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.

Food from the Heart:  Delivering Warm Meals and Human Connection
By Claudia Schou   |   December 27, 2022

It’s a process that stretches from the kitchen to the bagging stations to the doorstep of a client in need of food and comfort. And each time it happens, it brings Food from the Heart one step closer to completing its mission of serving every needy resident in the Santa Barbara region.  Food from the […]

Faye Levy on Jewish Cooking: A Diaspora of Flavors
By Claudia Schou   |   December 20, 2022

On a recent afternoon I received a random phone call from a senior woman who lived in Hope Ranch. She introduced herself as Vibeke Einhorn. She said she had a box of cookbooks, and that she was moving into an assisted care facility, and would I want them. Her kind, dignified voice and fondness for […]

Winter’s Garden and Sea Inspirations
By Claudia Schou   |   December 6, 2022

From area farms to the sea, celebrate the season with simple, homemade 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 a vegan/paleo butternut squash soup with roasted poblano chiles, which are mild in flavor but occasionally and unpredictably […]

Santa Barbara Chefs Embrace the Bounty of the Season
By Claudia Schou   |   November 15, 2022

Blue skies, swaying palm trees, and warm weather make our city the perfect setting for California Dreamin’, but diners can still find hearty winter dishes on the menus of many of Santa Barbara’s best eateries.  Game birds, root vegetables, chestnuts, truffles, and other seasonal ingredients are among the rich cornucopia of flavors awaiting diners. “You […]

Evan Kleiman Talks Food and Why Nigella Lawson Has Earned Culinary Diva-dom
By Claudia Schou   |   November 8, 2022

Come see “An Evening with Nigella Lawson” on Saturday, November 12 at 7:30 pm at the Granada Theatre, as the global food icon converses with KCRW’s Evan Kleiman about her new cookbook and the meals, people, and experiences that shaped her life. I had the chance to recently chat with Kleiman about the upcoming event […]

Local Eateries Add Chef-Driven Small Plates to the Happiest of Hours
By Claudia Schou   |   October 25, 2022

It’s almost always happy hour somewhere in Santa Barbara. I love the tradition of getting together with friends, work colleagues, and neighbors to ponder a myriad of topics over food and drinks: “How’s the marijuana odor control in Carpinteria coming along?” “Do you think Southern California Edison will move the utility lines underground in Santa […]

AMA Sushi: Seasoned chefs bring centuries-old Japanese traditions to Rosewood Miramar in Montecito
By Claudia Schou   |   September 20, 2022

Step inside AMA Sushi, Rosewood Miramar’s new upscale dining room, and experience an homage to Edomae – a centuries-old Japanese culinary tradition that has resurfaced in recent years. Named for women who ventured into the ocean to collect seafood for their village, “ama” means “women of the sea.”  The team at this beachside resort is […]

Pride in Joy
By Claudia Schou   |   September 6, 2022

This summer I did what most practical women who love to shop for fashion and dine out do when their pocketbooks grow slimmer than a Raymond Carver story: I got a second job! Feeling a bit adventurous, I applied online for a position cooking for a local company named Pure Joy Catering. To my surprise, […]

Feasting Al Fresco: Plan an Unforgettable Picnic
By Claudia Schou   |   August 16, 2022

Picture yourself on a cool summer evening sitting on a Mexican blanket listening to the sound of waves rushing across the sand. There’s a divine spread laid out, guests are lounging on oversized pillows and nibbling on homespun delicacies such as shredded chicken and bean taquitos and grapefruit, avocado, and walnut salad. There are a […]

Summer Splendor at Local Eateries The Sweetness and Spiciness of the Season
By Claudia Schou   |   July 26, 2022

Warm summer breezes and longer days beckon diners outdoors to explore the city’s diverse culinary landscape. Although there has been a recent uptick in virus cases, restaurant owners and chefs tempt diners with their summer creations. Several local eateries continue to exercise the same safety protocols at the height of the pandemic. “Our doors to […]

Beans BBQ: A BBQ Eatery Serves Reimagined Comfort Fare
By Claudia Schou   |   July 5, 2022

Pitmaster Kristi Bean recently debuted her barbecue eatery, Beans BBQ, nestled on State Street, just steps away from Granada Theatre.  Bean said the eatery is the love child of Beans BBQ catering business, which she started in 2014, the same year she migrated to Santa Barbara. At the core of the success story that is […]

Netflix’s The Andy Warhol Diaries Provides Inspiration for a Foodie’s Diary
By Claudia Schou   |   June 21, 2022

Saturday Dear Diary, This pandemic was so inconvenient, and awful, just awful. I’ve never felt so lonely and depressed in my entire life. Thank you for helping me get through the pandemic! I’ve kept sane with tantalizing home cooked meals and entertaining TV series like Pam and Tommy. Last night I finished the last episode […]

Six New Dining Options to Try This Summer
By Claudia Schou   |   May 24, 2022

If you’re planning to venture out in town this summer, start a list of some of the new eateries you’d like to visit during your al fresco culinary adventures. From Mexican-inspired bites and beverages to Nashville-style fried chicken, Santa Barbara has some exciting new eateries on its culinary scene. Santa Barbara Public Market has added […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]