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6 Savory Sips in Santa Barbara’s Newest Wine Neighborhood

Posted On: Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 11:34 AM

As a lover of Santa Barbara and even bigger lover of Santa Barbara wine, I’m happy to announce and cheers to Santa Barbara’s newest wine tasting neighborhood, the Wine Collection of El Paseo. Located in the heart of fine dining and high-end shopping on State Street, these 6 ultra-premium wine tasting rooms are the perfect pairing for an afternoon (or two!) of wining, dinning and shopping.


Photo By Mark Weber

But what sets this new tasting neighborhood apart from others in the area? The new Wine Collection of El Paseo features small-production, boutique wineries that produce ultra-premium wines sourced from local Santa Barbara County vineyards.  In addition to tasting great wines, while you sip and swirl, you’ll be able to earn how these wines are locally crafted and about the terroir of where the grapes are grown in Santa Barbara County. It’s truly a grape to glass experience!

Tasting rooms of the Wine Collective of El Paseo includes Au Bon Climat Winery, Grassini Family Vineyards, Happy Canyon Vineyard, Jamie Slone Wines, Margerum Wine Company and MWC32.

Spend the afternoon in Downtown Santa Barbara and taste for yourself! All tasting rooms are open daily from 12-6 pm. Keep in mind the final tastings of the day begin no later than 5:30 pm.



Follow Grassini Family Vineyards on Instagram @grassinifamilyvineyards

For your epicure.sb insider tip, enjoy special tasting flights from:

Grassini Family Vineyards, featuring “Savor The Sauv” October 1-31
Jamie Slone Wines, featuring “Showtime at the Cabernet” October 1-31
Au Bon Climat Winery, featuring “Monster Mash Tasting Flight” October 24-31 and “Halloween” on October 31st

Cheers!

epicure.sb Inside Scoop: How To Crack Sea Urchin in 4 Easy Steps

Posted On: Friday, Oct 3, 2014 2:07 PM

Have you ever taken a look at the purple and prickly shell of the sea urchin and thought, how am I supposed to eat that? Believe us, it's not as hard as it may appear, and the results are too delicious not to try. In Santa Barbara, sea urchin is our specialty, and we're here to show you how to crack and enjoy this local delicacy in 4 easy steps.

In honor of epicure.sb, a 31-day celebration of cuisine, libations and culture during the month of October, Stephanie Mutz, President of Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara is here to guide you and provide the inside scoop. Here we go:

Step 1: Open the urchin by turning it upside down with mouth facing up. Hold two spoons back to back and squeeze together.

how to crack a sea urchin step 1

Step 2: Turn the sea urchin over to dump the sea water and algae.
how to crack a sea urchin step 2

Step 3: Pull out the maroon membranes.
how to crack a sea urchin step 4

 Step 4: With a spoon, scoop pieces of the bright orange uni.

how to crack a sea urchin step 3
That's it! The traditional way to eat sea urchin is raw, right out of the shell. Not feeling that adventurous? Don't worry. Visit seastephaniefish.com for recipes or click here for your complete guide to all the eats, drinks and experiences during epicure.sb.

 

5 Reasons the Santa Barbara South Coast Wins at Summer

Posted On: Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014 8:26 AM

We all know the struggle of deciding where you're going to take the next summer vacation. With travel bucket lists that are miles long, it's hard to settle on just one location. Luckily for you, the Santa Barbara South Coast the shining star on any travel wish list. While it's true that this majestic destination is great for visiting all year round, summer is definitely no exception, and we're here to provide 5 reasons why the Santa Barbara South Coast wins as a summer vacation hot spot.

1: Like any other sunny destination, the Santa Barbara South Coast provides 300+ days of sunshine a year. But what makes our sunshine even better? Our Mediterranean climate provides remarkably consistent daytime temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-70s, usually accompanied by low humidity and a gentle ocean breeze. Expect to remain refreshingly cool during those summer nights. What does that mean for you? Pack light and schedule plenty of time to explore the mountains, the sea, and everything in between.

Santa Barbara Summer surfer
  (Photo By: Mark Weber)

2: In the Santa Barbara South Coast, we know how to celebrate. Specializing in festivals, summertime is packed with parades, celebrations, and plenty of family fun for all ages. In the summer months alone, there are 5+ annual celebrations that are accompanied by countless supporting events and activities. On any given weekend during the summer months, there is sure to be a festival celebrating Santa Barbara's rich heritage. So bring the confetti and get ready to fiesta!

Santa Barbara Summer Festivals 
(Photo By: Thomas Jacob)

3: As already stated above, summertime in Santa Barbara is great for being outside and relaxing in the breathtaking surroundings. Another way you can take in the great outdoors and satisfy your culinary cravings is to eat on your feet! What is that, you may ask? In the Santa Barbara South Coast, we're equipped with culinary tours, food trucks and plentiful outdoor patios for you to enjoy your eats and still be active on the Santa Barbara streets!

Savor Santa Barbara Food Tours 


4: If relaxing in the summer sun and taking a sip of a refreshing libation sounds like a good time, you'll most definitely want to make your way to the Santa Barbara South Coast. Lovers of wine can uncork their way through the Urban Wine Trail or head to the Santa Ynez Valley for an afternoon of great wines and good times. More a beer lover? We've got 8 unique microbreweries to quench your thirst. Or if you're looking for spirits, Santa Barbara's Funk Zone includes hand crafted cocktails, made farm fresh and there's even a vodka distillery on location.

Santa Barbara Micorbreweries 


5: Family meets fun in the Santa Barbara South Coast. Kids of all ages are delighted to run, see, play, and do while on their stay. Full your days with 60+ kid and parent approved activities. Think educational mornings at the museum and active afternoons in our outdoor splendor. Parents can't go wrong with a family vacation to our sandy shoreline.

Family Friendly in Santa Barbara 
Photo By: Stephan Figge 

Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend

Posted On: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 1:27 PM

"I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food..." -Julia Child

As we prepare our taste buds for the delectable flavors that will surely be available during the Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend, the statement above couldn't be more fitting, especially for those who live (and cook) in the Santa Barbara South Coast. The immense bounty of our land is realized each night as dinner is served and a glass of Santa Barba County wine is poured. Because of our climate, there's never a shortage of seasonal foods and wines to pair. Not only does Santa Barbara have a thriving scene of farm-to-table eats, we're also known for our sea-to-table cuisine!

Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend

Has your mouth started watering yet? Don't worry! You can savor all of the flavors of Santa Barbara at the Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend, June 6-8. During this festival, you'll experience Santa Barbara County's top culinary talent for three unforgettable days of food and wine, all set within the luxurious surroundings of the Bacara Resort & Spa. We're getting hungry just thinking about it!

Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend Chef

This event is meant to be relished and is a celebration of Julia Child and her lifelong passion for learning, love of eating well and appreciation for Santa Barbara's coastal bounty. A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.

For more information and tickets, please visit BacaraResort.com

 

Santa Barbara Bowl 2014 Line-Up

Posted On: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 1:17 PM

The beat of a Santa Barbara summer begins at the Santa Barbara Bowl. Warm summer nights under a diamond filled sky will set the stage for a season of unforgettable performances by world-famous entertainers. Did you know, the artists themselves even request to perform at this one-of-a-kind open air amphitheater? Because of its design, the sounds of summer are heard clearly from the front row, all the way to the top. And with an intimate setting chart of 4,900 seats, guests are pleased to know that there is not a bad seat in the house.

Santa Barbara Bowl

The Santa Barbara Bowl's 2014 Season Line-Up is set to impress, and more concerts will be announced as the season continues. Whether you are planning a summer road trip or week long getaway, be sure to include a concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

  • May 15th: KJEE Summer Round-Up Featuring 311, Young The Giant, Big Data, Birds of Tokyo 
  • June 4th: James Taylor and His All Star Band
  • June 15th: Hunter Hayes with Special Guest Dan + Shay
  • June 19th: Michael Franti & Spearhead with Special Guests SOJA, Brett Dennen and Trevor Hall
  • June 25th: Sarah McLachlan
  • June 26th: Maxwell
  • July 2nd: Joan Baez & Indigo Girls
  • July 3rd: Bob Weir & RatDog with Special Guest The Chris Robinson Brotherhood 
  • July 12th: Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band Featuring Steve Lukather, Richard Page, Greg Rolie, Todd Rundgren, Greg Bissonette 
  • July 13th: Jurassic 5 with Special Guests Dilated Peoples and Beat Junkies 
  • July 15th: Slightly Stoopid with Special Guests Cypress Hill and Stephen Marley
  • July 27th: Foreigner & Styx with Special Guest Don Felder
  • August 4th: Arcade Fire
  • August 9th: Sarah Brightman
  • August 15th: Rebelution with Special Guests Iration, The Green, Stick Figure and DJ Mackle 
  • August 31st & September 1st: Jack Johnson with Special Guest Michael Kiwanuka
  • September 13th: George Lopez

 

Can't wait to enjoy the sounds of Santa Barbra? Listen now with Visit Santa Barbara's Pandora Station.

Earth Day Festival 2014

Posted On: Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014 2:18 PM

Santa Barbara South Coast has a long history of protecting mother earth. In fact, did you know that the first ever Earth Day Celebration was held in Santa Barbara? With the creation of the Community Environmental Council in 1970, also brought birth to Earth Day in Santa Barbara.

Continuing the tradition into 2014, this year's two-day celebration in honor of our precious earth will be filled with entertainment, education and community! On April 26 - 27, bring your family and friends to come together at Alameda Park with 35,000 people from across the South Coast to celebrate, connect and recharge! A few highlights to Santa Barbara Earth Day 2014 will feature live bands, exhibitor booths, cultural and dance performances, art exhibits, green car show, Green Shorts Theater, an eco-market place, children's enchanted forest, a beer and wine garden and so much more! Did we mention this event is FREE to attend?!

Join us April 26 - 27 in Alameda Park, come car free, and be care free! Here are a few photos from last year's celebration:

Santa Barbara Earth Day Exhibits
Earth Day Exhibits 
Photo By Erin Feinblatt

Santa Barbara Earth Day Entertainment
Live Entertainment!
Photo By Community Environmental Council

Santa Barbara Earth Day Events
Bring your family and friends for an afternoon of eco-fun!
Photo By Erin Feinblatt 

 

Santa Barbara Vintners Spring Weekend and Wine Festival

Posted On: Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 10:14 AM

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the vines of Santa Barbara wine country are growing with an abundance of grapes in preparation for this year's harvest. The newly budding vines mark the arrival of spring and the beginning of countless afternoons spent sipping world-class Santa Barbara wines, surrounded by our Mediterranean climate and breathtaking panoramic views that stretch from the Pacific Ocean to the Santa Ynez Mountains.

Santa Barbara Vintners Spring Weekend
Photo By Toretti Family Vineyard

If you can already picture yourself kicking back with a glass of cool Chardonnay and thinking "one afternoon is simply not enough," then the Santa Barbara Vintners Spring Weekend is for you! With over 40+ wine events April 10-13, the annual Spring Weekend and Wine Festival attracts wine lovers from near and far to participate in one of a kind opportunities to attend wine maker lunches and dinners, winery and tasting room open houses, vineyard walks, a golf tournament, and even a Farm-to-Table picnic and concert. Events include a Wine & Dine Event held at The Fess Parker: A Doubletree by Hilton Resort on April 11th, where you'll sip 90+ point top rated wines and savor culinary creations prepared by some of Santa Barbara's top chefs. Fans of the Oscar winning movie Sideways can enjoy a shotgun-start golf tournament with host Rex Pickett, the author and playwright of Sideways at Sandpiper Golf Course in Goleta. Or if the open waters are calling your name, enjoy a two hour cruise aboard the "Channel Cat", a luxurious 42-foot catamaran, for a gourmet wine and food pairing event.

Santa Barbara Vintners Grand Tasting
  Photo By  Santa Barbara County Wine

But of course, we can't forget the main attraction, the annual Vintners Festival Grand Tasting! During this event, every single one of the Santa Barbara Vintners 100+ members will gather together to present and sell their wines. Not to mention the additional pairings of food, music and art. Talk about savory! And, just like when you visit Santa Barbara wine country tasting rooms, many of the wines will be poured by the winemakers themselves.

If you are a wine lover like me, the problem will be selecting which one, two or all of these wonderful events to attend! It's the perfect opportunity for a romantic weekend getaway or perhaps a girl's weekend stay! For more information please visit, sbvintnersweekend.com

Get your forks ready, Fork Fest 2014 is almost here!

Posted On: Wednesday, Apr 2, 2014 11:54 AM

For our foodie friends and libation lovers, the tastes and plates available in Santa Barbara South Coast are guaranteed to send you into a delectable daze. With so many options to choose from, the list of Santa Barbara wine, food and beer to try can sometimes be overwhelming, although, this is a problem we happily embrace. But, thanks to Crown the Town, the challenge to try the best bites and sips of Santa Barbara has been made easy with Fork Fest 2014.

Fork Fest 2014 

On Saturday April 5th, head on down to The Funk Zone (specifically Mason Street, between State and Anacapa) where you'll get try 9 Santa Barbara eateries as they come together to compete in a friendly fork-off competition to win your vote! Each vendor will prepare one delectable "forkful" of culinary excellence, in hopes that it will send your palate into paradise!

As your taste buds are sent into a tizzy, breweries, wineries and other spirits will be available while We the Beat (featuring Yoni Berk, aRod & DJ SB) provides musical entertainment. Clear your calendar, because this is one delicious event you don't want to miss! Tickets are all inclusive at only $55. Each admission ticket includes entry, a sample from each vendor, a selection of beer, wine and spirits (remember to drink responsibly) and of course, a great time!

The participating restaurants are:
Blue Tavern
Arlington Tavern 
Organic Soup Kitchen
State & Fig
Killer B's BBQ and Bar
Silvergreens
Enterprise Fish Co.
Casa Blanca Restaurant
The Chase Bar & Grill

While you eat, enjoy beverages from:
Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company
Cutler's Artisan Spirits
Sort This Out Cellars
Pali Wine Co. 
Pure Order Brewing Company
Island Brewing Company

Last but not least, this event will not only provide unlimited amounts of fun for your Saturday afternoon, the event will also help raise funds for the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County. Each ticket sold to Fork Fest will provide two meals to those in need, in the hopes to provide 2,000 meals to help solve hunger issues on the Central Coast. Additionally, Fork Fest will be donating a portion of event proceeds to a new non-profit, Vow4Mal, which aims to eliminate drinking and driving and promotes smart choices for young people in Santa Barbara.

Time is running out and so are tickets! For more information and tickets, please visit crownthetown.com.

5 Interesting Facts About Orchids

Posted On: Monday, Mar 10, 2014 12:58 PM

Now in its 69th year, the International Orchid Show returns to Santa Barbara March 14-16th. As one of the oldest and largest shows in the United States, hundreds of orchid species will be on display, as well as hybrids by over 50 exhibitors from the US, South America, and Asia.

As spring makes it way, Santa Barbara flowers are in full bloom. In fact, with our warm Mediterranean climate, Santa Barbara South Coast produces more orchids than any other region in the country! Additionally, our very own Carpinteria is home to the nation's "flower basket", the largest producing region of cut flower farms remaining in the United States! To honor this beautiful and delicate flower, here's a list of 5 interesting facts that are a must read before attending this must see event!


1. Orchids are the largest family of flowering plants. In fact, there are more than 25,000 documented orchid species throughout the world, and more are being discovered every day!

Cymbidium Oxnard Dots - Santa Barbara International Orchid Show
(Photo By Heidi Kirkpatrick)

2. The vanilla orchid (and its vanilla bean) is the only commercially grown orchid crop. Who knew orchids could be so delicious!

3. Although generally thought of as a tropical plant, orchids grow on every continent, in every climate, from the Arctic Circle to the southernmost jungle (with the only exception of Antarctica).

Phalaenopsis - Santa Barbara International Orchid Show 2
 (Photo By Heidi Kirkpatrick)

4. From small to big, the smallest orchid is the size of a dime, while the largest weigh several hundred pounds

5. Having an orchid teaches patience. To grow an orchid, the plant's first flowers won't appear until at least 5 to 7 years after germination. And even then, some orchid flowers bloom for mere hours, while others last up to half a year.

Zygopetalum - Santa Barbara International Orchid Show 3
 (Photo By Cal Orchid)

Make sure to catch these flowers in boom and purchase your tickets to the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show. Not only will the orchid species be on display and for sale, attendees will get to see various demonstrations and art shows.

*Orchid facts were sourced from the Fair Child Garden

 

Dine, Dance and Enjoy New Year’s Eve in Santa Barbara

Posted On: Thursday, Dec 26, 2013 2:34 PM

Let the champagne pop and the celebration begin! Santa Barbara South Coast is ready to say farewell to 2013 and ring in 2014 with delicious dining, all night dancing, and overall merriment and cheer. If you're looking for ways to spend the last day of 2013 in Santa Barbara, use Visit Santa Barbara's Complete Guide to Dining, Dancing and Enjoying New Year's Eve.

Opal New Years Eve 

DINE

The Lark
Toast to 2014 and make your way to The Funk Zone for a glorious celebration of The Lark's first season!
Chef Jason Paluska has designed a stunning menu you won't want to miss. Ring in the New Year with a 5-course tasting menu with optional wine pairings by Brian McClintic, Master Sommelier and Sommelier Eric Railsback from Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant. VIEW MENU 

Olio e Limone
Cheers to 2014 with an Olio e Limone Ristorante feast! End 2013 feeling like a V.I.P and treat yourself to their specially prepared 3-course menu of authentic Italian cuisine. VIEW MENU

Sandbar Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar
Make this New Year's Eve "An Affair to Remember" at Sandbar! Start the night with a 3-course dinner menu (yes, champagne included!) and end the night with a late night VIP bash, complete with decorations, party favors and bottle service. VIEW MENU

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara
A Happy New Year from around the world! Dine at Bella Vista for an elaborate New Year's Eve buffet of flavorful creations inspired by cuisine from around the globe. VIEW MENU

SOhO's New Year's Eve Celebration w/Cafe R&B
Join SOhO for a New Year's Eve celebration featuring the powerful voice and music of Cafe R&B. Your dinner tickets include a 4 course meal, show admission, champagne toast and midnight festivities. VIEW EVENT

NYE 2014 at Baja Sharkeez
This NYE party offers a four course meal, VIP reserved seating, party favors, and a bottle of champagne. Not to mention, there will also be DJ, dancing, a balloon drop and more than $3,000 in prizes! VIEW EVENT

Les Marchands NYE 2013-Pierre Peters Champagne & Raw Bar
Pierre Peters Champagne will be accompanied by a raw bar for the ages-replete with blue fin tuna, oysters on the half shell, local uni with burrata and much, much more! Space is extremely limited. VIEW EVENT

DANCE

Ring in the New Year with El Encanto-Mad Men Style!
This New Year's Eve, El Encanto is celebrating retro glamour with a mid-century Mad Men themed bash and a fabulously indulgent dinner designed by Chef Patrice Martineau. Revelers can choose from two dinner seats at the restaurant or simply come for the late night party in the ballroom. VIEW EVENT

Great Gatsby New Year's Eve Party at Bacara Resort & Spa
Bacara Resort & Spa's signature oceanfront restaurant, Miro, will be transformed into a roaring 20's lounge, complete with gourmet action stations by the resort's award-winning Chefs, a DJ, dance floor and party favors. As the clock strikes midnight, watch the balloon drop from above and enjoy a champagne toast to a spectacular 2014. Gatsby attire is encouraged! Purchase tickets in advance. VEIW EVENT

Canary Hotel and Finch & Fork Present "A Night Under the Stars"
Calling all would-be Prom Kings and Queens! Join the Canary and Finch & Fork for a New Year's Celebration you won't forget! Dress in your best prom attire in hopes of being crowned Prom King or Queen. Dance to DJ Freddy Sparx, dine on hors d'oeuvres and enjoy a complimentary champagne toast! VIEW EVENT

6th Annual Best Deal On State Street
Named the best deal on State Street, come ring in the New Year with Velvet Jones' 6th annual no cover-$30 all you can drink NYE celebration! Also included is a Champagne toast and music by DJ Johnny Blaze. VIEW EVENT

Wildcat Lounge NYE 2014
This year, Wildcat Lounge's celebration includes a huge countdown with three balloon drops, a complimentary champagne toast at midnight, party favors and the best dance music all night long! VIP Package with reserved tables available. VIEW EVENT

ENJOY

Santa Barbara Zoo: New Year's Eve Overnight for Kids
Let your kids swing into the New Year in wild style! Drop them off for a fun-filled night at the Santa Barbara Zoo. They'll have a pizza dinner, check out what's cookin' in our animal kitchen, tour the Zoo at night, eat a pancake breakfast, and much more. Sorry parents, this fun night is for kids only!

The Granada Theatre: New Years' Eve Pop Concert
Fast becoming a Santa Barbara favorite, Bob Bernhardt returns with a Pops feast of your favorites, as well as a few surprises! Ring in the New Year at the best party in town, but get your tickets early--this concert is always a sell-out!
 

 

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