Urgent Dispatch from F&W's Kate Krader: Santa Barbara
After the movie Sideways, I didn't know if it was possible to go to Santa Barbara and not spend most of my time tasting Pinot Noir. But I was determined to try. I checked into the Hotel Andalucía (doubles from $325; 31 W. Carrillo; 877-468-3515), the Slatkin brothers' new Spanish Colonial Revival-style boutique hotel, with ornate iron railings and vaulted doorways. (Next time I might stay at San Ysidro Ranch, where John and Jackie Kennedy honeymooned, and where owner and Beanie Babies inventor Ty Warner is redoing the 38 cottages.) Nearby L'Ombretta (1134 Chapala St.; 805-965-4247), a recently opened Venetian wine bar, just might be the only place in town that doesn't feature local Pinots—the wine list is completely Italian. Almost all the selections are available by the glass; I had a fruity red, Ferruccio Sgubin Schioppettino, which they told me isn't available anywhere else in the country. Walking around, I discovered D'Angelo Bread (25 W. Gutierrez St.; 805-962-5466), which has an incredibly moist seed-studded multigrain bread called Rudolf Steiner (presumably after the 20th-century health-food guru). I was already full when I got to the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company (230 Stearns Wharf; 805-966-6676), an adorable restaurant favored by Julia Child (who lived her last years in Santa Barbara). Since it's located at the end of a pier, you can watch pelicans fly by as you eat tacos made with shrimp or local spiny lobster, cabbage and creamy dressing. The one place I didn't get to try was Sevilla (428 Chapala St.; 805-564-8446), the just-opened restaurant from E. Michael Reidt (an F&W Best New Chef 2001), who's serving exciting Brazilian-accented food in the city's most famous Prohibition speakeasy. Sevilla serves compelling Latin cocktails, like a jalapeño-spiked caipirinha. And yes, the wine list has a sizable section of Pinot Noirs.