California Tag Archives

Santa Maria-Style Barbecue

You may recall in my post, Aspen Food & Wine Classic 2016 (http://www.texaztaste.com/aspen-food-wine-classic-2016/), I attended a class where Tyler Florence extolled the virtues of Santa Maria-style barbecue.  Santa Maria-style barbecue is the “fifth style of barbecue”, he said, after Texas, Memphis, Kansas City and Carolina.  He walked us through the preparation of a simple rub for tri-tip, smoked it, and served it with two complementary salsas.  What …

“Eat This, Shoot That!” Santa Barbara Funk Zone Tour

On a recent glorious So Cal day, a close friend from Santa Barbara suggested we spend an afternoon touring Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone with Eat This, Shoot That!, a food and photography tour.  Eat This, Shoot That! is the brainchild of Tara Jones, a college photography teacher and local foodie, who decided to blend her two passions, offering the choice of two tours through the Funk Zone and …

Vino and Polo

I wasn’t sure I could pull it off, but luck was on my side.  I was picking up one of our kids from summer camp in Long Beach, and decided to drive up the coast to Santa Barbara.  I convinced a friend there to find a sitter for a day and accompany me to Happy Canyon Vineyard to attend the Santa Ynez Polo Classic (see previous post on …

Happy Canyon Vineyard and Piocho Ranch

Every summer, we scour the hills around Santa Ynez searching for vineyards off the beaten “Sideways” track.  One area high on our list has been Happy Canyon, one of the newest and smallest AVA’s (American Viticulture Area) in California, located in the easternmost part of the Santa Ynez Valley.  While the Santa Ynez Valley is famous for its pinot noir wines, Happy Canyon has the warmest micro-climate in the …

Refugio Ranch

My roots in South Texas run deep.  My grandfather, Cyrus Lucas Heard, was born in 1898 in Refugio, Texas.  The Heard family came to Texas from Ireland in the late 1700’s and raised cattle on land obtained from original Spanish land grants.  In South Texas-ese, Refugio is pronounced Re-few-rio.  I wish I could tell you where they get the “r”, but honestly I haven’t a clue. …

Saying Goodbye to Summer

Labor Day Weekend typically marks the end of summer even though it is still 104 degrees outside.  As I mentally prepare myself for the daily schlepping of the kids around town, I look back at five carefree days this summer in California when all of our children were at camp and our biggest worry was where to hike and where to eat.  The hills around Santa …

An Evening With Paul Hobbs

I recently had the pleasure of attending a wine dinner at a local country club featuring winemaking trailblazer Paul Hobbs.  The Paul Hobbs wines from both the Sebastopol (California) and Viña Cobos (Mendoza, Argentina) wineries have attained cult-like status in our household.  It was a bit ironic that we were able to meet up with him in our back yard of Paradise Valley, while missing …

Saison San Francisco

Hubby and I felt that a milestone birthday was excuse enough for a star-studded event, and in our case the stars referred to the culinary ne plus ultra known as Michelin stars.  But don’t misunderstand me: I don’t wait with bated breath for the yearly release of the Michelin Guide; I just happen to have some culinary savvy friends who are well-versed in the art …

Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur

The next stop on our California road trip was the bucolic Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur.  The name “Big Sur” originated with the fact that it was known as the big country of the “south”, specifically south of the Monterey area.  Prior to the establishment of a two-lane paved road in 1937 linking Monterey to San Simeon, Big Sur was virtually uninhabited.  Hubby and …

Hearst Castle: La Cuesta Encantada

Approximately halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco (4 hours) on Highway 1 in the California Central Coast, lies Hearst Castle, the legendary estate built by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951).  His father, George Hearst, a skilled miner and geologist from Missouri, moved to California in the mid-1800’s to mine, and in 1865 purchased the property as a cattle and horse ranch.  One hundred …