I’ll admit it, even with all my drama and tears and breaking windows and such, I do manage to have ridiculously wonderful birthdays with people who love me. Last year was an extravaganza of a surprise party, lovingly thrown by Evan and Jaimie and Jeff. This year, it was bit more spaced out – with a weekend camping and then an impromptu beer and burger night and the crown jewel – a wine tasting trip in Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez, complete with a beautiful yurt overlooking Refugio State Park and the Pacific.
Sam, Aline, Evan, Veronica and I may have tasted every wine offered within the 20 mi radius, but we did it well and with plenty of instagrams. This trip is great, not just for the almost thirty crowd, but really for any generation that has a penchant for wine.
Brunch at the Scarlett Begonia: This cute little brick brunch place is nestled in a brick shopping center, with a darling little patio and amazing food. We split the dirty fries (at the suggestion of a woman raving about them in the bathroom,) the burger (omg, to die for), and the biscuits (pretty good). And of course, mimosas.
Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail: This is one of my favorite things to do, basically ever. The Urban Wine Trail consists of 20+ little tasting rooms, lining the blocks of basically the beachfront neighborhood of Santa Barbara. Cute patio spaces, sea air, and delicious wines? Check. Live music? Check. Dog friendly? Check. We really enjoyed these ones on this trip: Oreana, Area 5.1, DV8, Pali and Kunin. *Kunin was our favorite.
Pizza at Lucky Penny: We didn’t have any food at the accommodations, so we got half-baked pizzas from Lucky Penny, after seeing like 20 drunk-ass sorority girls chowing down on it at the curb. Trust the drunk-ass sorority girls. Trust them. We got three different pizzas (Dan Russo and the Margherita were bomb) and two salads (including the shaved kale) and hightailed it up to our yurt. We popped them in the oven and they were soooo yummy.
The Yurt: It did seem a bit out of the way when we headed up the mountain at breakneck speed to see the sunset, but boy, was it worth it. This two bedroom “yurt”, was a fully appointed home with views I’m still dreaming of. We watched the sunset, poured some (more) wine, and watched a comedy show and I was happy.
Pastries from the French Press: After dropping Sam off at the train station, Evan brought Aline and I pastries and coffee (from Dune) from the French Press were great. Can’t really remember what they were, but the latte was bomb. We enjoyed in our desert garden over the ocean.
Lunch at Roblar Winery: The loveliest winery, with a wisteria patio, and a heavy pours, plus a great lunch menu.
Winetasting at Bridlewood: The most European of the bunch, this imposing estate felt something straight out of France. (The French woman who aided us in our tasting probably helped with that).
Los Olivos Tasting Rooms: Like the Urban Wine Trail, Los Olivos has several tasting rooms lined up around the downtown area of the sweet little town. All the tasting rooms are basically little homes, converted into comfy, cozy patios and bar areas. We really liked Sarloos and Sons (including the on-site cupcake- they even have a pairing!), Carhartt, and J. Wilkes.
Dinner at Sides Hardware: We need a quick bite before heading back to LA, and Sides was really the only options, but it was a good one. Totally packed when we arrived, I pulled the its my birthday card and they had us seated pretty quickly. The winners: the pork belly steamed buns, the albacore tostada and the fettucine.