Totally Local: The Indefatigable Mollie Ahlstrand
By James Buckley   |   December 12, 2023

After nearly 30 years, the mudslide of 2018 put an end to her elegant Trattoria Mollie on Coast Village Road. She opened a new Mollie’s next to the Granada on State Street, but COVID-19 crushed that endeavor too. Armed conflict broke out in the Tigray region of Ethiopia in 2020 and the country is now […]

Take a Bite with The Grazing Place
By Amélie Dieux   |   November 7, 2023

Mother of two children, wife, and business owner with a chemical engineering degree, Monica Vuchkova is the quintessential new modern woman. Based in Santa Barbara, and thanks to her childhood in Bulgaria, food heritage, lifestyle, and her love of people, she started her company The Grazing Place in 2021. She creates exquisite gourmet boards for […]


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More from Montecito

Wild Mushrooms
By Melissa Petitto   |   November 7, 2023

The mushroom is getting its due time in the spotlight right now and with just cause. This miraculous fungi, which is more of a fruit than a vegetable, is one of the coolest things we consume from nature. Not only is the mushroom incredibly nutritious, but it also plays a vital role in plant health […]

Honeynut Squash
By Melissa Petitto   |   October 24, 2023

Meet the honeynut squash – the newer, cuter, more nutrient and vitamin packed cousin of the butternut squash. This squash was a creation of Chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Michael Mazourek, a plant breeder at Cornell University. This honey-colored squash is easier to manage than the larger butternut, has more […]

Jemma Montecito 
By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   October 24, 2023

Last week it was quietly announced that a new restaurant called Jemma Montecito is in the works for the Las Aves complex near the Bird Refuge; the complex traded hands last year for $19M, selling to a Los Angeles-based investment group, the Runyon Group, which has big plans to revitalize the complex and bring in […]

Lessons in Meal Making on the Cape
By Claudia Schou   |   October 17, 2023

A recent trip to the Boston area to drop off my son for his first year of college had me guessing what his future diet would be. Would he have access to the same quality, wholesome meals we prepared at home, served with warmth and love? Would he at least enjoy wholesome and nutritious meals […]

It’s a Local Thing: The Hamptons and Montecito: A Culinary Love Affair
By Gabe Saglie   |   October 17, 2023

Michelin star or not, Montecito and The Hamptons share riviera and foodie status. On the map, they’re opposites, split by a 3,000-mile expanse. But Montecito and The Hamptons – both aspirational coastal enclaves – mirror each other in special ways, from idyllic weather and the bon vivant lifestyle they both promote, to the sophisticated travelers […]

  • SBC Food Action Network
    By Steven Libowitz   |   October 10, 2023

    It was back in 2011 that UCSB environmental studies professor Dr. David Cleveland published his white paper indicating that 99 percent of the produce grown in Santa Barbara County was being exported elsewhere. That statistic alone wouldn’t be so startling given that agriculture and food is the number one industry in Santa Barbara County. The […]

    By Melissa Petitto   |   September 26, 2023

    “Wow!” is all I could say when walking through the farmers market this weekend. Summer is definitely my favorite season of produce and with all of the rain we had last season, the bounty at the market is just breathtaking. Eggplant is on my mind this week… although it was a hard decision to make! […]


    Montecito Moms: Sophie McNally
    By Dalina Michaels   |   August 22, 2023

    Sophie McNally, a visionary entrepreneur and owner of the company Kitchenette, is changing the way people interact with food through innovative technology. And she is doing it right here in Montecito! “We moved to Montecito during Covid. During that time, we were so worried about the virus and I didn’t trust going out to eat, […]

    Summer Squash
    By Melissa Petitto   |   August 22, 2023

    Zucchini, Crookneck, Pattypan, Chayote, Costata Romanesco, melons, and cucumbers… there are so many varietals of the summer squash and when they arrive, they arrive with gusto! I often find I must be so creative to use them all up. The squash family, often mistaken for a vegetable, is classified as a fruit because they have […]

    By Melissa Petitto   |   August 1, 2023

    I will wait all year for the perfect tomato, the not-flawless, stunning, smells-like-summer-and-tastes-like-heaven tomato. Sure you can find them year round in the grocery store, but the ones that look perfectly red and round and taste like water – why waste your time? Tomatoes, in all their summer glory, are in the farmers market as […]

    By Melissa Petitto   |   July 18, 2023

    The apricot tree in my neighbor’s yard is just busting with these beautiful blushing gems and I could not be more excited! My daughter and I went and harvested a bunch the other day and are so excited to take them back into the kitchen. I love using them in both sweet and savory ways […]

    The Cucumber
    By Melissa Petitto   |   July 4, 2023

    Santa Barbara, it’s sunny and finally summer and all I want are cooling foods. The Farmers Market is bursting with produce, but what jumped out this week is the cucumber. Its many varietals with English, Kirby, and Persian being the ones easiest to find. They each have their specific usage but can easily be substituted […]