CULINARY SANTA BARBARA
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