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Maxing Out at the Public Market

Market Gusto! Gives the Chance to Sample Food and Drink


What’s great about the Santa Barbara Public Market is there’s so much great food and drink. What’s horrible about the Santa Barbara Public Market is there’s too much great food and drink, and you can’t enjoy it all on one visit.

But now there’s a solution: Market Gusto!, which provides the chance to try five small plates from vendors throughout the market, each matched with drinks from Wine + Beer. The past tastings have featured wine, but the third iteration, on Thursday, June 28, will focus on beer pairings.

The evenings are curated by Wine + Beer’s Stephen Goularte and sommelier Remington Giannico of Skurnik Wines. “Remy is Argentinian, and I also have Latin blood,” Goularte explained. “When he suggested we call it ‘Gusto,’ I immediately agreed. Gusto roughly translates to ‘the pleasure or vigor of doing something.’ The pleasure of eating and drinking is what Gusto! is all about.”

The May version of the evening, for example, offered a fiery, crunchy shrimp tempura bowl from Bigeye Raw Bar to pair with a steely pinot gris from Domaine Mittnacht Frères in Alsace. (The wine pairings were all available for 10 percent discount retail purchase, too.) They also did slight regional switcheroos, like going with Argentinian malbec for Ca’ Dario’s eggplant parmigiana and then Tuscan Brunello di Montalcino for Flagstone Pantry’s wild mushroom quesadillas.

“We want to showcase wine and food from the Public Market, with its multicultural goodness,” explained Goularte, but he insists the evening must be casual and free-flowing, not pretentious. “Often wine dinners are too expensive and intimidating,” he said. “It should not cost an arm and a leg to eat and drink well.” So Gusto! costs just $35.

Though the menu is still being fine-tuned, the June 28 event will at least pair Alvarado Street’s Simcoe Dependent West Coast IPA with tempura-battered cod from Bigeye Raw Bar. But there’s more. “The market has a few vendor surprises happening,” said Goularte, “so I can tell you there will be some fresh cuisine on the scene.”

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Market Gusto! takes place Thursday, June 28, 7 p.m., at the S.B. Public Market (38 W. Victoria St.). Call 770-7701 or see wineplusbeer.com for tickets.

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