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.

Venturing Out for a Bite
By Claudia Schou   |   January 28, 2021

Craveable Carryout: Colossal Burgers, Spicy Vegan Pop-Ups, and Savory Pizza Pies It’s only natural to seek solace in food during an isolating winter. But with an ongoing regional ban on both indoor and outdoor dining severely affecting Santa Barbara’s restaurant scene, doing so has become much more challenging. Many restaurants continue to offer both take-out […]

In the Kitchen with Nancy Silverton
By Claudia Schou   |   January 21, 2021

When Skepticism and Humor Become the Perfect Recipe for Artisanal Bread Whenever I hear the name Le Cordon Bleu it reminds me of the time I took a “Savory Nibbles” cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu Paris with my mother-in-law, Marie. After completing the very first step of our course – to crack an egg […]

Reimagining the Walking Food Tour in Downtown Santa Barbara
By Claudia Schou   |   January 14, 2021

How do you gather food lovers together for a tour of downtown Santa Barbara’s most notable eateries in the midst of a global pandemic in which both indoor and outdoor dining are off limits? Taste Santa Barbara Tours seems to have found the answer: by offering safely social distanced walking tours featuring take-out food that’s […]

Taste One, Taste Them All
By Claudia Schou   |   January 14, 2021

Santa Barbara Public Market is a culinary favorite for devoted foodies who come to sample the unique flavors of local chefs. The 19,400-square-foot gourmet food hall houses seven vendors with culturally diverse culinary offerings in a single location, and can now be combined in a single food order. Outdoor/indoor dining is not available but there […]

El Encanto and Miramar Elevate the Carryout Experience
By Claudia Schou   |   December 31, 2020

Bring a taste of Belmond El Encanto home with you. The iconic hideaway in the Santa Barbara Hills offers a new takeout menu available for curbside pick-up from 11 am to 10 pm daily. Roasted butternut squash soup ($18) served with cornbread croutons, a Belgium endive salad ($19) featuring Point Reyes blue cheese, maple duck […]

On the Menu: Comfort Meals and New Beginnings
By Claudia Schou   |   December 31, 2020

Inside the kitchen at Santa Barbara Rescue Mission a team of masked and gloved volunteers prepare six dozen turkeys – washing each bird, stuffing them with onions, garlic, and herbs, basting them with butter and seasonings – all in preparation for the most important dinner of the year, the Christmas Feast. It’s a time-consuming process […]

Ca’Dario Offers the Gift of Vino
By Claudia Schou   |   December 31, 2020

For a limited time through the holiday, Ca’Dario Ristorante is offering a complimentary bottle of wine with orders of $75 or more. Seasoned chef Dario Furlati creates rustic Northern Italian dishes served family style. Pair your next meal with the merlot or viognier by Dard. Available for carryout.  Ca’Dario is located at 1187 Coast Village […]

Tasting Notes with San Ysidro Ranch Sommelier Tristan Pitre
By Claudia Schou   |   December 24, 2020

Santa Barbara sunsets inspire cozying up next to a fire, winter sweaters and indulging in rich, soul-satisfying food and wine. One of my favorite wines of the season is the 2015 Jonata “Todos.”  Jonata is best known for its world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and other single varietal wines crafted from its estate vineyard in Ballard Canyon […]

In the Kitchen with Matt Johnson
By Claudia Schou   |   December 24, 2020

These days it’s hard to get excited about anything when days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months and the only glimmer of hope is your next home-cooked meal. Same salad dressing, same lemon chicken, same wine, and the same cloth napkins (just washed). Life has been, well, uneventful. That is, up until last […]

SYR Winter Garden Grove Cocktail
By Claudia Schou   |   December 24, 2020

Yield: One cocktail Ingredients: 3/4 ounce Sazerac Rye 3/4 ounce Hardy VSOP cognac 3/4 ounce fresh Meyer lemon juice 1 1/4 ounces honey chamomile syrup 1.Combine all ingredients, shake well, strain into bucket glass with a large cube.  2. Garnish with Meyer lemon wheel, star anise, and cinnamon

Holiday Bundt for Brunch or Dessert
By Claudia Schou   |   December 24, 2020

These gorgeously shaped cakes are perfect for every holiday meal, according to San Ysidro Ranch pastry chef Michelle Straub. Throughout her time in the gastronomic world, Straub has put a focus on bringing new life to classic recipes using the best ingredients possible. “My goal has always been to do the basics extremely well, because […]

The Montecito Journal 2020 Holiday Gift Guide
By Claudia Schou   |   December 17, 2020

Montecito’s legacy shops have stood the test of time, braving the lightest of lulls to the meanest of bear markets. And in a year that has cratered traditional retail, the village’s small businesses have stood tall again. In the midst of yet another crippling lockdown, we feature a few of the area’s celebrated boutiques for […]

Revolver Debuts New York Style Pizza Pies
By Claudia Schou   |   December 17, 2020

Proprietors Nick Bodden and Ronald Allen are the quintessential do-it-yourselfers of Santa Barbara’s food scene with an approach not unlike early rock ‘n’ roll musicians like Elvis who made their own recordings in order to get their sound noticed. Bodden and Allen do that with their creative recipes and passion for food.  Prior to debuting […]

Curbside Menu Spotlight
By Claudia Schou   |   December 17, 2020

With new mandates affecting Santa Barbara’s restaurant scene, each week we will highlight exceptional takeout offerings to help ease our minds and our bellies during the pandemic.  Bluewater Grill’s Seafare To-Go Eats Housed in a funky lighthouse building, Bluewater Grill serves up fresh seafood, favorite cocktails and wines of the Central Coast, all paired with […]

Summerland’s Outdoor Eats
By Claudia Schou   |   December 10, 2020

With City officials urging a Safer at Home order aiming to slow the spread of the coronavirus, now more than ever is the time to support local businesses. Indoor dining is banned for the time being, and as we move into the winter months, dining outdoors is not ideal. But Summerland, a sleepy seaside community, […]

Vegetarian Holiday Dishes to Savor
By Claudia Schou   |   December 10, 2020

Best Vegetarian Holiday Dishes Looking for the perfect meatless recipes for the holidays? Santa Barbara-based recipe developer and photographer Riley Yahr has a few in mind. She creates modern vegetarian dishes for her popular food blog Mixed & Measured. Her simple yet creative recipes bring vegetables to the center of the table. We recently caught up […]

Sweet and Savory Fondues: Perfect Recipes for Holiday Quarantine, With Wine Pairings by Santa Barbara Wine Collective’s Marina Sonn and Ellen Long
By Claudia Schou   |   December 3, 2020

The prospect of sheltering during the holidays has thrown us all out of our comfort zone. But hunkering down and getting creative with your meal making should be a cinch, especially when you consider fondue, a classic holiday tradition that brings cohabitants together for an evening of festivity in the kitchen, dining room, or living […]

Getting Into the Holiday Spirits
By Claudia Schou   |   November 26, 2020

I  was recently explaining to a clinical psychologist friend of mine that a coping mechanism I use during the pandemic is to mentally escape to another destination when times get stressful. “I’m sure I’m not the only one using escapism to cope,” I added. My friend, Weston, a college buddy, said he couldn’t understand why […]

Tasting Notes with Belmond El Encanto Sommelier Jordan DeVille
By Claudia Schou   |   November 26, 2020

The holidays are all about celebrating the season and the start of a new year with family and friends. One of my favorite wine selections this season – and one to consider for your own holiday tables – is the 2016 Joyce “Massa Estate” Chenin Blanc. Joyce Vineyards is a family-run small-batch winery that began […]

Our Favorite Fall Recipe: Chicken with Walnuts and Pomegranate
By Claudia Schou   |   November 19, 2020

This rich and incredibly moreish stew has just three key ingredients, which come together to create a truly sumptuous dish. Don’t be put off by the time it needs on the stove. It couldn’t be simpler to make, and once everything is cooking you won’t need to do anything other than let it bubble gently […]

Local Eateries Offer Dine-In, To-Go Thanksgiving Meals
By Claudia Schou   |   November 19, 2020

Some of Santa Barbara’s best flavors are savored during the holiday season: citrus, persimmons, sage, fennel, spicy pecans, Mexican chocolate, honey, fresh and dried chili peppers and, of course, seafood.  Chefs are relying on the state’s bounty as a springboard for Thanksgiving, the year’s most important dinner in these parts, when coastal ranch, Mediterranean and […]

Tasting Notes with Rosewood Miramar Wine Director Daniel Fish
By Claudia Schou   |   November 12, 2020

As autumn brings changing leaves and cooler weather, the season gives us mushrooms, brassicas, and root vegetables. Richard Sanford of Alma Rosa is an iconic producer of Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir, and his passion project, Alma Rosa, creates a fantastic “Barrel Select” Pinot Noir, which is handpicked from his favorite barrels of all the […]

Cookbooks to Inspire Holiday Spirit in the Kitchen
By Claudia Schou   |   November 12, 2020

Mastering Bread: The Art and Practice of Handmade Sourdough, Yeast Bread, and Pastry, by Marc Vetri, Claire Kopp McWilliams, David Joachim (Ten Speed Press, Hardcover $23.99) The Vetri Cucina Bread Program began over a decade ago and has been part of the American movement to reclaim high-quality bread as a cornerstone of our food culture. […]

Bakery Goods for the Holidays
By Claudia Schou   |   November 12, 2020

The fall and holiday season that invites joyous family gatherings also brings fresh baked goods to your table. Artisanal breads, cakes, pastries, galettes, and rolls will make that seasonal meal. Local bread makers and pastry chefs have stocked their pantries and are busy kneading, rolling, shaping, and baking. So focus on your family recipes and […]

In the Kitchen with Serkaddis Alemu
By Claudia Schou   |   November 5, 2020

A seasoned Ethiopian chef on the art of making injera and a new approach to communal dining during the pandemic Petit Valentien serves bistro-style French cuisine with classic offerings such as Petrale Sole, but weekend brunch is another matter. That’s when diners gather at the bohemian-style café for Ethiopian feasts of spicy meats and braised […]

Fall en France
By Claudia Schou   |   October 29, 2020

Stella Mare’s, a French-inspired dining room in Montecito just off Cabrillo Boulevard overlooking a scenic bird estuary, was one of the first restaurants to close during the COVID-19 lockdown. Now, five months later, the eatery has reopened with a new menu and an expansive outdoor dining area for 50 guests. Open at 25 percent occupancy, […]

Old World Glamour
By Claudia Schou   |   October 29, 2020

Another notable restaurant to reopen this month with a handful of autumn-inspired dishes is Intermezzo by Wine Cask in downtown Santa Barbara. Formerly known as The Wine Cask, the popular upscale eatery closed its doors on March 15, and began a renovation, updating the physical space as well as the concept before quietly unveiling its […]

A Cue from Tuscany
By Claudia Schou   |   October 29, 2020

Ca’Dario Ristorante is serving a seasonal menu made up of hearty and comforting cuisine, according to executive chef and owner Dario Furlati. Chef Furlati, who hails from Tuscany, takes his cue from the Northern Italian countryside’s rustic cuisine. Look for butternut squash tortellini with creamy mascarpone sauce, sage and walnuts ($24), arugula and gem salad […]

With Autumn, Chefs Embrace the Season’s Bounty
By Claudia Schou   |   October 29, 2020

Fall is here, and restaurant chefs in town have begun introducing new dishes that aren’t just inspired by the traditional flavors we associate with fall – such as root vegetables and wild game – but also the bounty of area farms for their autumn-inspired dishes. The timing couldn’t be better, with COVID-19 cases slowing down […]

Tasting Notes with Wyatt Davidson, Santa Barbara Wine Collective Manager
By Claudia Schou   |   October 29, 2020

It is easy to get lost among the winding hills and sprawling oak trees native to Santa Barbara County, but when you do, you might happen upon a few hidden gems. Nestled into the hillsides of Ballard Canyon lies a vineyard site unique in the Central Coast wine region, The Stolpman Family Vineyards. Tom Stolpman […]

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 […]