There’s a wonderful treat awaiting you on the streets of Santa
Barbara (and no doubt many other byways of Santa Barbara

christmas_lights.jpgI’m talking about the gee-amazing
holiday lighting on many homes — Eastside, Westside all around the
town. Even these jaded old eyes could hardly believe what they were
seeing when The Independent chartered a trolley to roll us
around town.

We howled at the displays, from good old Santa on the rooftops
to red-nosed reindeers (even a couple of giraffes with crimson
schnozzolas). We passed one house with solar-powered lights. Just
get in the family buggy and hit the streets.

The Santa Barbara Trolley Company is taking
reservations for a neighborhood lights tour Dec. 27 at 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $18.50 for adults, $11 for kids. Reservations at

After Sue and I alighted from the jolly trolley, a bit chilled
from the ride, we crossed Victoria Street to
Epiphany’s quiet bar and ordered Irish coffees.
Everyone’s in a friendly mood at holiday time. I got to chatting
with young chef Ron True and ended up ordering a
huge “Mac Daddy,” a white cheddar pasta dish, with
crunchy breadcrumb topping. Delicious.

Years ago, before leaving town and returning, Ron worked in the
same building when it was SOhO.
Nice guy. The bartender who recommended the dish said she’s a UCSB
grad from Bakersfield who’s applying to law school and good luck to

If you’re like me you’ll be frantically gift shopping this
weekend, but when you’re finished there’s plenty on the
entertainment and food menu.

Dining: San%20Ysidro%20ranch.jpgAfter about two years being dark,
Ty Warner’s San Ysidro Ranch’s
restaurant is open again, with chef John
Trotta manning the stove. Give a look at the changes. Then there’s
John Scott’s Tee-Off, on upper State, celebrating
its 50-year (!!!) anniversary. (No, John hasn’t owned it that

Movies: Will
, who’ll be honored at the upcoming Santa Barbara
International Film Festival, stars in The Pursuit of
, starting Friday at Paseo Nuevo. For the kids and
childish people like me, there’s Charlotte’s Web, at
Camino Real. The word-of-mouth movie is The Queen, starring
Helen Mirren, who’ll also be given the red carpet treatment at the
film fest.

Music: Woody Allen, love him or will_smith.jpgleave him, brings his New Orleans Jazz
Band to the Lobero Sunday at 8 p.m. You don’t get to see Woody in
the flesh often, unless you catch his act in New York City.

Ice Skating? Yep, at Earl Warren Showgrounds through the Dec.
23. Info at Over at
the Museum of Natural History, they’re promising snow, snow snow
Saturday, 10am-5pm, at a big party with Santa, Frosty and friends.
Info at 682-4711.

Cool Yule: Las Posadas is the traditional reenactment of Joseph
and Mary’s search for lodging in Bethlehem. It will begin at El
Presidio Chapel at 6 p.m.Saturday and end at Casa de la Guerra.

Gift Hint: Buy everyone on your list a book.


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