Friday, October 21, 2016

Re:Find Finds New Home

Once you start looking for ways to repurpose things, you can find opportunities everywhere. Take Alex and Monica Villicana, owners of Villicana Winery in Paso Robles. In 2011 Alex came up with the clever idea to take the bleed-off grapes early in the wine process — the saignée, which is often used to make rosé, or worse, just dumped — as the base for distilling spirits. And why not? Eastern Europe uses the potato because it’s cheap and plentiful, not for any intrinsic reasons.

Want to read the rest then do so at the Independent's site.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sip This: Buttonwood Cab Franc 2012

Buttonwood 2012 Cabernet Franc Santa Ynez Valley:  The perfect, somewhat different summer wine, this cab franc is both light on its feet and full of flavor. That’s no surprise coming from the 2012 growing season that let winemaker Karen Steinwachs and her team pick on Halloween — talk about hang time!

Want to read the rest then do so at the Independent's site.

In Which I Point To Me Talking about Me

I got a rock. Actually, that's Serpentinite (thanks for the photo NOAA), and it makes an appearance in Feast Days. And I got to talk about that cameo, plus a bunch of other things, thanks to David Starkey, who interviewed me about the chapbook for the Independent.

Here's the beginning:

George Yatchisin’s newest collection of poetry is Feast Days. Yatchisin is the communications coordinator for the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UC Santa Barbara, and he writes about food and drink for venues such as The Santa Barbara Independent and Edible Santa Barbara.

You took some time off from writing poetry. Can you talk about that a bit and discuss why you’ve come back to it?

 It was a good, no pun intended, 15 years off, actually. I came up with two half-jokes to explain it. The first was, either I could write poetry or be happy. The second was, you can only write the “language is a tool that fails us” poem for so long before you at least convince yourself. It was also that I didn’t feel language coming to me in poetic ways; I didn’t stop writing prose, but you get to be easier on yourself in blogging and journalism — there’s not that same need for precision and concision. I say that with all apologies to brilliant journalists like Joe Posnanski, Ellen Willis, Molly Ivins, etc. Then in some ways, poetry came back to me.

Want to read the rest then do so at the Independent's site.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Test Pilot Takes Off in the Funk Zone

Don’t let the kitschy glasses with their totem pole faces fool you. While Test Pilot is indeed tiki-inspired, this new Funk Zone hotspot is not mired in the Polynesian motif of yesteryear. “We didn’t want it to be a classics bar,” said Brandon Ristaino, who owns this establishment as well as The Good Lion on State Street with his wife, Misty. “We wanted to modernize the drinks, clean them up, dry them out. In some, we switched out the rum.”

Want to read the rest then do so at the Independent's site.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Sip This: Riverbench 2013 Reserve Chardonnay

Riverbench 2013 Reserve Chardonnay: Of the delicious handful of chardonnays that Clarissa Nagy makes for Riverbench, nothing pleases quite like this reserve. Their goal was to add some oak (50 percent new French) for flavor and structure yet not create a butter bomb, and Riverbench nailed it, creating a luscious, creamy white with enough acidity to make this a perfect food wine, too (think anything from fettuccine alfredo to lemon-caper sole).

Want to read the rest then do so at the Independent's site.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Can You Dig It?

Sure, the pure products of America go crazy. We can buy a separate something for any time and casually toss it away in no time. But the damn things can be fun, too.

Take the photo above. On the left, Hochstadter's Slow & Low Rock & Rye, about which I've already written, but not quite like this. For now you can buy it in single serving 100ml cans, the first ever high proof cocktail wrapped in tin for your pop-topping enjoyment. They're tiny, too, easy to hide--in a Christmas stocking, Cooper Spirits Company already suggests (welcome, holiday shoppers!)--but we all know better. These are going to be huge hits with people on the road, at work, and those who aren't supposed to be drinking (I can put this pre-made cocktail anywhere and it won't spill!).

That said, it is a tasty devil. As I put it last time: "This reinvention of an 1884 recipe adds honey, oranges, Angostura bitters, and rock candy — the nicest way to say sugar, ever — to straight rye whiskey. Nowhere near as gimmicky as it sounds since it starts with a fine rye base and is amped up to 100 proof, this is basically an old fashioned in a bottle; just add ice and an orange peel." OK, make that a can, and who needs the ice or peel? Let it rip. (Maybe, if you're being sophisticated and all, put it in the fridge a bit.)

On the right, in the photo above, you see the Peugeot Les Impitoyables Whisky Tasting Set. Sure, at this point in glass-making someone is out there trying to sell you a different glass to hold the water that you use to rinse out your mouth out after brushing your teeth, so it's easy to be skeptical. But this Peugeot has got some quite clever design. First, that's a metal disc under the glass that cradles the glass well. You store that in the freezer, and then the glass stays cold without any ice. (Of course I go off instructions and store the glass in the freezer too, which might be extreme, but it's been summer.) (Santa Barbara does too have a summer.) So, you get a nice chill without any dilution. And the leather coaster keeps the cold metal from messing up any of your tables, or your work desk, if you like to write with a finger or two of something delightful as a muse.

The glass shape is clever, too, what with the wide reservoir for good swirling to get the scents a-roving toward your nose, and then the chimney that helps whisk it right there. Sure worked for a can of Slow & Low Rock & Rye. Which defeats the purpose of the can, I know. But using two products at once made me feel truly patriotic.

Viva Brings New Life to La Arcada

Brendan Searls is already well-known in Santa Barbara for his role in such establishments as Video Shmideo, Bogart’s, and Dargan’s, but these days, he is most excited about his latest challenge: Viva Modern Mexican Cuisine, located in the La Arcada spot previously occupied by Cielito. “This is truly a hidden gem — we could be in Barcelona, we could be in Prague, we could be in Mexico City,” said Searls, whose official opening weekend was in August during Fiesta. “Where else in this town can you sit and people watch, watch turtles, and not have to deal with traffic?”

Want to read the rest then do so at the Independent's site.