A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg
Nothing says romance quite like a great bottle of wine or a sexy cocktail. Here are some ways to toast your beloved this Valentine's Day.Jessica Foster. The flight includes Babcock's 2004 Nucleus Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 Nucleus Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 Block 15 Cabernet Sauvignon and a special release of Babcock's "Naughty Little Nectar" Late Harvest Pinot Gris. All wines will be paired with Jessica Foster Truffles and winemaker Bryan Babcock will be on hand from 4-7 p.m. to offer an in depth look at each wine. The Santa Barbara Wine Collective, 131 Anacapa St., www.santabarbarawinecollective.com, 805/456-2700.
Chef Derek Simcik at Outpost has created a special “Get Your Freak On” aphrodisiac-filled Valentine’s Day Prix Fixe menu that includes: oysters with pork cheek, green curry and coconut (aphrodisiac: oysters & spicy chilies in the curry); rabbit with soba noodles, red wine, pomegranate, pine nuts (aphrodisiac: red wine, pomegranate and pine nuts); and a special Cocoa Boba Tea made with cocoa and cayenne (aphrodisiac: cocoa, cayenne pepper). In addition, bartender Chris Burmeister will have a number of specialty “love potions” – available all weekend at both Outpost and Good Bar, including: Roses are Red (Vodka, passion tea infused aperol, rose water, prosecco); Violets are Blue (Gin, dolin blanc vermouth, blueberry syrup, crème de violet, lemon juice), Between the Sheets (White rum, Cognac VSOP, Cointreau, simple syrup, lemon juice) and With a Bottle of Booze (Tequila, carpano bianco, Pimm’s No 1, Peychaud’s Bitters). Outpost and Good Bar at the Goodland Hotel, 5650 Calle Real, Goleta, www.outpostsb.com, 805/964-1288.
The very romantic dining room at the Wine Cask features a special three-course menu with chocolate truffles from Jessica Foster Confections (she's obviously in demand this holiday season). The Wine Cask, 813 Anacapa St., www.winecask.com, 805/966-9463.
Not every man can serenade his sweetheart the way Carlos Santana can, and the man can also mix a mean cocktail. Santana named this drink El Beso de Luz (The Kiss of Light) as a tribute to his wife Cindy, because the first sip of the cocktail reminded him of the feeling one gets when they firstfall in love. Combine 2 oz Casa Noble Crystal Tequila with ½ oz Licor 43 and 1 oz Lime juice. Then squeeze an orange wedge over the cocktail and drop it into the glass. www.casanoble.com.
Eureka! is offering both His & Hers Special Valentine's Day Cocktails. His is a collaboration with Mission Brewery on a version of their Dark Seas Russian Imperial Stout that was aged for eight months in Four Roses Bourbon Barrels. Hers is the Raspberry Chocolate Kiss cocktail featuring Prichard's Double Chocolate Bourbon, raspberry gomme syrup, and red grapefruit juice. Both are available from Feb. 9 on. Eureka! , 601 Paseo Nuevo, www.eurekarestaurantgroup.com, 805/618-3388.
Les Marchands has a Valentine's Day menu designed to inspire passion. Begin with Oysters on the Half Shell with Champagne Mignonette and then sample one of Chef Weston Richard’s acclaimed Ramen dishes—a Pork Belly Ramen for carnivores or, for vegetarians, a Roasted Butternut Squash Ramen. For dessert, a Dark Chocolate Mousse with Earl Grey Custard, Strawberries, Pistachio and Chocolate Tuile (sounds amazing!). Available from 4-10 p.m. with no reservations required and à la carte pricing, this is a great option for people who don't like to plan far ahead. In addition, a flight Rosé hand-selected by Brian McClintic MS is available. Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant, 131 Anacapa St., www.lesmarchandswine.com, 805/284-0380.
Just over the hill, S.Y. Kitchen has a San Valentino dinner designed for romance. Beginning with a first course for two of a Branzino Carpaccio with Osetra Caviar and Dill Crème Fraiche, guests will share Sous Chef Francesco’s House-Made Ravioli with Porcini and Black Truffles. The main course is a choice of a tender Filet Mignon with Foie Gras, Pineapple and Port Reduction or a Maine Lobster Catalana, to be selected by each guest. Chef Francesco will prepare a Chocolate Trilogy for the table completing a perfect Valentine’s Day evening in the Valley. Plus, Mixologist Alberto Battaglini has crafted his special Valentine’s Kiss cocktail —a stunning presentation of Rose Infused Gin with Lime, Lemon, Rose Liquor and Lavender. S.Y. Kitchen, 1110 Faraday St., Santa Ynez, www.sykitchen.com, 805/691-9794.