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.

Simple, Homegrown Meals Fit for a Royal Family
By Claudia Schou   |   May 3, 2022

“We don’t talk about Bruno tonight,” joked El Encanto General Manager Janis Clapoff on a recent warm and breezy evening. She was partially making reference to the Oscar award-winning animated film Encanto, but also referring to the hotel’s Executive Chef Bruno Lopez, who was taking the night off as head chef and serving as sous-chef […]

Inspiration and a Second Chance are on the Menu: Santa Barbara Rescue Mission Launches a Culinary Program
By Claudia Schou   |   April 5, 2022

Rick H. is getting a second chance to make it right. The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission (SBRM) resident, whose full name is being withheld to protect his privacy, stands over a cutting board slicing pan-seared chicken breast. He neatly places slices on a pool of tomato feta sauce before garnishing them with chopped sautéed peppers. […]

In the Kitchen with Fieldside Grill’s Philip Stein
By Claudia Schou   |   March 22, 2022

Philip Stein doesn’t fit the standard mold of a polo club chef. For starters, his warm and friendly personality is devoid of the stuffy airs that one might assume is mandatory among those in close orbit to the regal sport. Now the Fieldside Grill’s executive chef, he was completely unfamiliar with the game – and […]

Grieving, Family-Style
By Claudia Schou   |   March 8, 2022

In hard times, delivering comfort in a pan is a family tradition When death comes knocking, my Italian family goes to the kitchen. As early as I can remember, whenever a family member was infirm or passed away, an imaginary bell would ring and someone – usually a family elder – would go into the […]

Love is in the Air: Local Dining Establishments Offer Outdoor Dining and Romantic Vibes
By Claudia Schou   |   February 11, 2022

Picnic benches, orange blossoms, and warm soft breezes. These days, dining is an outside affair as restaurants continue to exercise safety precautions and give diners a chance to indulge in one of the most celebrated days of the year.  Although restaurant owners and chefs are focusing on both patio dining and takeout options this Valentine’s […]

Let’s Go Dutch
By Claudia Schou   |   February 1, 2022

If you’re craving hearty stews, meaty braises, or golden fried chicken, then maybe it’s time to buy a Dutch oven, a most versatile piece of cookware with the deep interior, heavy bottom, and tight lid that will take your winter meals to new and tantalizing heights. Enameled cast-iron, these heavy-duty pots are all-purpose: they can […]

Exotic Petits Gâteaux and Lemon Raspberry Kisses: These are a Few of Pâtissiere Alessia Guehr’s Favorite Things
By Claudia Schou   |   December 28, 2021

It all started with a desire for a well-made cappuccino. I was headed to a work meeting and needed a quick jolt of caffeine. I crossed the street and followed my curiosity to the French-inspired bakery that opened last summer adjacent to the Presidio. That morning, the first of my many visits to Alessia Patisserie […]

Chefs Fall for Seasonal Ingredients
By Claudia Schou   |   December 7, 2021

If you look closely, you might catch a scant glimpse of red, yellow, and orange leaves on the trees as you walk through town, but if you’re really hungry for a sign of autumn, look at a menu. Local chefs have begun introducing new dishes for fall and winter and the fare isn’t just inspired […]

Simply Authentic Argentinian Fare
By Claudia Schou   |   November 9, 2021

Buena Onda, a family-run eatery on the Eastside, serves Argentinian wine alongside empanadas, chimi papas, and canoncitos. Whenever someone mentions Argentinian food, I immediately think of Nacho Figueras, the Argentinian polo star who dips in and out of Santa Barbara during summer’s polo season. Thinking of Nacho and his swashbuckling polo conjures up images in […]

Rinkside Cafe Serves Slamming — and Fresh! — Favorites
By Claudia Schou   |   November 2, 2021

With sporting venues on a welcome rebound, Ice in Paradise recently reopened in Goleta and is now in the swing of winter sports such as ice hockey and figure skating. But that’s not the only reason crowds are returning to the rink. Mysael Val Valerdi and Sean Bentley, the visionaries behind Ice in Paradise’s newest […]

It’s a Dog’s Day: Local Chefs Tout Four-Legged Diners
By Claudia Schou   |   September 28, 2021

Although National Dog Day came and went on August 26, it’s never too late to celebrate your furry canine companion. Which leads to a question: when is the last time you took your favorite tail-wagger out for a tasty meal? Downtown, Coast Village Road, and the Funk Zone are chockfull of outdoor eateries that cater […]

Babcock Winds Down Summer with Vintage Market, Art + Wine Affair
By Claudia Schou   |   September 7, 2021

Expand your culinary palate this week at Babcock Winery’s Vintage Market, Art + Wine Event. Wine lovers can sip crisp or silky wines paired with savory, handcrafted dishes prepared by local catering outfit Valle Fresh. End the summer sipping rosé while shopping for unique finds for your closet and keepsakes for your home. The hillside […]

Marcus Samuelsson’s The Rise Takes Foodies on a Black American Food Adventure
By Claudia Schou   |   August 24, 2021

A few months ago, my bestie, Lynn, a librarian and bibliophile, gave me a vintage copy of How to Talk with Practically Anybody About Practically Anything (Doubleday & Co., 1970), a guidebook to the art of conversation, written by none other than the godmother of celebrity interviews, Barbara Walters. Among her subjects: tycoons, royalty, politicians, […]

Splendor in the Gras? Norman Kolpas Eats His Way Through Foie Gras’ history, delectability, and controversy
By Claudia Schou   |   July 15, 2021

There are few ingredients in gastronomy that have become the object of widespread controversy and debate in recent history quite like foie gras. Beloved by many chefs and gourmets for its rich flavor and smooth texture, foie gras is made from the fattened livers of geese or ducks, with the fattening typically achieved by gavage, […]

In the Kitchen with Art Sevtap
By Claudia Schou   |   July 1, 2021

As foodies return to dine-in service, one local eatery is commanding attention with its authentic and flavorful approach to Spanish-Mediterranean cuisine and robust wine selections.  Sevtap Winery is a new tasting room in the Presidio that lures food and wine lovers on its breezy umbrella-shaded patio or inside, a naturally lit and airy dining room. […]

Foodie Spotlight
By Claudia Schou   |   June 24, 2021

Tucked along Coast Village Road, Mesa Burger’s crowd is equal parts hipsters on-the-go and preppy families taking a respite from a day at the beach, which makes it very Montecito indeed. They all queue happily for Cat’s Cobb Salad and bodacious burgers and sandwiches like the San Roque (fried Chicken Sandwich) made with house-battered fried […]

Restaurant Connection Unites Foodies with Favorite Eateries
By Claudia Schou   |   June 24, 2021

For some of us, the pandemic was all exploring new food and discovering the convenience of delivery services. Remember that mouthwatering chicken marsala paired with a glass of Babcock chardonnay that you and your partner shared on the patio? Or the gourmet burger with grilled onions, goat cheese, and truffle aioli that you enjoyed while […]

Ritz-Carlton Bacara Onboards Chefs for New Dining Concepts and Menu Updates
By Claudia Schou   |   June 17, 2021

The pandemic has inspired sweeping culinary changes throughout Santa Barbara, and notably at several area hotels where executive chefs work diligently to provide a refreshing new take on this unique era in dining. And hospitality is making a slow comeback as city nears the yellow tier of COVID reopening. Some hoteliers are utilizing their indoor-outdoor […]

Food is the Drug for Me: Life in a Town With Some of the Best Foodie Highs
By Claudia Schou   |   June 3, 2021

A few weeks ago, I read a Los Angeles Times article featuring an interview with Marianne Faithfull and Courtney Love. The two celebrities are close friends, though they’re from different generations of rock artistry and debauchery.  Who can forget Londoner Faithfull clad in leather in “Girl on a Motorcycle” or her generation-defining performance in The […]

Rosewood Miramar to Host All-American Cookout
By Claudia Schou   |   June 3, 2021

Rosewood Miramar is hosting an All-American Cookout on The Great Lawn on May 30, from 12 pm to 4 pm. Cookout highlights include sliced USDA prime brisket, pulled pork or chicken, housemate beef sausage, burgers and classic sides like potato salad, coleslaw, and corn on the cob. Save room for all-star desserts like whoopie pie, […]

Tasting Notes
By Claudia Schou   |   May 27, 2021

If you’re planning to spend more time outdoors, start thinking about the perfect beer and wine to pair with your al fresco culinary adventures. We caught up with a couple local beer and wine lovers to get their recommendations.  Greer Shull, Third Window Brewery Third Window Brewing’s pilsner, The Light, is a delicious pairing for […]

From Cured Meats to Savory Soups, Local Deli Owners Stack it Up
By Claudia Schou   |   May 27, 2021

Some of Santa Barbara’s finest takeout options aren’t coming from established restaurants. The best gourmet grocers, delis, and bodegas are sprinkled throughout Santa Barbara’s diverse culinary neighborhoods. From classic sammies, subs, grinders, heroes, and hoagies (the subs’ Italian cousins), local deli owners continued to serve beleaguered foodies during the pandemic, combining the traditional art of […]

Farmers’ Market Finds Make for Spring Salad Perfection
By Claudia Schou   |   May 20, 2021

When it comes to preparing the perfect spring salad, there’s no better place to start than your local farmers’ market. There you’ll find an abundance of lettuces, spring peas, green beans, apricots, artichokes, asparagus, fennel, radishes, cherries, mangoes, rhubarb, strawberries, Swiss chard, and zucchini in season. Popular herbs include basil, chives, cilantro, dill, mint, rosemary, […]

Celebrate Mother’s Day with Brunch, Dinner and Takeout at These Local Restaurants
By Claudia Schou   |   May 7, 2021

Celebrate your favorite moms this Mother’s Day by treating them to a special lunch at home or taking them out for a meal at one of these SB-area restaurants on May 9. Our roundup has something for everyone, including brunch and bubbly, multiple-course menus and delectable pastries for takeout. Reservations are strongly encouraged at most […]

Tasting Notes: Daniel Fish, Rosewood Miramar Director of Wine
By Claudia Schou   |   May 6, 2021

Spring has ushered in some unique wine selections and tasting opportunities from local wine experts. We checked in with a few for some fresh ideas on what to pour.  Before we dive headfirst into summer, and while many of us are at home preparing spring meals with family and close friends, I wanted to take […]

Gardens Inspire Chefs’ Spring Menus
By Claudia Schou   |   May 6, 2021

After a long winter, spring is a welcome renewal. Chefs reinvigorate their menus with vibrant green peas, bright red tomatoes, wild herbs, and a variety of citrus. Inspired by local bounty and the natural beauty of our locale, restaurants are rolling out some of their best spring dishes yet. Some chefs utilize fresh herbs and […]

Hot Diggity Dog! Adventurous flavor combos elevate an American classic at Dave’s Dogs
By Claudia Schou   |   April 29, 2021

Ask a New Yorker about the ideal hot dog and they’ll likely say it’s a Nathan’s dog slathered in mustard and covered in sauerkraut, wrapped in tin foil. Another extreme might be the kind of exotic sausages – rabbit and rattlesnake, anyone? – served at hipster-friendly eateries like Wurstküche in Los Angeles. Whatever your passion […]

Our Favorite Spring Garden Inspirations
By Claudia Schou   |   April 22, 2021

Celebrate the season with dishes that make the most of its best and brightest produce and pair them with fresh selections from our local fish markets. Let’s start with Meyer lemons, which are sweet and famous for their herbal aroma. As a relish, this winter and early spring citrus pairs perfectly with fresh salmon. This […]

Polenta Cake and Locker Room Banter
By Claudia Schou   |   April 8, 2021

Have you ever heard a baby cry and felt a sense of relief? It’s as if all of your bottled up emotions and the pressures of life get released with every little wail, like a valve letting out a bit of steam. I had this experience recently while I was standing on line at the […]

From Salmon to Sweets: Options Abound for Passover and Easter Eats
By Claudia Schou   |   March 30, 2021

Spring brings two delicious holidays: Passover and Easter. With restaurants moving into the red tier and opening their doors, local chefs are rolling out new menus with unique offerings.  Now is the time to savor this forward-thinking season.  From a swank steakhouse with a rack of lamb special; to a Scandinavian bakery with buttery pastries; […]

Zaca Creek Reopens with New Chef to Help Rebuild Legacy
By Claudia Schou   |   March 25, 2021

This winter, public officials asked restaurant owners, workers, and diners to mostly stay home as lockdowns once again took effect. Now that progress is being made with vaccinations going up and COVID-19 cases going down, restaurants are opening up again just in time to unveil spring menus and debut new outdoor dining spaces. That means […]

Cajun Kitchen Serves Southern and South-of-the-Border Flavors
By Claudia Schou   |   March 18, 2021

At some point, every local food-chaser has swung through this 1970s-ish retro diner for breakfast or lunch, sliding into the vinyl booths or perching at the counter. Cajun Kitchen’s country-style café on Chapala Street has a history of satisfying diners with wholesome, soulful cooking.   These days, guests nosh on Southern classics in the adjacent […]

Tasting Notes
By Claudia Schou   |   March 11, 2021

You can still experience the thrill of visiting a winery and taking part in its on-premise wine tasting with a handful of carefully curated wine programs offered locally. Since the onset of COVID-19, many wineries across the country have either suspended or limited in-person attendance at their tasting rooms. To compensate, some of our local […]

New Chef Brings Easy Going, Yet Sophisticated Cuisine to El Encanto
By Claudia Schou   |   March 11, 2021

There’s a new chef and fresh burst of inspiration in Belmond El Encanto’s kitchen. The Old Hollywood glamour-style hotel, perched on the Riviera, gets its first major menu change in four years, thanks to Bruno Lopez. He’s the former executive chef at the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage and Raffles L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills and is […]

UCSB Arts & Lectures presents “Chefs in Conversation,” with Samin Nosrat and Yotam Ottolenghi
By Claudia Schou   |   February 26, 2021

With their revolutionary perspective on the fundamentals of food preparation and flavor combinations, UCSB Arts & Lectures’ featured chefs Samin Nosrat and Yotam Ottolenghi represent a new paradigm of cooking ideals and styles. Moderated by Sherry Villanueva, Managing Partner at Acme Hospitality, “Chefs in Conversation” will feature the two James Beard Award-winning cooking book authors […]

Kitchen Memories Come Home
By Claudia Schou   |   February 25, 2021

A few nights ago, I woke up and couldn’t fall back asleep. Instead of counting sheep, I counted the number of great meals my family enjoyed at our old home in Long Beach’s historic Bluff Park neighborhood. My husband, Nick, and I recently put our Long Beach home on the market, thinking it might take […]

At Olio e Limone, It’s Amore
By Claudia Schou   |   February 18, 2021

Regular patrons of Olio e Limone are fans of the eatery’s Southern Italian fare as much as its owners Elaine and Alberto Morello. But there was a road that led the Sicilian chef and business partner wife to Santa Barbara. The two embarked on a business venture and romance that has lasted more than three […]

Weekend Cooking: Add Red Curry to Your Romance
By Claudia Schou   |   February 18, 2021

Making a commitment to someone you love is one thing. Committing your time and energy on a complex recipe is another. Keep your Valentine’s Day meals simple by focusing on using quality ingredients and placing flavor over ambition.   Silky and savory with warming spices, Asian curries are a welcome dish during the winter months. It […]

Gearing up for a Lovers’ Weekend? Show Some Love to our Local Eateries, Too!
By Claudia Schou   |   February 5, 2021

This year, diners are getting ready for a different kind of Valentine’s Day with restaurants focusing on both dine-in and takeout options. Because the holiday falls on a Sunday, some eateries are offering their special menus on preceding days. It’s one of the busiest days of the week on one of the busiest days of […]

Baking and Reading Your Way Through a Pandemic
By Claudia Schou   |   February 4, 2021

In the Kitchen with Leslie Zemeckis  When Leslie Zemeckis saunters into a room, people pay attention. That’s because the Montecito-based actress-baker-author exudes a kind of charm and poise that makes it possible to swan her way through any room – even a kitchen. Her kitchen is her temple, her place for Zen. So is her […]