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CULINARY COUP    .    .    .

      COASTING with BONNIE CARROLL



DINING WITH FRIENDS AT FINCH & FORK

Corner Grill Cocktails

by Bonnie Carroll

A visit to the Finch & Fork Corner Grill in the Kimpton Canary hotel in the heart of Santa Barbara is really a must for visitors to this city by the sea, where the welcoming cocktail bar people offer highly creative cocktails with small plates, including fresh oysters that keep locals and hotel guests coming back for more.

George Peperis Serves "Barbie Bath Bomb" Cocktails

If you are a duck lover or long for skillfully prepared sea scallops you will love the preparations and presentation by Executive Chef Peter Cham and Sous Chef Elijah Klein who bring new delicious meaning to interesting flavors in all their menu selections. Chef Cham has become well known for his outstanding scallops served with corn relish, pickled freso chili and chorizo vinaigrette, and the duck breast with carrot cardamon puree, farro, pearl onions, and blackberry gastrique is now one of my favorite duck preparations. The restaurant menu is well rounded including fish, pork, chicken pasta and meat dishes, as well as a collection of interesting sides, salads and special soups.

My finger licking good apricot & mustard glazed rib appetizer was perfectly paired with a chilled glass of NV Taittinger Brut champagne. Ken Brown Pinot Noir was magical with Chef's scallops and Santa Ynez Valley Sunstone Viognier blended beautifully with the duck breast entree. Their daily specials are varied and offer something for everyone from a burger & beer on Monday to a slow roasted prime rib on Sunday and it's all delicious. During my visit I spoke with a local couple who visit Fork & Finch every Sunday night for favorite 'best in town' prime rib dinner with mashed potatoes and vegetables.

The dining room is a large room with big comfortable booths or roomy center tables for large groups, and has a very warm and comfortable feeling. All of the employees are great at making patrons welcome and accommodating their needs; from the cocktail bar to the dining booths no one drops the ball. The lead Bar George Piperis prepares some classic and original cocktails with names like 'Barbie Bath Bomb' and Summer Negroni, while sommelier Joe Dohany is brilliant at pairing perfect wines with your small plates or dinner items.

 

If you still have room for dessert the cheesecake with fresh fruits is a sweet sinful ending to a superb dinner at Finch & Fork. The hotel also has a lovely rooftop where special events are hosted weekly, details can be found on their website at www.finchandforkrestaurant.com. For reservations call 805-879-9100.

FINCH & FORK

Corner Grill Cocktails

11 West Carrillo Street

Santa Barbara, California

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PASSPORT TO INTERNATIONAL WINE PAIRING AT             LES MARCHANDS IN THE FUNK ZONE

by Bonnie Carroll

To say it's a pleasure to enjoy a leisurely dinner at Les Marchands Restaurant and Wine Shop would be an understatement. This inviting venue is where Chef Weston Richards is serving a 'Passport to Germany: Baden and Pfalz' set menu for guests during October, paired with fine wine from the renowned Les Marchands collection. The European-style restaurant and retail wine shop is located in the center of the popular Santa Barbara Funk Zone, next door to The Lark restaurant.

Les Marchands Chef Weston Richards has a long culinary career in Santa Barbara that began over 16 years ago at Santa Barbara’s Sage & Onion. From there, he began to shine at Wine Cask and its sister restaurant Intermezzo, creating dishes to complement their Grand Award winning Wine Spectator list of wines. Later, he founded the critically acclaimed Spare Parts, a hot popup spot. Richards was integral in opening Les Marchands, his current home, and has directed the show for more than four years. His menu is greatly influenced by the time he spent in Rome, Tuscany and Naples Italy, as well as North African cuisine of Morocco and Tunisia. His menu at Les Marchands is diverse and seasonally inspired.

I love this intimate room, and the outside garden as well, for its welcoming atmosphere and friendly service. It is an ideal place for catching up with friends or a great date night dinner spot, with walls filled with fine wines and divine small plates to savor. I find it very reminiscent of many little French restaurants in Paris that I've visited over the years. The designers have managed to bring a stylish warmth to a shell of a building using artistic lighting fixtures, a European looking bar, wall of wine and cozy cafe style tables and chairs.They also make some classic cocktails to sip before dinner.

Chef Weston Richards has a long culinary career in Santa Barbara that began over 16 years ago at Santa Barbara’s Sage & Onion. From there, he began to shine at Wine Cask and its sister restaurant Intermezzo, creating dishes to complement their Grand Award winning Wine Spectator list of wines. Later, he founded the critically acclaimed Spare Parts, a hot popup spot. Richards was integral in opening Les Marchands, his current home, and has directed the show for more than four years. His menu is greatly influenced by the time he spent in Rome, Tuscany and Naples Italy, as well as North African cuisine of Morocco and Tunisia. His menu at Les Marchands is diverse and seasonally inspired.

Our Germany: Baden & Pfalz passport dinner began with house-made bacon toast charred sourdough, crescenza, caramelized onion with arugula served with a delicious a glass of Dr Heger, 2014, Baden Silvaner, Ihringer Winkelberg, followed by an entree of crispy pork cheeks on caraway spatzle, roasted mushrooms, crème friache and watercress to savor slowly with a glass of 2016 Pinot Noir, Becker Rechtenbacher Erstes Gewachs, from Pfalz, Germany.

These dishes reminded me of menu items found in small villages I visited in June while cruising on the Rhine. The divine ending to this German surprise dinner was a dark chocolate mousse with sour cherries, chocolate streusel and cinnamon cherry chantilly paired with Rieslander, Gimmeldinger Schlossel, Muller-Catoir 2016, Pfalz, and it was sehr herrlich (very delightful).

Les Marchands is presenting special passport dinners with food & wine pairings from various destinations as an opportunity for patrons and guests to savor the amazing international and local wines available, along with experience the versatile talent of chef Richards. If this German dinner is an example of what can be expected I feel certain guests will be very pleased with this delicious destination dining experience. For changing passport menu information and reservations visit www.lesmarchandswine.com or call 805-28-0380.

Les Marchands

131 Anacapa Street

Santa Barbara, CA 93101

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Chef Battle Announces 2019 Food Trends Prediction
National Cooking Competition Surveys Chefs Across the US
Chef Battle, a national cooking competition tournament series produced by Social Power Hour, releases its 2019 food trends prediction after surveying over 500 chefs from around the United States.
The top 5 2019 food predictions are:
  1. Fermentation
  2. Plant-Based Foods
  3. Watercress
  4. Seafood
  5. Allergen Safe Foods
Chefs compete in over 50 cities across the country for a chance to advance to a regional battle for the opportunity to compete on our national stage at the All-American Chef Battle. Chefs have one-hour to cook their best dish at the local competition and are judged by food industry experts, chefs, food writers, food influencers and of course, the crowd!
Chef Battle is the only national cooking competition to focus on small and large markets. The company’s goal is to find the best chef in America, because chefs in the small towns around the country are starting to elevate their menus to cater to consumer demand for an enhanced food experience that are competing in quality with cities like New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Las Vegas — some of the countries most popular foodie destinations.
Chef Battle will release its 2019 schedule at a later date. Currently scheduled 2019 events can be found on Eventbrite.

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Voted Best Authentic Italian Restaurant in Santa Barbara by Italian Tourism LA!

NOW OPEN Ca' Dario Cucina Italiana

250 Storke Street

Goleta, California 93117

Ca' Dario Ristorante

37 E. Victoria Street

Santa Barbara, California 93101

805-884-9419

cadariosb@gmail.com

http://www.cadario.net

 


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© 2008 Bonnie Carroll, All Rights Reserved