Cocktail Corner: The Valley Cocktail Collection at S.Y. Kitchen

S.Y. Kitchen's El Dorado cocktail with mezcal, ancho chili liquor, yellow pepper, sage, lime and agave, photo by David Zepeda.

S.Y. Kitchen’s El Dorado cocktail with mezcal, ancho chili liquor, yellow pepper, sage, lime and agave, photo by David Zepeda.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Inspired by Santa Ynez Valley produce, herbs and botanicals, mix maestro Alberto Battaglini knocks it out of the park once again with these fantastic new cocktail concoctions at S.Y. Kitchen. “The Valley Collection” was inspired by our warming temperatures and designed to complement the amazing cuisine of Chef Luca Crestanelli.

“The soul of mixology is found in all the old recipes that we twist with modern ingredients and tools, to play with tastes and to give every customer an extraordinary experience,” says Battaglini, the General Manager and Resident Mixologist at S. Y. Kitchen, where he creates his infusions of spirits and bitters from a local bounty of fruits, vegetables and herbs.

S.Y. Kitchen's Mediterraneo cocktail with pisco, aperol, red bell pepper, basil and lime, photo by David Zepeda.

S.Y. Kitchen’s Mediterraneo cocktail with pisco, aperol, red bell pepper, basil and lime, photo by David Zepeda.

A native of Verona and school friend of Chef Crestanelli’s, Battaglini dreamed of a restaurant career from the time he was a young boy. Attending Scuola Alberghiera, he learned the fundamentals of cooking and food service, and quickly learned that being a chef was not for him. From there he started his ardent love affair with spirits, which took him to Gatwick, London where he met his mentor in mixology, Ian Slater. He further honed his mixology passion and skills in Spain and Mexico before meeting up with his old school friend Crestanelli, at Bar Toscana in Los Angeles and eventually coming to Santa Barbara County with Toscana and Bar Toscana owners Kathie and Mike Gordon, who partnered with Crestanelli to create S.Y. Kitchen. 

Battaglini, who recently competed as a western division finalist for the United States Bartenders Guild, has created seven new summer drinks for the Valley Collection cocktail menu : Cilantro Margarita, El Viejo, Pineapple & Basil Mojito, Sundown, Last Tokyo, Mediterraneo and the El Dorado 

S.Y. Kitchen's Pineapple & Basil Mojito with rum, pineapple, basil, lime and sugar, photo by David Zepeda.

S.Y. Kitchen’s Pineapple & Basil Mojito with rum, pineapple, basil, lime and sugar, photo by David Zepeda.

S.Y. Kitchen's Cilantro Margarita with tequila blanco and reposado, fresh cilantro, lime, agave and black lava salt, photo by David Zepeda.

S.Y. Kitchen’s Cilantro Margarita with tequila blanco and reposado, fresh cilantro, lime, agave and black lava salt, photo by David Zepeda.

 

S.Y. Kitchen's Sundown cocktail with rum, dry elderflower, strawberry, mint, basil, lime, photo by David Zepeda.

S.Y. Kitchen’s Sundown cocktail with rum, dry elderflower, strawberry, mint, basil, lime, photo by David Zepeda.

S.Y. Kitchen's El Viejo cocktail with mezcal, jalapeño, pineapple, cilantro, agave, lime and gusano powder, photo by David Zepeda.

S.Y. Kitchen’s El Viejo cocktail with mezcal, jalapeño, pineapple, cilantro, agave, lime and gusano powder, photo by David Zepeda.

 

S.Y. Kitchen's Last Tokyo cocktail with Japanese whisky, fresh sage, green chartreuse, maraschino and lemon, photo by David Zepeda.

S.Y. Kitchen’s Last Tokyo cocktail with Japanese whisky, fresh sage, green chartreuse, maraschino and lemon, photo by David Zepeda.

 

S.Y. Kitchen is located at 1110 Faraday St., Santa Ynez. For further information and full menus, visit www.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 believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on August 10, 2018.

 

Summer Supper Concert in Los Olivos Continues

The next Summer Supper Concert in Los Olivos at St. Mark’s will be Thursday, August 9 at 5 p.m., featuring Tri-tip BBQ and the Just Dave Band with country tunes. Photo by Frank Panaro Photography.

The next Summer Supper Concert in Los Olivos at St. Mark’s will be Thursday, August 9 at 5 p.m., featuring Tri-tip BBQ and the Just Dave Band with country tunes. Photo by Frank Panaro Photography.

Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip BBQ and all the fixings will be accompanied by the Just Dave Band  at Thursday’s Summer Supper Concert Series in Los Olivos

People of all ages are invited to enjoy the band—featuring lead singer, acoustic guitarist and harmonica player Dave Bernal and known for its high-energy legit country tunes as well as some fun originals—on August 9 from 5-8 p.m. in the shady, garden courtyard at St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley church located at (2901 Nojoqui Ave., just one block from the flagpole in downtown Los Olivos).  

Guests gathered in the shady courtyard at St. Mark’s in Los Olivos during the second Summer Supper Concert on Thursday, July 12. Courtesy photo.

Guests gathered in the shady courtyard at St. Mark’s in Los Olivos during the second Summer Supper Concert on Thursday, July 12. Courtesy photo.

Directly benefitting the St. Mark’s Preschool Scholarship program, each Summer Supper Concert begins with a themed food & beverage supper served at 5 p.m. The live music begins at 5:30 p.m. The suggested donation per ticket including supper, concert and a beverage is $25 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 years and under (there is a capped cost of $30 for a family with three or more children). Additional beverages are available for purchase, but no outside food or drinks are allowed. 

Complimentary childcare for ages 2-10 is available onsite. Tickets are sold at the door as well as online in advance https://www.smitv.org/syv-summer-supper-concerts.html.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published on August 7, 2018 in Santa Barbara Seasons.

Cocktail Corner: Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Get ready for another fun festival when the Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival returns to the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club on Saturday, September 8.

The festival combines polo, local wine, and music for a unique one-day experience that includes musical performances by ZZ Ward, Booker T. Jones, California Honeydrops, Quinn DeVeaux and DJ Sets by Soul Dust Productions.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

The Festival features a careful curation of local food and wineries, including Jardesca, Lavender Oak Vineyard, Old Creek Ranch, Sanford Winery, Standing Sun Wines, Summerland Winery and more. In addition to a wine tasting hour from 1 -2 p.m. where attendees will having a chance to sample all of the featured wines, there’s also a VIP champagne and cheese hour from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

In addition, sommelier guided wine tasting tours will be available on a first come first serve basis and attendees will be guided across all of the wineries of the festival and given an overview, history, and tasting notes at each winery as well.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

There are several different levels of experiences and perks available at the Festival, so visit sbpoloandwine.com for all of the specifics.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by David Lominska.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by David Lominska.

In addition, this year, the Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival is the kick-off event to the 8-goal polo series at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. This will be an official polo game of the series, and is sure to be an incredible match. While not mandatory, the game’s elegant atmosphere will encourage guests to get in touch with their inner Julia Roberts (think the polo match scene in Pretty Woman). The bigger and more elaborate the hat the better, although September 8 is my birthday, so I might just wear my tiara! 

Hope to see you there. Cheers!

Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is located at 3300 Via Real, Carpinteria.

Nick Waterhouse at Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

Nick Waterhouse at Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Andrew Thill.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, photo by Jon Endow.

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 believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on August 3, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Toasting National Tequila Day

Pancho's Mexican Restaurant's Naughty Maggie with Patron Barrel Select Reposado, photo courtesy Wicked Creative.

Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant’s Naughty Maggie with Patron Barrel Select Reposado, photo courtesy Wicked Creative.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Tequila is always one of our favorite spirits, but especially on National Tequila Day, which falls on Tuesday, July 24 (get it … Tequila Tuesday). In honor of the holiday, here are some favorite cocktail recipes from bars and restaurants across the country.

Enjoy!

Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant in Las Vegas is saying “Salud!” to National Tequila Day with specially priced shots of Patron Barrel Select Reposado—Pancho’s custom eight-month aged, single barrel tequila made of French limousine oak. The cantina, prepared for the holiday with over 35 brands of tequila, will offer its signature Cadillac “Naughty Maggie” margarita (pictured above)

Naughty Maggie
3 parts house lemon lime mix
2 parts Patron Barrel Select Reposado Tequila
1 part Gaetano Triple Sec

Fort Willow Daisy Pusher, photo by Neil Burger, courtesy Wicked Creative.

Fort Willow Daisy Pusher, photo by Neil Burger, courtesy Wicked Creative.

DMK Restaurants’ Chicago treehouse-themed lounge, Fort Willow, celebrates National Tequila Day with a smokin’ hot cocktail—literally! Holiday celebrators can commence the holiday with the restaurant’s Daisy Pusher, made with a spicy blend of jalapeno tequila and guava, mixed with a smoky flavor of mezcal.

Daisy Pusher
1 oz jalapeno exotico blanco tequila
1 oz banhez mezcal
1.25 oz guava juice
.75 oz lime juice
Shake all ingredients, strain into a rocks glass, garnish with lime wedge.

Cabo Wabo White Peach Margarita, photo courtesy Wicked Creative.

Cabo Wabo White Peach Margarita, photo courtesy Wicked Creative.

Cabo Wabo Cantina in Las Vegas offers a white peach margarita, made with Cazadores Blanco, Monin White Peach Syrup, peach nectar, fresh lime juice and sweet & sour mix.

White Peach Margarita
Combine in a cocktail shaker w/ no ice
1.25 oz Cazadores Blanco
.75 oz Monin White Peach Syrup
1.5 oz Peach Nectar
1 oz fresh lime juice
1.5 oz sweet & sour mix
Pour over ice in margarita glass w/ remaining amount over ice in souvenir shaker.

Therapy's Mango Ricky, photo courtesy Wicked Creative.

Therapy’s Mango Ricky, photo courtesy Wicked Creative.

Therapy restaurant, located in Downtown Las Vegas, is te-killin the game this year for Tequila Day with the Mango Ricky cocktail, made with reposado tequila, mango puree, fresh lime and organic agave.

Mango Ricky
1.5 oz Gran Agave Tequila
1 oz Mango puree
.75 oz lime juice
.75 oz simple syrup
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass or tin, add ice, shake, strain and garnish with a lime wedge.

MB Steak Spicy Cucumber Margarita, photo by Jim Decker, courtesy Wicked Creative.

MB Steak Spicy Cucumber Margarita, photo by Jim Decker, courtesy Wicked Creative.

MB Steak, brothers David Morton and Michael Morton’s steakhouse at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, celebrates National Tequila Day with a boozy tequila cocktail.

Spicy Cucumber Margarita
1.5 oz Milagro Silver Tequila infused with habaneros and jalapeños
3.5 oz Fresh Sour mix
0.5 oz Agave Néctar
3 slices cucumber
3 leaves of Mint
Muddle the cucumber and mint with tequila, add ice, sour mix and agave, shake well and serve in a tall glass with a tajin rim.

The Top of the World Restaurant's Bibiana, photo by Chris Wessling, courtesy Wicked Creative.

The Top of the World Restaurant’s Bibiana, photo by Chris Wessling, courtesy Wicked Creative.

Located more than 800 feet above the Las Vegas Strip in the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower, the Top of the World Restaurant is the only revolving restaurant in Las Vegas, where guests enjoy breathtaking views as the restaurant revolves 360 degrees every 80 minutes. In celebration of National Tequila Day, the bar is pouring  Bibiana cocktails.

Bibiana
1.5 oz Don Julio Anejo tequila

1 oz Pama pomegranate liqueur

0.5 oz lime juice

0.5 oz agave nectar

3 dashes of Hellfire bitters

In a mixing glass combine all ingredients. Shake and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Cheers to wherever you enjoy your tequila this month! 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 believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com. 

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

Cocktail Corner: Olé Rosé

Rose Wine, photo by Ulrika, Flickr.com.

Rose Wine, photo by Ulrika, Flickr.com.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Our recent summer heat wave is a perfect time to sip rosé, but honestly,  this easy-to-pair-with-almost-any-food, warm weather go-to wine has become a year-round favorite for me—and I know I’m not alone.

According to the buyers at Whole Foods, “Rosés are on fire, making up nearly 40% of all wine purchases, and rightfully so—they’ve thrown off their ‘sweet and simple’ shackles and are unabashedly delicious.”

Among the many excellent rosés I’ve had the pleasure of tasting recently, one of the highlights was Brick Barn Wine Estate‘s 2016 Grenache Rosé. Inspired by the classic dry rosés of the Rhône Valley, this lovely wine was a 2018 Silver Winner in the San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition. For the best experience, visit their recently opened estate vineyard, located on a historic 1,100-acre ranch in Buellton (795 W. Hwy. 246), a stunning spot to savor both the wine and the views.

Brick Barn Wine Estate Winery, photo by Bottle Branding, courtesy Brick Barn.

Brick Barn Wine Estate Winery, photo by Bottle Branding, courtesy Brick Barn.

Another local favorite is Margerum Santa Barbara County 2017 Riviera Rosé, crafted from Grenache and Syrah grapes sourced from select vineyards including Estelle and Camp 4 vineyards in Santa Barbara County and Alamo Creek Vineyard in San Luis Obispo County. Dry and refreshing, this is a consistent go-to wine for me.

Dolin Malibu Estate Vineyards 2015 Rosé of Pinot Noir uses grapes from three prominent Central Coast vineyards to create this refreshing Rosé, which offers up enticing aromas of berries and melon followed by a crisp, fruity finish.

Herzog Lineage Rosé 2017 blends 12 grape varieties from the Herzog’s family’s Prince Vineyard in California. Their Oxnard-based facility prides itself on keeping Kosher, without any negative impacts on the taste of the wine, which features aromas and flavors of ripe strawberries, papaya, and pomegranate seeds. Winemakers note that this unique rosé should be served very cold, which is my preference in most cases.

Rose Wine, photo by Susanne Nilsson, Flickr.com.

Rose Wine, photo by Susanne Nilsson, Flickr.com.

Psagot Rosé 2017 is another Kosher blend of red grape varietals, in this case they’re harvested from vineyards located in the northern Jerusalem Mountains at a height of 700 meters. With a very clean and fresh flavor, the wine pairs particularly well with Mediterranean cuisine.

Another excellent Kosher rosé is the Tabor Adama Barbera Rosé 2017, which is characterized by red berry and cherry aromas and high acidity. Israeli producer Tabor showcases these attributes in a flavorful, light-bodied wine with a nice balance between the fruity notes and the acidity.

The 2017 BY.OTT Cotes de Provence Rosé is an elegant yet friendly French bottle with a pale,  pretty color and a delicate and fruity nose and taste that’s perfect for toasting a happy couple at a price point that won’t break the bank.

Sparkling rosés are also terrific for toasts, and have become quite popular of late. Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore DOCG is a perfect choice for your next summer party. The fruity flavor and aromas of peaches and flowers pair well with seafood, cheese appetizers and dessert. And bubbles always add a festive touch. 

There are two main ways to produce rosé wine, and in both cases they’re made from grapes with dark skin,” explains Gabriel Geller, Vice President of Public Relations for The Royal Wine Corp. The first method is known as maceration. After the red or black grapes are pressed, the skins macerate in the juice for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, until the desired color is released. The second method is called saignée, which is French for “bleeding.” The red or black grape skins are pressed with the skins, producing a slightly pink-colored juice. This juice is fermented into wine that will become a rosé.

Whether you prefer your rosés fruity, slightly sweet, or very dry—they’ll pair beautifully both beachside or poolside. Enjoy!

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 believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on July 13, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: The Wine Shepherd

The Wine Shepherd, photo courtesy Anna Ferguson-Sparks, Stiletto Marketing.

The Wine Shepherd, photo courtesy Anna Ferguson-Sparks, Stiletto Marketing.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Two of Santa Barbara County’s hottest restaurant teams—PICO in Los Alamos and The Black Sheep in Downtown Santa Barbara—have joined forces to create The Wine Shepherd, a new wine bar, tasting room and wine shop located next to The Black Sheep at 30 E. Ortega St., Santa Barbara (at the corner of Ortega and Anacapa Streets, across from Paradise Cafe).

PICO co-owners Will Henry and Kali Kopley have an excellent selection of wine in the retail section of the restaurant and The Wine Shepherd extends those offerings into Santa Barbara’s buzzy Presidio Neighborhood. It also offers an additional tasting room for the well-regarded Lumen Wines, which Henry co-owns with pioneering Santa Barbara County winemaker Lane Tanner.

The Wine Shepherd, photo courtesy Anna Ferguson-Sparks, Stiletto Marketing.

The Wine Shepherd, photo courtesy Anna Ferguson-Sparks, Stiletto Marketing.

“We have a 2,000-bottle wine inventory at PICO, available to enjoy at the bar, in the restaurant, or for purchase to take with you…with The Wine Shepherd, we’re simply sharing PICO’s unparalleled wine selection with a greater portion of Santa Barbara County,” states Henry, whose father, Warner Henry, founded The Henry Wine Group import, wholesale and broker empire.

The Wine Shepherd, whose name is a play on words referencing The Black Sheep, offers a wide array of local, domestic and international wines for sale, as well as a carefully-curated list of beer and cider. Housed in the former Seagrass Restaurant space, The Wine Shepherd’s “upcycled chic” ambiance features a tasting bar built by Henry himself, where a selection of 14 or more wines by the glass—plus beer and cider—are available, as well as Lumen Wines tasting flights and excellent cheeses and charcuterie from PICO Chef and Partner Drew Terp. The Wine Shepherd also offers competitive pricing on bottles to go.

The Wine Shepherd, photo courtesy Anna Ferguson-Sparks, Stiletto Marketing.

The Wine Shepherd, photo courtesy Anna Ferguson-Sparks, Stiletto Marketing.

With a string of hits in the food and wine world, Kopley is owner-founder of five different establishments in North Lake Tahoe, California: three Uncorked wine bar locations, Soupa restaurant, and Petra, a wine-inspired restaurant in Northstar. As a restaurateur, Kopley was a customer of The Henry Wine Group, which led to her introduction to Will Henry. The two are now married are parents to an adorable little girl. 

“The Wine Shepherd marks the seventh wine-related business in which I’ve recently had a hand in launching, and is modeled after some of my Tahoe-area businesses,” says Kopley. “We have such a loyal PICO following…and many of our friends and fans make the drive from Santa Barbara to Los Alamos. The Wine Shepherd will give them just a taste of what PICO has to offer, but closer to home.”

“We will offer a large selection of wines from around the world, as well as a healthy representation of local heroes. As we do at PICO, we will focus on small production, family-owned producers and obscure, hard-to-get wines, plus old vintage rarities and gems,” says Henry.

The Wine Shepherd, photo courtesy Anna Ferguson-Sparks, Stiletto Marketing.

The Wine Shepherd, photo courtesy Anna Ferguson-Sparks, Stiletto Marketing.

Henry and Kopley chose The Wine Shepherd’s location after becoming friends with The Black Sheep’s family of owners, Chef Robert Perez and his son, Ruben.

“We have always loved what the Perez family has done with The Black Sheep. Kali was also a patron and huge fan of their former Nevada City restaurant, Citronée,” says Henry. “We intend this to be a partnership with them that will both enhance the wine experience that we’ll offer, and augment The Black Sheep’s existing wine program.”

The Wine Shepherd is open Tuesday through Friday from 3-10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m., with special happy hour prices from 4-6 p.m. daily. For more information, visit WineShepherdSB.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 believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com. 

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on July 6, 2018.

Legacies | MOXI: The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation

MOXI is located at 125 State Street adjacent to the popular Funk Zone neighborhood and just two blocks up from Stearns Wharf and the beach. The building was designed by the late Barry Berkus and AB Design Studio and is LEED Gold Certified. Photo courtesy MOXI.

MOXI is located at 125 State Street adjacent to the popular Funk Zone neighborhood and just two blocks up from Stearns Wharf and the beach. The building was designed by the late Barry Berkus and AB Design Studio and is LEED Gold Certified. Photo courtesy MOXI.

MOXI Marks Leap Into Year Two With New CEO, Expanded Programs

By Leslie Dinaberg

It has been a really incredible first year for MOXI … and we’ve just gotten started,” says Robin Gose, president and CEO. Gose began her tenure at MOXI late last year, after serving as director of education at the Thinkery in Austin, TX, where she oversaw all programming, exhibits and facilities at what was once Austin Children’s Museum.

MOXI’s attendance its first year has far exceeded expectations (175,000 guests versus approximately 120,000 estimated) and Gose says, “Attendance continues to be strong. The feedback that we’re hearing from members of the community, from donors, from tourists that come up, is that everybody is really excited by what they see at the museum.”

MOXI specializes in STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Art-Math) learning through interactive experiences outside the traditional classroom environment. Because of the interactive elements, and individual children’s continued growth and development,

MOXI is designed so that it will be different each time you visit, with new challenges to solve and new discoveries to uncover throughout the 17,000 square-feet of interactive exhibits across three floors (including an incredible 360 degree view rooftop).

The award-winning, LEED gold certified building—which had the design challenge of fitting into the Spanish style neighborhood while creating both a high tech and kid-friendly vibe and was designed by the late Barry Berkus + AB Design Studio—has played an important role in the revitalization of lower State Street as a destination for both tourists and locals.

“We have about 75% local, and 25% non-local visitors,” says Gose, adding that school visits include many students from Santa Barbara County, as well as Ventura County, San Luis Obispo County and beyond. Last year, 10,000 school children visited MOXI on field trips, and nearly 50% were from Title I schools.

Adults are also big fans of the venue. MOXI’s quarterly Afterparty events have all been sell-out affairs, and include live entertainment, demonstrations, games and local food and cocktails. Also popular are the pop- up Twilight Time evening hours for guests 18 and up who want to explore the museum kids-free. These are advertised primarily via social media, Gose says. The theme for 2018 is “Making,” with monthly spotlights on subjects like cardboard engineering and digital creativity.

These themes extend to summer camp activities, as well as new weekly projects in the Innovation Workshop makerspace. Also new are an exhibit design partnership with the Dos Pueblos High School Engineering Academy and Toddler Tuesdays, a volunteer-run program where the youngest guests can have special story time and other activities and explore the exhibits without visiting school groups onsite.

With 44 full and part-time staff and nearly 100 volunteers, ranging in age from 13 to 75 years old, MOXI has quickly become an important part of the community. In fact, earlier this year the museum provided alternative classroom space to Montecito students and teachers displaced by disaster and opened its doors free of charge to Thomas Fire and Montecito mudflow evacuees as well as first responders and their families.

Upcoming fundraising events for the nonprofit museum include an intimate rooftop concert with Jackson Browne on August 10 and the annual gala fundraiser MOXI@Night on September 22. For information or to purchase tickets, email development@moxi.org or call 805/770-5003.

MOXI,125 State St., Santa Barbara, 805/770-5000, moxi.org.

This story was originally published in the 2018 summer issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Cocktail Corner: Biltmore Summer Tasting Series

Photo courtesy Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara.

Photo courtesy Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

It’s always a treat to visit Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, and this summer’s tasting series offers some particularly fun ways to celebrate the season. Next up, on July 13, is RED, WHITE & BREW, which features a Tequila Bar, as well as ice cold beer from some of Santa Barbara’s award-winning local microbreweries including Topa Topa, Telegraph Brewing, Brass Bear Brewing, Rincon Brewery, Island Brewing Company and Boochcraft.

In addition, guests can make a meal of it and pair their drinks with ceviche, barbecue suckling pig, Ensenada mussels and chorizo, lime coconut black beans and corn avocado salad from the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore’s creative culinary team. RED, WHITE & BREW takes place from 6-9 p.m. and is $55 per person.

Also on the Biltmore’s summer calendar is SUNSET SPRITZ, on August 24, featuring an Apertivo Bar offering Aperol Spritzes, Negroni’s and Italian red and white wines. The offerings also include housemade bites like fried cheese, olives, dalla forma pasta (prepared in Pecorino cheese wheel) and Cichetti Veneziani, aka traditional Venetian fare. SUNSET SPRITZ takes place from 6-9 p.m. and is $65 per person.

The Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore is located at 1260 Chanel Dr., Montecito. To purchase tickets for either event, please call 805/565-8232.

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 believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 29, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Get the VIP Treatment at Fess Parker Winery

Fess Parker Winery Barrel Room, photo by Rob Brown.

Fess Parker Winery Barrel Room, photo by Rob Brown.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

It’s always lovely to visit Fess Parker‘s bucolic 714-acre ranch in Los Olivos, but they recently refurbished the VIP Barrel Room, which makes it an even better wine tasting experience.

The tour starts with a video, shot by acclaimed photographer Rob Brown, of the history of the ranch and Fess Parker’s development of the vineyard on what is now known as the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail.  Though Fess passed away in 2010, Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard is still family owned and operated, as it has been since 1989.

Fess Parker Winery, courtesy photo.

Fess Parker Winery, courtesy photo.

Following the video, we went into the barrel room for a discussion of the cooperage selection, and the wine aging process, as well as a special barrel tasting. Our tour was just for my husband and I, but they can accommodate up to 12 guests.

Tasting at Fess Parker Winery, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Tasting at Fess Parker Winery, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

You then go into a seated tasting of some top notch wines,  accompanied by a selection of savory bites prepared by the culinary team at The Bear and Star restaurant (another delicious Fess Parker family venture at the nearby Fess Parker Wine Country Inn & Spa in Los Olivos). Among the six notable wines we tasted that day were the 2016 Pommard Clone Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills and the 2015 Ashley’s Pinot Noir, also from Sta. Rita Hills.

Fess Parker Winery Barrel Room, photo by Peter Malinowski.

Fess Parker Winery Barrel Room, photo by Peter Malinowski.

Tasting in the sophisticated new barrel room—designed in dramatic shades of red and black, which are warmed up by wood cabinetry and shelving—definitely feels like you’re entering the inner sanctum of the winery, and creates a dynamic contrast to the more homespun vibe found in other, more public, parts of the winery, where tastings are also offered.

Fess Parker Winery patio, courtesy photo.

Fess Parker Winery patio, courtesy photo.

The VIP Barrel Room Tasting and Tour is only available on Saturday mornings at 11 a.m., by reservation only, and is $50 for non-wine club members and $35 for wine club members. For more information, call 800/841-1104 or email barrett@fessparker.com.

Fess Parker Winery is located at 6200 Foxen Canyon Rd., Los Olivos and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on the 12 other wineries on the Foxen Canyon Wine trail (one of the most beautiful ways to explore Santa Barbara Wine Country, in my opinion) click here.

Fess Parker Winery, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Fess Parker Winery, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

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 believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 22, 2018.

Wine Country: Roll Out the Barrels

Roll Out the Barrels photo by Barry Goyette, courtesy SLO Wine Country.

Roll Out the Barrels photo by Barry Goyette, courtesy SLO Wine Country.

ONE OF SAN LUIS OBISPO’S WINE COUNTRY’S most exciting summer events kicks off June 21-23 with the 28th Annual Roll Out the Barrels Weekend. The festivities begin on Thursday at Barrels in the Plaza, when more than 50 wineries and local chefs gather for a street party and grand tasting adjacent to the historic Mission in downtown San Luis Obispo. Sip and savor and tap your toes to live music by The Cimo Brothers! Then watch a special demonstration of the art of the barrel by expert cooper Salvador Canchola, who shows the audience the timeless craft of building, shaping and toasting a wine barrel using three-year seasoned oak harvested from the region of Allier in Central France. On Friday and Saturday guests can wind their way through SLO County with a special Passport to Wine Country. With 15 wineries to choose from, guests can walk the vineyards, barrel sample the new vintages, and enjoy open houses, wine tastings and festivities all weekend long. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit slowine.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

This story was originally published in the 2018 summer issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.