Matt Kettmann
Paul Wellman

As part of our year in review, we’ve asked a few of our writers and editors to suggest a few of the stories they were particularly proud of this year. Here’s what Senior Editor Matt Kettmann told us.

1. ‘The Legend of Hank Pitcher’

Hank Pitcher at his studios in Isla Vista
Paul Wellman

My first favorite story of the year was one that I edited but did not write. It’s Roger Durling’s pensive piece on the artist Hank Pitcher. You really feel like you know Hank after reading it.

2. ‘Santa Barbara Wine Country Leader Leaving for Oregon’

Morgen McLaughlin, .Executive Director, Santa Barbara Vintners, at Au Bon Climat Winery tasting room in Santa Barbara
Paul Wellman

The wine industry, which I cover quite a bit, underwent some major changes this year when the head of Santa Barbara Vintners left. Morgen McLaughlin’s exit interview from June is quite enlightening on the current state of affairs. And it was interesting to do this Q&A with incoming leader Alison Laslett when she was hired in November.

3. ‘Epic Views and Vines Atop Grimm’s Bluff’

Courtesy Photo

Speaking of wine, I had a great time hanging with Rick Grimm and Paul Lato to write this story about a brand-new terroir overlooking the Santa Ynez River.

4. ‘Cider Flows in Old Town Goleta’

The Santa Barbara Cider trio of (from left) Ben Schroeder, Twilight Robin, and Niklas Shaefer is now serving a dozen hard ciders every weekend in Old Town Goleta.
Paul Wellman

I got to support two things I always pull for — hard cider and Old Town Goleta — in this profile of the new Santa Barbara Cider Company.

5. ‘Achieving Authenticity at The Bear and Star’

Chef John Cox came to Los Olivos from the Post Ranch Inn to spearhead the ranch-to-restaurant cuisine at The Bear and Star alongside cattle rancher Katie Parker McDonald (below). That includes growing pink oyster mushrooms, serving peppercorn sorbet-topped oysters, shaving cured emu egg on Wagyu carpaccio, and making the best deviled eggs ever.
Courtesy Photo

As usual, lots of new restaurants opened in Santa Barbara County, and I was able to get an early taste of many of them. I had a great time riding horses and exploring the honest limits of farm-to-table in this feature on The Bear and Star. And I was also able to discuss the pros and ultimately fatal cons of Somerset Restaurant, which was a little too swanky for its own good, and closed less than a year after opening. I look forward to checking out its reincarnation as the more casual Smithy in 2018.


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