Barney’s Fiesta Blog for Sunday, Aug. 6

Day Five of Eating My Way Through Fiesta, 2006


photos by Sue De Lapa I didn’t find the perfect taco during Fiesta 2006, but to be honest I wasn’t looking too hard.

Too many culinary distractions. Maybe next year. Sunday, for instance, I had a choice. The best deal in Fiesta, down at Pershing Park, or the best wine-tasting-eating combo. I did both, also listening to snatches of music at the Courthouse Sunken Gardens.

The best deal was a huge plate of barbecued chicken and tri-tip, beans, rice and a tortilla at Pershing Park, while an endless stream of young dancers did their stuff on the bandstand.

All this for only $8. Travis Twining, owner of Santa Barbara BBQ, was putting it on, with tables under the trees. “We’re donating all the money to Old Spanish Days,” Travis said, as a community benefit.

dscn1074.jpgHarry Ohanian and his wife Kathy, from Texas, were digging in. “We love everything here,” Harry told me. “It’s absolutely gorgeous. The barbecue is pretty good, considering that it’s not from Texas.

Meanwhile, my granddaughter, Danielle Arellanes, was up on the stage, dancing with the Linda Vega group. My mouth was watering for the barbecue but the rest of the family wanted to walk over to the Breakwater Café. So I did, scarfing down just a bowl of oatmeal (my mother would have been so proud) because I knew what I’d find at the next stop: Elements restaurant.

In a tent on the Courthouse Sunken Gardens, Elements was staging the first annual Fiesta wine tasting, where 27 wineries were pouring. “They’re mostly from our wine list,” said Elements co-owner Larry Kreider.

dscn1076.jpgJimmy McLeod, a Scot who knows his wines, was rhapsodizing about the Ojai Syrah. “It’s a beautiful wine.” And the food was excellent, Jimmy told me. “I really hope it’s a success. It’s a great addition to Fiesta.”

I guess it was because Kreider said Elements would “absolutely” do it again next year. The first thing I did was dip a strawberry into the cascade pouring from one of those chocolate machines. Then on to solid food, a bite-sized sized Focaccio sandwich Rebecca Amundsen deconstructed for me: bell peppers, zucchini, pesto mayonnaise, Portobello mushrooms and more.

There were stacks of sushi, a table full of cheeses and more nibbles than I could handle. All the goodies were from Elements, just across the street, except for the Olive Street Table, a catering company whose specialty Sunday was a Mediterranean crisp, a small, spicy pizza-like dish.

dscn1078.jpgSue and I have discovered Viognier wine and poured some of the Ethan label, made by Ethan Lindquist, son of famed Santa Barbara County winemaker Bob Lindquist, one of the original Rhone Rangers. The grapes come from Lompoc and take that all those who put down Lompoc.

Another favorite was the Jaffurs 2004 Syrah.

Meanwhile, the West Coast Symphony was making sweet music, led by Christopher Story VI.

What a perfect finish for the Fiesta.

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