It's easy to get the star treatment during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF). As part of a special Film Feast promotion, all sorts of local watering holes and restaurants are offering movie-themed specials during the Film Festival (January 27 – February 7).
Here are a few of my faves:
Get in the mood for a sweep at the Oscars (my prediction) with a Birdman Martini at Ty Lounge at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara (1260 Channel Dr.). Made with 10 Cane Rum, Galliano, Gran Gala and lime, I recommend trying this one outside on the patio at sunset. Other specials include an Outstanding Carell Collins and a Cousteau Margarita. All come with an excellent view of Butterfly Beach.
If you prefer wine to cocktails, one of the newer tasting rooms in the Wine Collection of El Paseo, Jamie Slone Wines (23 E. De La Guerra St.) is doing a salute to As Good as it Gets. They've partnered with C’est Cheese (Hello? Wine and cheese pretty much are as good as it gets!) to offer $20 wine and cheese pairings, along with screenings of the Jack Nicholson film daily at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. (pairings are available from noon – 6 p.m. daily).
Another great movie—Vino Veritas ("In Wine, the Truth") —is screening at Margerum Wine Company Tasting Room (813 Anacapa St.), which is in the Wine Collection of El Paseo as well. Also in that same charming paseo is Happy Canyon Vineyard's "A Good Year" Tasting Flight One, featuring a Staffords Chocolate Truffle paired with 2013 Happy Canyon Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Happy Canyon Vineyard Barrack Blanc, 2010 Piocho, 2009 Barrack Brand and 2010 Barrack Ten-Goal.
Also down the street at Armada Wine & Beer Merchant (1129-A State St.) is the James Bond Globe Trotter Flight, where you can sample three wines from around the globe, as a tribute to the festival of course!
The food side of the film feast also has some fun options. Here are some highlights:
The Pasta Shoppe, in Santa Barbara Public Market (38 W. Victoria St.) has a special $30 prix fixe menu in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The special Italian-film-themed menu includes "Under the Tuscan Sun" Insalata dell casa with arugula, shaved red onion, teardrop tomatoes and house made grapefruit vinegrette; plus a choice of: "The Big Night" spinach, Ricotta Gnudi, pomodoro, pecorino; "Lady & the Tramp" bucatini with beef and pork bolognese, fresh herbs and parmigano; or "American in Rome" wild mshroom gnocchi, with herbed white wine sauce truffle oil. I tried the gnocchi recently and it was amazing! Don't miss out on this one.
Also saluting the festival is "I Am Prawns!" at Crocodile Restaurant and Bar at the Lemon Tree Inn (2819 State St.). This prix fixe menu is inspired by the 2009 Italian film I Am Love. Take 1: Bacon wrapped prawns, paired with Rusack Sauvignon Blanc. Take 2: Filet mignon with portobello mushroom demi glaze, garnished with blue cheese, served with grilled vegetables and truffled mac n' cheese; paired with Qupe Syrah. Take 3: Triple layer chocolate mousse cake paired with Robert Hall Vintage Port. This is well-priced at $35 per person or $50 per person with wine pairings. Give them a call, as reservations are recommended.