Edible Notables

OstrichLand USA

A cross between a gift shop and a petting zoo, OstrichLand USA in Buellton is also a great stop for some unusual food finds. With over 50 ostriches and emus, visitors are invited to feed the animals, take photos or just pick up something for dinner.

Fresh Ostrich and Emu Eggs

Ostrich eggs have made appearances on Iron Chef and Top Chef. An exotic egg makes a great gift for a foodie or an unusual addition to an Easter basket. OstrichLand USA has fresh ostrich eggs nearly year round and fresh emu eggs during winter and spring. Each ostrich egg is equivalent in size to 18–24 chicken eggs and the emu egg is the equivalent of 10–12 chicken eggs. Since these eggshells are so stunning, the proprietor will demonstrate the technique for removing the contents of the egg while preserving the shell. The cost of the eggs is $20–$30, depending on the size.

Frozen Ostrich Meat

They also sell ostrich meat jerky and frozen ostrich meat, a very low-fat, low-cholesterol meat with a flavor similar to lean beef. It is high in calcium, protein and iron. The ostrich meat is not from their birds. They bring in the meat from ranches that raise ostriches exclusively for meat.

Ostrichland USA is located at 610 E. Highway 246 in Buellton. They are open daily, 10am–Dark. Hours can vary depending on the season, so it’s a good idea to call ahead. (805) 686-9696.

Los Olivos Café and Wine Merchant

A Menu for a Locavore

On the front cover of their menu, Los Olivos Café lets you know right up front where your food comes from. Listing the names and locations of eight area farms, they demonstrate their commitment to local, organic, wild and sustainable foods. Los Olivos Café’s Chef Nat Ely prepares handcrafted California-Mediterranean cuisine made with the freshest seasonal ingredients.

And what is local food without local wine? With the Wine Merchant, they feature over 500 local and international vintages, and they are the exclusive distributor of owner Sam Marmorstein’s Bernat Wines. They also have a selection of gifts, gourmet foods, cookbooks and wine-related items.

Lunch and dinner are served daily from 11:30am–9pm. (805) 688-7265.  2879 Grand Ave., Los Olivos. Check the website for Wine Tasting Wednesdays and other events:

Spiritland Bistro

BYOB Wine & Dine

Spiritland Bistro has created a wonderful concept to combine local dining and wine tasting. The last Wednesday of each month they hold a wine theme dinner. Here’s how it works: You bring a wine matched to the theme for that night for all to sample (no corkage), and the restaurant will prepare a gourmet organic four-course meal to match that particular wine. Seating is family-style to encourage interaction and promote a community feeling of fun. An industry expert (usually a local winemaker) speaks between courses to provide some background on the wine theme and the food pairing. Cost is only $45 including tax and tip. Since seating is limited, advance reservations by credit card are required.

April 29: Italian Big Reds from Piedmont (Barbera, Barbaresco, Barolo, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo) with Brett Escalera of Consilience and Tre Anelli

May 27: Loire Valley Whites (Sauvignon Blanc/Chenin Blanc) with Fred Brander of Brander

June 24: California Sparkling Wine with Norm Yost of Flying Goat

Spiritland Bistro is located on the corner of Victoria and Garden St. and is open Wednesday through Sunday: 5:30–9pm and Friday and Saturday: 5:30–10pm. (805) 966-7759.


One-of-a-Kind Vintage

Whether it’s authentic vintage or a modern take on vintage, Retroville has the coolest finds for you and your kitchen—from Bauer pottery to curvy rattan furniture to vintage-inspired Northstar appliances and an amazing array of accessories. They also have a great selection of kitchen linens and even offer modern oilcloth fabric by the yard. We especially love their own line of aprons in retro and edgy fabrics. They are on the same block of State Street as the Tuesday Farmers Market, making it a convenient place to pop in to say hello. Chances are that either of the local owners Slade or Jettie, or their daughter Lindsey, will be on hand to answer questions or tell you what’s new.

Open Monday through Thursday from 10am–6:30pm, Friday and Saturday 10am–8pm, Sundays 11am–6pm. 521 State Street, Santa Barbara. (805) 845-7910.

Grow Food Not Lawns

Santa Barbara Food Not Lawns is the grassroots group based in Santa Barbara, and loosely affiliated with a growing collective of grassroots gardeners promoting urban sustainability. Their goal is to encourage people to grow food and to share that food with their neighbors and the community as a whole.

It all started with a simple neighborhood exchange group on the Mesa in March 2007. People brought their surplus vegetables and made friends with their neighbors. Other garden exchanges soon started up including the Westside, Goleta and Carpinteria. In October 2008 further inspiration came from Heather C. Flores author of Food Not Lawns, who came to Santa Barbara to give a talk and a workshop in conjunction with Fairview Gardens. The Santa Barbara group decided that that they should begin even more neighborhood garden groups and associate themselves with the over 30 Food Not Lawn groups that had formed internationally. If you haven’t been to a garden exchange, it’s time to seek one out. You don’t have to come with surplus produce, come with your questions or simply some curiosity about turning our urban and suburban environment into fruitful garden spaces.

For more detailed information, including a list of upcoming neighborhood exchange days, go to: Also check out, started and moderated by Heather C. Flores, author of Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community.

Vertical Tasting

We asked C’est Cheese to select four cheeses that would fit the old saying “Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue,” and they came up with this terrific line up. This would be the perfect theme for a wedding, engagement or bridal shower cheese platter. You can have fun decorating the platter and making tags for each cheese. And don’t forget to accompany these cheeses with an assortment of crackers, freshly sliced baguette, nuts and dried fruits. Almondina (Italian style almond raisin wafers) are particularly nice with the blue cheese.

Something Old

Vella Dry Jack

  • Animal: Cow
  • Origin: California
  • Rind: Inedible

Rubbed in cocoa and pepper, this aged, hard Jack from Sonoma County is a true original. The flavor is nutty and sharp and slightly sweet with a firm, flaky texture.

Something New

Mt. Tam

  • Animal: Cow
  • Origin: California
  • Rind: Edible

This is a luscious triple-crème cow’s milk cheese from Marin County’s Cowgirl Creamery. Made in the style of a classic French triple crème, it has an edible bloomy rind with a rich buttery flavor and slightly salty finish.

Something Borrowed



  • Animal: Sheep
  • Origin: France
  • Rind: Inedible

Borrowed from France, this is a deliciously buttery, semi-firm sheep’s milk cheese made in the classic Basque style of Southern France.

Something Blue

Point Reyes

  • Animal: Cow
  • Origin: California
  • Rind: Edible

This is a smooth creamy blue cheese with a fresh, crisp tanginess and crumbly texture.

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Categories Spring 2009