Held from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31,epicure.sb is a delectable month-long celebration of Santa Barbara South Coast’s culinary scene.
Now in its seventh year, epicure.sb showcases the bounty of Santa Barbara’s food, libations and culture through exclusive taste experiences, events and unique restaurant, hotel and tasting room offerings. The program ties together many of the region’s most popular epicurean festivals, including Santa Barbara Vintners’ Celebration of Harvest (Oct. 9-12), the Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival (Oct. 17) and the Santa Barbara Beer Festival (Oct. 17), kicking off early with the California Lemon Festival (Sept. 26-27).
In a signature epicure.sb event, celebrity chef Cat Cora (of Food Network’s “Iron Chef America”) will host the “Quickfire Cooking Challenge with Cat Cora” 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thurs., Oct. 8 at the Santa Barbara Public Market. Three contestants will face off using ingredients from the market’s purveyors to create up to three dishes, which will be judged by the renowned chef. Co-presented by Visit Santa Barbara and the Public Market, space is limited for the event. Tickets are $95, which includes kitchen seating, appetizers and wine, and can be purchased beginning September 8 by calling 805-770-7702.
This year’s epicure.sb theme is “The Perfect Pairing.” More than 55 participating South Coast businesses have created unique offerings that feature paired components. Highlights include:
- “Food Anthropology: The History of Santa Barbara as Told Through Food & Art” (Oct. 23, $185): Enjoy a four-course candle-lit meal in historic Santa Barbara County Courthouse’s newly restored Mural Room while learning about four pivotal moments in Santa Barbara history depicted on its walls. Art and ingredients meld deliciously into one, as the menu, prepared by Montecito Country Club’s Michael Blackwell, draws inspiration from the mural. The event benefits Casa del Herrero, a National Historic Landmark.
- Tamales and Tequila Tasting: “Secrets of a Tamale Chef” (Oct. 25, $30): In this special class held downtown, Chef-Owner Richard Lambert of Santa Barbara Tamales To-Go teaches the techniques he uses to make his award-winning tamales and salsas. Attendees are served three samples, each paired with a variety of Tequila Alquimia, a cognac-like sipping tequila.
- On Edge Performance Festival: Artist (Pool) Party & Brunch (Oct. 17, $25): Join the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara in celebrating the artists of the On Edge Festival poolside at the Goodland Hotel in Goleta. Take part in a puppetry workshop, enjoy great music by a DJ and indulge in delicious brunch bites by The Outpost’s Chef Derek Simcik.
- Corks n’ Kernels (Fridays through Sundays in October, $15): Get ready for a rare flavor combination that really pops as Grassini Family Vineyards pairs its Bordeaux-style wines with Santa Barbara Popcorn Co.’s popcorns at its downtown tasting room.
- “Thyme & Energy” Bourbon and Jerky Pairing at Ty Lounge (daily, $16): Sip on a “Lost Thyme” Old-fashioned at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara’s Ty Lounge in Montecito, followed by the perfect chaser – house-cured beef jerky, marinated with hints of orange, molasses garlic, chili and bourbon.
- Farmers Market and Wine Tasting Tour (Saturdays in October, $129): Santa Barbara Adventure Co. combines wine tasting in the Funk Zone’s Urban Wine Trail with a trip to the Santa Barbara Farmers Market. Learn about the varieties and vintages of some of the county’s finest wines, along with local trivia and history. Along the way, you’ll visit the farmers market, where your guides will pick up fresh produce for a picnic lunch at the waterfront.
- Jaffurs Big 3 and Small Plates (daily in October, $49): Enjoy three exceptional wines from Jaffurs Wine Cellars paired with small plates of surf, turf and vegetables at The Black Sheep restaurant in downtown Santa Barbara.
- Enchanted Getaway (daily in October, fee varies)combines Santa Barbara’s great food and wine with the romance and seclusion of Belmond El Encanto. Enjoy complete privacy in luxury accommodations while savoring a limited-edition, epicure.sb, prix-fixe menu with perfect wine pairings.
- Day to Night at Hotel Indigo offers guests a special care package (Sundays through Thursdays, $299) to explore Santa Barbara’s daytime delights, from the beach to the Museum of Contemporary Art, and end their perfect day with wine tasting and a relaxing night in a King guest room.
A complete list of offerings will be available soon at www.epicuresb.com.