Cocktail Corner: My Happy Dance-worthy List

The gals at Grassini are pouring on Sunday at the annual Wine Collection of El Paseo Labor Day Weekend Block Party, courtesy photo.

The gals at Grassini are pouring on Sunday at the annual Wine Collection of El Paseo Labor Day Weekend Block Party, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

We’ve got a long, Labor Day weekend ahead of us, which is certainly more than enough to make me smile. Here are a few more happy dance-worthy things on my list right now:

1. Taste of the Town

The 33rd annual Santa Barbara Taste of the Town, a wine and culinary event benefiting the Arthritis Foundation on Sunday, Sept. 7 is sure to be a wonderful afternoon of wine tasting and delicious nibbles presented from many of Santa Barbara’s finest restaurants and wineries. For more information and to purchase tickets call Arthritis Foundation at 805/563-4685 visit

2. Labor Day Sunday block party at El Paseo

This Sunday (Aug. 31) from noon to 3 p.m., you can enjoy the once a year Wine Collection of El Paseo Labor Day Weekend Block Party. A $30 fee gets you tastings from Margerum Wine Company, Grassini, Au Bon Climat, Happy Canyon Vineyard and Jamie Slone Wines, as well as a commemorative glass and taco lunch.  813 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara in El Paseo.

3. Oysters and Bubbly

Oysters and sparkling wine make beautiful music together, especially this time of year. We like to pair local oysters from Santa Barbara Fish Market with a sparkling Italian wine like Berlucchi Franciacorta Brut.

4. Barbecue Time

Long weekends are the perfect time to fire up the coals (or gas up the grills). Luckily, I’ve already compiled a wealth of winning wine options to pair with your favorite foods.

5. A Real Happy Dance

Check out Audrey Hepburn in this fun clip from Funny Face.

I hope this makes you want to get out there and (happy) dance like no one’s watching this holiday weekend. Have fun. Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on August 29 2014.

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 considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Films to say I’d do to

(Compiled by Leslie Dinaberg and Daniel Okamura)

Just in case this issue’s emphasis on brides and grooms is giving you a case of wedding envy, here are some of our favorite movies that will bring the bridal party to you. Don’t forget to bring the Kleenex.

Leslie’s Favorite Wedding Movies

1. FUNNY FACE I challenge anyone to find a more beautiful on-screen bride than Audrey Hepburn, in one of the best dresses ever.

2. FATHER OF THE BRIDE Only Elizabeth Taylor could give Audrey a run for her money. The Steve Martin remake also has its charms.

3. CINDERELLA Every little girl’s wedding fantasy starts somewhere. Mine began with Cinderella.

4. MOONSTRUCK When your fiance’s brother is Nicolas Cage, who can blame you for falling for him? Cher has never been better than in this movie, which is one of my all-time favorites.

5. HELLO, DOLLY The matchmaker meets her match. And the catchy tunes add to the fun.

6. THE PRINCESS BRIDE Mushy and silly are a match made in heaven in this modern classic.

7. FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL This is where the world fell in love with Hugh Grant, for good reason. And for anyone who’s done the wedding circuit, his gang of friends strike a cord.

8. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY Forget the snappy dialogue, forget the fabulous clothes, and even forget that it has Cary Grant — Katherine Hepburn’s drunken scene with James Stewart is worth the rental.

9. MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz battling it out over Dermot Mulroney is the chick flick equivalent of “who would win in a fight between Spiderman and the Incredible Hulk.”

10. THE WAR OF THE ROSES The tagline was “once in a lifetime comes a motion picture that makes you feel like falling in love all over again. This is not that movie.” It is hysterical, however, and a great break from the stress of planning a wedding.

Daniel’s Favorite Wedding Movies

1. MURIEL’S WEDDING I never thought it was possible to make the music of ABBA such an integral part of a story. Even better, the heroine realizes she doesn’t need to get married to be happy.

2. THE GRADUATE Completely outrageous material about how the good life sometimes isn’t. Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman are golden.

3. HAROLD AND MAUDE Before there was Andie MacDowell, this was the film about weddings and funerals. Dark, hilarious and completely inspiring.

4. THE WEDDING SINGER The greatest charm in this film lies in its rose-colored-glasses throwbacks to pop music of the 1980s.

5. MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING Fun and innocuous, this film is a refreshing take on accepting the things one cannot change. Opa!

6. THE WEDDING BANQUET A sensitive portrayal of the pains of being in the closet while trying to fend off the incessant “When ya gonna get married” question.

7. SAVING SILVERMAN A mediocre movie at best, but what better deus ex machina than Neil Diamond?

8. SABRINA One of the most seminal engagement films and still one of the best. And the remake isn’t bad, either.

9. THE SWEETEST THING Far more gutter-minded and yet far more romantic than most romantic comedies.

10. HONEYMOON IN VEGAS Another guilty pleasure of a film. It’s hard to not be charmed by a troupe of skydiving Elvis impersonators.

So, these are our staff picks. What are yours? E-mail us at

Originally published in South Coast Beacon on January 27, 2005.