Santa Maria Valley. Photo by Wil Fernandez.

Wine Without Water

Rare Santa Barbara County Dry-Farmed Vineyard

by Wil Fernandez
Sunday, September 20th, 2015

In Europe, wine grapes have been farmed without irrigation for thousands of years. In these regions, where every aspect of wine production is tightly regulated, the practice is outlawed under the belief that irrigation can be detrimental to quality. Some wine critics argue that using water as a substitute for rainfall is not a true

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A Cocktail Winner by a Nose

by George Yatchisin
Saturday, September 19th, 2015

I’d like to argue that smoke is a flavor. After all, much of what we taste comes from our sense of smell, and even vegetarians can weaken at their knees if there’s the scent of bacon in the air. Tell me that’s not smoky pork calling to some basic desire we all have had since

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Mediterranean Watermelon Salad

Friday, September 18th, 2015

Surprisingly, watermelons are one of those crops that are less water-intensive to grow. And not surprisingly, it’s a popular salad ingredient all over the Mediterranean.

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Oh, Grow Up

by Joan S. Bolton
Friday, September 18th, 2015

Many summer vegetable plants tend to be on the big side, with each individual plant claiming a good-sized footprint on the earth. But if you’re cramped for space, consider going up instead.

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Red Oak Smoke Rising

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Where there’s smoke, there’s barbecue. But if that smoke is from red oak, more precisely California coast live oak, it just might be the famous Santa Maria-style barbecue. Countless magazine articles, blog postings and even celebrity chefs have raved about our local barbecue—the meat, the menu and the tradition.

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The Hitching Post I and II

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

The keepers of the flame and the oak-grilled barbecue are the brothers Bill and Frank Ostini. In 1952 the Ostini family bought a remote steak house in Casmalia called the Hitching Post. Bill and Frank grew up in the restaurant.

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Santa Maria-Style Barbecue Tri-Tip

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Santa Maria-style barbecue is all about the smoke—grilling over the coals of red oak logs gives it an authentic flavor. Ideally you need a wood-fired barbecue pit with a movable grate, so that you can adjust the meat’s proximity to the heat.

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Fall 2015

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Upcoming Events

  1. 09

    Bernat Winemaker Dinner at Los Olivos Cafe

    October 9 @ 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
  2. 11

    Harvest Vineyard Walk & Lunch at Buttonwood Winery

    October 11 @ 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
  3. 17

    Riverbench Has Talent!

    October 17 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
  4. 17

    Los Alamos Third Evening Stroll

    October 17 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  5. 17

    Third Saturday Dinner at Bell Street Farm

    October 17 @ 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
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