Fall is the perfect time to visit Santa Barbara and experience a cornucopia of seasonal produce and, with the grape harvest in and crush on, a bounty of complementary wines for exciting food and wine pairings. Linger over the vibrant produce and culinary offerings at the Farmer’s Market on State Street and then take a walk along the Urban Wine Trail, sipping and sampling a variety of wines and vintages from local winemakers.
What we love about the Urban Wine Trail in downtown Santa Barbara is that you can walk from winery to winery and not worry about drinking and driving. It’s also conveniently located in the Funk Zone, an eclectic neighborhood near the beach, so if you drink too much, you can go have a little nap on the beach. Each tasting room typically offers between five to eight tastings and charges $5 to $15. One of our favorites is Municipal Winemakers, which has a cool industrial vibe and recently moved up the street to the old Divers Den space (22 Anacapa Street). Central Coast-based Kunin Wines also has an inviting space with front patio perfect for people watching and some excellent wines to sample such as their 2007 Zinfandel. Another to put on your list is Corks n’ Crowns, the only winery on the Urban Wine Trail that offers craft beer tastings.
After your afternoon siesta, get ready for an amazing meal at Bella Vista, the signature restaurant at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara. This see-worthy restaurant follows the farm-to-table philosophy, utilizing the freshest produce, seafood and meats from local farms in the community. Start off with a bed of organic greens with persimmon, blue cheese and candied pistachios or local Dungeness crab tossed with avocado, grapefruit, celery, finger lime and endive. For a bit of spice, try the chorizo ravioli topped with pine nuts, quince. Seafood lovers won’t regret diving into the delicious black cod with Meyer lemon, crispy artichokes, Tuscan kale and kabocha, where you can practically taste the season itself. The best part is dining on the outdoor terrace featuring magnificent ocean views where you can thoroughly enjoy this beautiful meal to its fullest.
Story by Liz Laing
Images by the Four Seasons and photographer Karen Wise