Santa Barbara regional cuisine ranges from spiny lobster and traditional Santa Maria-style barbeque to Solvang sweets.
On guided culinary tours of Santa Barbara, Laurence Hauben brings visitors to farmers' and fish markets, specialty food shops, cooking classes and wine tastings to show them how to eat like a "locavore" (eating locally grown and harvested foods within a 100-mile radius of Santa Barbara). Visitors can buy seafood from the Santa Barbara Channel from fishermen at Santa Barbara Harbor.
New restaurants and Funk Zone
Hungry Cat, a new restaurant in Santa Barbara, California, opened in April. Husband and wife owners, David Lentz and Suzanne Goin, also own the original Hungry Cat in Hollywood. The dinner-only bistro has handmade cocktails, a raw seafood bar and seafood from local waters, like Santa Barbara spot prawns and sea urchins.
Three blocks from State Street, Quantum Kitchen & Cocktails also opened in April. It offers a late-night menu and comfort foods, like gourmet burgers and spiked milkshakes. EOS Lounge, a new cocktail bar and nightclub, serves organic healthy cocktails in an indoor-outdoor Mediterranean island environment.
Several cafés and wine tasting rooms are in the "Funk Zone" neighborhood, by the waterfront east of State Street (between State and Garden and Yanonali and Mason). The 19th-century industrial region now houses artists, surfboard shapers, skilled craft workers, art studios, galleries and antique stores.
Santa Barbara Cooking Schools
Pascale Beale leads cooking classes at Montecito Country Kitchen. Cook It School and Fairview Gardens offer scheduled classes. In the wine country, Trattoria Grappolo's chef, Leonardo Curti, teaches Italian cooking in his home kitchen. On Saturdays, the new Roblar Winery & Vineyards facility in Los Olivos offers cooking classes taught by guest chefs from some of the world's finest restaurants and resorts.
Stops on the Santa Barbara Wine Trail include Cellar 205 Winery & Marketplace, Santa Barbara Winery, Jaffurs Wine Cellars, Whitcraft Winery, Stearns Wharf Vintners, East Beach Wine Company, Carr Winery and Benjamin Silver Wines.
Richard Sanford's newest sustainable, biodynamic organic winemaking venture, Alma Rosa, offers "green" wine tastings. Gypsy Canyon Winery, in Lompoc, has the oldest grapevines in Santa Barbara County. Deborah Hall produces a very rare Mission-Era "Ancient Vine" Angelica, bottled in recycled glass with hand-made labels on recycled paper. In Santa Ynez, Demetria Estate's biodynamic and sustainable farmed vines yield Rhone style wines. The family-run Sunstone Winery grows 77 acres of vineyards in an organic, bio-sustainable manner, meeting all California Certified Organic Farmer standards. Sustainable Vine Wine Tours offers guided tours of organic and biodynamic wineries in a biodiesel-powered van. Gypsy Canyon and Demetria Estate tastings are by appointment only.
Microbreweries along the beer trail
Santa Barbara County has six micro-breweries. Beer-lovers can follow a tasting trail that begins at the Island Brewing Company production facility and tasting room in Carpinteria. In Santa Barbara, The Brew House and Santa Barbara Brewing Company restaurants pour their own beers and international brews.
The new Hollister Brewing Company opened in May, near the university, in Goleta. Firestone-Walker Brewery's Taproom restaurant, in Buellton, alternates their four award-winning beers with other beers on tap. Local stores, restaurants and bars sell Telegraph Brewing Company beers.