Author spotlight: Claudia Schou

High-heel enthusiast, boot camp novice and fancy recipe collector. Loves Flannery O’Connor and Breakfast with The Beatles. Formerly at California Apparel News, Orange County Register and LA Times Community News.

Fall’s Outdoor Feasts and Epicurean Classes
By Claudia Schou   |   October 21, 2020

In Santa Barbara, complying with evolving health guidelines and ensuring guests’ safety has been a challenge that restaurateurs, winemakers, and hoteliers have faced with energy and creativity. Perfecting the outdoor dining experience with new furnishings and socially distanced seating and alcoves for privacy are part of today’s operation. Outside areas, sidewalks, gardens, and parking lots […]

Enlightenment in the Kitchen: Michael Krohnen on Cooking for J. Krishnamurti
By Claudia Schou   |   October 13, 2020

“I’m very simple in what I prepare in the kitchen these days,” Michael Krohnen says as he stands in a small yet tidy and well-appointed kitchen of a 1910 farmhouse in Ojai’s East End. Although not a classically trained chef, Krohnen is nonetheless known throughout the world, and his thoughts on cooking have been translated […]

Tasting Notes With Belmond El Encanto Sommelier Jordan DeVille
By Claudia Schou   |   October 1, 2020

It’s no secret that California’s Central Coast is a renowned wine destination, and one of the region’s greats is Daou Vineyards in Paso Robles. Its home on Daou Mountain has an extraordinary phenolic output – among the highest in the world – that yields rich, precision-based wines of prodigious color, texture, and structure. One of […]

Copus Family Unveils California-style Brasserie on Coast Village Road
By Claudia Schou   |   October 1, 2020

Step into the al fresco dining area at Coast & Olive, the new California-style brasserie that recently opened at the historic Montecito Inn, and you get a sense of its history. The hotel, built by silent film star Charlie Chaplin in 1928, has been a beacon of hospitality for nearly a century with its Spanish […]

Tasting Notes with Liz Harrison, General Manager of Little Dom’s Seafood
By Claudia Schou   |   September 24, 2020

Santa Barbarans know late summer well. As the dusty heat ripens the last of the summer fruits, we savor each gushing peach and musky melon. The tangy ripeness of Broc Cellars White Zinfandel (75 percent Zinfandel, 25 percent Trousseau Gris) is a shout-out to the bright sun on your hot patio. The Zinfandel grapes are […]

Forging Into Fall with Pandemic Meal Planning and a Dose of Fresh Air
By Claudia Schou   |   September 24, 2020

Grocery chains such as Bristol Farms, Lazy Acres, Whole Foods, Gelson’s, and the newly opened Sprouts (on Milpas) are perfecting the art of gourmet pandemic meals to-go. In addition to offering easy online shopping, you’ll find grocers are evolving their catering departments beyond social events to offer ready-to-heat and ready-to-eat pandemic meal options. No one […]

Flor de Maiz Brings Indigenous Meals with a Twist
By Claudia Schou   |   September 17, 2020

Complex, intriguing, and utterly delicious, Oaxacan cuisine – with its roots in southeastern Mexico, where proud indigenous people fine-tuned the art of Mexican cooking over centuries – is making its way into the hearts (and stomachs) of Santa Barbarans at Flor de Maiz. The latest concept by restaurateur Carlos Luna, the restaurant opened last fall […]

Tasting Notes with Lucky’s Steakhouse Wine Director Larry Nobles
By Claudia Schou   |   September 15, 2020

Paul Lato is the perfect contender for the Central Coast’s innovative wine offerings. He was a former sommelier at several fine restaurants in Toronto before taking the leap to work with seasoned wine maker Jim Clendenen, of Au Bon Climat in Santa Maria. Lato had several breakthroughs, including several 95+ point ratings from wine critic […]

Tasting Notes with Rosewood Miramar Wine Director Daniel Fish
By Claudia Schou   |   September 10, 2020

Weekends are often highlighted by a great brunch outing. Sitting down with family and friends and leisurely enjoying a bottle of bubbles or mimosas with a late breakfast really does make the days off feel like the weekend. Hugh Davies and the team at Schramsberg craft this Blanc de Blancs, which loosely translates to “white […]

Convivo – A World of Flavor in Every Bite
By Claudia Schou   |   September 10, 2020

For those who want to venture outside their usual comfort zone, Convivo allows diners to expand their cuisine horizons far beyond the expected. The Italian fusion eatery nestled on the ocean side of Santa Barbara Inn offers traditional Italian fare married to exotic, rustic world cuisine. Sesame flat breads, seven-hour veal Bolognese served on house-made […]

Did the Pandemic Cancel Your Summer Wine Adventure?
By Claudia Schou   |   September 3, 2020

A list of local wineries that will make you forget your summer woes. It’s no surprise that many local wineries are seeing an influx of visitors who cancelled travel plans to wine regions around the globe because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Stop whining and start planning. Santa Barbara is known for its world-class Syrah, Pinot […]

Tasting Notes with Rosewood Miramar Director of Wine Daniel Fish
By Claudia Schou   |   September 1, 2020

Summer season has us firing up the BBQ and safely enjoying spectacular Santa Barbara weather with family and friends. For your enjoyment, I wanted to share a favorite wine of mine from local Santa Barbara producer Jeff Nelson of Liquid Farm Winery. Jeff has made a name for himself crafting incredible Chardonnays from the region […]

Farm to Cart – Fresh Food and No Long Lines
By Claudia Schou   |   August 27, 2020

Local food activist and Sweet Wheel Farm & Flowers owner Leslie Person Ryan is on a mission to solve the “food desert” of Summerland. The think-outside-the-box purveyor of all things grown from the earth offers fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, baked goods, wildflowers, and specialty foods made with ingredients from her garden. Person Ryan operates two […]

Ca’ Dario Spotlights Summer Peaches
By Claudia Schou   |   August 20, 2020

Ca’ Dario Chef-Owner Dario Furlati has added fresh summer peaches to his menu. Influenced by the rustic home-style cooking served in osterias in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, the chef-driven eatery is offering a trio of summer dishes that spotlight the flavor and texture of this juicy fruit at its locations in Montecito, downtown Santa Barbara, and […]

Viva Oliva
By Claudia Schou   |   August 20, 2020

Keeping Your Pandemic Pantry Up to Date Having a well-stocked pantry during the pandemic is crucial for those days when there’s nothing in your fridge and you’re reluctant to brave long lines at the grocery store. Whether you’re tossing together pasta and clams or a home cooked bean salad, somehow shopping your pantry makes life […]

Tasting Notes with SB Wine Collective Wine Manager Wyatt Davidson
By Claudia Schou   |   August 13, 2020

Graham Tatomer is winning wine lovers over with his Austrian-inspired Grüner Veltliner and Riesling. The Santa Barbara native began his career in the industry at sixteen at the Santa Barbara Winery. After four years and broad exposure to winemaking he became infatuated with everything viticulture. Graham traveled to Austria and trained under the illustrious Weingut […]

Little Dom’s Opens New Seafood Concept in Carpinteria
By Claudia Schou   |   August 13, 2020

Step inside Little Dom’s Seafood’s newly opened Carpinteria location and be transported back to a time in the mid-20th century when red faux leather booths were en vogue and portraits of famous Italian patrons were displayed on walls like badges of honor. Back then, neighborhood restaurants serving traditional Italian American fare were indies, not part […]

Tasting Notes with Johan Denizot, Executive Chef of Belmond El Encanto
By Claudia Schou   |   August 6, 2020

Summertime calls for outdoor picnics, lighter fare, and crisp regional wines. I love a classic Maine Lobster Roll this time of the year; it pairs best with wine from our Santa Ynez neighbor, Sunstone Vineyards, and another Central Coast favorite of ours, DAOU Vineyards in Paso Robles. Belmond El Encanto’s Maine Lobster Roll is dressed […]

Fresh Catch: Summer’s Sustainable Seafood
By Claudia Schou   |   August 6, 2020

Summer is a great time of year for grilling fish, and Santa Barbara Harbor, with its fleet of 200 commercial fishing vessels, boasts a bounty of seafood this season. Wild king salmon, ahi tuna, halibut, white sea bass, black cod and spiny lobster are just a few. If you’re already in the mindset of shopping […]

Tasting Notes with Daniel Fish
By Claudia Schou   |   July 30, 2020

Summer season has us firing up the BBQ and safely enjoying spectacular Santa Barbara weather with family and friends. For your enjoyment, I wanted to share a favorite wine of mine from local Santa Barbara producer Jeff Nelson of Liquid Farm Winery. Jeff has made a name for himself crafting incredible chardonnays from the region […]

SB Event Co.: Setting the Stage for Custom Dining
By Claudia Schou   |   July 30, 2020

Uneasy about dining outdoors in public? Bring the chef to your home for an intimate social distance gathering with loved ones On a recent sunny afternoon, Chas Escalante, SB Event Co.’s co-founder and chef, takes a tape measure in hand to assess spacing for a backyard barbecue at a home perched atop the Riviera. Just […]

Summer’s Savory Meats & Tasty Craft Brews
By Claudia Schou   |   July 23, 2020

The Shalhoobs’ Secrets for Smokin’ Summer Barbecues For some folks in the neighborhood around Shalhoob’s Funk Zone Patio, the aroma of burning white oak has the same tantalizing effect as a chuck wagon dinner bell. If you love Santa Maria-style barbecue then you’ve come to the right place. Shalhoob’s hip outdoor barbecue joint is famous […]

Village Eateries Pivot Again
By Claudia Schou   |   July 16, 2020

No indoor dining? No problem! Local eateries pivot to al fresco service – Montecito style French bistro tables, olive trees, and soft breezes stirring lavender blossoms. These days, dining is a moveable feast as restaurants pivot, creating stunning al fresco settings. A state mandate to curb a surge in COVID-19 called for the immediate closure […]

Cat Cora, Restaurateur and Chef
By Claudia Schou   |   July 2, 2020

Summer is officially underway, so what better way to celebrate the season than to embrace the summer tradition of backyard grilling with family and friends? A cookout is the perfect way to practice social distancing with loved ones while satiating your gustatory appetites.  Whether you’re in the mood for burgers, marinated meats, grilled tofu and […]

Santa Barbara Pistachio Co. – Leading the Healthy Snack Revolution
By Claudia Schou   |   June 25, 2020

No one understands the new snacking culture more than Santa Barbara Pistachio Co. The organic pistachio grower – founded by the Zannon family in 1991 and situated on a 440-acre ranch in Santa Barbara’s northern Cuyama Valley – lures snack lovers away from mainstream brands with artisan nuts made with natural ingredients. Gail Zannon started […]

Real Estate Appraiser Greg Brashears: Appraising Your Home’s Value During a Pandemic
By Claudia Schou   |   June 25, 2020

As we wrestle with the evolving ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, Santa Barbara’s commercial real estate world is learning how to conduct business at a distance, leaving previously on-site activities on the sidelines. MJ recently caught up with Santa Barbara native and real estate appraiser Greg Brashears to discuss navigating through a pandemic and all […]

MJ’s Guide to Local Online Shopping
By Claudia Schou   |   April 30, 2020

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Go Shopping – Remotely In these tough times, it’s important to support local businesses while also practicing social distancing. To that end, when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit California and changed life as we know it, the Montecito Journal changed its local events listing page to a Grab […]

Quarantine Break
By Claudia Schou   |   April 23, 2020

High-heel enthusiast, boot camp novice and fancy recipe collector. Loves Flannery O’Connor and Breakfast with The Beatles. Formerly at  California Apparel News, Orange County Register and LA Times Community News. This year, Montecito residents welcomed spring quietly at home. Yet the season still offers serene outdoor pleasures plus a touch of social distancing. Here is […]

The Home Front
By Claudia Schou   |   April 16, 2020

With California’s statewide stay-at-home order in effect, businesses are closing and people are hunkering down at home, but still working, courtesy of Zoom and FaceTime. We spoke to four Montecito residents about how they’re managing to keep their businesses going during the coronavirus crisis: Vera Kong, Piano Instructor I spend most of my day connecting […]

Rosewood Miramar’s Chef Massimo Falsini Serves First Responders
By Claudia Schou   |   April 9, 2020

Santa Barbara’s hospitality industry has been hit hard by COVID-19. Several local hotels have laid off their staff and are now closed, putting a halt to the local service industry. Those who remain on property are keeping busy, however. For his part, Rosewood Miramar’s Executive Chef Massimo Falsini is working with first responders and other […]