Posts filed under ‘Food & Wine Events’

Sweet Meets Savory in BBQ Country

Santa Maria Strawberries

Santa Maria Strawberries

They say that “savory and sweet go hand in hand,” and that is definitely true here in the Santa Maria Valley.

Besides local cattle ranches and the myriad of eateries offering our famed Santa Maria Style Barbecue, Santa Maria Valley is also known worldwide for its delicious homegrown strawberries.

This year, our region celebrates the beginning of the strawberry harvest (and the region’s top moneymaking crop!) with the 27th Annual Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival happening Friday, April 25 through Sunday, April 27 at the Santa Maria Fairpark.

This family friendly berry bash features strawberry varietal sampling, strawberry desserts, educational exhibits, a farmers market, cooking demonstrations, agricultural displays, wine tasting, live music, old-fashioned carnival entertainment, and, of course, barbecue.

This year’s theme is “Taste the Fun.” Come on out and experience how the Santa Maria Valley’s uniquely moderate coastal climate is a perfect match for many crops, especially strawberries!


April 10, 2014 at 8:20 pm Leave a comment

Winery Invites You to Bring Your Own Beef

CottonwoodHere in Santa Maria Valley barbecue country, we’re one big family just hanging out ‘round the ‘Q.

So it’s only natural that our own Cottonwood Canyon Vineyard and Winery would host a “Cook Your Own” event on April 12 at their beautiful property.

Cottonwood Canyon Winery invites attendees to bring along their favorite entrée to cook on the winery’s oak-wood barbecue pit. They also encourage one and all to bring a potluck-style side dish to share. The creator of the tastiest side dish will receive a magnum of Cottonwood’s famed Pinot Noir!

Meanwhile, the winery is providing live entertainment and, of course, great wine to pair with your meal.

This free “only in Santa Maria BBQ country” event is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Cottonwood requests an RSVP total so that they can plan for seating. All ages are welcome at this family affair!

March 31, 2014 at 9:57 pm Leave a comment

Sweet & Smokin’ Valentines Festivities

In Santa Maria Style Barbecue country, Valentine’s Day menu offerings are not only sweet, they’re smokin’.

Take The Far Western Tavern’s Valentine’s Day “Bull’s Eye,” a whole prime rib that’s red oak grilled and cut into a 14-ounce boneless rib eye steak served with roasted asparagus or mashed potatoes. Of course, that comes with an oyster starter; a lobster bisque; and dessert – all for $85 per couple!

Meanwhile, Central City Market will have a special “Friday Night Flight,” and we’re not talking airlines. On February 14 the Market will feature a flight of “New Wines by the Glass,” ($12 per person) including a talk by a local winemaker and hors d’oeuvres crafted especially to complement each wine.

Speaking of wine, Rancho Sisquoc, one of Santa Maria Valley’s oldest wineries, presents “Romance at the Ranch” on February 15. For $10 per person, the afternoon includes locally made chocolate truffles paired with award winning wines; a chair massage; and live music by singer-songwriter Loren Radis.

Looking to spice things up? Pasion Comida Mexicana’s special V-day menu features a complimentary glass of champagne and starter plus menu selections such as Cream of Jalapeño Soup; Duck Chimichangas; Shrimp Rellenos; and Flourless Chocolate Cake for two with Cilantro Mint Syrup.

Seeking an innovative outing for your valentine? Santa Maria Valley’s own Riverbench Vineyard & Winery, famed for its fine Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, is hosting a Valentine’s Day Archery Lesson on Saturday, February 8 from 10 a.m. to noon. A $15 fee per person includes archery instruction and then wine tasting to follow. The real question is, will Cupid hit the mark? Come and find out!

February 3, 2014 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

Enjoy Sizzling Savings during Santa Maria Restaurant Week

Here’s a chance to enjoy the flavors of Santa Maria Valley without breaking the bank…

In honor of the new year, the Santa Maria Valley Chamber and Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) is launching “Santa Maria Restaurant Week” happening on January 19 – 25, 2014. During this period, participating Santa Maria Valley restaurants will offer three-course meals for just $20.14.

The prix-fixe style menus will include a starter (appetizer, soup or salad); entrée (choice between two to three items); and dessert. The price of the meal does not cover alcohol, tax or gratuity). The event dates were chosen to coincide with California Restaurant Month, a successful statewide promotion that benefits food and wine establishments during the winter season.

Participating restaurants include the Far Western Tavern in Orcutt; the Garden Room Restaurant at the Historic Santa Maria Inn; the Vintner’s Bar & Grill at the Radisson Hotel Santa Maria; Pasion Comida Mexicana in Orcutt; and Rooney’s Irish Pub in Orcutt.

Here’s how it works: Just come on out and mention Restaurant Week at participating restaurants, and the special Restaurant Week menu will be presented. It’s that simple to save…Santa Maria style!

Click here for more information.

January 14, 2014 at 8:12 pm Leave a comment

Q’ing for A Cause

We recently wrote about how the local Filipino community has become an integral part of the Santa Maria Style Barbecue experience.

So when this community stepped up to support victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines last month, it’s no surprise that they decided to fire up the red oak and raise funds by holding a benefit barbecue on December 15 at the Filipino Community Center in Santa Maria.

The Filipino-American Association of Santa Maria Valley, the Filipino Seniors of Santa Maria Valley and the Filipino Community of Santa Maria Valley are all working together to organize the event. Proceeds from the barbecue will be donated to several locations in the Philippines. The Filipino-American Association will also host a charitable golf tournament at the Monarch Dunes Golf Club in Nipomo.

“Some of us have some members that have families there that were directly hit by the typhoon,” said Vice President of the Filipino-American Association of Santa Maria Valley Rose Sagisi.

It’s just another example of how the Santa Maria Valley’s community spirit and legendary barbecue often have a wide reach!

December 4, 2013 at 7:32 pm Leave a comment

It’s Time to Celebrate Harvest in The Santa Maria Valley

santa-maria-wine-countryIn a place with so much bounty, the harvest season is a serious time to celebrate here in the Santa Maria Valley.

On October 12 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Santa Barbara County’s homegrown wines, barbecue and other cuisine unite at the Celebration of Harvest grand tasting held on the picturesque grounds of Rancho Sisquoc Winery.

The event features more than 100 wineries pouring tastes of their most current wines, as well as more than two dozen local chefs, caterers and specialty food purveyors showcasing fresh regional ingredients amid live music and a silent auction.

The festivities don’t end there, however. Throughout the weekend, local wineries will host an epic series of open houses. Click here to see what they have in store.

While you’re at it, make it a weekend escape in the Santa Maria Valley and treat yourself to a Santa Maria BBQ meal at one of our local barbecue restaurants. Check out our Welcome Guide page for all that the valley has to offer, and our Visitor Resources page for lodging, dining and more.

October 9, 2013 at 5:40 pm Leave a comment

Rodeo Shines in BBQ Country

Elks-RodeoIn the heart of Santa Maria Style Barbecue country, many of the keepers of barbecue and other local traditions are cowboys to the core. So it’s no surprise that the annual Santa Maria Elks Rodeo is one of the Santa Maria Valley’s biggest events of the year.

And you can bet that Santa Maria Style Barbecue will have a presence at this year’s 70th Annual Santa Maria Elks Rodeo happening Thursday, May 30 through Sunday, June 2. Indeed, an array of dining events, fundraisers, dances, contests, exhibitions, performances and even a parade and golf tournament dot the calendar throughout this four day extravaganza held at the Elks Unocal Event Center in Santa Maria.

Each day, a three hour rodeo performance treats spectators to six adrenaline-rushing events, including bull riding, bronc riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, bareback riding, barrel racing, local team roping and mutton bustin’, all garnished with rodeo’s top announcers, bull fighters, barrelmen and stock contractors. Then, on Sunday, the top cowboys compete for the championship.

Two additional events new to this year’s lineup are Camp Buckaroo ‘n’ Lil’ Rodeo for kids, plus the Vino & Vittles Wine Tasting Tent for those a bit more mature. Open the entire four days, Camp Buckaroo ‘n’ Lil’ Rodeo invites kids to enter and compete in mock-rodeo events. This is a chance to rope, ride a bull and run in the Stick Horse Gauntlet for a chance to bring home a buckle! Meanwhile, a new play area and educational zone lets children tackle a rock wall, run the obstacle course or soar in the bounce house.

Vintners will be pouring the fine wines of Santa Maria Valley at the new Vino & Vittles Wine Tasting Tent. Located adjacent to the rodeo’s Main Arena, this is the perfect spot for attendees to begin their festivities while enjoying live music and appetizers. Click here to plan your rodeo adventure.

May 22, 2013 at 6:46 pm Leave a comment

Red Oak for A Royal Cause

In the Santa Maria Valley, there’s rarely much distance between a good cause and Santa Maria Style Barbecue. Time and time again, the residents of the Santa Maria Valley fire up the red oak to raise money and awareness for someone in need.

A perfect example is the third annual “Mine for Gold” barbecue dinner, live auction and concert in honor of Royal Family KIDS, a program that mentors foster children ages six to 12 during what is a critical developmental stage. The really good news is that the program’s research shows that at-risk children make progress in every area (academic, social, and family life) after just one year of a positive mentoring experience.

The community has really come together for this event happening on Saturday, April 20 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Santa Maria Fairpark. The evening’s big draw is a show by acclaimed cowboy singer-songwriter, Dave Stamey. However, another highlight is, of course, related to barbecue. One tenacious bidder will come away from the live auction with the promise of a genuine Santa Maria Style Barbecue catered for 20 of his or her friends!

For tickets ($50), visit and type in “Dave Stamey” or call (805)264-0731.

April 19, 2013 at 4:18 pm Leave a comment

Grab Your Forks, Get Set, Go…”DineOut” Discounts Start Sunday!

The Santa Maria Valley’s “Restaurant Week” is almost upon us! Indeed, beginning Sunday, January 13, the region launches “DineOut: Santa Maria Style,” a week of discounted dining and wine tasting at participating Santa Maria Valley businesses.

Here’s how it works: Patrons are invited to mention the “DineOut: Santa Maria Style” promotion at participating restaurants, and then receive a 15 percent discount off their meal ticket (excludes alcohol, tax and gratuity). And those who mention the promotion at participating winery tasting rooms will receive a two-for-one tasting.

“The event dates were chosen to coincide with California Restaurant Month, a successful statewide promotion that benefits food and wine establishments during the winter season,” says Gina Keough, manager of the Santa Maria Valley Visitor & Convention Bureau, which is coordinating the promotion.

Participating restaurants offering a 15 percent savings on meals are The Garden Room Restaurant at the Historic Santa Maria Inn; The Vintner’s Bar & Grill at the Radisson Hotel Santa Maria; Straw Hat Pizza on North Broadway; and Rooney’s Irish Pub in Orcutt.

Participating wineries offering two-for-one tastings include Foxen Winery and Vineyard; Cambria Winery; Byron Winery; and Riverbench Vineyard and Winery.

Deals like this taste especially sweet when you’re in barbecue country. The promotion runs through Sunday, January 20, and more information may be found at Bon appetit!

January 9, 2013 at 9:19 pm Leave a comment

Celebrate Chardonnay in BBQ Country

When it comes to pairing Santa Maria Style Barbecue with wine, the options are numerous–especially here in the heart of California’s BBQ Capital, where the world-class wines are nearly as famous as our local culinary tradition.

Now, typically barbecue is said to go with wines of the red variety. But some rules are meant to be broken, right? Enter Chardonnay, the star of the upcoming 3rd annual Chardonnay Symposium in the Santa Maria Valley on June 29 – July 1.

Hosted by the Santa Maria Valley Wine Country Association, the Chardonnay Symposium is the only event of its kind in the United States to focus on this popular varietal. The festivities will include an educational panel session moderated by Steve Heimoff, west coast editor of the Wine Enthusiast; a gourmet food pavilion; chef-guided wine and food pairings; satellite winemaker dinners; and a grand tasting.

The symposium kicks off on Friday evening with a “Bring Your Own Chardonnay” BBQ at the historic Sierra Madre Vineyard. Guests are invited to bring their own bottle of Chardonnay to share while enjoying a gourmet barbecue, music, dancing, wine tasting and Santa Maria-style hospitality.

Then, on Saturday, a full-day event begins at Byron Vineyard and Winery, with Heimoff headlining a distinguished panel of speakers exploring “Chardonnay and Terroir: What’s it all about?” Joining Heimoff for the discussion will be eight winemakers, all of whom craft Chardonnay in California, from regions ranging from Santa Maria Valley to Napa Valley.

Directly following the panel session, the Grand Chardonnay Tasting takes place at Byron from noon to 4 p.m. More than 50 wineries from a variety of regions will share their Chardonnays. Renowned local chefs, including Budi Kazali of The Ballard Inn, Alfonso Curti of Trattoria Uliveto and Ryan Gromfin of Central City Market, will reveal Chardonnay food pairing secrets under the demonstration tent.

The Santa Maria Valley is a natural home for Chardonnay’s ultimate showcase. Here, the varietal excels amid the valley temperate coastal climate, which is shaped by a rare “transverse” geography that runs west to east and encourages the influx of cool marine breezes. The result is one of California’s longest growing seasons, which ensures the development of complex, flavorful and exquisitely balanced Chardonnay.

Just another reason to visit the Santa Maria Valley, home of the red, white and Q!

May 25, 2012 at 11:26 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts

As Seen in Sunset Magazine

BBQ Blog Praise

"Best Web Find" - Sunset Magazine

"The hottest new thing on the Web might just be a tasty blog 'hatched' by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber..."
-Pacific Coast Business Times

"Boldly promoting 'California’s Barbecue Capital' with light-hearted flair..."
-Santa Maria Sun

Fan Us on Facebook

BBQ Blog on Facebook

Other Local Flavors

Food & Wine Events





Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27 other followers