc) and acclaimed Chef Jessi Singh (who’s been lauded for his inventive “unauthentic” Indian cooking at the popular Babu Ji restaurants in San Francisco, Manhattan and Melbourne) opened this month at 734 State St., a beautiful location across from Paseo Nuevo with an outdoor courtyard overlooking De La Guerra Plaza.

Bibi Ji Coconut Curry with Shrimp, courtesy photo.

Bibi Ji Coconut Curry with Shrimp, courtesy photo.

The name Bibi Ji—an Indian term of endearment for women in the family—pays tribute to the formative women in both Singh and Parr’s lives who cultivated their love for food and hospitality. 

Drawing from his Australian and Indian roots, Chef Singh (who now lives in Santa Barbara) has created a menu featuring his self-proclaimed “unauthentic take” on many traditional American seafood dishes, with a strong focus on using local Santa Barbara purveyors. With the Santa Barbara Farmers Market just steps away, Singh is excited to change his menu regularly depending on what’s available in the market that week.

Currently on the menu are SB UNI Biryani, made with local sea urchin and fried rice—a dish so beautiful plated it looks like a mythical sea creature; Local Oysters with green mango pickle butter (from famed Santa Barbara fish monger Stephanie Mutz); delicious Hope Ranch Black Mussels in a curry broth; and melt-in-your-mouth Aussie Lamb Chops with mint and dill raita and apricot chutney.

Bibi Ji interior, photo by Collin Dewell.

Bibi Ji interior, photo by Collin Dewell.

We also enjoyed a zesty array of “unauthentic curries,” such as Beef Korma with beef short rib, curry leaves, cashew and hearty shiitake mushrooms; Unauthentic CTM, Chef Singh’s delicious riff on chicken tikka masala; Coconut Curry with turmeric and mustard seeds and pink shrimp, a dish I’m still dreaming about, even though I normally am not a coconut lover; Chana Masala, with chickpea, dry pomegranate and green mango powder; Punjabi Kadhi, with fenugreek and turmeric yogurt curry; and Bibi Ji Daal, with ginger, garlic and tomatoes.

Bibi Ji's SB UNI Biryani, courtesy photo.

Bibi Ji’s SB UNI Biryani, courtesy photo.

Favorite dishes from Singh’s Babu Ji restaurants in New York and San Francisco are also on the menu, like Mr. Tso’s Cauliflower, Indo-Chinese style cauliflower in a tomato & chili sauce, and Gol Gappa, delicious tangy crispy stuffed shells.

The Chef’s Tasting Menu—offering a variety of favorite appetizers, curries, naan, rice and dessert for $50 per person—is an excellent way to savor a variety of these exciting flavors without having to make a lot of decisions.

Crudo from Bibi Ji, courtesy photo.

Crudo from Bibi Ji, courtesy photo.

In addition to a “serve yourself” assortment of beers which made my husband’s heart sing, Bibi Ji’s carefully curated wine offerings are designed to complement the playful menu. The wines focus on highlighting organic, biodynamic and natural wines from artisanal producers in Europe, Australia and Santa Barbara. At the moment, producers include Gonon, Jean Michel Stephane, Allemand, Metras, Laporte and Richard Leroy, with varietals ranging from Gamay and Syrah to Riesling and Chenin Blanc, which pair well with the spices in many of the dishes.

Nearly all of the wines at the restaurant will also be available at Bibi Ji’s bottle shop, which is located inside the restaurant and offers an esoteric collection of more than 100 bottles.

Bibi Ji patio, photo by Collin Dewell.

Bibi Ji patio, photo by Collin Dewell.

The inviting interior, designed by Chef Singh, features a 40-seat dining room with exposed brick, high ceilings adorned with hanging golden chandeliers and a skylight that brings natural light into the space. A brown leather banquette spans along one side of the restaurant, and on the other side is the 15-seat bar. Pops of color come from red-cushioned dining chairs and bar stools, as well as from the vibrant Indian artwork that decorates the walls. Empty wine bottles, sourced from Parr’s personal collection, are showcased throughout the restaurant.

Bibi Ji is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, visit bibijisb.com or call 805/560-6845.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 2, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Cheers to SBIFF!

A general view of atmosphere at the after party for the Opening Night Film “The Public” Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Paseo Nuevo on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is always a fun and festive affair, and Wednesday night’s opener was no exception. Emilio Estevez‘s heartwarming and eye-opening film, The Public, was a great way to start the night.

On the red carpet to celebrate were SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling; Estevez and fellow cast members Alec Baldwin, Michael K. Williams, Jena Malone, Che Smith, Spencer Garrett and Jacob Vargas; as well as Martin Sheen (Estevez’s father), Mayor of Santa Barbara Cathy Murillo and Supervisor Joan Hartmann.

 

Emilio Estevez and Brewmaster Tim Crooks at the after party for the Opening Night Film "The Public" Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Paseo Nuevo on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Emilio Estevez and Brewmaster Tim Crooks at the after party for the Opening Night Film “The Public” Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Paseo Nuevo on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF)

The film was followed by a fabulous party presented by Belvedere Vodka at Paseo Nuevo.

The after party for the Opening Night Film “The Public” Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Paseo Nuevo on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Santa Barbara will be pouring cocktails at celebrity studded events for the next week. Keep your eyes out for Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, Gary Oldman, Saoirse Ronan, Sam Rockwell, Gal Gadot and many more in the days to come.

Meanwhile, if you want to drink like the stars, here a few recipes, courtesy of Belvedere Vodka:

Belvedere Classic Martini, courtesy photo.

Belvedere Classic Martini, courtesy photo.

BELVEDERE CLASSIC MARTINI 

2 oz / 60ml Belvedere Vodka 

.25 oz / 7ml French Fortified Wine 

Belvedere Modern Greyhound, courtesy photo.

Belvedere Modern Greyhound, courtesy photo.

Method: Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and stir over ice until very cold. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a pink grapefruit twist.

BELVEDERE MODERN GREYHOUND 

1.5 oz / 45 ml Belvedere Vodka 

0.5 oz / 15 ml Aperol 

3 oz / 90 ml Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice 

1 oz / 30 ml Tonic Water 

Method: Combine all ingredients in a tall glass filled with ice. Roll contents and garnish with a grapefruit slice and a dash of salt.

Tickets are still available for some of the celebrity tributes. For more information, click here.

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 Feb. 2, 2018.

Photo Gallery: SBIFF Opening Night

(L-R) Spencer Garret, Jacob Vargas, Michael K. Williams, Jenna Malone, Emilio Estevez, Alec Baldwin and Rhymefest at the Opening Night Film "The Public" Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

(L-R) Spencer Garret, Jacob Vargas, Michael K. Williams, Jenna Malone, Emilio Estevez, Alec Baldwin and Rhymefest (Che Smith) at the Opening Night Film “The Public” Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

The 33rd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) kicked off Wednesday with the world premiere of Emilio Estevez’s The Public and the Opening Night Gala.

On hand to celebrate was SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling; Estevez and fellow cast members Alec BaldwinMichael K. WilliamsJena MaloneChe SmithSpencer Garrett and Jacob Vargas; as well as Martin Sheen (Estevez’s father), Mayor of Santa Barbara Cathy Murillo and Supervisor Joan Hartmann.

Emilio Estevez at the Opening Night Film "The Public" Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Emilio Estevez at the Opening Night Film “The Public” Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Durling welcomed attendees at The Arlington Theatre and addressed the recent devastation from the wildfires and mudslides, saying, “The past few months have been some of the hardest for everyone in Santa Barbara. The devastation and the emotional toll it has taken on all of us is not quantifiable… Film has the power to unify us. To make us feel less fragmented as human beings. The events of the past weeks have fragmented this community—we’ve felt alone—but tonight and for the next 10 days we’re alone no more.”

The turquoise ribbons seen around town this week are a moving tribute in honor of the victims, representing clarity of thought, harmony, and healing. In an emotional opening to the Festival, Durling read off the names of each person that passed away or is currently reported as missing.

He then brought Estevez on stage who was joined by his cast to introduce the film.

Emilio Estevez and Alec Bladwin at the Opening Night Film "The Public" Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Emilio Estevez and Alec Bladwin at the Opening Night Film “The Public” Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

The film was followed by a fabulous party presented by Belvedere Vodka at Paseo Nuevo.

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Joan Hartmann, Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo and Emilio Estevez at the Opening Night Film "The Public" Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Joan Hartmann, Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo and Emilio Estevez at the Opening Night Film “The Public” Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Throughout the festival, ribbons will be available for purchase at the Metro 4 Theatre with all proceeds going directly to United Way of Santa Barbara County. 

Michael K. Williams at the Opening Night Film "The Public" Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Michael K. Williams at the Opening Night Film “The Public” Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF)

DJ Darla Bea spins at the VIP after party for the Opening Night Film "The Public" Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Paseo Nuevo on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF)

DJ Darla Bea spins at the VIP after party for the Opening Night Film “The Public” Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Paseo Nuevo on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Martin Sheen at the Opening Night Film "The Public" Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Martin Sheen at the Opening Night Film “The Public” Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Alec Baldwin (Right) and wife Hilaria Baldwin at the Opening Night Film "The Public" Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Alec Baldwin (Right) and wife Hilaria Baldwin at the Opening Night Film “The Public” Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Jenna Malone at the Opening Night Film "The Public" Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Jenna Malone at the Opening Night Film “The Public” Presented by Belvedere Vodka during the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on January 31, 2018 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

For more information, visit sbiff.org.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 2, 2018.

PuppetPalooza Kick-Off Fundraiser

Come play with the puppets this weekend when PuppetPalooza Central—Museum and Theatre  celebrates their opening with a fundraiser extravaganza on Saturday, January 27, from 4-7 p.m. in Paseo Nuevo.

The festivities  honor Santa Barbara’s beloved anchorman John Palminteri and the KEYT News Channel 3 team for going above and beyond with their coverage of the Thomas Fire and aftermath in Santa Barbara County. A special  “John Palminteri Puppet” will perform live with “The Palm.”

The Muppets will headline the Puppetpalooza Festival on Mar. 2 at the Marjorie Luke Theatre. Courtesy photo.

The Muppets will headline the Puppetpalooza Festival on Mar. 2 at the Marjorie Luke Theatre. Courtesy photo.

Guests also will enjoy a showcase of the puppetry attractions coming to PuppetPalooza, as well as live performances, and and light bites and beverages.

“We hope our joyous festival filled with music, puppets, families and fun can bring renewed hope and laughter to our entire community after a winter season that has been difficult for everyone and tragic for too many,” states festival creator Mitchell Kriegman. “Honoring those in our community who have been reporting about our tireless first responders and informing all of us about these pressing events seemed like the best way to kick off our festival.”

Featured at the fundraiser, and on display throughout the season at PuppetPalooza Central, is noted puppeteer—and Vice Chair and Director of Dance of the UCSB Theater and Dance Department—Christina McCarthy and her handcrafted puppets. 

The Paseo Nuevo headquarters also features the regional debut screenings of Handmade Puppet Dreams presented by Heather Henson, the daughter of legendary puppeteer Jim Henson. Handmade Puppet Dreams is a traveling film series that promotes independent artists exploring their handmade craft specifically for the screen. 

Fundraiser tickets are $25 and are available for purchase online here or at PuppetPalooza Central in Paseo Nuevo (301 Paseo Nuevo). For more information, visit puppetpaloozasb.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 25, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Hot Buttered Rum

Hot Buttered Rum from Eureka!, courtesy photo.

Hot Buttered Rum from Eureka!, courtesy photo.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg 

These colder days put me in the mood for warmer drinks, like Hot Buttered Rum, a sweet, sentimental favorite that brings the flavors of fall to life. Our friends at Eureka! (601 Paseo Nuevo) have a tasty version available through Nov. 23 (which is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving). 

They were also generous enough to provide us with a recipe to make Hot Buttered Rum at home.

Ingredients:

3 bar spoons of Hot Buttered Rum batter

2 oz White Rum

Top with hot water

1 unsalted butter slice (1/8 inch thick, 1 inch x 1 inch)

1 cinnamon stick

Hot Buttered Rum Batter Recipe:

1 quart vanilla ice cream

1 lb unsalted butter

1 lb brown sugar

1 lb powdered sugar

3 tsp ground nutmeg

3 tsp ground cinnamon

Procedure:

1. In a large mixing bowl allow the ice cream and butter to sit at room temperature until soft/nearly melted.

2. Add the remaining ingredients

3. Using a rubber spatula gently mix the ingredients together.

3. Once the ingredients are decently mixed, use a bermixer to continue to mix until the batter is smooth.

4. Batter can be stored in reach in fridges behind bar during the day but should be kept in freezer overnight

Creating the Cocktail:

1. Using bar spoon place three spoonfuls of hot buttered rum batter into cocktail mug. Leave spoon in mug and do not rinse off

2. Pour 2 oz of house white rum into mug

3. Add hot water from hot water carafe

4. Using same spoon used to scoop batter, stir the mixture together until frothy.

5. Take pre-portioned butter slice and place on top of froth.

6. Garnish with cinnamon stick placed across the top of the mug (see picture)

Eureka! recommends enjoying this cocktail alongside the Chocolate Torte or Apple Crisp for the perfect combination. 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 October 28, 2016.

CPK Celebrates 25 Years in SB

CPK's new Fire-Grilled Ribeye, photographed in the CPK Test Kitchen, Redondo Beach, courtesy CPK.

CPK’s new Fire-Grilled Ribeye, photographed in the CPK Test Kitchen, Redondo Beach, courtesy CPK.

It’s hard to believe, but CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) is celebrating its 25th anniversary in Santa Barbara’s Paseo Nuevo this week (located at 652 Paseo Nuevo, http://paseonuevoshopping.com/directory/california-pizza-kitchen/, 805/962-4648). For those of us who remember Piccadilly Square being where the mall now is, it’s hard to believe that the family-friendly favorite restaurant is actually a quarter of a century old! 

CPK is celebrating with special prizes and deals this week, like in-restaurant restaurant raffles with prizes, including a CPKids party, office catering, and dinner for two; free dessert on Thursday and Friday (their amazingly yummy butter cake or red velvet cake for guests who dine in) and double rewards for Pizza Dough Rewards members, which is a nice deal for regular customers.

CPK's Butter Cake, courtesy photo.

CPK’s Butter Cake, courtesy photo.

We dined there this week and sampled the new menu items from CPK’s “Next Chapter initiative,” which includes additional entree style dishes and a whole bunch of hand-crafted cocktails. Don’t worry, your old favorites like The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza, Thai Crunch Salad and Spinach Artichoke Dip are still there, but there are also some tasty new main plates like a Fire-Grilled Ribeye, Hearth Roasted Haibut and Mahi Mahi Tacos, among others. We also loved the Bianco Flatbread with whipped truffle cream, gorgonzola, mozzarella and fresh sage.

Sangria Flight (L-R) Orchard, Red Berry, Harvest, courtesy CPK.

Sangria Flight (L-R) Orchard, Red Berry, Harvest, courtesy CPK.

Cocktail faves include the Moscow Mule, a Blueberry Ginger Smash (with Jack Daniels) and a seasonal selection of Sangrias—try the flight of three, smaller pours. My favorite Sangria was the seasonal harvest with rum, St. Germain, Chardonnay, mint and basil. This is definitely not your Abuelita’s Sangria, but it’s delicious, refreshing and perfect for summer!

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on July 12, 2016.

Cocktail Corner: Valentine-Themed Specials

For Valentine's Day, Eureka is featuring new specialty cocktails (L-R): It's Complicated and Facebook Official. Courtesy photo.

For Valentine’s Day, Eureka is featuring new specialty cocktails (L-R): It’s Complicated and Facebook Official. Courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Not sure of your relationship status? Just in time for Valentine’s Day (Feb. 8-15), Eureka! is offering two new specialty themed cocktails—amusingly dubbed “Facebook Official” and “It’s Complicated”—to help you figure things out (or figure out that you don’t really need to know …).

The FBO (Facebook Official) is designed to taste like a chocolate covered strawberry. Made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, a house-made strawberry simple syrup, lemon juice and chocolate bitters, it’s certainly perfect for the season.

Not in the mood for something sweet, It’s Complicated is a spicy cocktail made with Anchor Junipero gin, beet sumac syrup and fresh jalapeños.

Eureka! is located at 601 Paseo Nuevo.

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 12, 2016.

Impro Theatre’s Twilight Zone UnScripted

Twilight Zone UnScripted, courtesy photo

Twilight Zone UnScripted, courtesy photo

From the folks that brought us last spring’s laugh-out-loud hilarious performance of Impro Theatre’s Jane Austen UnScripted, Instant Karma Improv Comedy brings the group back to town with their wildly popular Twilight Zone UnScripted, directed by Jo McGinley and Stephen Kearin.

Hailed as “the greatest improvisational theatre company in the world,” Impro Theatre’s Twilight Zone UnScripted creates four brand new, completely improvised episodes at each performance—all in the style of the classic TV series The Twilight Zone.

The critically acclaimed ensemble returns with an eerie, macabre, entirely spontaneous show that begins with a single audience suggestion. From the darkest corners of reality, to the realm of the unexplained, Twilight Zone UnScripted enters a dimension of pure imagination whilst paying homage to Rod Serling’s award-winning sci-fi series.

Once they receive the audience suggestion, the lights go out, the theme music begins, and they, like you, enter into another dimension—a dimension known only as… Twilight Zone… UnScripted.

Performances are Friday and Saturday, Nov. 20-21 at 8 p.m., at Center Stage Theater, in Paseo Nuevo, upstairs at the intersection of Chapala and De La Guerra Streets. For tickets, please call 805/963-0408 or visit, centerstagetheater.org.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Twilight Zone UnScripted: Trailer “Fear” from Impro Theatre on Vimeo.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on November 18, 2015.