SMV Vineyard PanoramaThe Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor & Convention Bureau has released a tasty new treat: A Visitor Guide to Santa Maria Valley, which helps visitors and locals alike explore the Santa Maria Valley’s famed barbecue, wine country and more.

Loaded with 32 pages of information on area sightseeing, entertainment, lodging and dining listings, as well as short feature articles, A Visitor Guide to Santa Maria Valley celebrates Santa Maria style while giving tourists a practical tool for making the most of their visit, and locals an excellent resource for enjoying their backyard.

“When travelers zip past the signs for Santa Maria on Highway 101, they often don’t realize that this Central Coast city is home to a world-class wine country, fine dining, theatre, museums, recreational adventures, convenient lodging options and a lot more,” said Gina Keough, director of the Santa Maria Visitor & Convention Bureau. “We encourage local businesses, area residents and travelers to contact us for complimentary copies of our new 2016 Visitor Guide.”

The 8×10 magazine-style spread boasts an easy-to-navigate graphical layout, eye-catching photography, maps and a gatefold spread titled, “Quick Hits from the Highway” that offers readers an at-a-glance idea of attractions within easy reach of Highway 101.

Complimentary copies of the Visitor Guide may be ordered by contacting (805) 925-2403;; or stopping by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor & Convention Bureau at 614 South Broadway in Santa Maria.

February 1, 2016 at 4:22 pm Leave a comment

A Pigskin Feast Every Sunday

Just in time for the playoffs, the Santa Maria Valley’s own Ca’Del Grevino located in Old Orcutt has launched “NFL Football Sundays” along with a new brunch menu to go with their award-winning wines and craft beers.

On Sundays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. now through the Super Bowl, the café offers an all-day happy hour and various food and drink specials. The venue invites guests to enjoy its two flat-screen televisions, lounge areas, a dining room and bar.

The restaurant’s Chef Niki specializes in local in-season farm-fresh produce as well as meats, cheeses, soups, pasta dishes, pizzas, ciabatta bread and desserts made from original and fresh ingredients.

December 31, 2015 at 7:14 pm Leave a comment

Ring In The New Year, Santa Maria Style

New_Far_WesternEnjoy a tasty goodbye to 2015 and a festive start to 2016 as the Santa Maria Valley’s beloved Far Western Tavern offers a special menu on New Year’s Eve.

Known for its use of local ingredients and high quality beef and other dishes, this local Santa Maria BBQ landmark is also admired for its warm hospitality honed by the same family ownership for more than 50 years. The New Year’s Eve menu features a five-course prix fixe menu with options such as the “Surf & Turf Fillet” and the “14-ounce Rib-Eye.”

The evening continues with complimentary dancing starting at 8 p.m. followed by a champagne toast at midnight (as well as at 9 p.m. for early birds), with a cash bar upstairs in the restaurant’s spacious Graciosa Hall.

December 30, 2015 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

Help Santa Maria BBQ Live The California Dream!

downloadWe are excited to share that Visit California, our state’s tourism marketing arm, recently launched “California Dream Eater”—a new “eatertainment” television series hosted by Chase Ramsey, who “proudly, passionately and hilariously eats the best things in California on behalf of foodies everywhere.”

Surely, the Santa Maria Valley—“the West’s Best BBQ Town” (in the words of Sunset Magazine) and the hub of California’s most  iconic regional fare—will be on Mr. Ramsey’s itinerary, right?

Well, not so fast—and that’s where you come in!

Indeed, we are hoping to rally fans of Santa Maria Style Barbecue from far and wide to help us make our case for the Santa Maria Valley and its restaurants to be included in the “California Dream Eater” spotlight.

So what can you do? We would love it if you would join us by doing one or both of the following:

  1. Submit a Santa Maria BBQ food photo from a favorite local restaurant (and make sure you use Santa Maria for the city name). Click here for the guidelines and submission form.
  1. Tag your photo on Instagram and other social media outlets @CaliforniaDreamEater and use #DreamEats. Please also include #SantaMariaBBQ and a tag for the restaurant.

Please tell a friend and spread the word, so that Santa Maria Style Barbecue can earn its rightful place on “California Dream Eater”!

November 5, 2015 at 6:23 pm Leave a comment Touts Santa Maria BBQ

Tri-Tip / Courtesy Modesto BeeNew York City-based food writer Miki Kawasaki has turned the spotlight onto tri-tip in all of its incarnations in her recent article in

She, of course, leads off with Santa Maria Style Barbecue: “One cut of incredible beef that perennially flies under the radar: the tri-tip. Its biggest claim to fame is as the star of Santa Maria barbecue, a style from California’s central coast.”

She describes Santa Maria Style’s distinctive dry rub, red oak and traditional side dishes, and then goes on to define Argentine Grilled Tri-Tip; Harissa-Marinated Tri-Tip Roast; Hoisin-Marinated Tri-Tip Roast; Mediterranean Tri-Tip Steak; Crock Pot Shredded Beef Tacos; and Slow Cooked Rosemary Tri-Tip French Dip.

The down side of tri-tip? Says Kawasaki, “The main drawback to the tri-tip is its scarcity outside of California. . . “it’s pretty elusive when it comes to the meat case in your average supermarket . . . and it is sometimes sold under other names such as Newport steak, triangle roast or bottom sirloin butt.”

She doesn’t fail to mention what most tri-tip fans adore: the fact that the meat can be cooked like a steak and yet offers up the flavor and tenderness usually found in cuts prepared low and slow.

Chalk up another editorial victory for tri-tip, the Santa Maria Valley’s homegrown cut!

October 28, 2015 at 3:57 pm Leave a comment

Texan Tips Hat to Santa Maria BBQ

According to Texas Monthly, the magazine possesses “the only barbecue editor in the country, and the only full-time barbecue editor in American history.”

In other words, there’s a lot of barbecue stories to cover within the borders of the Lone Star state, which makes it all the more awesome that Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughn chose to feature Santa Maria in an in-depth article this summer called, “California’s Native Barbecue: What they’re cooking in Santa Maria is unlike anything else.”

In the piece, Vaughn touches on the origins of Santa Maria Style Barbecue and then describes his visit to the Santa Maria Elks Lodge where he was lucky enough to be a guest at one of their member events.

“Santa Maria, a coastal town off of Highway 1, between the beaches of Los Angeles and the San Francisco fog, has a homegrown variation that few outside of its border (and fewer still outside of California) have tried or even heard of,” writes Vaughn. “Santa Maria-style barbecue has a rich, local history, one not too dissimilar from our own history of brisket and how it clambered to the top of Texas’s barbecue heap.”

He goes on to explain that the red oak used for barbecue in Santa Maria Valley is not the red oak that grows in Texas. Writes Vaughn: “There are a variety of species in the oak family, and one native to the Santa Maria area is coast live oak. It’s an evergreen with small leaves, and burns clean without creating too hot of a fire.”

The article does an impeccable job of accurately explaining what Santa Maria Style Barbecue is and is not. We thank you, Daniel Vaughn and Texas Monthly!

September 30, 2015 at 9:06 pm Leave a comment

In BBQ Country, Even Kids Know How to Rope

When it comes to Santa Maria’s longtime beef cattle and ranching heritage, the young and old alike are invited to learn a few tricks of the trade.

Indeed, on Sunday, August 30 from noon to 4 p.m., children and their families will learn how to rope cattle from two local experts. The adventure takes place as part of “R.H. Tesene Day at The Ranch” at the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum located at 705 S. McClelland Street in downtown Santa Maria.

This 13,000-square-foot interactive children’s museum annually celebrates “R.H. Tesene Day at the Ranch,” which includes museum entry to the public free of charge. This year, Elks Rodeo volunteer Chuck Glines and Mike Lund, a retired Cal Poly equine science professor, will teach children about local ranching history and then lead a hands-on cattle roping demonstration. There will also be ranching-themed crafts and games.

R.H. Tesene was a well-known real estate investor and entrepreneur in the Santa Maria Valley. His generous donations made it possible for the museum to relocate to a much larger space, and he also donated a “Barbecue Hall of Fame” exhibit that to this day teaches children and parents alike about Santa Maria Style Barbecue, the Santa Maria Valley’s local culinary tradition.

August 28, 2015 at 6:19 pm Leave a comment

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