Three-Day culinary festival celebrating long-time resident Julia Child
Tickets now on sale for Santa Barbara's inaugural Food & Wine Weekend that's celebrating Julia Child.
Santa Barbara is gearing up for its first Food and Wine Weekend from June 6th to the 8th — a three-day culinary extravaganza celebrating the life of its most famous resident, world-renowned chef and author Julia Child who spent her final years in the city.
Teaming up with The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts and Edible Santa Barbara, the Bacara Resort and Spa will host the event that will give food-lovers an experience of the best restaurants, wines, and artisanal treats the region has to offer.
Exploring Santa Barbara County from the sea to Santa Ynez, the festival will offer visitors cooking classes, wine receptions and tastings, and a chance to get up close and personal with local food producers. A special highlight of the weekend is set to be a tribute to Child. A portion of the proceeds from the event will go to benefit the Julia Child Foundation.
The Bacara Resort is offering overnight packages for the weekend including a two-night stay at the resort, and tickets to the glitzy opening night wine reception. Tickets for the actual festival range from free to $250.
More information about the event can be found on their website.
Serusha Govender is The Daily Meal's travel editor. Follow her on Twitter @SerushaGovender
Must-Try Santa Barbara Restaurants
So many restaurants, so little time. Our sampling of must-try restaurants is designed for the time-strapped foodie seeking a well-rounded taste of the region and overwhelmed by the many standout options.
As any recreational foodie knows, the toughest part about trip planning is deciding where to eat. You only have so many days and meal slots to work with and there’s only so much one can enjoyably eat on any given day! With the daunting volume of quality, inviting eateries in our little pocket of paradise, it’s an impossible task to try and pick the best restaurants in Santa Barbara. So we put this list together to help you navigate Santa Barbara’s restaurant scene as a starting point. To compile this 2021 update, we did your homework for you, between cross-referencing the latest ratings across trusted user-generated platforms like Open Table, Resy, and Trip Advisor, and also polling the discerning palates of local hospitality pros and the all-knowing Michelin Guide. Narrowing it down was a serious challenge—there are dozens more that could have easily made this list. From icons and new classics to local darlings and award-winning establishments, these 13 must-try restaurants represent a smorgasbord of the Santa Barbara’s ever-evolving cuisine scene.
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Pan-Roasted Fresh Local Sea Bass
Roasted fingerlings, broccolini & wild mushrooms, asparagus-spring pea purée
Crispy Skin Pacific Coast King Salmon
Caramelized onion faro barley, Lacinato kale, lemon-caper emulsion
Lobster "Pot Pie"
Spring pea & Yukon Gold potatoes in lobster-mushroom velouté, puff pastry dome, arugula, Madeira crème
Pan-Roasted Free-Range Jidori Chicken Breast
Roasted garlic-whipped potatoes, seared Brussles sprouts with pancetta & sage, pan jus
Our signature dish of maple-glazed duck breast & confit of thigh on a succotash of sweet corn, fava beans, leeks, applewood-smoked bacon and Windrose Farms butternut squash, port-thyme demi-glace
Cabernet-Braised Short Rib
Grana Padano risotto, baby carrots, rainbow chard, braising jus
Char-Grilled Rack of Lamb
Roasted chickpea purée with roasted fennel, leeks & prosciutto, horseradish gremolata
Grilled Center-cut American Wagyu Ribeye
bouchon hash with yam, potato, white cheddar & bacon, seared broccolini, sauce bordelaise
Every weekend, we convert our production bakery into a restaurant and invite our community to gather around our stone hearth. We use only the freshest seasonal ingredients by shopping our local farmers’ markets and sourcing from artisan food producers in our area.
Our Certified Organic pizzas are handmade in small batches in our Los Alamos bakery. We use ingredients that are sourced locally in our area along California’s Central Coast to ensure quality, reduce food-miles & support the environment. Sold in markets nationally.
We are happy to bring the Full of Life experience to you! We have baked and prepared food for small, intimate gatherings as well as events for 300 or more. Using seasonal and local ingredients, we specialize in creating menus designed to suit the needs of each event.
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A little about what we do.
Thursday, November 2: UCSB Bren School: ‘Let’s Talk About Water: The Challenge of Water Management in the American West,’ Santa Barbara, CA
Friday, November 3: Community Action Committee of Santa Barbara. Lompoc, CA
Saturday, November 4: Dos Pueblos Ranch: Explore Ecology Dinner, Santa Barbara
Friday, November 10: TED X, Vic Theater, Santa Barbara, CA
Friday, November 17: “Farm to Fret” at Caravan Outpost, Ojai, CA
Santa Barbara Wine Country
“Forget all your troubles, forget all your cares, come on get happy in Santa Barbara Wine Country."
"I love Santa Barbara Wine Country so much because of its breathtaking scenic beauty, extremely talented winemakers and the huge variation in wines that are possible from the cool climates of Santa Maria and Sta. Rita Hills to the heat of Happy Canyon."
- Michael C., West Hollywood, CA
“Santa Barbara County wines encompass all of the varietals and incredible quality of Napa and Sonoma, with none of the traffic or exorbitant tasting fees.”
- Wayne M., Manhattan Beach, CA
"We love the quality, value and sheer diversity of wines from Santa Barbara County."
"I love visiting Santa Barbara Wine Country because it is beautiful with outstanding wines and restaurants."
- Leslie B., Anaheim Hills, CA
"I LOVE Santa Barbara Wine Country because it is a rustic, charming retreat from the stresses of big city life and it’s only a couple of hours away."
"Wonderful wine, friendly and educated staff in tasting rooms and of course, beautiful vineyards that bring us back every year."
"Really unique wineries that are more independent in their operations. The vintners engage with you at many wineries and share their passion for wine!"
"I love, love, love the Santa Ynez Valley with its incredible scenery, wines and people."
"The wine is fabulous, the food is great, the scenery is beautiful as are the people."
"I look forward to the day we can all celebrate again. Can’t wait!"
"We love Santa Barbara Wine Country because the wine is so good and the wine tasting rooms are very friendly and open about discussing their wines."
"Santa Barbara County has beautiful scenery, great weather and the best wines in the state of California, if not the World. It is home to the masters of Pinot Noir!"
"The beauty and laidback vibe draw me back every time – can’t wait to return!"
- Susan S., Huntington Beach, CA
"I love Santa Barbara wine country because it is a humble, beautiful community that shows the importance of love, family, friends by injecting that love as ingredients in their wines."
- Patty M., Huntington Beach, CA
"Santa Barbara Wine Country has some of the best Pinot Noirs I've ever tasted!"
"I love the hidden gem that is Los Alamos actually talking with the winemakers, all the dogs, not crowded, and great wines!"
"Thanks to the movie "Sideways", I have been a frequent visitor to the Santa Barbara Wine Country for years. Where else can you find world-class wines, restaurants and hotels in such a bucolic setting less than two hours from L.A.?"
"What other county in the entire world can you drink world class wines and stay at world class beach resorts? The answer is none!"
"I’ve been wine tasting in the area since 1993 and have fallen in love with the Chardonnays, Pinots, and Syrahs!"
- Joe M., Hacienda Heights, CA
"Over the past few decades the Central Coast wine regions of the Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Rita Hills, and the other AVAs have become a favorite destination of wine lovers throughout the U.S. and around the world due to the natural beauty of the area, the friendly, hospitable tasting rooms, and for producing outstanding varietals and blends which include Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Chardonnay, Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, and yes, Merlot."
- Stephen B., Santa Barbara, CA
"My wife and I love Santa Barbara Wine Country because it is peaceful, beautiful, and filled with many wonderful wineries that have their own special uniqueness."
"World class wines, fine cuisine, weather that you can’t beat, friendly wonderful people all within my grasp in 2.5 hours. Why wouldn’t I visit SB county?"
"From the wineries to the people to the amazing wines - Santa Barbara Wine Country is just magical."
"We love to visit and taste the wonderful Pinots in the Santa Rita Hills."
- Ray M. & Leslie M., Encino, CA
"There are many exceptional quality small boutique wineries!"
"We have been visiting Santa Barbara Wine Country for over 30 years and never tire of it. The scenery is stunningly beautiful, the people are some of the nicest you’ll ever meet and the wines are world class. Upon entering the Santa Ynez Valley, you will leave your troubles behind you and smile. I promise!"
"We are blessed here in Santa Barbara County to have such a variety of amazing wines made by brilliant winemakers and surrounded by magnificent countryside."
- Dennis D., Santa Barbara, CA
"We absolutely love visiting the Santa Barbara Wine Country because it is a beautiful area with wonderful wine, food and people."
- Richard B., Santa Barbara, CA
"From the Pacific Ocean to the mountain peaks, Santa Barbara Wine Country is pure heaven to drink deep down into your soul."
“I love Santa Barbara Wine Country because chances are really good you’ll meet the winemaker who handcrafted the beautiful wine you’re tasting and you will become a fan forever.”
"Santa Barbara is the most cutting edge county in California and produces many wonderful wines."
- Paul E., Sommelier, Las Vegas, NV
"Santa Barbara Wine Country is my happy place!"
"We love Santa Barbara Wine Country because it is beautiful, the people are friendly and the wines are fantastic."
"Like no where else you have ever been, solitude amongst some of the finest wine anywhere!"
"Only two things needed to keep one coming back, and not necessarily in this order: 1). absolutely gorgeous and scenic area, 2). totally outstanding/superb wines."
- Pat C., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
"The Santa Rita Hills and Foxen Canyon are stunning wine enthusiasts' wonderlands, offering world class Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay in some of the most beautiful settings imaginable, as well as several lesser known grapes and complex Rhone blends."
- Thomas T., Santa Barbara, CA
"The best Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs and I have been going to the Vintners Festival since about the second year for awesome times."
"I love Santa Barbara Wine Country! It has been a place my family and friends have gone to for the last 20 years. Always wonderful weather and my favorite thing are the wine fests we go to twice yearly. The food is some of the best in California – always fresh and innovative. I call it my “happy place!”
"Friendly and approachable Winery/ Vineyard owners and employees making exceptional quality wines!"
Our wine club offers you the opportunity to select the wines you want to drink. You can completely customize your shipments or elect to enjoy our winemaker’s selection twice a year.
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Sun-Wed: 11:00am – 5:30pm
Thurs-Sat: 11:00am – 6:00pm
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For the wine enthusiast, connoisseur and collector. Enjoy access and exclusivity to the best of Alma Rosa.
Recipe: Pistachio creme brulee from Santa Barbara’s Bacara Resort
Dear SOS: This Sunday I had brunch at the Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara. All the food was delicious, but the highlight was the pistachio crème brûlée we had for dessert. Could you please get the recipe?
Dear Margarita: I loved the subtle pistachio undertones of this crème brûlée. It’s a perfect dessert to make in advance if you’re entertaining. Bacara was happy to share its recipe, which we’ve adapted below.
Bacara’s pistachio crème brûlée
1 hour, plus cooling and chilling time. Serves 6
1/3 cup raw shelled pistachios
1/2 cup sugar, divided, plus extra for bruléeing
1. Prepare the pistachio paste: In an oven heated to 350 degrees, toast the pistachios until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove and cover with a towel, rolling to remove the skins from the hot pistachios. Grind the hot pistachios in a food processor until they are reduced to a paste. This should make about 2 1/2 tablespoons paste. Set aside.
2. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.
3. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the cream, one-fourth cup sugar and vanilla seeds. Bring the cream just to a simmer, being careful that it does boil.
4. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining sugar with the egg yolks. Slowly add the hot cream mixture to the yolks, whisking constantly, to temper. Whisk in the pistachio compound to taste depending on the intensity of the nuts, you might not use all of the paste (we tested with all of the paste).
5. Strain the base to remove any lumps, then divide it among 6 (4-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins in a baking pan and slide the pan onto the center rack of the oven. Add enough boiling water to the pan to come halfway up the ramekins.
6. Loosely cover the pan with foil and bake the custards for 18 minutes. Check the custard by gently shaking the pan if it jiggles gently (as with barely set gelatin), it is set. Otherwise, continue to bake, checking every 2 to 3 minutes until the custards are set, 5 to 10 minutes or more.
7. When the custards are set, gently remove the baking pan from the oven, uncover the custards and cool them (still in the pan) to room temperature. Remove the cooled custards from the baking pan and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours.
8. Before serving, remove the chilled custards and sprinkle a scant teaspoon of sugar over the surface of each, spreading the sugar with the back of a spoon to evenly cover the top.
9. Use a small torch to caramelize the tops of each of the custards. Alternatively, place the ramekins on a baking sheet and place under the broiler just until the sugar melts and caramelizes, 1 to 2 minutes.
Ocean Dumpsites Are Leaking Toxins off the California Coast—And It’s Worse Than Originally Thought
“We are left with horrifying contamination in some of the most diverse ocean waters off the U.S. West Coast,” Savitz said. “There are no easy solutions to clean up these barrels resting at the depths of the seafloor and the repercussions will haunt future generations, but it is essential that the government act immediately.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) took initial legislative steps to address the issue in March, calling on both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Commerce Department to prioritize the cleanup of the area.
“Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have discovered what they estimate to be hundreds of thousands of industrial waste barrels in varying states of decay on the ocean floor near Catalina Island, about 22 miles off the California coast,” Feinstein wrote in a letter to EPA officials.
“Alarmingly, some areas off Catalina Island have recorded concentrations of DDT at rates 40 times higher than the highest level of contamination at Palos Verdes.”
Spurred on by Feinstein’s exhortation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which falls under the Commerce Department, partnered with UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Department of Defense, UC Santa Barbara, and others to map nearly 50,000 acres of ocean floor in the vicinity of Catalina Island. The goal? Determine the location and condition of the waste to inform possible solutions.
From March 10 to 24, the research cohort deployed two autonomous underwater vehicles to the designated area between Santa Catalina Island and the Los Angeles coast, sending the two submersibles over a half-mile below the surface.
Mapping just one of what is believed to be more than 10 total dumpsites, the research team located more than 25,000 barrels and over 100,000 debris items on the ocean floor.
“The expedition’s findings confirm fears that a large number of barrels containing DDT-laced industrial waste were dumped off the coast of California and are now impacting marine life and potentially public health,” Feinstein said in response.
“Simply put, this is one of the biggest environmental threats on the West Coast.”
Solutions capable of undoing decades of damage will be difficult to come by, but like Feinstein, Savitz is calling for a “comprehensive action plan for mitigation and cleanup.”
“This must be made a priority to ensure that our Southern California waters can be free of these contaminants, to protect marine life and public health.”
[Update] Presqu'ile winery is open for seated outdoor tastings. You must book your tasting in advance.
This winery is located on the northern fringe of the Santa Barbara wine region. This places it off the beaten path for most Santa Barbara wine travelers, but it's well worth the drive.
The vineyards benefit from the unique terroir of the Santa Maria Valley. Cool coastal breezes slow the ripening of the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes planted on the property. This leads to complex wines that showcase a nice balance of acidity.
The winery tasting room and grounds are beautiful. They've made the modern architecture blend perfectly with the landscape. The hilltop perch allows for sweeping views of the vineyards and valley. You can find a number of comfortable spots to enjoy your wine while relaxing with fellow wine lovers.
Presqu'ile has some unique benefits for wine club members. They host concerts and there is a member only type tasting area. We recommend looking into the wine club if you live in the area.
We consider this winery a must visit.
“This is my very favorite bread dough—tender, light, eggy, and buttery—and I love the orange flavor,” says Jerry Di Vecchio, Sunset’s long-time food editor, who developed the original dough for a story in 1968. We’ve reshaped it to create a more contemporary design, but it is otherwise unchanged. While the bread is rich (maybe that’s why it reheats so well), Di Vecchio still likes to serve it with butter. To make it, you’ll need a large rimless baking sheet.
Since 1929, many versions of this pavlova-like dessert have appeared in Sunset: orange, lemon-pineapple, chocolate, apricot. “My favorite,” says Jerry Di Vecchio, Sunset’s long-time food editor, “is filled with lemon curd, but the original was quite sweet, so we amped up the citrus. It’s like eating a cloud.”