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.

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]