Checking in

By Richard Mineards   |   July 5, 2018

The Hotel Californian was the site for the inaugural annual Santa Barbara hotel Olympics featuring a host of events including a bell cart race, culinary palate test, bike building, towel origami, and even cake wars.

“After the terrible time we had at the start of the year with the devastating mudslides, we thought we needed a morale booster and one of our managers came up with this idea,” says Carlos Lopes, the tony hostelry’s head honcho.

“We sent out letters to the general manager of several hotels and got a great response, so our version of the Olympics was born.”

Hotels participating in the amusing competition included Milo, Indigo, the Santa Barbara Inn, the Goodland, the Ritz-Carlton Bacara, and the eventual winner of the Spirit Award the Hilton Beachfront Resort, formerly Fess Parker’s.

Judges included mayor Cathy Murillo, former mayor Helene Schneider, ubiquitous KEYT-TV reporter John Palminteri, and councilman Jason Dominguez.

Carlos Lopes, managing director and Warren Nocon, general manager of Hotel Californian (photo by Max Hennard)

MAW of the Same

The Music Academy of the West’s 71st annual summer festival is in full swing.

The first festival artists series kicked off at the Lobero Theatre with works by Brian Balmages, Bridge, and Beethoven played by a heavenly host of talented musicians.

Violists Richard O’Neill, a regular with Camerata Pacifica, and Cynthia Phelps played Lament, while pianist Jerome Lowenthal joined violinist Glenn Dicterow and cellist Alan Stepansky in Beethoven’s Archduke Trio in B-flat major.

Just four days later, veteran Larry Rachleff conducted the Academy Festival Orchestra in another highly entertaining concert at the Granada with works by Berlioz, Fall, and Beethoven’s beautiful Pastoral Symphony No.6 in F Major.

It’s going to be one helluva of a summer.

Taste Buds

Coast Village Road is rapidly becoming Restaurant Row.

With the long-awaited opening of Oliver’s and, more recently, the Frankland’s Crab & Co, at the Montecito Inn in April, I hear Bettina Pizzeria is coming to the Montecito Country Mart in September.

The store is a brick-and-mortar location for the mobile pizza oven service Autostrada Wood Fire Pizzeria owned by Rachel Greenspan and Brendan Smith.

And, in due course, Jerry Lee, who worked for eight years at the San Ysidro Ranch’s Stonehouse, is opening his Asian fusion eatery Khao Kaeng by Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar.

Food for thought, indeed.


You might also be interested in...

  • Woman holding phone

    Support the
    Santa Barbara non-profit transforming global healthcare through telehealth technology