Committed to providing fresh pours, the winetenders of Gather Wine Bar uncork only 25 to 35 of their carefully curated central-coast wines each week. Knowledgeable staff can recommend a bottle for customers to pair with charcuterie plates, flatbread pizzas, and gourmet pub snacks such as bacon-wrapped dates. Alternatively, themed wine flights can provide a cross section of a single varietal or eclectic tastes from an array of vines. Live music acts and singles events create an upbeat atmosphere on many nights, and catered parties can gather small groups around a fire pit or feed 100 or more people with unlimited appetizers from the bar.
At Tenth Street Basque Cafe, diners always receive the full attention of chef Dallas Holt. The Spanish-Basque-style café does not maintain a regular menu and only seats guests at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 6 p.m. on Sundays for a prix fixe dinner prepared by the chef. Chef Dallas typically winds palates up with tapas such as stuffed mushrooms or albacore fish cakes before regaling senses with a main course such as stone-oven-cooked whole salmon or his specialty, the chicken and sausage paella.
Between the two of them, longtime friends David Schwartz and Gary Nardilla have nine children. That is a number of mouths to feed, and the fathers do it with fresh, healthy ingredients. So when the friends opened Epic Bowl, they decided to cook for every guest as they would for their own families. Using whatever organic fruits and produce they receive from the farmers’ market that week, the chefs fashion dishes they think will taste great, whether that includes sprout salads, smoothies infused with young-coconut water, or pesto-caprese sandwiches layered with cucumbers, tomatoes, and hearty slabs of cheese. Hot and cold bowls include ingredients such as organic acai, organic chicken, quinoa, and swiss chard. Through the stone-flanked entryway, an outdoor patio is scattered with tables and oversized umbrellas that protect patrons from feral satellites.
Pierre Lafond's duo of wine bistros—Montecito WineBistro and State Street WineBistro—share more than just a similar name. Their head chefs—Chef Victor and Chef Nathan, respectively—are equally as dedicated to cooking upscale yet approachable American farm-to-table cuisine. Local organic produce, free-range and grass-fed meats, and organic, drug-free poultry make up the bulk of both kitchens' ingredients, which the chefs use to craft gourmet sandwiches and pizzas, as well as beef bourguignon and sustainable, wood-roasted sea bass. To pair with the nuanced dishes, the restaurant group's resident sommelier, Don Hull, has curated an extensive wine list for each restaurant that features dozens of local wines—including varietals from the eponymous Lafond Winery—and selections from around the world.