Editor’s Letter Fall 2010 (Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine)

Santa Barbara Seasons Editor's Letter Fall 2010. Photo by Tracy Smith Reed.

Santa Barbara Seasons Editor’s Letter Fall 2010. Photo by Tracy Smith Reed.

 Winter is an etching, Spring is a watercolor, Summer an oil painting and Autumn a mosaic of them all. –Stanley Horowitz

FORGET JANUARY 1. As any parent will tell you, fall is when the New Year really begins. The kids go back to school and their structured autumn schedules, while mom and dad toast their newfound freedom with at least as much as gusto as the days of Auld Lang Syne.

Fall is also a great time for celebrating the beauty of seasonal changes. Our (slightly) cooler weather offers a perfect opportunity for taking long walks and appreciating the remarkable bounty of art and architecture available just about everywhere you look in Santa Barbara.

Even though I’m lucky enough to have been a resident for most of my life, while working on this issue, I was pleased to discover new and interesting details about our town while taking both the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara walking tours through the traditional local landmarks and a Walking Wednesdays with Santa Barbara Walks trek through the impressive variety of architectural styles, not to mention landscaping inspiration, found on the upper eastside (“Get Up Close and Personal with Architecture,” pg. 24).

I also had the pleasure of spending some time in the whimsical world of Ablitt House, and I can’t imagine a better cover subject for our seventh annual art and architecture issue. We provide an intimate peek into this bright symphony of colors, tiles, curves and angles conducted by homegrown architect Jeff Shelton, a true visionary who has refreshed and reinvented the look and feel of Santa Barbara’s architecture while continuing to pay homage to our Mediterranean roots (“Art + Architecture + Ablitt,” pg. 60).

Yet another fascinating and fanciful brick in the architecture of our city can be found in the exuberant mosaic bursts of colors in Dan Chyrnko’s creative art installations. I had the dual pleasure of joining Dan at his creekside studio, where he shared some of the inspirations and stories behind his mosaics, and then sharing some of our conversation with you (“Mosaic Master,” pg. 104).

We also take you inside the homes of contemporary art collectors Jacquelyn Klein-Brown, Geoffrey and Laura Wyatt, and Tim Walsh and Mike Healy to share some of the fascinating artistic treasures—and their hunters and gathers—hiding behind closed doors in the 805 area code (“Contemporary Art Lives Here,” pg. 50). We were impressed and inspired by their collections, and we think you will be too.

Our cultural journey then meanders in a completely different—but still quintessentially local—direction to the historic backcountry’s iconic Cold Spring Tavern, where the acoustic pairing of Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan under the oak trees is a favorite part of the weekend ritual for foodies, bikers and, most of all, local music aficionados (“Roadhouse Blues,” pg. 56).

All of us at Santa Barbara Seasons get a huge kick out of capturing and sharing the unique, quirky, fun, classic and otherwise notable aspects of Santa Barbara life for your enjoyment, and it has a been particular delight for me to fill in as editor for this issue while editor Rebekah Altman has been extremely busy with an amazing production of her own—a precious baby girl. My advice to her (and to all of us, really) is to savor every moment of this season, because in what feels like the blink of an eye, she’ll be right there with the rest of us, toasting fall’s return back to school.

Cheers to a wonderful autumn!

Leslie Dinaberg


Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine, Fall 2010. Cover photo by Jim Bartsch.

Cover photo by Jim Bartsch.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine, Fall 2010. Cover photo by Jim Bartsch.


The tourists are coming! The tourists are coming!

There’s no need to fear, though. Our Sally Cappon and Leslie Dinaberg have the insiders’ story on what to do, where to go and how to just get around town at the height of summer. Follow their leads


East Beach Grill (1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd.) comes with a couple of disclaimers. First, it’s perilously close to tourist hotels, but you should be OK if you come early; tourists are not known as early risers. Another reason to get up and go: Parking is free up to 10 a.m. weekdays at adjacent city lots. You’ll probably see someone you know, especially if they’re part of the beachy athletic community. Tip: Try wheat germ pancakes. — S.C.

The Come Back Cafe (324 State St.) has toys and a play area for the kids, as well as Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes in blueberry (my favorite), chocolate chip or any other flavor your heart desires. — L.D.

Judge for Yourself Cafe (1218 Santa Barbara St.) is another great local place for breakfast or lunch. It’s near the Courthouse but enough off the beaten track that you have to know where you’re going to find it. — L.D.


Leslie’s Top 10 Places to Do Lunch Sans Tourists

1. Mexican on Milpas: La Super-Rica (622 N. Milpas St.) is always super-crowded with L.A. types, but Taqueria El Bajio (129 N. Milpas), Julian’s (421 N. Milpas) and Mexican Grill (730 N. Milpas, formerly Mr. Pancho’s) are equally good without the wait.

2. Padaro Beach Grill (3765 Santa Claus Lane). If you have kids, this is the place for you. A huge, outdoor picnic-type space, sand, toys and plenty of grass for cartwheel practice, plus the occasional train for entertainment. And the food’s not bad either.

3. Cucas (626 W. Micheltorena St. or 2030 Cliff Drive). Best shrimp enchiladas in town. In fact, it’s all pretty bueno.

4. Pierre La Fond (516 San Ysidro Road). The two downtown locales are great, in the winter. But go to the Montecito location year-round to avoid tourists. The salad bar is great, especially with the air fries.

5. Red’s (211 Helena Ave.). The Funk Zone’s favorite coffee house is also a great place for lunch.

Derf's Cafe

Derf’s Cafe

6. Derf’s (2000 De la Vina St.). Good food at good prices, a great patio and great service, and lots of great memories.

7. Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch (2618 De la Vina St.). Owner Matt Benko says his busiest time of year is Fiesta, when the place is filled with locals trying to avoid the crowds. But the chicken, tri-tip and burritos are great year round.

8. Freebird’s (879 Embarcadero Del Norte, Isla Vista). The burritos are great — and big enough to split — and you can get exactly what you want in them.

9. Lazy Acres (302 Meigs Road). A wonderful salad bar and the soup are always terrific. Also worth trying is the turkey sandwich with sun-dried tomatoes.

10. El Sitio (7398 Calle Real, 2830 De la Vina St., 102 S. Fairview Ave., 138 S. Salinas St.). Try No. 14; it’s totally greasy; it’s totally unhealthy and one of the best things you’ll ever taste that’s not chocolate. I promise.

Dinner and Drinks

For atmosphere, you can’t beat Cold Spring Tavern (5995 Stagecoach Road). The historic stagecoach stop is tucked in the Santa Ynez Mountains just over San Marcos Pass. Great food in cozy rooms in a rustic, creekside setting. Menu features game and chili. Warning: It can look like a Harley convention on the weekends. — S.C.

The best oceanside dining is the Beachside Bar-Cafe (Goleta Beach County Park). Seafood is king at this restaurant where you can dine inside or out, overlooking the ocean. Best-seller night after night: Halibut stuffed with goat cheese and crab. Other favorites: Clam chowder and Caesar salad. Tip: Don’t even think about going here around UCSB graduation. — S.C.

Chuck’s (3888 State St.) is the ultimate locals place. Not the easiest place to find, but pop in almost any evening and you’ll run into an old friend. Famous for decades for steaks and service — and don’t miss the salad bar. — S.C. (Plus, you won’t find a better Mai Tai anywhere, even in Hawaii. — L.D.)

Pepe's Goleta (courtesy photo)

Pepe’s Goleta (courtesy photo)

Another great, nontouristy place is Pepe’s (254 Orange Ave.) in Old Town Goleta. It’s very kid-friendly, the margaritas are excellent, and you’ll never hear a patron talking about Michael Torena Street. There’s also a great patio for private parties or loud friends. — L.D.

Best Reflection

Mount Calvary Retreat House (Mount Calvary Road). For serenity, scenery and sublime R&R, nothing tops this monastery operated by the Episcopal Order of the Holy Cross. Perched off Gibraltar Road above Santa Barbara, it offers a spectacular panorama of the South Coast. Quiet rules, with silent times, and services that guests may attend if desired. A small bookstore sells arts and crafts made by brothers of this friendly community. — S.C.

Casa de Maria (800 El Bosque Road, 969.5031). It’s worth attending a program just to have access to the grounds of this Montecito treasure. — L.D.

Don’t Forget Dessert

McConnell's (courtesy photo)

McConnell’s (courtesy photo)

Want that creamy, cold, rich ice cream taste without the calories? In addition to its award-winning ice creams, McConnell’s (201 W. Mission St. or 7034 Marketplace Drive) also has a wonderful invention called Wow Cow, delicious frozen yogurt at only 9 calories an ounce. — L.D.

Next Week …

Recreation’s the game, with beaches, parks and shopping on our map.

Originally published in South Coast Beacon on June 3, 2004.