Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Visit Lompoc

Growing up in Lompoc, Ca. it was always known as the valley of the flowers; today Lompoc is home to a thriving wine community with over 30 tasting rooms.  Located at the west end of the Santa Rita Hills, the wineries in Lompoc produce some of the finest wines from the area as well as other local wine appellations. Stand on any street in Lompoc and you will see these rolling hills in every direction. 

Lompoc is also known as the city of art and there are more than 40 exterior murals painted by local artists, many depicting Lompoc's history and heritage. If you want a great lunch try Sissy's Uptown Cafe, fantastic food and a great wine list. Afterwards stroll and enjoy the exquisite murals and Lompoc's quaint downtown district. Stop in at South Side Coffee for a cappuccino and visit some of the local antique stores. Be sure to visit Sweet Repeats -- there you will find a little bit of everything with over 40 vendors under one roof.

La Purisma mission is the only complete example of a Catholic mission complex in California. Stroll through it's 1,000 acres and you'll find yourself whisked back in time. It is a great place for a hike or just to take in a little history. My favorite wine event 'Wine and Fire' is held there every year and it is a venue you must check out if you are serious about good food and great wine. I met people who came from all over the United States to attend this very popular event.

A short 25 minute drive will take you to Jalama Beach Park; the drive alone is worth it and the view as you round the turn approaching the beach is spectacular. You have to try one of the "famous" Jalama burgers and I promise you won't be disappointed -- visitors come from all over just to get a Jalama burger! 

If you aren't up for the drive just visit the Jalama Beach Cafe right in Lompoc on Hwy 1. 

The Lompoc Wine Ghetto has the second largest concentration of tasting rooms in Santa Barbara County, and you will have a great time exploring the different wineries. The “Wine Ghetto” clearly got its name from its no-frills, industrial center home, but don't be fooled by first appearances. Born and raised in Lompoc I am  proud to call it my home. I can't count the times I drove right by the wine ghetto on the quest for the 'next great winery'. I don't even remember why I went there the first time, I just remember I was pleasantly surprised once I walked through the doors. Palmina winery was my first taste in  Lompoc's Wine Ghetto and I felt I was transported to another place. Not only was the atmosphere welcoming but the wines were some of the best I had tried. I have yet to taste a wine in the ghetto that wasn't superb. The Lompoc Wine Ghetto is located in the Sobhani Industrial Center located behind Home Depot, just north of Hwy. 246.  It seems new wineries are popping up all over Lompoc and many think it is becoming the next Napa Valley. 

Another great place to visit in downtown Lompoc is D'vine wine bar. They serve food to all ages up until 9:00 p.m. and it is my favorite place to go in town. Great wine, food and ambience and many nights you can enjoy live music from local artists. The kitchen is very small, so they have a limited menu but everything is exceptionally good, especially their pizza.

Just outside the city and a 15 minute drive will take you to LaPurisma Golf course, one of the best courses around,  Although I don't golf, I do enjoy going there just for the beautiful scenery and a nice glass of wine. From what I hear it is an extremely challenging course and currently under new management with a lot of great plans for it's future.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Avant Harvest Dinner 2014

It has been a while since I have blogged because I have been so busy but really wanted to share about this great winery restaurant and their annual harvest dinner.  I love good wine and great food; so when I find a winery that is exceptional in both departments it makes for a fabulous evening. Gourmet food, delicious wine, friendly staff and the perfect choice of background music; what more could you ask for. The wine was flowing and everything from the appetizers to desert was perfect and presented beautifully. In fact it was the best meal I have had in a very long time. The event took place in their barrel room and it was a festive and a fantastic evening with a great group of wine enthusiasts. Check out their restaurant and tasting room at 24 industrial way in Buellton where you will find 24 wineries under one roof. If you are looking for a great wine club or just a great place for lunch or dinner I give Avant 5 stars.  

Want to find more; check out their web site here.

Prosciutto, ricotto, parmesan, heirloom tomatoes bruschetta.

Goat cheese stuffed squash blossoms.

Artichoke and asparagus fritters.
Braised short ribs with truffle mashed potatoes and farmers market vegetables.

Pumpkin tiramisu.

Joe Padilla for Buellton city council.