Posts filed under ‘Local Flavors’

The Sweet Side of Santa Maria BBQ

StrawberriesIf you’re new to Santa Maria Style Barbecue, you might ask why items like pinquito beans, strawberry dessert and homegrown wine play such a role in the local traditional menu.

After all, isn’t barbecue about the beef? Well, Santa Maria BBQ mostly about the beef, but it’s also about a culinary life here in the Santa Maria Valley, where the farm is rarely far from the table. Indeed, this is one of many things that set Santa Maria Style Barbecue apart from other regional American barbecue styles.

Consider the latest Santa Barbara County crop report published last week. The county’s strawberries–nearly all of them grown here in the valley–remain the top cash crop at $464 million (!) for 2013, followed by wine grapes. Countless other crops, such as broccoli, spinach, bell peppers and, yes, pinquito beans are grown locally as well.

So it’s no wonder that the Santa Maria BBQ menu is filled to the brim, not just with top-block sirloin or tri-tip, but also with an abundance of fresh foods and wines grown right here in the valley!

July 18, 2014 at 10:01 pm Leave a comment

Giddyup, Kids–It’s BBQ Time!

BBQ_Hall_FameWhere else but in California’s BBQ Capital would you find a barbecue exhibit inside a children’s museum?

Indeed, that’s exactly what you’ll find at the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, where interactive educational fun meets local flavor, particularly in the museum’s Bunkhouse and BBQ Hall of Fame exhibits.

In the words of the Discovery Museum, “The Rancho Pasquini barn and bunkhouse is home to the R.H. Tesene BBQ Hall of Fame, with displays of dozens of family brands and the history of Santa Maria-style barbecue. Kids can put on a pair of cowboy boots and a hat and wander through our working barn filled with saddle parts, bits, belt buckles and ranching tools. Cowboys and cowgirls can take a ‘ride’ on a rocking horse and a real John Deere tractor, and then sit around the campfire to brew some coffee or cook up stone soup at the chuck wagon. After a long day on the range, settle into the bunkhouse for a game of checkers.”

More local flavor can be enjoyed in the Planting Station exhibit: “The Santa Maria Valley is famous for its fertile soil, and Plantel Nurseries keeps the museum stocked with valley vegetable transplants through all the planting seasons. Broccoli, cauliflower, red lettuce, and celery are just a few of the cash crops nourishing our valley economy and the museum planting station. So grab some dirt and plant, water, and take home a seedling to start your own backyard garden.”

Other exhibits include Tar Pits, Pirate Ship, Mission to Mars and much more, all with an entertainingly educational twist.

And, of course, after working up an appetite at the Discovery Museum, you might as well take the entire family out for a meal at one of our local barbecue restaurants!

June 16, 2014 at 7:59 pm Leave a comment

The Best Beef Ever!?…With a URL like that, you’d better be good!

We’re talking about Dey Dey’s — a ranching outfit located in Santa Maria Valley’s Lompoc community. Spanning more than 220 acres, Dey Dey’s (named for what owner John de Bruin’s granddaughter lovingly calls him) is committed to raising remarkable grass fed beef and pasture raised chicken and eggs in California. Their products include grass-fed top sirloin, which is perfect for preparing classic Santa Maria Style Barbecue!

Their animals are only fed rich nutrient-dense foods and they also receive superior researched supplements depending on animal type. Dey Dey’s California Lowline cattle enjoy an all-they-can-eat buffet of superior grasses, which impacts the taste and tenderness of the beef. The chickens are also pasture-raised on a diet full of bugs and grasses as well as an organic feed that contains the powerful properties of garlic, anise oil, horseradish and juniper berry.

Dey Dey’s says that their beef, chicken and eggs are low in saturated fats and high in protein and conjugated linoleic acid, an oil with antioxidants and anti-cancer properties. Products are also high in vitamins A, E, and D and there are no hormones, animal by-products or antibiotics used in their program. Their products may also be found at a number of Southern California farmer’s markets and at Pacific Health Foods in Carpinteria and at Goleta’s Gladden & Sons.

Check them out on


May 26, 2014 at 8:02 pm Leave a comment

Fresh Flavors in BBQ Country

High-quality beef and “fresh and from scratch” is the focus at Ca Del Grevino Café and Wine Bar, a newer culinary star along Santa Maria Valley’s historic row in Old Orcutt.

A new twist on what was formerly Addamo Wine Bar and Bistro, the space has morphed from tasting room with appetizers to a café with a full menu orchestrated by Chef Nicolette Oliphant. Spare ribs, rabbit sausage, poached quail eggs, shrimp and risotto and artisan pizzas are just some of the tasty offerings.

Oliphant is adamant about gathering ingredients from fresh and local sources such as the weekly Los Olivos Farmers Market as well as Deydey’s beef in Lompoc. And, of course, with the Santa Maria Valley wine country in her backyard, the quality of her wines is a given.

Come out and try Cal Del Grevino’s fresh flavors in the heart of California’s BBQ Capital!

May 20, 2014 at 10:11 pm Leave a comment

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

BBQ Country Gets Some Moxie

MoxieHearty and healthy Santa Maria tri-tip meals without unhealthy temptations?

The Moxie Café, a new Santa Maria eatery opening in April on West McCoy Lane, is aiming to do just that. Their motto: “Eat Well…Be Well.”

Owned by Hardy Diagnostics, a local company known for its medical supply success story, Moxie has taken health to an expanded level by offering a café menu based on fresh, quality fare. Believing that nutritious food should taste good, The Moxie offers tempting rotisserie chicken; tri-tip; soups; salads; sandwiches; gelato and more . . . all without unnecessary, empty calories. In the words of Moxie: “We pledge to never tempt you with excessive fat and sugar laden meals.” That means no fryers, no sodas, and no junk. Just wholesome good food.

The Moxie “scene” is pretty hip, too. Outfitted with WiFi, charging stations, television screens, a fireplace, patio and private conference rooms, the restaurant encourages customers to hang out and work, or to socialize with a group. Meeting spaces are fully equipped with whiteboards, conference telephones, screens and projectors.

A big Santa Maria welcome to The Moxie Café!

March 10, 2014 at 5:24 pm Leave a comment

Great BBQ Begins at Woody’s

WoodyIt just figures that Santa Maria barbecue country would inspire a top-shelf meat market. Welcome to Woody’s Butcher Block, a neighborhood market and deli providing premium high-end meats and cheeses.

Proprietor Tim Woodbury brings with him 28 years of experience in the food service industry and a love for quality. He says he would rather be out of stock than provide an inferior product. Woody’s carries only meats selected from the top 20 percent best of the product.

In addition to endless cuts of meat (including tri-tip of course!), artisan cheeses and specialty deli sandwiches, Woody’s offers a range of yummy provisions, including locally made spices and sauces by Cowboy Flavor and Monkey Spit.

“Life happens around the kitchen table,” says Woody, and he wants his customers to make the most of it. Woody’s is located at 700 E. Main Street, Suite 104 in downtown Santa Maria.

March 7, 2014 at 7:30 pm Leave a comment

Green Up Your BBQ

smv_agThe most famous ingredients of the classic Santa Maria Style Barbecue menu are tri-tip beef, native red oak, locally perfected seasoning and homegrown pinquito beans. All of these items originate from right here in the Santa Maria Valley.

But there’s another lesser-known item on the official menu that deserves some recognition: tossed-green salad.

Now, how did salad sneak onto a barbecue menu?

Well, the answer is evident in the rich agricultural landscape of the Santa Maria Valley, which is one of California’s premier farming regions.

In the most recent crop report for Santa Barbara County, lettuce alone accounted for more than 13,000 planted acres. Bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, celery and spinach are among the other vegetables that are plentiful in the valley.

So it only makes sense that the ranchers and farmers who popularized Santa Maria Style Barbecue also found a way to include local greens as a tried-and-true component of the official menu.

So when firing up the red oak, don’t forget the greens!

Add a locally grown wine and a fresh Santa Maria strawberry dessert and, well, you have one of the world’s most distinctively local dining experiences. Now that’s Santa Maria style.


March 3, 2014 at 11:14 pm Leave a comment

Ammo Wear Sizzles in BBQ Land

Ammo_WearSince Santa Maria Style Barbecue was born in the land of the cowboy, we can’t help but celebrate the “wild west” entrepreneurial spirit that continually emerges from our region.

Indeed, when getting set to attend the next barbecue soiree, what better way to adorn oneself than with Santa Maria-made Ammo Wear bullet casing jewelry! Creators Byron and Patricia Bartlett have been handcrafting this unique line since 2011, and just this month launched a Kickstarter Project, which is a “crowd funding” platform that invites backers to support small startups.

All Ammo Wear is made by hand from spent casings. Primer cups are removed and the casings and primer cups are then thoroughly cleaned. The bottom of the casings are cut off, sanded and all sharp edges are removed before assembly. Any leftover scraps are recycled or repurposed into jewelry.

“My first earrings were made from .45 automatic Colt pistol casings that I saved after shooting my grandfather’s Colt Model 1917 revolver that he used in France during WWI,” Byron says. “I still shoot that old revolver from time to time, but can’t shoot nearly enough ammo to supply all of the casings that we need. So, now we purchase spent casings to meet demand and offer a more varied selection.”

Byron adds that they just love customer feedback. “Our favorite comment so far is, ‘If you don’t buy it, you’ll want to shoot yourself.’”

Well said!

September 20, 2013 at 8:47 pm Leave a comment

Santa Maria’s Central City Market

Once upon a time in the 1870s, the young little town of Santa Maria was called “Central City” because of its location halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The name was eventually changed to “Santa Maria,” because the mail was often mistakenly sent to Central City, Colorado.

In honor of this tidbit of history, an increasingly popular bistro in downtown Santa Maria sports the name Central City Market. Specializing in comforting classics that are innovatively prepared, Central City Market is inspired by the farming, ranching and vineyards of the Santa Maria Valley. It has a wine and beer list that is fun to peruse as well.

Perhaps this is why the bistro has introduced “Wine Down Wednesdays,” when patrons may enjoy 50 percent off bottles of wine from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Delectable appetizer specials also abound during these hours. And, of course, the bistro has not forgotten Santa Maria’s famed barbecue.

The traditional Santa Maria BBQ is featured as “The Daily Hot Plate” dish each Thursday. This $14 meal consists of sliced tri-tip, pinquito beans, mac ‘n cheese, salsa and a garlic roll.

September 3, 2013 at 2:27 pm Leave a comment

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