To craft their signature dish—The New York Sizzle— the chefs of Steak & Grape Restaurant hand carve a choice cut of Angus steak. They sizzle up the meat in a special broiler until it's juicy and tender, and then serve it on a 600-degree plate with a decadent garlic butter. Servers bear the premium cuts out into the airy, rustic dining room, along with plates of handmade specialty burgers, fine pastas, and fresh seafood. Bartenders bustle about behind the sleek wood bar, uncorking bottles of fine wines beneath the glow of flat-screen TVs.
Winemakers Steve Lemley and Nate Hasper know that you can’t make interesting wines from uninteresting grapes. That’s why the creative duo behind Pulchella Winery actively sources all of the winery’s Paso Robles grapes from small vineyards that exhibit singular characteristics often overlooked by high-production wineries. These rare traits lend a depth of flavor complexity to the boutique wines that has resulted in a strong cult following.
Fermented either from single varietals or blends of grapes that have proven they play well with others, each small-batch vintage has a limited production of 100 cases or fewer. Visitors to the winery can sample these rare ferments in a dragonfly-themed tasting room managed by a certified sommelier and often frequented by the winemakers themselves.
All of Spumoni's homey restaurants brim with Old World ambience and warm zephyrs laden with the aromas of a broad selection of mouthwatering pastas and pizzas. Enjoy extravagant culinary indulgence not seen since the reign of Emperor Boyardee with a delectable antipasti dish, such as the Veggie Tower & Prosciutto, a shuffled deck of tomatoes, eggplant, fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, and succulent Parma prosciutto ($9.95). For a bigger bite, wrap mouth muscles around the Gnocchi Fradiavola, piquant shrimp and white wine cradling tender spud-infused pasta as beautiful as a litter of Mr. Potato Heads ($16.95). The Herculean array of pizzas, such as the Capricciosa, studded with artichoke, ham, mushroom, and mozzarella ($17.95/12" pie), goes down much easier after a few glasses of muscle-loosening wines, including Sangiovese ($6/glass) and Moretti ($5/glass).Though this Groupon does not cover the $2.50 charge, Spumoni's expedient food runners deliver to homes, businesses, and Muppet-infested trashcans.
Robert Reyes had envisioned something small: a little parcel of land in the Sierra Pelona Valley with a handful of vines, the grapes from which he would transform into small batches of premium wine and perhaps a California Raisins cover band. But when he found 16 acres of sunny, sloping land in 2002, his vision shifted from fulfilling a personal passion to building a thriving business. Two years later, Robert and his family planted five varieties of grapes, and Reyes Winery was born. Today, the winery welcomes visitors for all types of events, ranging from basic tastings to half-day wine-fueled hiking excursions through the surrounding hills.
As a significant stop on the Urban Wine Trail, Margerum and Au Bon Climat curate an experienced team of vintners who bring the best of their vineyard-grown gems to downtown Santa Barbara. Glass tippers can traverse the neighboring spaces of the Au Bon Climat and Margerum tasting rooms in whatever order they wish, guiding palates through a tasting tour that includes one full flight of wine from each winery. Flatbread and cheese plates from the nearby Wine Cask Restaurant provide ideal escorts for lonely glasses of handmade vino. In each room, guests savor the complex tastes of a flight of a rare or limited-edition vintage, from classic Burgundian-style beverages to estate-grown nebbiolo, teroldego, and petit verdot.
Oreana Winery's festive, eclectic style is embodied in its facilities, housed within a revamped historical tire shop. While in the tasting room, dabbling imbibers will enjoy dipping their senses into a rotating selection of six different wines, ranging from charming chardonnays to mystical merlots (a $10 value per person). Each tippling pair will receive a bottle of signature 2007 Oreana pinot noir, in which aromatics of wilted rose, strawberry, and wild berry bolster an elegant structure and dimension before fading to a delicate finish (a $30 value). After bathing tongues in sophisticated flavors on Oreana Winery's outdoor patio and attempting to describe a particular sensation as "supernatural taffy," tour the wine shop, gourmet gift market, and fully functional winery.