Sunday, October 25, 2009 

Who Killed the Honey Bees?

We did.

~ Bee Vibrant ~
Originally uploaded by ViaMoi.

...The nation’s great bee die-off has provoked a furious debate: What has caused a third of all commercial honeybee colonies to perish each year since 2006? Although widespread bee deaths have occurred before, the current sharp decline is different. This time some bees have simply vanished, abandoning their hives. The phenomenon, known as colony collapse disorder (CCD), has been attributed in part to the same viral and bacterial infections, pesticide poisonings, and mite infestations that devastated bees in the past.

Whatever the proximate cause, it increasingly appears that the bees are succumbing to a long-ignored underlying condition—inbreeding. Decades of agricultural and breeding practices meant to maximize pollinating efficiency have limited honeybees’ genetic diversity at a time when they need it the most. - Discover Magazine

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Saturday, October 24, 2009 

Vote for a Local Santa Barbara Edible Hero

Edible Communities 2010 Reader's Choice Local Hero Awards are here. These awards were developed to honor members of communities where Edible magazines are published who make significant contributions to their local food movements. Voting is open until Dec. 11, so you still have some time...but it's always good to get your votes in early. (But, not often may I remind you.) The winners will be honored/mentioned nationwide in all the Edible Publications so we are helping our local heroes get some great coverage for all their deliciously good work/products/efforts. Who is YOUR Edible Santa Barbara hero?

Click here to Vote for “Best Of Santa Barbara” in the following categories:

  • Farm/Farmer
  • Chef/Restaurant
  • Food Artisan
  • Beverage Artisan
  • Non-profit Organization

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Friday, October 23, 2009 

Congrats to new mom, Heidi Klum

Heidi Klum, Seal und Leni im Juni 2005
Originally uploaded by frogfriends.

She and husband Seal recently were delighted with an arrival of a new baby, Lou Sulola Samuel. I guess they decided to take a little getaway and were apparently having a nice family stroll along State Street this afternoon. I waited, along with the Seal-Klum family and their entourage, for the light to change on the corner of State and Canon Perdido. Too afraid to really get a good gander...and too shy to lean over and tell Heidi I love Project Runway.

The big pink pram and the bodyguards were a giveaway that celebrities were amongst us common folks, although, both Heidi and Seal were very calm, cool and seemingly unpretentious. Their kids acting, well, just like kids.

Too bad I didn't have my a Flickr photo will have to do. I'll, as Tim would say, "make it work."

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Thursday, October 22, 2009 

Michael Pollan's Botany of Desire

on PBS next Wednesday, October 28. Check your listings. Another "don't miss" public television show.

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Hansen Soda (maker of Monster Energy Drink)


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Wednesday, October 21, 2009 

Downey's Restaurant

If you want perhaps the best restaurant in Santa Barbara that supplies amazing meals day after day, year after year without the PR/media fanfare given other restaurants in our area, look no further than Downey's. Chef John Downey runs his little comfortable restaurant like a well oiled machine and last night's Chef's Local Tasting Dinner was a hands-down, checkered flag winner.

Appetizer - Fresh Local Crab with Ambrosia Melon. Pine Nuts, Opal Basil and Fresh Ginger-Lime Dressing. (packed with textures and flavors. Crunchy. Soft. Tangy. Smooth. Perfect compliments to each other. Perfect way to start up the tastebuds.)

Salad - Tom Shepherd's Salad with Fresh Herb Vinaigrette. (Tom Shepherd. Need we say more? Fresh, local salad...once you've tasted it, you will never want to go back to packaged stuff again...)

Main - Carpenter Ranch Squab with Caramelized Apples. Butternut Squash with Leeks. (Succulent. Moist. Taste of pure comfort. This meal would warm even the cockles of Scrooge's heart...oh, might even warm up Dick Cheney's.)

Dessert - Choice from the Dessert Trolley (I wanted them all, really..but chose a chocolate/hazelnut tart and refused to share it with any of my dining companions, save one.)

Four truffles to seal the dinner deal.

Absolutely scrumptious. No better way to celebrate Epicure.SB and showcase our local flavors than with a visit to our local little gem of a restaurant.

Thanks Chef Downey...and hostess with the mostess, Liz. I'll be back for more!

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Sunday, October 18, 2009 

Michael Pollan at the Bioneers Conference

introduced by Bioneers Founder, Kenny Ausubel

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I am a freakin' dip

I broke my schnoz while roller skating. I wasn't even going fast. I wasn't even doing any fancy moves. I fell flat on my face and now I look like Larry Cszonka.

I used to rollerskate all over the place when I was young. Isn't is supposed to be like riding a bike?

Vicodan is a bit too much for me. Don't like the crawly out of the skin feeling. Extra Strength Tylenol is my constant companion now.

The worst part, I can't get a new nose out of the deal. I wouldn't mind getting a little taken off the top and the end. I've been reading "Awful Plastic Surgery" for years...I know what I shouldn't ask for. Oh, Santa....

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009 

Here's hoping the Hydromulching holds

Tree top level if there were any trees
Originally uploaded by oceandrew.

cuz it's freakin' POURING.

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Whole Foods is finally open in Santa Barbara

Whole Foods Santa Barbara selling Endangered Fish
Originally uploaded by santa barbarian.

but why are they selling Chilean Sea Bass?

But Gerald Leape, the vice president for marine conservation at the National Environmental Trust in Washington, the nonprofit group that started the “take a pass on Chilean sea bass” campaign in 2001 among chefs, restaurants and markets nationwide, said he was concerned that the return of the fish to Whole Foods could be misread by consumers.

“They may think that all Chilean sea bass are O.K. now, and that’s not true,” he said. “The certified fishery accounts for only 10 percent of the total catch. Chilean sea bass are still overfished and depleted.”

Peter Hoffman, the chef and owner of Savoy in SoHo, who does not serve Chilean sea bass, said Whole Foods was sending a confusing message. “It boils down to oversimplification,” he said. “Sustainability is hard to understand, and now the consumer might think it applies to all Chilean sea bass. Other markets might put up similar signs, even though their fish does not come from that fishery. How many places that said they sold wild salmon actually turned out to be selling farmed once the fish were tested?” - NYTimes

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Politics is getting ugly here in Santa Barbara

There is a "Slate Mailer" flyer originating from Republicans in Sacramento that is extremely misleading. The local League of Women's Voters here have claimed foul.
This was sent by Linda Phillips, President of the SB LWV.
Dear LWVSB members,

Recently Santa Barbara voters received in the mail a so-called "Official Non-partisan Voter Guide" which prominently displayed the League of Women Voters logo. It appeared as though the information was provided by LWV. This is blatantly false.

And despite the fine-print disclaimer, our unauthorized inclusion in the mailer gave the impression that we support its slate of candidates. LWV never endorses nor opposes candidates for any office.

For general information about the League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara, our correct website is . For impartial election information, go to .

Please feel free to forward this message.

Linda Phillips
Call Gilliard Blanning Wysocki & Associates and ask them why they are misleading voters in a city in which their business is not located and their employees are not part of the community.

Phone: 916/444.1502
Fax: 916/444.0128
Address: 921 11th Street
Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95814

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Flash Floods, Heavy Rains, High Winds

Looks like Santa Barbara is actually going to experience some real weather. Keep your fingers crossed that all that aerial hydromulching in the mountains and foothills works.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009 

If it says Libby's Libby's Libby's on the label, label, label

you might NOT be able to get it on your table, table, table.
Pumpkin pie lovers be warned: You may not find your favorite can of pie filling at the supermarket.

There's a national shortage of canned pumpkin and pie filling, a result of poor weather that reduced last year's crop.

Shoppers report finding bare shelves, and the supermarkets say they have been put on an "allocation," or quota, system by Libby's, a division of food giant Nestle that controls more than 80% of the canned pumpkin market.

Libby's typically uses surpluses from the previous year to stock store shelves during September and October, when the annual pumpkin harvest gets underway.

Wet conditions during last year's growing season left canners without a surplus this year, said Roz O'Hearn, a Libby's spokeswoman.

...Shoppers could confront a similar shortage next year. - Latte Times
As I mentioned in a post back in 2005 (geez...have I been blogging that long?), Libby's doesn't use just any ol' pumpkin. They have a specially bred varietal, Libby's Select Dickinson.

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OK...I admit it....I miss the Alcapulco Restaurant

Alcapulco Restaurant
Originally uploaded by santa barbarian.

La Arcada is just lifeless without the hub-bub of tourists and happy hour goers enjoying a margarita...or two...or three. A wannabe highend nightclub serving up bad, greasy foo-foo food just didn't cut it. It just didn't match the comfortable surroundings with their perceived arrogance.

Isn't there someone out there who would be willing (and financially able) to put in an affordable, comfortable and accessible restaurant...hopefully not a chain...but, heck, something?

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Saturday, October 10, 2009 

Parent company of Yogurtland gets sued

And, FauxYo's future may not be as appetizing as one would hope.
An L.A. law firm has announced via this press release that they have filed a class action lawsuit against the chain and "on behalf of all purchasers of a certain so-called 'frozen yogurt' product made and/or marketed by Yogurtland International, LLC ("Yogurtland")" - OCWeekly

Yogurtland has been slapped with a class-action lawsuit which alleges that they are being a bit shady when it comes to how they name, make, and serve their "frozen yogurt." - LAist
The part of the press release that is a little unappetizing (and quite frankly, disturbing)...

" Also, Yogurtland does not list the ingredients in each of the products served and failed to provide its ingredients upon inquiry. Moreover, Yogurtland has illegal and unsanitary business practices. By and through their staff's own admission, Yogurtland, in violation of California law, reclaims and reuses product by either (1) emptying their product from the soft-serve machines and reusing old product the next morning or (2) leaving product in the soft-serve machines overnight for reuse the next day. Such practices create potential health hazards to customers."


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Problem with Ballots

Just received this email alert.

Important Voter Alert from Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum

Dear Santa Barbara Voter,

This is an alert about a potential problem with the vote by mail ballots.

Some voters may not have received their ballot in the mail for the Santa Barbara City election. There are reports that ballots intended for complexes or apartment buildings may have been stacked with the junk or marketing mail rather than inserted into mailboxes.

This raises serious concerns that Santa Barbara apartment residents may not have fair access to their ballots.

Every registered voter in Santa Barbara should have received their mail-in ballot this week-- in their mailbox. Remember, this year’s election is an all-vote-by-mail election, so the ballot you were mailed is the only method of voting this year.

If you are a registered voter in Santa Barbara, you have the right to vote. If you did not receive your ballot please call the Santa Barbara City Clerk’s office immediately at 805-564-5309. They will send you a replacement ballot allowing you to vote.

If you sent in your ballot and want to make sure it was received, call the same number, 805-564-5309, and City Hall staff will check their data to make sure they got your ballot.

Finally, if you are aware of official city ballots that were not placed into the appropriate mailboxes, please call Democratic Party Headquarters and let us know: 805-965-8030.

For further information on the vote by mail election, you can visit the city’s voter information webpage at

Make sure your vote counts! Santa Barbara, 'send it in.'

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Friday, October 09, 2009 

Can't believe I hauled my carcass

out of bed this early. And why are the NASA peeps wearing red shirts? Did they learn nothing from Star Trek?

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Thursday, October 08, 2009 

When Michael Pollan speaks..most people listen.

Some, however, "freak out" especially if they are part of "Big Beef" industry.
Nationally known sustainable food expert Michael Pollan will now be part of a panel discussion at Cal Poly on Oct. 15 rather than giving his planned one-hour lecture. The recently announced format change comes on the heels of a letter to Cal Poly President Warren Baker from Harris Ranch Beef Company Chairman David E. Wood, threatening to withdraw a pledged $500,000 donation for a new meat processing facility on the campus. - New Times SLO

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009 

Brian Malarkey...another Top Cheflebrity

is coming to Santa Barbara for an evening of dishing...and plating. Thank you Pete and Gerd Jordano for co-sponsoring this evening with Chef Malarkey!
October 29, 2009
Start Time: 6:00PM End Time: 8:30PM
Location: Hotel Mar Monte, 1111 E. Cabrillo Blvd.
Information: 805.879.1317
Admission: $35 per person, advance purchase required, seating is limited.

An entertaining and informative culinary demonstration with Bravo TV's Top Chef Season 3, Miami finalist, Brian Malarkey. Wine and cheese reception begins at 6pm. Demonstrations begins at 7pm. Chef Malarkey will be on hand throughout the evening to meet and greet. Co-sponsored by Jordano's. Purchase tickets by calling Stephanie at 879.1335 or Cindy at 879.1317.

brian malarkey
Originally uploaded by Food Blogga.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009 

Got Faux Hawk and Tats?

Pack your spices and get yourselves ready to flambe. Bravo announces a casting call for Season(ed) 7 of Top Chef.

NEW YORK - October 5, 2009 - Today, Bravo announced that the Emmy and James Beard Award-winning "Top Chef," the No. 1 rated food show on cable, will be returning for a seventh season. Open calls for chefs interested in competing in the high-stakes culinary competition series will be held in cities across the country starting on October 18.

...For additional casting information and to download an application, visit "Top Chef" season seven casting calls are as follows:

Sunday, October 18, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
The Parlor

Sunday, October 25, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Club 50 at Viceroy Miami

Monday, October 26, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Wells on Wells

Wednesday, November 4, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Occidental Grill & Seafood at Willard InterContinental Hotel

Sunday, November 8, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Wednesday, November 11, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Sunday, November 15, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Craft Restaurant

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Gourmet Magazine

is toast.

Thank you for a delicious 68 years of travel and dining and everything in between.

Ben Huh (of Icanhascheezburger) has offered to buy the magazine...via Twitter. Wonder if he's kidding.

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Sunday, October 04, 2009 

It was Avocado Festival time for me

Nabal Avocados for sale
Originally uploaded by santa barbarian.

and I spent a couple hours wandering around, partaking of the goodness of the green.

One thing I noticed, Cold Stone Creamery was dishing out the avocado ice cream and not McConnell's. I have to say, I liked McConnell's better.

Friday, October 02, 2009 

Fabio Viviani signing my book

Fabio Viviani signing my book
Originally uploaded by santa barbarian.

what a great BDay present to myself.

And good news....He's getting his own reality show on Bravo!

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