Cocktail Corner: Movie-Inspired Sips and Savories

The Lark is one of many restaurants offering specials to honor the 30th anniversary of SBIFF. Photo courtesy of The Lark.

The Lark is one of many restaurants offering specials to honor the 30th anniversary of SBIFF. Photo courtesy of The Lark.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

It’s easy to get the star treatment during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF). As part of a special Film Feast promotion, all sorts of local watering holes and restaurants are offering movie-themed specials during the Film Festival (January 27 – February 7).

Here are a few of my faves:

Get in the mood for a sweep at the Oscars (my prediction) with a Birdman Martini at Ty Lounge at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara (1260 Channel Dr.). Made with 10 Cane Rum, Galliano, Gran Gala and lime, I recommend trying this one outside on the patio at sunset. Other specials include an Outstanding Carell Collins and a Cousteau Margarita. All come with an excellent view of Butterfly Beach.

The Lark (131 Anacapa St.) also has a special SBIFF Fizz Cocktail made with Cutler’s Gin, Santa Barbara Blood Oranges and Pimm’s.

Margerum M5

Margerum M5

If you prefer wine to cocktails, one of the newer tasting rooms in the Wine Collection of El Paseo, Jamie Slone Wines (23 E. De La Guerra St.) is doing a salute to As Good as it Gets. They’ve partnered with C’est Cheese (Hello? Wine and cheese pretty much are as good as it gets!) to offer $20 wine and cheese pairings, along with screenings of the Jack Nicholson film daily at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. (pairings are available from noon – 6 p.m. daily).

Another great movie—Vino Veritas  (“In Wine, the Truth”) —is screening at Margerum Wine Company Tasting Room (813 Anacapa St.), which is in the Wine Collection of El Paseo as well. Also in that same charming paseo is Happy Canyon Vineyard‘s “A Good Year” Tasting Flight One, featuring a Staffords Chocolate Truffle paired with 2013 Happy Canyon Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Happy Canyon Vineyard Barrack Blanc, 2010 Piocho, 2009 Barrack Brand and 2010 Barrack Ten-Goal.

The other Wine Collection of El Paseo tasting rooms—Au Bon Climat and Grassini—also have special film fest deals going on, so feel free to make a double- or triple-feature of it.

Also down the street at Armada Wine & Beer Merchant (1129-A State St.)  is the James Bond Globe Trotter Flight, where you can sample three wines from around the globe, as a tribute to the festival of course!

The food side of the film feast also has some fun options. Here are some highlights:

The Pasta Shoppe, in Santa Barbara Public Market (38 W. Victoria St.) has a special $30 prix fixe menu in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The special Italian-film-themed menu includes “Under the Tuscan Sun” Insalata dell casa with arugula, shaved red onion, teardrop tomatoes and house made grapefruit vinegrette; plus a choice of: “The Big Night” spinach, Ricotta Gnudi, pomodoro, pecorino; “Lady & the Tramp” bucatini with beef and pork bolognese, fresh herbs and parmigano; or “American in Rome” wild mshroom gnocchi, with herbed white wine sauce truffle oil. I tried the gnocchi recently and it was amazing! Don’t miss out on this one.

The Pasta Shoppe's

The Pasta Shoppe’s “American in Rome” wild mushroom gnocchi, with herbed white wine sauce and truffle oil. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Also saluting the festival is “I Am Prawns!” at Crocodile Restaurant and Bar at the Lemon Tree Inn (2819 State St.). This prix fixe menu is inspired by the 2009 Italian film I Am Love. Take 1: Bacon wrapped prawns, paired with Rusack Sauvignon Blanc. Take 2: Filet mignon with portobello mushroom demi glaze, garnished with blue cheese, served with grilled vegetables and truffled mac n’ cheese; paired with Qupe Syrah. Take 3: Triple layer chocolate mousse cake paired with Robert Hall Vintage Port. This is well-priced at $35 per person or $50 per person with wine pairings. Give them a call, as reservations are recommended.

Enjoy the fest and the feast! Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 30, 2015.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”





SBIFF Film Feast Returns with 12 Days of VIP Experiences

Film Feast illustration courtesy Visit Santa Barbara

Film Feast illustration courtesy Visit Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara’s fifth annual Film Feast returns from January 27 to February 7, offering 12 straight days of VIP access to the top libations and dining offerings as well as exclusive lodging packages throughout Santa Barbara’s theater district. Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), Santa Barbara’s Film Feast is a unique take on Restaurant Week and part of California’s Restaurant Month.

Special menus and hotel packages will celebrate the theme “30 Years of Filmmaking,” with offers available at participating restaurants, wine tasting rooms and hotels throughout Santa Barbara. Visitors and locals alike will enjoy themed offerings inspired by the blockbuster films and indie favorites of the past 30 years.  And don’t forget to share your red carpet experience on Twitter or Instagram using #SBFilmFeast for the chance to win a Santa Barbara getaway and other great prizes!

According to the folks at Visit Santa Barbara, you can rediscover your favorite films with cinema-inspired menus and tasting flights at Santa Barbara’s top restaurants, tasting rooms and lounges, with highlights including:

·         Belcampo Meat Company will run a special meatball sandwich during Film Feast, inspired by 2009 comedy Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  Mention the film for a 30% discount on your sandwich!

·         C’est Cheese introduces guests to 2005 British-American animated film Wallace + Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, with a menu featuring Wallace’s favorite cheeses.

·         Ty Lounge at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara will be debuting three specialty cocktails inspired by this year’s festival honorees. Imbibe with a Birdman Martini, an Outstanding Carell Collins or a Cousteau Margarita.

·         Olio Crudo Bar and Olio e Limone Ristorante bring you the flavors and filmmaking of Italy, with exclusive prix fixe menus celebrating 30 years of Italian cinema.

See what’s on the menu at  Santa Barbara’s Film Feast 2015 is presented as part of California Restaurant Month, held each January to showcase the destination’s unforgettable dining experiences.  Learn more at

 —Leslie Dinaberg

 Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 25, 2015.