LA Confidential Magazine: Santa Barbara

Before I get to the big dining feature I did for the Summer Issue of LA Confidential (stay tuned next week!), I thought I'd include the travel piece I wrote up on one of California's classiest and perennially popular destinations: Santa Barbara.

World-class resorts, great restaurants, lovely wineries and tons of activities both sporty and's definitely a great vacation spot for all kinds of travelers. No link to the article on the LA Confidential site yet, so instead, I'll just paste the text in below so you can take a look!


The towns along the Santa Barbara Coast have something for the beach bum and city slicker in all of us.


Santa Barbara: Colonial history, beautiful beaches and five-star accommodations make this one of SoCal’s premier destinations.

Montecito: The toniest town in the area, set between the sea and the mountains just south of Santa Barbara proper. Oh, and it’s Oprah’s neighborhood. Need we say more?

Carpinteria: Surf’s up in this beachfront hamlet a few miles south of Montecito.


Laidback Luxury: The Four Seasons The Biltmore Santa Barbara is a historic hotel of spacious rooms with Spanish tiling, deep soaking tubs and plasma televisions—not to mention its gorgeous beachside dining patio and intimate spa.

Moorish Flair: For easy access to Santa Barbara’s boutiques and galleries, there’s no beating the Canary Hotel, whose rooms blend Moroccan caché and European elegance in the heart of town.

Casual Class: Across from Santa Barbara’s State Beach, Hotel Oceana features bright rooms decorated in beachy colors and several pools for sunbathing.

Under The Radar: North of town, the standard rooms at Bacara are 450 square feet of pure luxury with Frette linens, balconies, and many have fireplaces. There are deluxe pool cabanas, two golf courses and a 42,000-square-foot spa.

Haute Honeymoon: JFK and Jackie O honeymooned in the hillside cottages at Montecito’s San Ysidro Ranch, which combine rustic appeal with all the modern luxury amenities. Its Stonehouse Restaurant is also one of the best in the area.


Wine Country Cuisine: Wine Cask has the best wine list in the city, populated by both moderate quaffs and hard-to-find bottles.

Seaside Seafood: Enjoy a pier-side lunch of freshly caught local seafood at Brophy Bros., or head to the SB sequel to Hollywood’s Hungry Cat.;

Taco Time: Humble La Super-Rica Taqueria on SB’s Milpas Street was one of Julia Child’s local faves. (805) 963-4940

Beach Brews: Nothing beats a cold brew (or a whole flight of them) at Carpinteria’s Island Brewing Company.


On a Mission: The imposing 1786 Santa Barbara Mission was known as the Queen of California’s 21 missions.

Garden Path: The Santa Barbara Botanical Garden in Mission Canyon contains over 1,000 species of indigenous plants and flowers on 65 gorgeous acres.

Urban Wine Trail: Who needs to trek to wine country when you can taste in town at wineries like Santa Barbara Winery and Whitcraft?

Horsing Around: Bring a picnic or splurge on a cabana to watch matches on Sundays during the April-October season at the Santa Barbara Polo Club, which also celebrates its Centennial Extravaganza in August.