Santa Barbara beyond the break
For a well-rounded sip of Santa Barbara’s 22,000 acres of vineyards, hit
AVA Santa Barbara, showcasing the region’s viticultural areas through a literal tasting tutorial mapped on the wall (see photo above), as well as wines served on-tap and from the bottle.
After sampling a wee section of all that is fine and good in the region’s South Country, I headed back to The Goodland, my SoCal stay, and a new concept property by Kimpton Hotels.
The Goodland, A Kimpton Hotel
Featuring a classic Woodie surf wagon and an Airstream named “Rita” out front, the space screams ‘60s surf cabin-chic. And even though it’s in the hills, the hotel has a thriving beach vibe thanks to exposed wood, marine rope adorning just about everything, and original art capturing scenes from the nearby shoreline.
Here, I desperately wanted to join the nightly social hour hawking spiked agua fresca(!), but I had a reservation at Outpost, the hotel’s destination restaurant helmed by a well-traveled chef who skateboards in his free time.
“I’m drawn to Santa Barbara because of all the in-season food”, Derek Simcik told me as we discussed my pan-seared local halibut with Israeli couscous. Having lived all over the world from Japan to Tunisia to Austria to Greece to Chicago, Simcik said he feels at home in the coastal community known for its 365-day summer because he gets to live his version of la dolce vita: Experiment with the local bounty, skate, and motorbike.
Culture vultures such as Simcik are the people taking Santa Barbara’s finest assets—from seashore to mountaintop—and infusing them with fresh flavors and far-flung ideas. Let me tell you; the result is swell.