Thursday, April 25, 2013

Goodland, Better Wines & Hello KCET

I am proud to report I've got a new gig, and even better, it involves glug-glugging. I'm going to providing weekly wine posts for the KCET Food website. So, on Wednesdays go check it out and like it on FB and share it, etc.

The first entry, and they all will be getting the "start and nudge" treatment here like the Indy articles, is about Goodland Wines.

Supergroups rarely add up to more than the sum of the parts; let's face it, Blind Faith is probably better known at this point for its shocking album cover than its music. But maybe supergroups are better with grapes than guitars. Such is the case with one of Santa Barbara's newest ventures, Goodland Wines, which just started releasing its small lots (no more than 82 cases of any wine; current prices range from $15 to $40 a bottle) this March.

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

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Finch Takes Flight

The Canary Hotel’s website describes the new Finch & Fork, formerly Coast, as a corner grill, and they really mean it. After years of having to enter the restaurant via the hotel’s driveway, the main entrance is now on the corner of Carrillo and Chapala, a clear sign locals are more than welcome. “It’s a casual setting for social dining and a family environment that caters to being able to relax,” is how executive chef James Siao puts it. “We hope locals and guests can have great conversations together over cocktails.”

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

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Spa Is Spot On

The Bacara Resort sort of resembles a village — admittedly a very upscale village — so it’s easy to miss all the dining options that welcome locals, too. The resort recently reopened the Spa Café as a full-service restaurant, and now the pool-view veranda and warming stone interior offer a nice spot to enjoy scrumptious, good-for-you breakfasts and lunches.

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

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Sea Change at Seagrass

You weren’t dreaming if for a month at the beginning of the year you got the idea that Seagrass Restaurant was trying to be a mid-level, small-plates, drop-in kind of joint. There was even a legendary burger, sadly gone now, but perhaps back for another menu, for Seagrass is more than willing to keep changing. “The [January] change didn’t go with the Seagrass name and the white-linen atmosphere,” explained Ruben Perez, who holds the owner slot in his family’s business (father Robert is the chef, mom Marianna Perez is the GM, and brother Richard is running the new wine bar Taste … more on that in a bit).

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

Friday, April 5, 2013

Douglas Does Dinner

Come six o’clock, who hasn’t thought how great it would be to demand from someone, “Make me dinner!” — without getting laughed at or punched? In this new series, we’ll do just that — with pros doing the cooking in the humble home kitchens of regular folks, while keeping costs low, technique not too tricky, and end results tasty. And while we can’t share the actual spoils with you (sorry, no leftovers!), we’ll do the next best thing: We’ll introduce you to the players, let you know what we learned, what we ate and drank, and send you away with a recipe or two.

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

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rye Runs Red

It''s been awhile since I've dropped a cocktail on you, so here goes. Since it was just Easter that meant it was time for this Slovak-boy to whip up some kolache, and that meant a trip to the European Deli & Market, a treasure trove of items labeled in foreign tongues, some no doubt containing actual tongue. Upon entering, they had the most luscious display of blood oranges front and center, so we had to buy a couple of those in all their sunset-palette beauty. The first one became part of some refreshing blood orange margaritas, something true but very much tried (don't get dyslexic typing there!).

Last night it was time to be a bit creative, and thus the Rye Runs Red was born. It's pretty simple, but the flavors layer wonderfully, the citrus providing just the right sweet tart zip, and the Carpano Antica adds a depth just a regular sweet vermouth might lack. (Chryss suggested the finished drink almost had a hint of Amaretto, which isn't surprising since people claim Carano Antica has a bit of almond, among all its other flavors, from fig to toffee.) The color, thanks to the vermouth and the blood orange, is a wonderful deep red, and the little slash of peel adds to the drink's visual appeal. Cheers!

Rye Runs Red
(makes two)

4 oz. rye (Old Overholt is fine, but if you want to splurge, go for it)
2 oz. Carpano Antica vermouth
1.5 oz. freshly squeezed blood orange juice
.5 oz freshly squeezed lime juice (preferably Bearss lime--the lime equivalent of the Meyer lemon, if you ask me)
 narrow peel of blood orange, tied in a knot for each drink as garnish

Juice your citrus and add to shaker. Add the rye and vermouth and ice. Shake vigorously. Pour into chilled cocktail glasses and add the peels for garnish.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Pretty Meal Is Like a Poem-ody

I guess you never quite escape your past, especially if it was verse than your present. For 14 years I stopped writing poetry for a slew of reasons that I'll reduce to my favorite glib one: You can only write the "language is a tool that fails us" poem so many times before you have to at the least convince yourself. Then in November 2011 the last SB Poet Laureate Paul Willis tricked me into writing one by inviting me to take part in a response to an art show. Still, one poem didn't mean that much.

Of course, it's hard to escape poetry in my house, given my wife is the new SB Poet Laureate. She keeps teasing me with assignments, and I can't help but respond as the hack I am--tell me what to do, when it's due, and I do. I'm thinking of it as poetry as journalism, but you can make the facts up.

All this is an intro to my first poem publication of the 21st century. The online food journal (and you knew food was going to show up, didn't you?) Alimentum had a call out for "menupoems" (they print it as a portmanteau), so I decided Downey's was as good a place as any to write my ode about.

You can go read "More Simple" here, about a third of the way down the page. Don't forget to tip your waitresses.