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.

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]