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On This Date in Santa Barbara: Sambo’s Opens

sambosThe first Sambo’s opened on June 17, 1957 in Santa Barbara. The franchise quickly became a local success story, growing to 1,200 restaurants in 47 US states.

Unfortunately; Sambo’s associated itself with The Story of Little Black Sambo, an allegedly racist tale, that drove the company into bankruptcy by 1981.

57 years after the first Sambo’s opened, only one restaurant remains… the original restaurant at 216 West Cabrillo Boulevard in Santa Barbara, California.

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Tropical Kale Salad with Blueberry Balsamic Dressing

Recipes by Santa Barbara resident and natural food chef, Melissa Costello.

Local berries are so abundant right now that I feel the need to share recipes that showcase their sweet and juicy nature. They have such a short-lived season, so we need to gobble them up while they are here. They are also very high in cancer-fighting antioxidants. So, you want to be sure you get your daily dose. Always buy your berries organic, as they are part of the “Dirty Dozen.” Click to see a full list.

Feel free to use any kind of greens you want in this delectable and fruity salad if you are not a fan of kale, but keep in mind that kale is No. 1,000 on the Aggregated Nutrient Density Index created by Dr. Fuhrman and Whole Foods Market, which means it is one of the highest nutrient foods you can eat.

This fabulous salad is fun to bring and share at the Concerts in the Park, Hitchcock at the Courthouse or any other fun festivity you may be attending this summer here in Santa Barbara.

Tropical Kale Salad with Blueberry Balsamic Dressing

Serves four as a side salad. Ingredients, below the fold: Continue Reading →

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Fresh & Fruity Mango Basil Frummus

Recipes by Santa Barbara resident and natural food chef, Melissa Costello.

The weather is heating up and turning on the oven leaves much to be desired this time of year. So, I thought I’d give you a fresh, and fruity recipe for Fruit Hummus, aka Frummus.

This recipe made its debut in Women’s Health magazine this month. I am thrilled to share it with you here. It’s simple to make, tasty and super healthy.

Mango blended with basil makes for fantabulous combination that will spark on your tongue. Serve it up with jicama slabs, dip some fruit into it, and have an awesome, high protein snack that will fill you up and satisfy that sweet afternoon craving.

I’ve also tried a Strawberry + Mint combo, which is divine as well. Get creative and see what flavors you can combine!

Ingredients and recipe below:
Continue Reading →

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Strawberries Have a Hold on Me; Avocado Strawberry Ice Cream/Fruit Pops (Dairy Free)

Recipes by Santa Barbara resident and natural food chef, Melissa Costello.

Ok, I know I shared a recipe with Strawberries a few weeks ago, but these beauties are only in season for a short period of time, so I must take advantage. And I suggest you do too!

The Chandler Strawberries are so ridiculously juicy right now, they drip when you bite into them. A MUST for this simple recipe.

And, since it’s Summer and the kids are out of school, and the weather is warming up, I thought…Ice Cream/Fruit Pops are perfect.

Healthy and delicious, this vegan treat is creamy and delightful to eat on a hot summer’s day (I even eat it when it’s chilly out, it’s that good.) You don’t have to feel guilty about having seconds either.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, get out those pop molds and make some fruit pops (you can find molds inexpensively at any discount department store in town, like Ross or TJ Maxx.)

Strawberry Avocado Ice Cream/Fruit Pops (Dairy Free) Read full recipe… Continue Reading →

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The Pace of Pace

Weekly Column by Loretta Redd

There’s a phrase used by insiders in the food service industry called ‘restaurant eyes;’  two simple words describing a rare quality found in either wait-staff or floor managers.

The term defines an employee who can walk through their station or restaurant and, judging from the silverware, wine glasses, condiments or coffee cups remaining, predict with some accuracy when the table will turn for those waiting, or what might be needed next by customers still dining.

It is an art form, rarely taught in training and unfortunately, rarely practiced in Santa Barbara.  As a customer, you know you’ve experienced a staff with ‘restaurant eyes’ when no matter how occupied or empty the tables, how frenetic or demure the environment;  the timing and attention to detail is flawless and the tempo is consistently smooth.

It can happen with a staff of five caring for 300 customers a night, and it can fail with a staff of twenty-five overseeing a mostly empty dining room.  I found the magic of restaurant eyes at its finest last weekend at small establishment called Pace.

I try not to venture to lower State Street on weekend evenings, mostly because I feel guilty that the sight of 60 year olds might kill the buzz of the twenty-something crowd getting primed for a long night of misbehavior ahead.  But hey, we seniors deserve our fun, too.

I almost changed my mind as I approached, not because of the restaurant, but because of its neighbor.  Unfortunately  it is located right next to the Cigar Store.  As a friend of mine once said, “If you think one person can’t make a difference, just remember what a single cigar can to do a ten room house.”  But, we don’t get to pick our neighbors, do we, so we ventured on in.

Enter Pace and enter a world of contradiction.  It is rough, yet sophisticated; it is tiny but smartly designed to accommodate couples and singles, along with a few four-tops.  The cardiac-paddle comfort food on the menu, such as Mac & Cheese (that’s fontina, muenster and white cheddar,) Sloppy Joe’s or the Papa burger (whose girth requires you to unhinge your jaw,) are countered by more delicate but still delicious Sea Bass, Baby Clam linguini and Seared Ahi salad.

The first drink I spotted on the bar in front was a tallboy PBR, sitting next to a glass of  Luminesce, Rose of Pinot Noir.  Now, that is eclectic drinking.  Most of the bar patrons were also diners, which keeps turnover steady and increases income, rather than catering to the crash-dieting college clan who can nurse a Cosmo for two hours.

The walls were adorned by fairly imposing artwork.  I couldn’t tell if they were trying to appeal to the Muddy Waters crowd or just short of funds when they went art shopping, but they might want to tone down the Ziggy and Bob Marley tribute.  Okay, stoners do love comfort food, but it doesn’t really do this establishment justice.

Mid way through our meal, a band began to set up.  Now, this isn’t a place to come if you are in search of intimate conversation, or ready to propose, but my fears were assuaged when a melodious and exceptional saxophone combo started to play at a volume and selection than actually enhanced the environment.

Here’s what sets Pace apart.  Open all of 16 months, it feels as though it has been there forever.  You also feel as though the wait-staff is family, without being overly familiar.  They don’t insist you call them by their name, they don’t have to reassure you that they’ll “be taking care of you this evening,” and they don’t wait until your mouth is full to ask how your dinner is, or snatch your plate away while others are still eating.

The small band of Brittney, Brian, Jeff, Kim and Moses do it all, and they seem genuinely enthusiastic about what they do.  The service, no matter how busy, was effortless and perfectly timed.  I observed Moses hoisting a tall chair over his head to accommodate one more diner at the bar in a way that no one barely noticed.  Cirque du Soleil morphs into the Restaurant Guy.

Creating an unexpectedly enjoyable dining experience is mostly about anticipation: understanding that people ‘eat with their eyes’ when creating  food, glasses refilled without request, plates removed with permission,  questions answered with patience, and always- a smile.

A manager of a successful group of eating establishments once told me,  “Opening a restaurant each night is like giving a special dinner party, except you don’t know who’s on the guest list.”

There’s a paragraph on the dinner menu at Pace that reads: All our food is prepared fresh from scratch when you order it, so it may take a little longer than most restaurants, but we feel confident that it is worth the wait.  If you have a time constraint please let your server know prior to ordering and we will do our best to accommodate your specific needs.”

Worth the wait, indeed.

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Feel the Euphoria with these Chocolate-y Nuggets

Recipes by Santa Barbara resident and natural food chef, Melissa Costello.

This is the first dessert type recipe I am sharing with you here at SB View and I think it’s one you will love. A few reasons why:

1. They are fun to make with your kids, or the kid inside of you
2. They are delicioso and simple to make
3. You won’t even know they are good for you, that’s how good they taste!

My Chocolate Euphoria Nuggets, do just that, bring an overall sense of well-being as they chocolate-y goodness dissolves on your tongue. And you really only need to eat one to experience that serene state of bliss that comes with chocolate perfection..

They make a great after workout snack or a healthy treat for your kid’s school lunch box. Make a batch and take them to a potluck and you will be the most popular one at the party.

Euphoria Nuggets
1 cup raw shelled sunflower seeds
½ cup raw almonds
⅓ cup pitted dates
⅓ cup maple syrup or brown rice syrup
3–5 tablespoons raw cacao powder
Pinch of nutmeg and/or cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Continue Reading →

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Celebrate Earth Day with Earth-Friendly Fare

Recipes by Santa Barbara resident and natural food chef, Melissa Costello.

This month I have been celebrating Earth Month by teaching a multitude of cooking classes around town, including at Whole Foods Market and Yoga Soup. I am always pleasantly surprised to see how many people want to learn how to cook healthy, delicious food.

I thought that since it’s Earth Day, I’d share my favorite Earth-Friendly recipe with you using local greens.

This recipe for Tahini Kale is a favorite among my clients, and usually turns most of them into kale converts. I love to use Dino (Lacinto) Kale in this recipe because of its thicker texture, but feel free to use any kind of green you like, including collards and chard.

Complete recipe below… Continue Reading →

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Stir-Fry takes the Stage

Recipes by Santa Barbara resident and natural food chef, Melissa Costello.

Stir-fry’s are one of my favorite dishes to make because they contain so many high-nutrient veggies, tons of texture, color and flavor.

The incredible thing about stir-fry is you can use your favorite veggies, or whatever is in season. I love to pre-cut all the veggies at once and put them in bowls, so I can take in all the fresh, delicious colors.

This particular stir-fry is packed full of vitamin c and cancer fighting properties through the delicious use of broccoli, bell peppers and cabbage. The creamy cashew sauce offers up a comforting touch (peanut butter would be good too.)

Feel free to add some shrimp or free-range chicken breast to it, if you desire a bit more protein. And if you can’t find buckwheat soba noodles, use any kind of Asian rice noodle or even regular spaghetti.

Soba Noodle Stir Fry in Creamy Cashew Sauce (recipe and instructions below)
Continue Reading →

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Leap into Spring with a Delectable Raw Kale Salad

Recipes by Santa Barbara resident and natural food chef, Melissa Costello

Spring is here! It’s time of renewal, a time when the earth sheds it’s old layers and everything begins to flourish again.

It’s also a time of year when our bodies want to shed the winter layers. It’s a time of lighter, healthier eating, a time of detoxing and letting go.

Kale is one of the highest nutrient foods on the ANDI, which is the Aggregated Nutrient Density Index created by Dr. Joel Furhman and Whole Foods Market. It’s a perfect food for springtime, to help the body detox and to support the metabolism. Most people don’t know what to do with kale, and are used to seeing it as a lowly garnish on a beautiful platter of delectable treats.

My Raw Kale Salad with Creamy Chipotle Dressing not only tastes amazing, but it will feel good in your body, and who knows, it might just turn you into a kale convert.
Kale has grown up!

Raw Kale Salad with Creamy Chipotle Dressing
1 head of curly kale, de-stemmed and broken into small pieces
1 to 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
¼ cup slivered almonds
3 tablespoons of hemp seeds
Continue Reading →

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Karma Chow’s Korean-Style Tempeh Tacos

Recipe of the Week by Santa Barbara resident and natural food chef, Melissa Costello

Tacos: We all love them, but they are usually laden with fatty, high-cholesterol toppings, such as sour cream and cheese.

This plant-based, Korean-style version, made with high-protein tempeh, offers a delicious twist on the classic originals. Using simple ingredients, this dish will quickly become a favorite in your healthy household offering up an array of flavors and textures. They are so scrumptious and satisfying. You won’t even miss the meat!

Top them off with some avocado slices or fresh homemade guacamole for an even more decadent dish.


Korean Style Tempeh Tacos with Dijon Slaw
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or sesame oil
1 8-ounce package tempeh, crumbled
3 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup or raw dark blue agave nectar
4 to 6 organic soft corn tortillas
Continue Reading →

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Karma Chow’s Recipe: Chick Pea Tuna Salad

Santa Barbara View debuts a new column, Karma Chow’s Recipe of the Week. It’s authored by Melissa Costello, a local culinary nutritionist and certified wellness coach. So, in Santa Barbara style, the column will offer a healthy approach to cooking.

Tuna Salad is a classic American favorite, but what if you could veganize it and health-ify as I have with my chickpea-based “tuna?” It still, oddly enough, tastes like the real thing, but doesn’t have a smidge of tuna in it and it’s good for you too!

It’s loaded with fiber, healthy fats and flavor and it’s simple to make. And you don’t have to worry about mercury or harming any fish in the process.

Serve on a bed of greens or on gluten free toast, open-faced with a slice of tomato and avocado. Delish!

Chick Pea “Tuna” Salad Continue Reading →

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The Painted Cabernet: Art and Wine on State Street

Local business profile by Irina Vinarskiy

At a time when many similar businesses, such as Color Me Mine, and 2000 Degrees, for instance, have found it difficult to survive in Santa Barbara, there is a new business that is thriving at the heart of the downtown.  The Painted Cabernet in the Victoria court across from the Granada is growing and attracting crowds to its relatively small studio offering a unique combination of art, wine, and a chance to participate in something creative while having fun at the same time.  While the price of $40 per class might not be for everyone, the concept of combining art and wine in a creative and engaging way speaks to all that want to express the artist in their heart and share a uniquely Santa Barbara creative experience.

Santa Barbara is about Art & Wine and we knew the locals would enjoy it as a fun evening out,” Maria Wilson, the owner of the Painted Cabernet tells the Santa Barbara View.  “It is perfect for a fun evening out with friends, family and co-workers. It is not considered a serious painting class, but rather a fun place to enjoy painting, wine, music and socializing.  Most of our customers come in explaining that they cannot paint and worry that they cannot do the class.  They are ALWAYS surprised what a fun time they had and can’t believe they did such a great job!  We even get well known artists who come in with their friends and family.  Clearly, they are not there to learn how to be an artist, but rather see it is a fun night out and they usually put their own spin on their painting.”

Continue Reading →

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Grassini Family Vineyards and Tasting Room

Local Business Profile by Irina Vinarskiy

From the 35-acre vineyard of the Happy Canyon of Santa Ynez, steeped in years of tradition and rich family history, comes a new Santa Barbara wine gem. “Our family purchased the land in the Happy Canyon area of Santa Ynez in the 1980s,” Katie Grassini told Santa Barbara View when asked about the local history. “For many years, it was used as grazing land for local cattle and horse ranches. In the late 1990′s, we decided to have the land evaluated to see if it would be a good site for growing grapes. When the results came back, we knew we had something very special, and decided to plant a vineyard dedicated to the Bordeaux varietals.”

“We are committed to using sustainable and biodynamic farming principles whenever possible, and hand-tend all of the vines, which results in an exceptional wine,” said Katie. “We’re located in the newly-christened Happy Canyon AVA, which is garnering a wonderful reputation for Bordeaux wines.”

Hidden amidst the white stone-walled passages and courtyards of El Paseo, the new Grassini Family Vineyards tasting room brings these uniquely crafted wines downtown Santa Barbara as the only 100% estate winery downtown. In the very heart of the historic El Paseo, it offers a nice, warm, wooden-clad (from 150 year-old reclaimed timbers), cozy escape from the rush of the holidays, a one-of-a-kind hand-crafted wine boutique offering a truly authentic Santa Barbara wine experience.

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Santa Barbara Pinot Noir Smackdown

by Georgina Stassi

So much for the gentile nature of a pinot noir symposium.  In Avila, they are getting ready to see some of Santa Barbara’s favorite vintners passionately debate the style and philosophy  behind the noble grape.  It’s the old guard vs. the young turks as one of my favorite veteran winemakers referred to it.  This will not be for the faint of heart. It’s going to be a smackdown Central Coast style at the 28th Annual Central Coast Wine Classic.
The panel will consist of both highly esteemed and rising-star winemakers discussing the noble grape that is credited with putting the Santa Barbara County Wine Country on the map.

“Going back decades ago, Richard Sanford, of Alma Rosa Winery, looked all over the state for the best place to grow Pinot Noir and he found it in Santa Barbara County, west of Highway 101, west of Buellton,” said Archie McLaren, Chairman of the Central Coast Wine Classic. “Obviously, over the years, vintners have come in to discover other terroirs that are special throughout the area including the Santa Maria Valley, Los Alamos and the now renown Santa Rita Hills, enabling each vintner to create her or his own unique style to be appreciated.”

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The Santa Barbara Downtown Organization Shines

The 2012 Downtown Art & Wine Tour was a huge success Thursday night. A capacity and joyous crowd toured some of Santa Barbara’s great art venues, sipping on local wines (Oreana, Kalyra, Bridlewood, & Whitcraft) while eating hors d’oeuvres from favorite restaurants like Los Arroyos, Arts & Letters Cafe, and Carlitos.  Mimosa was the unexpected food favorite, and the inside glimpse into the renovations under way at the Victoria Hall Theater was truly unique. The event, hosted at the Santa Barbara Club, was perfectly organized by Ashleigh Davis of the Downtown Organization and the evening raised funds for the 2012 Downtown Holiday Parade. The after party included a live band, silent auction, and plenty of dancing! Here are photos from this best bet event that captured the spirit of Santa Barbara.

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