Walk Off The Earth

Walk Off The Earth, courtesy photo.

Walk Off The Earth, courtesy photo.

Walk Off The Earth comes to the Chumash Casino Resort’s Samala Showroom at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 2.

The unconventional, five-piece musical phenomenon originated in Burlington, Ontario, in 2006 and is made up of Sarah Blackwood, Gianni Luminati, Ryan Marshall, Joel Cassady and Mike “Beard Guy” Taylor. Together they’ve come to be known for their original and sincere songwriting, organic cover interpretations and beautifully filmed videos.

In 2012, the band released a live video cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.” Their interpretation featured all five band members playing on one single guitar, a whimsical touch that garnered more than 35 million views in just under two weeks.

Over the past five years, the band has embarked on three additional world tours, was featured on the 2014 Grammy Awards for their video rendition of Lorde’s “Royals,” and won a 2016 Juno Award for Group of the Year. In August 2017, their single “Fire In My Soul” was certified gold.

Don’t miss an opportunity to see this unique performance at the Chumash Casino.

Located on Highway 246 in Santa Ynez, California, the Chumash Casino Resort is an age 21-and-older venue. Tickets for all events are available at www.chumashcasino.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

 Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 28, 2018.




Cocktail Corner: Cheers to Fall Cocktails at S.Y. Kitchen

S.Y. Kitchen's new Kiwi-Tini, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

S.Y. Kitchen’s new Kiwi-Tini, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Autumn is such a beautiful time of year in the Santa Ynez Valley. Why not toast the season with one of General Manager and Mixologist Alberto Battaglini‘s delicious and creative new fall cocktails at S.Y. Kitchen!

S.Y. Kitchen's new Fig & Licorice Margarita, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

S.Y. Kitchen’s new Fig & Licorice Margarita, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

Now available are five new fall cocktails inspired by autumn’s seasonal local market produce, herbs and botanicals. In addition to the restaurant’s impressive list of specialty drinks, Kiwi-Tini; Pom-Passion; Fig & Licorice Margarita; Honey & Berry Sour; and the Kiwi Caipirinha are now on the menu, designed to complement the acclaimed cuisine by Executive Chef Luca Crestanelli. 

S.Y. Kitchen's new Pom-Passion, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

S.Y. Kitchen’s new Pom-Passion, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

Battaglini is renowned for his infusions of spirits and bitters from a local bounty of fruits, vegetables and herbs. He says, “The soul of mixology is found in all the old recipes that we twist with modern ingredients and tools, in order to play with tastes to give every customer an extraordinary experience.”

S.Y. Kitchen's new Kiwi Caipirinha, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

S.Y. Kitchen’s new Kiwi Caipirinha, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

It’s hard to pick a favorite, the Kiwi-Tini is made with kiwi, vodka, lime & parsley, while the Pom-Passion is a mixture of pomegranate, basil, gin, lemon & simple syrup. The Fig & Licorice Margarita has fig, licorice, tequila, lime & agave; the Honey & Berry Sour has crème de mûre, gin, lemon, honey, egg white & violet; and Kiwi Caipirinha is made with kiwi, cachaca, lime & sugar.

S.Y. Kitchen's new Honey & Berry Sour, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

S.Y. Kitchen’s new Honey & Berry Sour, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

Try them all … and let us know what you think! S.Y. Kitchen is located at 1110 Faraday St., Santa Ynez, 805/691-9794, sykitchen.com.

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 November 10, 2017.  

Local Lowdown: Pico

Pico is located in the Los Alamos General Store, courtesy photo.

Pico is located in the Los Alamos General Store, courtesy photo.

By Leslie Dinaberg

Headquartered in the wee Western-style town of Los Alamos and sharing its 1880s vintage building with The Los Alamos General Store is PICO, a farm-to-table foodie destination that’s quickly building a buzz among diners up and down the coast.

Owners Will Henry and Kali Kopley, a husband and wife duo, chose the building because of its history and place in Los Alamos’s timeline. It continues to fulfill its original destiny as a mercantile through the retail portion of General Store, which includes a 2,000-bottle wine shop. The restaurant side of the business takes its name from historical figure Salomon Pico, an infamous local bandit said to have been part of the inspiration behind the legend of Zorro.

Housemade charcuterie from Pico, courtesy photo.

Housemade charcuterie from Pico, courtesy photo.

PICO’s seasonal menu is a tribute to the symbiotic farmer-restaurant relationship, using strictly in-season ingredients and primarily showcasing the bounty of Santa Ynez Valley. Dishes are created based on the food items at hand from local farmers and ranchers, all under the guidance of Chef Drew Terp.

Terp’s top-notch credentials include Michelin-starred kitchens from Napa (Auberge du Soleil) to New York City (Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, Masa and barMasa), Spain (under Chef Pedro Subijana at Akelare), Las Vegas (barMasa and Shaboo), Washington, D.C. (Jaleo) and most recently with the now-shuttered Mattei’s Tavern in Los Olivos. Terp makes all of his ingredients in-house—including the ketchup and mustard.

Pico's Seared Duck Breast, courtesy photo.

Pico’s Seared Duck Breast, courtesy photo.

PICO recently added a 2,000-square-foot outdoor area with additional seating, a fire pit, a chicken coop, bee hives and raised gardens, bringing the locally sourced menu even closer to home.

With the outdoor area, “the restaurant’s eggs come from right outside our back door; our bees will provide honey for our dishes and drinks, as well as our house-made condiments and provisions; and the garden will offer up home-grown herbs and produce, to supplement the fabulous ingredients that we receive from our local providers,” says Terp.

Current menu highlights include charcuterie (locally sourced meats, house-made by Terp) and cheese plates with delicious bread from the neighboring Bob’s Well Bread Bakery; starters like pork cannelloni with béchamel, manchego and asparagus with house-made bacon and a 63 degree egg, and mushroom salad with bacon and arugula; and entrées such as a juicy heart of rib eye, served sliced over crispy potatoes, cedar-wrapped halibut with morels, English peas and Meyer lemon or grilled local lamb loin with ratatouille mille feuille and polenta. 

Pico's creative menu features approachable Californian cuisine sourced from locally-farmed, seasonal ingredients, courtesy photo.

Pico’s creative menu features approachable Californian cuisine sourced from locally-farmed, seasonal ingredients, courtesy photo.

As for the wine, Will Henry is co-owner of Lumen Wines (with esteemed vintner Lane Tanner), and the list includes their labels, along with other gems. Definitely leave room for dessert, which includes house-made ice creams (also available from the mercantile) with mouth-watering flavors like dulce de leche, tarragon and granddaddy’s favorite (bourbon-Wild Turkey 101), the chef’s homage to his grandfather.

PICO at The Los Alamos General Store, 458 Bell St., Los Alamos, 805/344-1122, losalamosgeneralstore.com.

Originally published in the Fall 2017 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine

Felipe Molina

Artist Felipe Molina will have his work on view at Standing Sun Wines in Buellton from Sept. 30-Nov. 30. Courtesy photos.

Artist Felipe Molina will have his work on view at Standing Sun Wines in Buellton from Sept. 30-Nov. 30. Courtesy photos.

Wine and art make a great pairing when Standing Sun Wines presents new work by artist Felipe Molina, who was recently inducted into the Album Art Hall of Fame for his Counting Crows album covers. The exhibition opens on September 30 at Standing Sun Wines, 92 Second St., D, Buellton,  and remains on view through November 30. 

For more information, visit www.standingsunwines.com. 

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 29, 2017.

News From Over the Hill

What’s Going on in North County This Spring


Take flight over wine country with Sky’s the Limit Ballooning Adventures. Courtesy photo.

Craft Beer Month

It takes a lot of beer to make good wine, which is probably why the craft beer movement has exploded in Santa Ynez Valley. Our local wine country celebrates the virtues of beer for the entire month of May, when suds lovers can enjoy an impressive array of out-of-the-ordinary tastings, classes, dinners, demos and more. One of the highlights is the Buellton BrewFest. Featuring more than 50 breweries (and some wineries), life-sized beer pong, food trucks and three live bands, this fun festival is sure to sell out, so buy your tickets early. | Santa Ynez Valley Craft Beer Month, May 1–31, various locations, visitsyv.com/craft-beer-month. Buellton BrewFest, Riverview Park, 151 Sycamore Dr., Buellton, May 9, VIP 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.; general admission, 12:30–4 p.m., buelltonbrewfest.com.


Cowboy entertainer Dave Stamey appears in Tales from the Tavern at the Maverick Saloon, courtesy of Dave Stamey.

Tales From the Tavern

Come hunker down at Maverick Saloon, Santa Barbara County’s quintessential cowboy bar, for the tavern’s annual concert series. Dave Stamey, who True West Magazine named the “Best Living Western Solo Musician,” takes the stage on March 11. This cowboy, mule packer, dude wrangler has delighted audiences in 14 states and says that he prefers this to being stomped by angry horses. Jamaican-born reggae singer-songwriter Owen Plant and Brother Sun play on March 25; then musician, rancher, storyteller and Canadian icon Ian Tyson tells his tales in a special Thursday night performance on April 16. Wrapping up the spring season on April 29 is American musical legend Janis Ian, who began her professional life at 12 years old and is probably best known for hits like “Society’s Child,” “At Seventeen” and “Between the Lines.” Fun fact: Ian was the very first musical guest on the debut broadcast of Saturday Night Live on October 11, 1975. | Maverick Saloon, 3687 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez, 805/688-0383, talesfromthetavern.com.


One of the best ways to enjoy the valley is to go up, up and away in a hot air balloon with Sky’s the Limit Ballooning Adventures. Flights capture beautiful views over the wine country surrounded by transverse mountain ranges, the Channel Islands, Lake Cachuma and the historic towns of Solvang, Los Olivos, Buellton, Santa Maria and Paso Robles. A variety of packages are available, including one that includes wine tasting at vineyards such as Bedford, Alma Rosa, Rusack, Brander, Carhartt, Bridlewood, Dierberg and Blair Fox. | Sky’s the Limit Ballooning Adventures, Santa Ynez Valley Airport, 900 Airport Rd., Santa Ynez, 760/602-0295, santabarbaraballoonrides.com.


Craft Beer Month in May is an excellent time to taste small batch beers, courtesy Firestone Walker Brewing.

The Penelopiad

Margaret Atwood’s new stage adaptation of her wry, witty and wise novella The Penelopiad is a reimagining of the ancient story of the Trojan War, Helen of Troy and Odysseus, told from the point of view of Penelope (perhaps the first desperate housewife to appear in art). She fends off the attentions of greedy suitors, as traveling minstrels regale her with the news of Odysseus’s epic adventures around the Mediterranean, only to have him repay her devotion with heart-wrenching ruthlessness. This PCPA (Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts) production runs March 5–22. | Severson Theatre, Allan Hancock College Campus, 1100 S. Bradley, Santa Maria, 805/922-8313, pcpa.org.


Taste the best of Solvang this March, photo by Liz Dodder.

Taste of Solvang

There’s always something delicious going on in Solvang, but they really bring out all the stops at this annual event. Now in its 23rd year, Taste of Solvang offers a menu—from farm-to-table rustic Italian cuisine to new American and modern Danish fare, plus desserts in all forms, award-winning beers and world-class wines—that’s sure to please every palate. This year’s highlights include Farmers Market Chef Walks led by Chef Budi Kazali of The Ballard Inn & Restaurant, Chef David Cecchini of Cecco Ristorante and Chef James Owens of The Bistro at Hadsten House; Bubbles and Brunch at Wildling Museum; a Winemaker Dinner with Michael Larner of Larner Vineyard & Winery and Bacon & Brine’s Chef Pink; plus sips and sweets, the Solvang Wine and Beer Walk, the Grand Tasting with treats from more than 30 businesses and much, much more! | March 18–22, various locations throughout Solvang. 805/688-6144, solvangusa.com.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine, Spring 2015.