In The Know

What’s Hot in Santa Barbara Wine Country: Spring 2014

We can never get enough of eating, playing and shopping in Santa Barbara Wine Country. Part of the pleasure of being a local is discovering the latest and greatest in our beautiful valley and passing our finds along to you. Take a look:

Secret Salsa

Next time you’re at our favorite Mexican restaurant, Dos Carlitos, be sure to ask for the salsa quemada (roasted salsa). The salsa is extra hot (it’s made with roasted Serrano chilies) but oh so delicious. By request only. It goes well with any dish – but we prefer it with chips.

3554 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez. 805-688-0033.

Artisans Gallery Handbags

Los Olivos artist Vicky Kallens blends boho chic with a stylish sophistication when crafting her hand-stitched bags and clutches. Each bag is made from supple leather and comes in rich neutrals and cool metallic finishes that can be worn day or evening.

Artisans Gallery, 2888 Grand Ave., Los Olivos. 805-452-2128.

Highland Oaks Wine

Great wines are not always easy to find, so we did a little digging in our own backyard and found exceptional Rhone-style wines at the family-owned Highland Oaks Ranch & Vineyard, a small-lot winery in Santa Ynez.

You can try a glass or bottle at Solvang’s Root 246 or order online at

The Willows Lounge

For a gourmet meal in a casual setting, head to The Willows Lounge. The Four-Diamond restaurant’s bar recently began serving savory specialties like oyster shooters, crispy tacos and wagyu-beef sliders. You can indulge in these delicious bar dishes without the hassle of making restaurant reservations and also enjoy one of their award-winning cocktails.

– Written by Hildy Medina

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