Montecito Country Mart News
Montecito Country Mart has welcomed several new stores and eateries recently, including Caffe Luxxe, an artisanal coffee roaster from Los Angeles. Located in a portion of the space formerly occupied by Xanadu Bakery, the roasting company features Northern Italian-style espresso drinks, coffee, and various pastries.
Hosting a grand opening last Saturday, May 11, the location is the sixth outpost for the company, which is owned by Mark Wain and Gary Chau; the first location in west Los Angeles opened in 2006. “Montecito exudes a sense of approachable luxury, which is exactly the sentiment behind why we started Caffe Luxxe: to offer the highest quality espresso and coffee, with a friendly, genuine attitude,” said Wain.
To celebrate the grand opening, Caffe Luxxe has released a new limited-edition coffee named the “Montecito Blend,” that is “inspired by the well-balanced, crisp climate of the Central Coast’s rolling hills and the neighborhood’s serene and welcoming atmosphere.” A blend of natural and washed-processed coffees sustainably sourced from Guatemala and Brazil – from farms Caffe Luxxe has fostered close relationships with over the years – the coffee is hand-roasted in small batches at Caffe Luxxe’s Il Laboratorio roasting facility, which delivers freshly roasted coffee to all Caffe Luxxe locations on a weekly basis for optimum freshness. Its roasting team places emphasis on maintaining genuine relationships with farmers, sourcing coffee directly whenever possible and paying above-market prices to ensure fair labor practices and quality product. The Montecito Blend is available for purchase in-store at Caffe Luxxe Montecito, and online. The shop is currently open every day, 7 am to 5 pm. Visit www.caffeluxxe.com for more information.
Next door, local pastry chef Elizabeth Colling is opening Merci Montecito as a permanent fixture in the Mart; the shop was a pop-up a few years back (Merci To Go), offering farmers’ market salads, sandwiches, and dinner entrees for takeout at the 168-ft space now occupied by The Bakery. The new space is expected to open in the coming weeks; we’ll have more on the eatery and the opening in next week’s edition.
Also now open at the Mart: Coco Cabana, a boutique swim and leisure wear shop. Started in 2018 by Heather Fort, the shop began as an online destination for women and men’s swimwear, clothing, accessories, and home goods. The tropical chic space at Montecito Country Mart offers a smaller selection of what’s available online, as well as some merchandise that is not listed on the site. For more information, visit www.ilovecococabana.com.
Montecito Association Meets
At this month’s Montecito Association meeting, Rondie Guthrie, Matt Sadler, and Mark Freeman from Southern California Edison gave a presentation on Edison’s Vegetation Management program in Santa Barbara and Montecito.
New abnormal wildfire conditions have changed SCE vegetation management practices to protect public safety, and the Public Utilities Commission and California Governor’s office have been making changes to guidelines to enhance fire safety. As part of this, Edison has rolled out new tree pruning standards, which requires 12 feet of clearance from lines in high fire areas. Tree removal will be recommended for fast growing trees that cannot maintain compliance for 12 months, as well as dead, dying, or diseased trees, and trees that cannot be pruned in accordance with new standards. The removal is necessary to comply with the law and to ensure public safety; Edison will remove/discard old trees and replace with new trees at no cost to the customer. Tree trimming is on an annual cycle, with the area above Highway 192 trimmed in March, and the rest of Montecito during the summer and fall months. Crews trim roughly 4,500 trees per year in Montecito. Sadler announced a logical initiative: Right Tree Right Place, a reminder for homeowners planting trees to not plant then underneath the lines or near electrical poles.
Guthrie reported that SCE continues to consider undergrounding of lines, which is not without issues. “It’s harder to identify issues in the system if it’s underground, and outages could be longer,” she said. Undergrounding is also very expensive, costing $3M per mile. An upcoming project is in the works to underground lines at Hot Springs and East Valley Road, near Our Lady of Mount Carmel church.
Bucket Brigade founder Abe Powell and Montecito Trails Foundation president Ashlee Mayfield gave a report on the new walking path being built on North Jameson and Olive Mill Road; see below for more information.
During Community Reports, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Lieutenant Butch Arnoldi reminded the board and audience to utilize the alarm systems on their homes, even if leaving for only a few minutes. “You’ve spent the money on installing them, it’s imperative that you use them,” he said, responding to a concern about an increase in break-ins in the area. Montecito Fire’s Kevin Taylor reported that this week’s “late May” rainstorm is not expected to reach debris flow limits. Cold Spring School superintendent Amy Alzina reported that the school is investing in enhancing the security of the school, with the addition of a key fob system, a crisis app that alerts all teachers of a threat on campus, and the addition of blinds to classroom windows.
Lisa Valencia Sherratt from Das Williams’ office reported that the office is working on setting up a visit from California’s Insurance Commissioner to discuss the rebuilding as well as the red zone in Montecito. Williams’ office is also making progress with the traffic app Waze, working on developers of the app to not reroute traffic through neighborhoods, especially those in recovery from the debris flow. Upcoming road closure: 960 East Mountain Road near the Cold Spring Trailhead will be closed May 13 through June 24. Crews will be forcing rocks down the slope towards the road before installing a net to prevent future rockslides. Pedestrians, hikers, and bikers should avoid the work zone and hikers along the Hot Springs Trail should not descend down onto Cold Spring Trail.
MA board member Linnea Pattillo is stepping down from the board and her treasurer role as she is moving out of the community.
The next Montecito Association meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 11.