Food Section Wednesday
Restaurant Journal - For a wine and food mecca, Santa Barbara is usually pretty quiet on the restaurant news front. But as summer winds down, the scene has had plenty to buzz about.
News of Square One. - Around the corner and a world away from the mid-afternoon-margarita crowd on newly brick-lined, heavily touristed State Street, Square One is Tuley's oasis, with pale blue and ivory walls, high ceilings, a long travertine bar, tall vases filled with gladioluses and a single Julian Schnabel painting hung by the door.
News of Hungry Cat.- Getting into the Hungry Cat is the problem, since it has a confusing no-reservations policy. If you go at 7 or 7:30, you could easily end up waiting for a table for an hour and a half. Seats at the counter or tables for two seem to be in bigger supply than tables for four. The trick is to go at 5, when the restaurant opens, but if you're not used to dining early, this may not be so appealing. Otherwise, you can call ahead and ask to be put on the waiting list for a table. However, if there are any tables open, you can't get on the waiting list and have to take your chances that one will still be free when you get there.
News of the Region's "Terroir" - "The region has a lot of young winemakers looking for great fruit," says Kevin Merrill, vineyard manager for White Hawk Vineyard. "And you have a lot of rich guys coming here and buying vineyard land, hoping that they will develop the next Bien Nacido.
Thoughts on a Wine Country Picnic - The dusky leaves of the gnarled live oaks undulate in the breeze, and acres of Syrah and Grenache and Sangiovese vines stretch out before you. A couple of cows make slow progress down the golden hills in the distance; there's the faint music of a fountain, a clink of glasses, a rustle of leaves. You break crusty bread, slice into a softly collapsing cheese. A plate of figs, a bunch of grapes, a glass of wine.
It's harvest season in Santa Barbara wine country, and the grapes are hanging fat and purple and heavy on the vines. It's the perfect moment for a picnic in the vineyards.
and news on the latest "grape gossip"