CULI­NARY SANTA BAR­BARA

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - JASON PALUSKA

GO: Com­ing up in Oc­to­ber is one of my favourite events: Santa Bar­bara’s month-long epi­cure.sb, a fes­ti­val that high­lights Cal­i­for­nia’s food and wine cre­den­tials. It’s su­per cool to cruise around and try all the great dishes our peers are drum­ming up and we like to do spe­cial menus fea­tur­ing the best of au­tumn pro­duce at The Lark. Dur­ing the year, I love to fish off Go­leta Pier, where I catch lo­cal crabs, snap­per, surf perch or corv­ina. It’s so cool to be able to throw a line in the wa­ter and come out with some­thing amaz­ing for din­ner. I also like to ride my bike around town, jump­ing in the ocean of­ten; santabar­baraca.com/epi­curesb; the­larksb.com.

EAT: Santa Bar­bara is known around the world for its awe­some taque­rias (tacos are a ma­jor food group, aren’t they?). My favourites are El Ba­jio Ta­que­ria, Cuer­navaca Ta­que­ria and Los Agaves. For a spe­cial night out, I head to the Santa Ynez Val­ley and hit up S.Y. Kitchen, which serves in­cred­i­ble Ital­ian food us­ing the best lo­cal in­gre­di­ents; cuer­nava­cata­que­ria.com; los-agaves.com; syk­itchen.com.

DRINK: Af­ter work we like to hang out at Elsie’s Tav­ern, The Press Room or Pickle Room.

BUY: The Satur­day Farm­ers Mar­ket in down­town Santa Bar­bara is a hot ticket year-round. It sells the fresh­est pro­duce you can imag­ine and it’s al­ways great to get to know our lo­cal farm­ers; sb­farm­ers­mar­ket.org.

EX­PLORE: Stroll around Santa Bar­bara on the Ur­ban Wine Trail, a col­lec­tion of 24 tast­ing rooms for winer­ies from the val­ley. It’s a great way to spend an af­ter­noon, stop­ping off to try all the new wines. Each has a unique style and vibe, so it’s fun to taste them all; ur­ban­wine­trailsb.com.

STAY: The Way­farer is a brand new hipster ho­tel right in the heart of the city’s Funk Zone. It has free bikes you can bor­row and a pool area right on State Street, only two blocks from the beach. It’s great for a ro­man­tic break or get a bunk room with a bunch of friends be­cause it dou­bles as a hos­tel. Ho­tel Milo is per­fectly lo­cated im­me­di­ately across from the West Beach vol­ley­ball courts; an in­cred­i­ble lo­ca­tion to ex­plore all of Santa Bar­bara on foot or bike; paci­fic­a­ho­tels.com/the­way­farer; hotelmilosantabar­bara.com.

Jason Paluska, born in Texas, has over­seen the kitchens at The Lark res­tau­rant, in Santa Bar­bara’s trendy Funk Zone, since it opened in 2013, and at Lucky Penny, lo­cated next door. The Lark spe­cialises in shared-plate din­ing and lo­cally sourced pro­duce; the­larksb.com; luck­ypen­nysb.com.

Graham Er­bacher Graham.Er­bacher@news.com.au

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