I went on a Sunday, right smack at 11 am opening time. You may recall some brief rain showers earlier in the morning and maybe that scared some people away, but I wasn't scurrred.
I breezed through the normally-insanely-long Greek pastry line, grabbed a mixed box of pastries for $14 and tucked those away for later. I stood in the gyro queue for maybe 2 minutes while the people working there sang something that meant a lot if you were in the know. These were $7 each for a pita with four sizes of gyro meat, onions, tomato and a yogurt-y sauce.
I really enjoyed the dolmathes, which were 5 pieces for $4. Tender, juicy, served with a wedge of lemon to squeeze over the top.
Finally, I went back to the pastry queue to get some desserts. My favorite was the Kataifi, that's phyllo dough that's been finely shredded and rolled, $3 each. The baklava was of course good too, and very drippy and sweet and this is where some handiwipes sure would have been handy.
The "biggest wine festival under the sun" caught me by surprise. Sun is right, I did get sunburnt. Was it the biggest? I don't know about that. I do know that it became quite a party once the gates opened to general admission.
It seemed apparent that this event was not locally organized, because the wineries representing weren't the ones Santa Barbarans seem to know and love. This could be a good thing, because it provided the opportunity to try new wineries.
If the intent was to seriously taste wine with the idea of buying, it was best to get the VIP entry, which afforded the guest time to sip and talk to the vendors before the waves of younger people wearing "woozies" (little cozies that held an upright wineglass to a strap around your neck) streamed in.
If the intent was to have a rip roaring good time, the general admission was just fine. It was essentially a party on the beach, with a keepsake wineglass party favor. People staggered out the exit at the end, many holding a head of lettuce - another giveaway from one of the vendors. Don't ask! Just enjoy the thought of happy drunks holding lettuce, some perhaps eating them like an apple out of hand.
Crowds surged up Anacapa street afterwards, filling up shops along the Urban Wine Trail. I know this because I got caught in the tide that flowed through Kunin, Municipal, and Corks and Crowns.
My final thought: having a hat vendor at the event was genius.
Tags: california wine festival, east beach, chase palm park, wine tasting, damn that's a lot of wine
Summer is here, everyone's out and about. Which means First Thursday was full of good energy and bustling with friends. Walking down State Street seemed like one continuous hug.
The highlight was The Project, a gallery owned and managed by nine local women artists. It operates as a non-profit and 20% of proceeds are donated to Girls Helping Girls. I know this not only because I can see it on the First Thursday website, but I also had the good fortune of running into the ladies later in the night at Paradise Cafe.
The Project was the epicenter of First Thursday activity, with people chatting over the artwork, and chatting with each other, spilling out onto the street and greeting each other as if they were old friends who hadn't seen each other in years (more like since last First Thursday). Inside was excitement, through coversation, music and dance. And the artwork! It was hard to extract myself from The Project, but there was still so much to see.
Summer. Laughter. Art. Wine. Wrapping up with a stunning sunset.
Listen up. All Y'ALLs still upset over the loss of Deanos pizza can wipe those tears away. Rudi, the guy who made the pizza, is at the restaurant attached to the Creekside. The folks who own Alcazar and Milk & Honey have opened Meat n' Potatoes. Turns out Rudi has been making the pizzas at Creekside for some time, but god knows why that wasn't talked up more.
The pizza is still rolled many times, giving it that signature crisp flaky crust, and it's still baked on parchment to give the pizza the "crunchies," where the cheese browns and crisps at the edges.
Just my luck when I stopped in tonight while they were running a special on Facebook: all pizzas were $10. I got the bacon, caramelized onion, and mushroom pizza, normally $16.
Bonus: sweet potato fries, like the ones from chilango's.
CASH ONLY! But there is an ATM with a low ($2) transaction fee.
Tags: Meat and potatoes, red star, Creekside, Rudi, pizza, deanos
I gotta give props to the hardworking family running this, they are making a killing off visitors and we gringos who cannot bear to step foot in the plethora of other taquerias on Milpas. Charge what the market will bear, right? I say take the tourists for all their cash and send them on their way, feeling smug in their chowhound discoveries.
Did you know that Ms. Childs loved a good Costco hot dog as well? I don't hear people mumbling that in the costco food court line, whereas here it's every comment within earshot. And it's getting to be tall tale. Was it indeed "her favorite?" Because I heard Chuck Norris is such a badass that he roundhouse kicked this establishment into notoriety too.
My vegetable tamale was good. Worth $5.50? Hmm.
My little sopes were okay. Very small, very watery, would have preferred something other than chicken breast meat. Worth $8.50? No.
Props to here for being the first on Milpas to make fresh tortillas, although it is not a unique selling point anymore.
I don't know. Maybe I am not white enough to eat here.
Tracey and Steve always seemed to have the inside scoop on the new hot dog cart in town, Road Dogs, and always seemed to be in the Funk Zone when the cart cruised by, usually when I was nowhere nearby. Please understand that I have a hot dog fetish. I have a documentary on hot dogs that I watch a couple times a year, it makes me ravenous for hot dogs.
This weekend were two opportunities to try Road Dogs! I thought if I could hit up one of them, I'd be good. So I went today to the SB Food Truck Festival and got the Firecracker hot dog, which had bacon, nacho cheese, jalapenos and jalapeno mustard, $6. Btw, I also have a nacho cheese fetish, and most of us have a bacon fetish naturally, so this was a combination I could adore.
The other event, taking place tomorrow, is Road Dogs serving at Municipal Winemakers. As if City2 doesn't talk them up enough, because, duh, we love them. I find out today that they're serving up a special menu tomorrow at Muni. Gah! Now I need to go back and pair it with a nice Chenin Blanc. Anyway, here are the details.
Where: Municipal Winemakers - 22 Anacapa St. This is in the wine alley, near Mason Street. Muni is behind the Kunin winetasting room.
When: 4 July, 11 am - 2 pm.
What they'll be serving:
1. Classic - mustard, ketchup, relish, onions.
2. New Yorker - kraut, brown spicy mustard, onions.
Yeah, y'all can laugh at the idea of Santa Barbara having a Food Truck Festival, because I KNOW, we have, like, four gourmet food trucks in this town. I KNOW, we're not LA where a food truck festival shuts down a whole park due to overcrowding (I know, because I was one of the unfortunate hungry thousands stuck on the wrong side of the barrier).
But this is Santa Barbara, where we're a little smaller, a little more behind the trends, but gosh darn it, we do love the food trucks we have. I've dreamed of a time when our little collection of food trucks would find a place to gather and create a little food synergy. It's tomorrow.
Grab some cash and come down to the old BeeBop Burger site where there will be a handful of food trucks and some music and lots of summer heat.
O Street truck (banh mi, fries and more) Lickety Splits (fro-yo, ice cream sammies) The Burger Bus (burgers, onion rings, falafel) Road Dogs (hot dogs) Green & Tasty (not sure!) Thai On A Truck (Thai, duh) Tiki Taco (tacos, duh)
Haddon Cord 12:30 to 1:15pm Conor Patrick 1:30 to 2:15pm Matt Kustara & Friends 2:30 to 4:00pm TBD 4:15 to 5:00pm
I love TBD, they ROCK!!
Tags: food, food trucks, festival, o street truck, lickity splits, burger bus, road dogs, green & tasty, thai on a truck, tiki tacos