The 15th annual California Wine Festival saw an array of wineries, breweries and food purveyors gathered amidst a classic summer day in sunny Santa Barbara. Taking place in downtown Santa Barbara, literally steps from the beach, the festival attracted a fun-loving crowd that perused from tent to tent, different tastes in tow every step of the way.
Many familiar labels and storefronts from years past returned for repeat performances, accompanied by a few new faces. And as the festival’s name reveals, wines were the star of the show, with free-flowing red, white, rose, champagne and sangria. Wineries included 3 Steves, Miner Family Winery, Ferguson Crest, One Madrone, McGrail Vineyards, Rutherford Wine Company, Wood Family Vineyards and Vinemark Cellars among many others.
Beer lovers found themselves right at home as well, with breweries gaining a stronger presence year after year. Everything from Mexican lagers and red ales to hoppy IPA’s and avocado ginger compilations made for an intriguing and palate-pleasing addition to the wine scene. Featured brewers included Unibroue, Santa Barbara Brewing Company, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Island Brewing Company, The Brewhouse in Santa Barbara, Firestone Walker and M. Special.
While food isn’t a namesake feature of the festival, a scattering of culinary vendors kept libations in check. Enterprise Fish Co., Hippy Pop Popcorn, Oat Bakery, Hoppy Fused Food, and Santa Barbara Woodfire Catering represented some of Santa Barbara’s local food scene, joined by larger brands such as Kerrygold and Gelson’s.
Be on the lookout for the next California Wine Festival, with events taking place across Southern California year-round. Visit CaliforniaWineFestival.com for more info.
Lunetta All Day has expanded beyond its fast-casual roots to Lunetta Dining and The Moon Bar, located right next door. The sophisticated concepts allow Executive Chef and former pro surfer Raphael Lunetta—one of the first chefs to popularize farm-to-table dining—to flex his culinary muscle, as well as provide an intimate setting for guests to enjoy an upscale meal in East Santa Monica.
Lunetta Dining unveils impeccably complex, yet approachable dishes that showcase everything about LA’s contemporary dining scene. Beverage Director and Sommelier Kristine Bocchino’s wine and cocktail program matches the same exoticism and attention to detail, with both food and drink boasting artistic presentation and a pleasantly reckless incorporation of flowers that puts a smile on your face.
Lunetta and Bocchino are joined by Partner and Proprietor Mike Garrett [Voda, Lounge 217, Falcon, Anisette, Pearl Dragon] and Daniel Weinstock [Spago, Maple Block Meat Co.] for a combined wealth of restaurant experience at the helm.
Farm-to-table continues to ring true at Lunetta Dining, with an ever-changing menu to reflect seasonal flavors. Summer brings dishes such as grilled nectarines with machego and prosciutto, ahi tuna tartare, New Zealand rack of lamb and wood-grilled loup de mer and Spanish octopus. Drinks such as the honey ryder, the tired but wired and the not your mama’s negroni allow Moon Bar to share Lunetta Dining’s motif of familiarity with exploratory nuances.
Lunetta Dining Room and Bar is located at 2424 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405, next to Lunetta All Day. For more information call (310) 581-9888 or visit LunettaSM.com.
Crossings, known for hyperlocal American fare, has unveiled a new menu that hones in on spring and summer. Newly hired Executive Chef Kevin Malone has hit the ground running, bringing dramatic attention to detail and a special eye for exotic ingredients built up from his time at Mattei’s Tavern [Los Olivos] and Gargantua, an enchanting Santa Monica pop-up.
Both quaint and dynamic, Crossings allows guests to savor modern flavor in a century-old setting, with brick-and-mortar walls that date back to the building’s construction in 1913. In addition to an intimate dining room, cozy bar, and outdoor patio is the beautiful wine cellar, with a broad list that includes Angeleno Wine Company, LA’s first winery in more than 100 years.
Chef Malone’s range covers flavors from across the globe, with a special focus on locally-sourced ingredients. His heirloom tomato salad sources produce from the nearby farmers market, with creamy burrata, basil and pickled mustard seed. The spot prawn is drawn from the Santa Barbara coast, with Latin-inspired elote corn and queso fresco.
The menu continues its traverse with the Alaksan halibut, utilizing sous vide preparation to retain ridiculous moisture. The al pastor employs sous vide as well—cooking 36 hours undoubtedly releases excellent results, complemented further with amazing roti bread. BTW did you know al pastor is actually Lebanese?
Dessert gets the same seasonal treatment, highlighted by a homemade strawberry rhubarb pie with a buttery crust that’ll knock your socks off. Chef Malone adds fun plays with a white chocolate pot de crème and upscale elephant’s ears.
Crossings is located at Crossings Restaurant, 1010 Mission St, South Pasadena, CA 91030. Open 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. Mon – Thu, 5:30 – 10 p.m. Fri – Sat, 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. Sun. For more information call (626) 799-7001 or visit Crossings-Restaurant.com
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.