Dishing It Out for Charity

Dishing it out for Charity, originally published in 805 Living Magazine, March 2021.In an astounding demonstration of generosity, local
restaurants stepped up to the plate for the fifth annual 805 Living Dishing It Out for Charity challenge in 2020, presented by Montecito Bank & Trust. Despite the pandemic’s
catastrophic impact on their industry, 23 restaurants participated in November and December by donating $2 per
designated dish to the charity of their choosing. Although, slightly fewer eateries participated than in 2019, those who did raised $17,182 for their charities — very nearly as much as 2019’s 27 participants, whose donations totaled $17,303. Special thanks to these community-minded eateries of 2020, who continued to give to others at a time when restaurants needed support more than ever:

BELL’S (, Los Alamos, for No Kid Hungry

BELMOND EL ENCANTO (, Santa Barbara, for the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade

BIBI JI (, Santa Barbara, for La Casa de la Raza

CELLO RISTORANTE & BAR (, Paso Robles, for Bailliage de Central Coast Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs

CHULO’S CAFE & CANTINA (, Templeton, for R.A.C.E.
Matters SLO

FINNEY’S CRAFTHOUSE & KITCHEN (, Westlake Village, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo, for Support for the Kids

Dream Foundation

HELENA AVENUE BAKERY (, Santa Barbara, for Know Your Rights Camp

THE LARK (, Santa Barbara, for Know Your Rights Camp

LIDO RESTAURANT & LOUNGE (, Pismo Beach, for the Ocean Conservancy

LITTLE CALF CREAMERY & CAFE (, Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village, for Special Olympics Ventura

LOQUITA (, Santa Barbara, for Know Your Rights Camp

LOS AGAVES RESTAURANT (, Westlake Village, Oxnard, Goleta, and Santa Barbara, for the Santa Barbara Zoo

LUCKY PENNY (, Santa Barbara, for Know Your Rights Camp

MILK & HONEY TAPAS (, Santa Barbara, for Organic Soup Kitchen

OKU RESTAURANT (, Santa Barbara, for CADA (Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse)

OLIO PIZZERIA (, Santa Barbara, for Teddy Bear
Cancer Foundation

OPAL RESTAURANT & BAR (, Santa Barbara, for the Arthritis Foundation

PICO RESTAURANT (, Los Alamos, for Save the
Waves Coalition

SANTO MEZCAL (, Santa Barbara, for the Santa Barbara Zoo


WATER’S EDGE RESTAURANT & BAR (, Ventura, for Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties

WOOD RANCH (, Agoura Hills, Moorpark, Camarillo, and Ventura, for the Happy Trails Children’s Foundation.

Click here to see this story as it originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of 805 Living Magazine.

Eat For Good: The 805 Living Dishing It Out for Charity Challenge

Take part in a delicious opportunity to help support worthy causes

It’s been quite a year, and the fact that 2020 is drawing to a close seems like reason enough to celebrate by dining at local restaurants in support of some worthy causes.
This issue marks the fifth 805 Living Dishing It Out for Charity challenge, and a great selection of eateries in the region have agreed to participate once again this year.

Each participant has selected a favorite dish or created a special new one for the challenge, and for each and every one sold during the months of November and December, they have pledged to donate $2 to the charity of their choosing. Last year’s challenge raised more than $17,300 for 22 deserving nonprofits. Generous local restaurants have stepped up to the plate once again, even during this unprecedented time when restaurants themselves need support just like the charities they’re supporting.

This spirit of giving is so heartwarming, we hope that you too will be inspired to participate by dining at these community-minded venues.

This year, Acme Hospitality’s ( Funk Zone restaurants, Helena Avenue Bakery, The Lark, Loquita, and Lucky Penny have all chosen to support Know Your Rights Camp ( “Acme Hospitality’s company ethos is greatly aligned with Know Your Rights Camp,” says spokesman Willie Simpson, adding “the equality and well-being of all employees is what builds a strong business and community. We know there is still much more work to be done in the fight for civil rights and equality for all Americans. We acknowledge our responsibility to be part of the solution. Know Your Rights Camp elevates a new generation of Black and Brown change leaders through education, self-empowerment and mobilization.” Details about the individual restaurants’ involvement follow.

Helena Avenue Bakery
Chef Isaac Hernandez’s Carpinteria Avocado on Sourdough Toast layers fresh local avocado, Persian cucumber, sunflower seeds, French feta, and sprouts on a toasted slice of Helena Avenue Bakery’s fresh sourdough bread; diners can further elevate the dish with a poached egg. Bakery manager Wyatt Davidson hopes the popular take on avocado toast will be a great selection to boost their donation.

The Lark
Executive chef Jason Paluska’s Hand-Cut Tagliatelle Pasta, made with grilled sweet corn, sungold cherry tomatoes, garlic, serrano chile, shaved bottarga, preserved lemon, and Old Bay–seasoned breadcrumbs, is a hearty fall favorite at The Lark. The popularity of this locally sourced, handmade pasta plate makes it a promising candidate for the charity challenge.

For this year’s challenge, Loquita picked executive chef Nikolas Ramirez’s signature Mariscos Paella, featuring locally sourced fish, scallops, octopus, sobrasada (cured
pork sausage), manila clams, squid ink sofrito (a Spanish sauce made from onion, green pepper, and garlic), yuzu, and salmon roe. It was manager Stephanie Perkins who
brought Know Your Rights Camp to Acme’s attention. “I believe it is crucial for the younger generation to know their rights, to truly understand who they are, and to learn they have
the power to change future generations for the better,” she says.

Lucky Penny
Chef Dante Bogan chose the Margherita Pizza for this year’s challenge, knowing its popularity among patrons getting takeout and eating on Lucky Penny’s new extended patio. A classic that appeals to many diners, including vegetarians, the wood-fired pizza is topped with San Marzano marinara, burrata, cherry tomatoes, and opal basil.

At Bell’s, where the menu is “Franch-inspired” (borrowing from both French and ranch-style cuisines), chef Daisy Ryan’s Egg Salad Sandwich is an iconic selection. “We feel something as simple and satisfying as an egg salad sandwich really speaks to our collaboration with No Kid Hungry (, whose mission is to end hunger and poverty,” says Ryan, co-owner of the restaurant with her husband, Gregory Ryan.

Belmond El Encanto
“While our doors were closed to the public due to the global pandemic, we partnered
with Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade ( to make and provide masks for those in need, and we were able to provide hundreds of handmade masks,” says Belmond Encanto spokeswoman Julia Solomon. “We look forward to supporting them in their future endeavors.” To that end, the restaurant chose sous chef Carlos Ramirez’s Seared Wild King Salmon, caught fresh and prepared with herbs, spices, summer squash, shallot confit, and tomato jus, as its featured menu item to benefit the community crisis–response organization.

Bibi Ji
“As a Latino business owner, I’m thrilled to be able to contribute to La Casa de la Raza
(, an organization that helps educate Latino youth about their culture and build community,” says Bibi Ji co-owner Alejandro Medina. “I am hopeful that one day any of these kids may own a local business themselves and be able to do the same.” The restaurant’s designated dish is Chicken Tikka, which Medina’s business partner Rajat Parr grew up eating at his home in Kolkata, India.

Cello Ristorante & Bar
Chef de cuisine Ben Drahos opted for Cello’s Certified Black Angus Filet. The oak pit–grilled steak is served in a red wine demi-glace with horseradish mascarpone and seasonal vegetables. The dish will benefit the nonprofit Bailliage de Central Coast Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs ( Currently overseen by Allegretto Vineyard Resort food and beverage manager Thomas Humphrey, the organization supports the development of young chefs and recently raised money for the culinary program at San Luis Obispo’s Cuesta College.

Chulo’s Cafe & Cantina
“The Huevos Rancheros is our signature dish,” says Chulo’s executive chef Luis Ruiz. It “speaks to our Mexican heritage, and we love sharing our delicious culture with our patrons.” The menu item will support the anti-racism organization R.A.C.E. Matters SLO ( “We are so grateful to have a local charity on the ground here in SLO doing the work and fighting the fight for equality and justice for people of all colors, religions, histories, and sexual orientations,” he says. “We love to support them in any way we can.”

Finney’s Crafthouse
“My family has supported this amazing charity Support for the Kids ( for many years,” says Finney’s owner Greg Finefrock. Dedicated to providing educational enrichment and comprehensive services to underprivileged and foster children and their families in Ventura County, the organization provides essentials like food, clothing, and school supplies. For this year’s challenge, Finefrock has selected a new menu item: executive chef Eric Bosrau’s Bison Burger, made with bison sourced from Flocchini Family Ranch in Wyoming.

Goat Tree at Hotel Californian
“In the wake of the current pandemic, it has become more important than ever to feature whole-animal butchery,” says Goat Tree executive chef Travis Watson. “The Braised Oxtail Tagliatelle features an often-overlooked cut of beef in a dish that nurtures the soul as we welcome the cooler seasons.” The pasta entrée is earmarked to support the Dream Foundation (, which helps realize the dreams of terminally ill adults
and provides emotional support to them and their families.

Lido Restaurant & Lounge
Lido’s picked Crab Cakes, a favorite starter among locals. “Being nestled along the Central Coast and having the privilege to sit and watch the sunset while dining on these tasty morsels is the perfect recipe for a truly breathtaking experience,” says spokeswoman Christina Stieb. “That wouldn’t be possible without our beautiful Pacific Ocean. That’s why we chose the Ocean Conservancy ( as our charity, to protect and conserve the very thing that gives us the main ingredients of the dish and many others.”

Little Calf Creamery
“We are creating unique spins on a frozen dessert classic just in time for the holidays,” says Little Calf Creamery owner Scott Levin, whose two new treats will support Special Olympics Ventura (, an organization that enriches the lives of nearly 600 athletes who have intellectual disabilities. For the November Mud Pie, a graham cracker crust is filled with Pumpkin Cheesecake ice cream topped with an oatmeal crumble. For the December Mud Pie, an Oreo cookie crust is loaded with peppermint-stick ice cream
sprinkled with crushed peppermint candy.

Los Agaves Restaurant
Los Agaves Restaurant’s Land & Sea Molcajete, a hearty stew with steak, chicken, fish, shrimp, pork, and grilled nopal, is the ultimate Mexican comfort food and a cult favorite, especially during the cold season. “We serve you so we can be of service to others,” says owner Carlos Luna. “For every dish sold, Los Agaves will donate $2 to the Santa Barbara Zoo ( to support and sustain a beloved community treasure that educates so many children, families, and visitors in the region.”

Milk & Honey Tapas
“Burrata is always in season at Milk & Honey, so this is our nod to the cheese we love so much and the earthy flavors of fall,” says chef-owner Alvaro Rojas of the Falling For Burrata plate he designated to support the Organic Soup Kitchen (, which produces and delivers soup meals to the elderly and
low-income cancer patients. “ ‘Take your food as your medicine or your medicine will
be your food,’ is a quote that resonates with me, given that my father, grandmother,
and uncle all died of cancer,” says Rojas, who admires the nonprofit’s nutritional
approach to treatment.

Oku Restaurant
Oku executive chef Koji Nomura happily created a new dish for this year’s 805 Living
challenge to support the work of CADA (Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse;, which provides addiction prevention, education, and treatment services to teens and adults in Santa Barbara County. The 805CADA Roll is as delicious as it is beautiful, says co-owner Tina Takaya. Featuring fresh wild-caught salmon, crispy shrimp tempura, avocado, and cucumber, and a sauce made from fresh shiso leaf, miso, and yuzo, the roll is finished with flying fish roe and served with a side of sriracha aioli. “We enjoyed creating a special sushi roll for an amazing cause,” Takaya says.

Olio Pizzeria
“Our Umbra pizza is a signature favorite,” says Alberto Morello, executive chef and co- owner of Olio Pizzeria. “You may need to order an entire pizza just for yourself, it’s so addictive.” Morello selected the dish, which showcases Umbrian black truffles, to support
Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (, an organization that provides financial, educational, and emotional support to Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San
Luis Obispo county families with a child who has cancer.

Opal Restaurant & Bar
Since they opened Opal Restaurant & Bar 20 years ago, owners Tina Takaya and Richard Yates have been deeply committed to supporting the Arthritis Foundation ( by
participating in and often chairing its Taste of the Town fundraiser, Santa Barbara’s oldest wine and food event. That event could not be held this year, but Takaya and Yates offer their continuing support to the organization that provides assistance to people living with the disabling disorder by taking part in the 805 Living challenge with a riff on a local Opal favorite, the Chicken & Wild Mushroom Chipotle Pasta Charity Special.

Pico Restaurant
Earmarking Pico’s donation to the Save the Waves Coalition (, a nonprofit founded by the restaurant’s co-owner Will Henry to protect surf ecosystems across the globe, executive chef John Wayne Formica designates his Crispy Viet Brussels, made with garden herbs, carrot, red onion, chilis, fried shallot, and coconut-chili-lime agrodolce (sweet-and-sour sauce). The starter manifests the chef’s desire to share his experiences while traveling.

Santo Mezcal
Santo Mezcal executive chef Ricardo Garcia picked Enchiladas Verde—two chicken or beef enchiladas topped with special house-made verde sauce and served with rice and pinto beans—to support the Santa Barbara Zoo ( A cause that’s close to
owner Carlos Luna’s heart, the zoo relies on donations to provide the best possible care for its resident animals and to impart conservation education.

Vina Robles Vineyard & Winery
“Our communities rely now more than ever on the support of food banks for access to wholesome nutrition,” says spokeswoman Catherine Jaeger. “Vina Robles Vineyards & Winery supports the SLO Food Bank ( to raise awareness as it works to meet the increased demand in our communities.” Served at the winery’s alfresco bistro, the Vina Robles Burger—made with grass-fed beef and topped with roasted portabella
mushrooms, garlic aioli, arugula, and red onions sautéed in a rosemary-infused reduction of Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvignon and balsamic vinaigrette—is the dish designated for the challenge.

Water’s Edge Restaurant & Bar
“It’s an ode to our local strawberries,” says Water’s Edge executive chef Alex Montoya of his Straw-Brie Crostini, which he says has “bright and light flavors, each with a different texture for you to enjoy in every bite.” The starter will support Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties (, because he says, “being able to make a child’s wish come true or to even be a part of that process has always been a dream of mine.”

Wood Ranch
The rich, decadent WR Butter Cake is a proven favorite at Wood Ranch. Served with vanilla bean ice cream, fresh raspberries, and raspberry sauce, “it’s popular beyond all our expectations,” says director of culinary development Alejandro Benes. The dessert will benefit Happy Trails Children’s Foundation (, a nonprofit whose mission is to promote the prevention and treatment of child abuse and provide fun activities and support for foster children.

To see more 805 Living Dishing It Out For Charity challenge chefs and dishes, visit

Cover of 805 Living Magazine, November 2020. This story originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, November 2020. Click here to see the section as it originally appeared in print.

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation Exceeds Fundraising Goal

Justin Fox, lead singer of Dishwalla, performs a song with TBCF children, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

Justin Fox, lead singer of Dishwalla, performs a song with TBCF children, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s (TBCF) annual Gold Ribbon Campaign and Luncheon was a deservedly huge success. The September fundraising campaign and October 4 benefit yielded $494,000 to benefit TBCF’s education advocacy, emotional support and financial stability programs.

The gathering at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara was a lovely al fresco luncheon and incredibly heartwarming program to celebrate and support the work of TBCF, the only nonprofit organization that provides financial, emotional and educational assistance to families who have a child with cancer in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties. Guests had the opportunity to bid on a unique range of items in a silent auction, including beautiful pieces from Carol Burnett’s cherished silver collection.

TBCF Executive Director Lindsey Leonard spoke about many of the young recipients she had met throughout the year, some who went on to beat their struggle with cancer, others who tragically did not beat the disease. “One thing that everyone here today has in common is the desire to help others,” said Leonard. “Everyone has chosen to give of their time and resources because you know our sick children need you because they are literally fighting for their lives.”

TBCF Encouraging Youth Philanthropy program participants were introduced by the Luncheon’s Premier Sponsor, Earl Minnis. Courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

TBCF Encouraging Youth Philanthropy program participants were introduced by the Luncheon’s Premier Sponsor, Earl Minnis. Courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

An inspiring group of young philanthropists who participated in TBCF’s Encouraging Youth Philanthropy program—which guides youth from elementary school through college ages through facilitated fundraisers of their choice, from concept to implementation to delivering the oversized check—were introduced by Premier Sponsor Earl Minnis. Some of the youth included: Dayne Carlson, who hosted bake sales, collected recyclables and raised funds through a percentage of his mother’s business income; Lily Groves, the youngest participant at age 8, who hosted a series of lemonade stands in her neighborhood; Isa Mireles & Talia Gerstenfeld, who produced a musical showcase featuring some of the best youth talents in Santa Barbara; Chloe & Griffin Kossen, who hosted a kick-a-thon event at their Hapkido studio; Alisha Mergaliyeva, who sold handmade art on Etsy; Reese Termond, who is organizing a dance showcase at her ballet studio; Ava Schuette, who donated her babysitting money to TBCF; Mia Young & Sarah Thielst, who started the Teddy Bear Club at San Marcos High School and hosted a series of bake sales at football games; Bella, Savannah & Paloma Valenzuela, who hosted a series of bake sales at Vons and at Isa & Talia’s Musical Showcase; and Sylvia Gilbar, Kian & Nica Greene and Sofia Tasca, who all raised funds online using Facebook and Mobile Cause. Together through their heroic efforts, these big-hearted young members of our community raised $18,000.

Attendees also learned about TBCF’s work from a mother, Nicci Carter, whose family was a recipient. She shared a moving account of her experience, which began when her toddler Garhett was diagnosed with high risk neuroblastoma and began treatments at Cottage Children’s Medical Center—ultimately losing his courageous battle at the age of 3. “After our son died,” Carter tearfully recalled, “my husband and I showed up at the funeral home to make arrangements and were told that TBCF would be covering the cost. The organization also provided Christmas that year for our children who had just lost their brother. It came complete with the tree and gifts picked out specifically for each child. TBCF does everything they can to offer support not just for the child battling cancer, but for the siblings and parents too.”

Nicci Carter, TBCF mother from Santa Maria, shares a moving account of her experience with TBCF. Courtesy photo.

Nicci Carter, TBCF mother from Santa Maria, shares a moving account of her experience with TBCF. Courtesy photo.

With TBCF’s mission so vividly exemplified by the Carter family’s experience, the event emcee, Andrew Firestone, presented the opportunity for attendees to Fund A Family through items of descending value, such as a hotel room for a parent to stay near the hospital if they live far away.

The Rudolf Schulte Family Foundation was presented with the Heart of Gold Award, highlighting the Schulte family’s enduring support for TBCF kids and families.

The Rudolf Schulte Family Foundation from Santa Barbara was presented with the Heart of Gold Award, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

The Rudolf Schulte Family Foundation from Santa Barbara was presented with the Heart of Gold Award, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

The Trejos family, who received support from TBCF when Madix Trejos was diagnosed with ganglioneuroblastoma at age 5, was presented the Pay It Forward Award for their ongoing work to raise funds and awareness for local families who have a child battling cancer. Madix is 13-years-old now and doing great!

The Trejos family from Moorpark was presented with the Pay It Forward Award, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

The Trejos family from Moorpark was presented with the Pay It Forward Award, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

Robyn Howard-Anderson was presented with the Humanitarian Award for working in close conjunction with TBCF for more than a decade as the pediatric oncology social worker at Cottage Hospital, and later as the pediatric oncology social worker at Ventura County Medical Center.

Robyn Howard-Anderson (center left) from Ventura was presented with the Humanitarian Award, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

Robyn Howard-Anderson (center left) from Ventura was presented with the Humanitarian Award, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

The Helping Hands Award was presented to longtime friends Tracy Angel and Shannyn Tupper. In addition to serving on committees and coordinating events for TBCF, they started, and have continued to run, a Santa Barbara-North County beneficiary event, Sangria Soiree.

The Helping Hands Award was presented to Tracy Angel (left) and Shannyn Tupper from Santa Ynez, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

The Helping Hands Award was presented to Tracy Angel (left) and Shannyn Tupper from Santa Ynez, courtesy Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

It would have been difficult to match the feeling of warmth and spirit of giving, were it not for TBCF children coming together to end the program with a joyful song led by Grammy Award-winning musician Justin Fox, lead singer of Dishwalla. Fox had graciously been practicing with the kids, spending time with them in his studio to record the track.

Since its founding in 2002, TBCF has awarded more than $2 million in financial assistance to 2,142 individuals living in the Tri-County Region. For more information or to make a donation, call 805/962-7466 or visit

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 30, 2018.

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation Gold Ribbon Luncheon

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation Honorees Shaun and Carla Tomson, courtesy photo.

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation Honorees Shaun and Carla Tomson, courtesy photo.

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (TBCF) celebrates its Gold Ribbon Luncheon on October 5 at the Coral Casino at Four Seasons Resort, The Biltmore in Santa Barbara. The Annual Gold Ribbon Campaign, held in recognition of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, culminate at this luncheon where community members and supporters gather in support of an imperative cause—supporting children with cancer. The event also honors this year’s Gold Ribbon Luncheon Award recipients.

Andrew Firestone serves as host and honorees include  Shaun and Carla Tomson. The 2016 Santa Barbara Teen Star USA, Jackson Gillies, will perform and there will be entertainment by other youth talent.

“The heartbreak that a family that has a child diagnosed with cancer faces is unimaginable,” says Andrew Firestone. “As a father, I want to help alleviate the financial and emotional challenges that families endure. Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation is one of the most critical organizations in town. Let’s bring together our generous community and raise money to help these brave families and kids.”

This year’s Heart of Gold Award recognizes a couple that has gone above and beyond in giving of their time and talent for the benefit of TBCF and the families served. Carla and Shaun Tomson’s interaction with the families, volunteers, and staff has been genuine and compassionate, demonstrating a huge heart for the cause, say TBCF representatives.

This year’s Humanitarian Award recognizes Cottage Children’s Medical Center, a group that has been dedicated to improving the human condition of TBCF families. Day in and day out, they work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of children who are battling cancer—supporting and contributing to the welfare and well-being of not only the child going through treatment, but their whole family too. The staff members of Cottage Children’s Medical Center are true advocates for youth with cancer and their families and go the extra mile in providing comfort, care, and the resources they need.

This year’s Pay-It-Forward Award recognizes the Krasnoff Family, a TBCF family who has given back to the organization by paying-it-forward. This family, despite the hardships they faced with the loss of their daughter Lexi to cancer when she was just two, have chosen to give back to TBCF by providing support to other families, sharing their personal story at events, and being advocates of the cause.

This year’s Helping Hands Award recognizes Pati Kern, an individual who has fully immersed herself in the cause for more than a decade. Kern has shown outstanding volunteerism and has participated in the inner workings of TBCF by coordinating major fundraising events and creating unique opportunities for our kids within the Moments in Time program. She has shown great support to both the staff and the families and has been a tremendous supporter of the organization ever since the day they were first introduced to her kind heart.

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s September Gold Ribbon Campaign seeks to generate awareness about pediatric cancer and how it affects families; bring attention to the critical role TBCF plays in supporting Tri-County families that have a child who is battling cancer; raise funds to support TBCF’s financial, educational, and emotional support programs; and provide networks for youth with cancer and their families. The gold ribbon is the universal symbol to raise awareness about pediatric cancer. Gold represents a precious metal and the children battling cancer are precious.

The Gold Ribbon Luncheon Event Committee includes Connie Gillies, Erin Griffin, Pamela Gruen, Jamie Hansen, Kathy Kelley, Stephanie J. Noel Kirlin, Corey Lester, Monique Montgomery, Hal Price, Lacy Taylor, Michael Taylor and John Weninger.

This year, TBCF has raised $123,500 of their $300,000 goal during the Gold Ribbon Campaign. The organization is asking the community to “Go Gold” and help kids fighting cancer by making a contribution towards the Campaign. Admission tickets to the Luncheon are available for $150 and raffle tickets are $20, buy five tickets and receive the sixth ticket free! For more information, to purchase Luncheon or raffle ticket(s), or to make a donation, please visit or call 805/962-7466 today.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on September 28, 2016.

Cocktail Corner: Beer Pairing Dinner at Rodney’s Grill + Seven More Fun Events

Rodney's Grill pairs a four-course tasting menu with hand crafted beers from The Bruery. (courtesy photo)

Rodney’s Grill pairs a four-course tasting menu with hand crafted beers from The Bruery. (courtesy photo)

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Santa Barbara Beer Week is winding down this weekend, but the suds continue to pour around town, including at Rodney’s Grill (at The Fess Parker – A Doubletree by Hilton Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd., 800/879-2929), where executive chef Kirk DeLong believes nothing tastes quite like an ice-cold hand crafted beer to quench summertime thirst.

With that in mind, DeLong promises to take beer to a whole new level with the resort’s  first ever Beer Pairing Dinner complementing a four-course tasting menu with hand crafted beers from Orange County’s The Bruery.  The festivities take place July 26 at 7 p.m.

The Bruery CEO Patrick Rue, who founded the company six years ago, will be on hand to give a brief overview about the signature beer pairings. The Bruery is a boutique craft brewery specializing in barrel-aged and experimental ales.  Founded as a small, friend and family run business in 2008, The Bruery takes its unique moniker from Rue’s family surname.

Rodney's Grill, courtesy Fess Parker a Doubletree by Hilton Resort

Rodney’s Grill, courtesy Fess Parker a Doubletree by Hilton Resort

Chef DeLong will share highlights from his inspired American dishes and the fresh regional produce and ingredients which complement the beers being poured.

The menu, which sounds amazing, includes:

Sea scallop, habanero-red pepper gazpacho, and kiwi-dragon fruit chutney paired with Trade Winds Tripel

Hoisin duck breast, pomegranate risotto, rainbow Swiss chard, and port jus paired with Saison Rue

Sea bass, heirloom tomato, tempura beech mushroom, and saffron-fennel broth paired with Mischief

Hawaiian sweet bread pudding, and Rori’s Artisanal Creamery vanilla bean ice cream, paired with Sucre

This dinner isn’t the first collaboration between the Parker and Bruery brands. “The Fess Parker family have a long time tradition in the wine and hospitality business in Santa Barbara County, and are delighted to be working collaboratively with the family-owned business The Bruery.  The two have worked collaboratively on the release of  ‘Confession,’ a sour- style beer fermented with Riesling grapes that tastes like wine, and is ranked high among beer critics,” says director of sales & business development Beth Olson of The Fess Parker – A Doubletree by Hilton Resort.

Advance reservations for the tasting event are required by calling the resort’s concierge at 805-884-8533 or via open table at The cost of the dinner is $79 per person (plus tax and gratuity) with discounts for The Fess Parker Winery’s Wine Club and The Bruery’s “Hoarders and Reserve Societies” members.


Seeing the World Through Bacon-Flavored Glasses, photo by Tyler Moselle

Seeing the World Through Bacon-Flavored Glasses, photo by Tyler Moselle

Coming up this weekend is the always delicious Santa Barbara French Festival, where great food, wine, mimosas, crepes, delicious pastries,  music, dance (including the awesome Moulin Rouge dancers from the Solstice Parade!) —and, of course, the infamous Poodle Parade, all come to Oak Park July 12 and 13 to celebrate Bastille Day and all the things that make the French cultural history so rich.  11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Oak Park, 300 W. Alamar.  Admission is free and the Festival is a non-smoking event.  For more information, email or call 805/963-8198.

On Monday night (July 14), raise your glass to Babes, Books & Booze and join funny women/authors Jenna McCarthy, Karen Rizzo and Starshine Roshell as they talk about social media over sharing, ungraceful aging, maternal intensity and their new books in what’s sure to be a lively conversation at Municipal Winemakers (22 Anacapa St.) on Monday, July 14 at 7 p.m. The first glass is on the publishers, but be sure to RSVP to

When you’re in wine country, you can’t pass up the opportunity to taste the best wines around. Luckily, that chance comes easily at the 11th annual California Wine Festival from Thursday, July 17 to Saturday, July 19. Celebrate with gourmet food and live music galore. Raise a glass of red, pink, or white (or all!) to a great weekend by the sea! This always fun festival has multiple events and venues. Call 866/273-4148, or visit complete details.

What goes better than bacon and wine, bourbon and beer? Dare we say, nothing! After an incredibly successful inaugural event last year, Bacon and Barrels is back! From July 18-10, enjoy some of the most delectable bacon dishes from the Central Coast’s best, while mixologists, bacon food trucks, live music, local vendors and a piggy petting zoo make this a weekend you’ll never forget. Saarloos & Sons Field, 2971 Grand Ave., Los Olivos. 805/996-0652,

Fantastic fermented food will be showcased at Cultivate Events‘ 4th annual Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival on Saturday, July 19. Kimchi, kombucha, kefir, pickles, beer, sauerkraut, wine, cider, cultured vegetables, and sourdough bread galore will take over Fairview Gardens (598 N. Fairview Ave., Goleta), accompanied with talks with fermented foods experts, hands-on how-to demonstrations, artisan fermented foods samples, and the opportunity for all ages to learn about the importance of local, organic, and sustainable agriculture and the fermentation process. The festival runs from 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. For more information, call 805/722-5324,  or visit, where Santa Barbara Seasons’ readers can get a discount to the festival by putting in the word “SEASONS” in the promo code box when purchasing tickets.

For its fourth year, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden‘s Wine and Cheese Botanic Lecture Series is bringing together the local scientific community for talks about Santa Barbara ecology. The July 19 edition of the Lecture Series features Santa Barbara Creeks‘ Supervisor George Johnson and his update on the Mission Creek Restoration Project from 4 to 6 p.m. Johnson will highlight the importance of Southern California steelhead trout in the state’s waterways, particularly Mission Creek. Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards is the sponsoring winery. Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, is located at 1212 Mission Canyon Rd. For more information click here.

Who doesn’t love sangria? The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation sure does. They are hosting the 3rd Annual Sangria Soiree in order to raise money to help families of children with cancer. It is at the Villa at Sunstone Winery at 125 Refugio Rd., Santa Ynez, CA on July 20 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. This event is quickly becoming a favorite of Santa Ynez locals, as guests enjoy sampling of paella from Viva Paella and tapas by Paloma Restaurant. Spanish style flatbreads prepared by The Chef’s Touch are served with cheese platters from Ono Catering.These foods appear alongside tequila and sangria made from wines by Sunstone WineryPalmina Wines and D’Alfonso-Curran Wines. Radio personality Tyler Story hosts this beautiful afternoon, and music by the acoustic flamenco guitar is also present. Not  to mention, several fantastic raffle tickets can be purchased, with prizes such as private cooking classes, a helicopter tour and a spa day. For more information call 805/ 962-7466. Or, buy tickets online here.

Whew!  That’s a lot going and I haven’t even gotten to Fiesta yet. Viva la July! Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on July 11, 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.”

Fast Pitch Santa Barbara Semi-Finalists Announced

Fast Pitch SBFast Pitch SB—a Shark Tank style competition for nonprofits to make three-minute pitches to a panel of judges and a live audience for cash awards, including a $25,000 Judges award and two $10,000 Coaches awards—is off and running.

Social Venture Partners Santa Barbara (SVPSB) has chosen the following semi-finalists out of  a field of more than 100 applications from nonprofits looking to receive personal coaching and communications training from experts in the field:

A Different Point of View, whose mission is to engage, inspire and transform underserved youth using flight lessons as a launching pad.

AHA! is dedicated to the development of character, imagination, emotional intelligence, and social conscience in teenagers.

American Indian Health & Services is committed to empowering our community delivering accessible, socially responsive, and culturally appropriate health care.

Angels Foster Care of Santa Barbara places infants and toddlers in loving homes throughout Santa Barbara County.

C.A.R.E.4Paws works to reduce pet overpopulation and keep animals out of shelters in Santa Barbara County.

CASA of Santa Barbara County: The mission of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Santa Barbara County is to assure a safe, permanent, nurturing home for every abused and/or neglected child by providing a highly trained volunteer to advocate for them in the court system.

Family Care Network, Inc. operates family-based treatment programs as an alternative to group home or institutional care for children and youth and  serves over 1,400 children, youth and families annually in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

Girls Incorporated of Carpinteria provides programs for girls 6 to 18 years old that focus on science, math, and technology; health and sexuality; economic and financial literacy; sports skills; leadership and advocacy; and media literacy.

Hospice of Santa Barbara, whose mission is to care for anyone experiencing the impact of life-threatening illness or grieving the death of a loved one.

Just Communities advances justice by building leadership, fostering change, and dismantling all forms of prejudice, discrimination and oppression.

Leading From Within provides leadership development for the nonprofit community offering programs for executive directors, emerging nonprofit leaders, and helping to build the capacity of the nonprofit sector, nurture and sustain committed community leaders, and develop the next generation of engaged and involved citizens.

Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, which advances creativity and inspires critical thinking through meaningful engagement with the art of our time.

Sama Group, a family of impact enterprises dedicated to ending poverty and promoting social and economic justice.

Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, a countywide advocacy and resource organization that promotes bicycling for safe transportation and recreation.

Santa Ynez Fruit and Vegetable Rescue (“Veggie Rescue”) redirects or “gleans” local produce from farms, farmers markets, home gardens, and orchards  and deliver it to charitable organizations and school lunch programs in Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez and Santa Maria—all at no charge.

Sarah House Santa Barbara, which provides a home and end-of-life care for people with low income.

Solvang Elementary School’s Viking Cafe,  a brand new lunch program that is reforming the old school re-heated foods into farm fresh organic fruits and vegetables.

Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, which provides financial and emotional support to families of children with cancer living in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties.

The Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens works to preserve and operate Fairview Gardens, the historic and educational farm in Goleta.

Sanctuary Psychiatric Centers of Santa Barbara has been providing a distinctive continuum of care for mentally ill and co-occurring disorders adults since 1976.

The ten finalists will be announced on May 9.

Those groups will present their three-minute “fast pitch” to a panel of judges at the Music Academy of the West on May 15. There will be a live audience populated with potential investors, donors and community members, as well as satellite voting and viewing locations set up throughout Santa Barbara. 

For more information about getting involved with Fast Pitch SB click here. To read a Santa Barbara SEASONS story about Fast Pitch SB click here.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on March 28, 2014.