Posts filed under ‘Local Flavors’
Santa Maria Style Barbecue is the culinary hub of the Santa Maria Valley, but that hub has many spokes as local chefs and food purveyors add creative twists to our regional food traditions.
One example is Monkey Spit, a purveyor of spices and sauces based in the valley’s rural Tepusquet area. Founded by Santa Maria Valley native Paul Smith, Monkey Spit’s offerings are as creative as its brand name, and now find themselves in the spotlight in this recent feature story in the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
Smith started Monkey Spit in 2008, and brought on longtime friend Rudy Stowell as a business partner. Smith’s family roots in Tepusquet date back to the early 1900s.
One Monkey Spit standout is the new Wimpy Chimp seasoning. As story author Katy Budge notes, “Using his family’s longtime recipe for Santa Maria-style seasoning, he developed a slightly different twist on the dry rub, calling it a ‘Nipomo-style’ seasoning named Wimpy Chimp.”
Of course, Nipomo refers to the small town north of Santa Maria, which has its share of Santa Maria BBQ heritage. As Budge notes, Monkey Mop “proved to be such a winner that it brought home competitive awards from such venerable barbecue cities as Kansas City and Mobile, Ala.
Meanwhile, Smith’s sauces barbecue sauces such as Monkey Mop and Atomic Mop represent a departure from the local barbecue style, as Santa Maria Style BBQ is renowned for its sauce-free, dry-rub style. As Budge notes, Monkey Mop “proved to be such a winner that it brought home competitive awards from such venerable barbecue cities as Kansas City and Mobile, Ala.”
A company from Santa Maria winning awards in such saucy barbecue cities as Kansas City and Mobile? Now that’s what you might call monkey business of the highest order!
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!
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!
BestBeefEver.com…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 BestBeefEver.com.
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!
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!
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!