Santa Barbara’s iconoclastic hotel welcomes new talent to its culinary leadership team, unveils new cocktail menus and wine offerings, and announces special events
Hotel Californian, a mainstay destination in Santa Barbara’s bustling Funk Zone neighborhood, will enter the festive season with new talent in the kitchen and several captivating food and wine experiences.
Recent appointments to the hotel’s talented culinary team include Chef de Cuisine Joshua Legrand and returning Executive Pastry Chef Ron Viloria who are collaborating with Executive Chef Travis Watson to infuse inspiring new gastronomic experiences into the hotel’s many dining venues.Legrand spent the last decade as a chef with Boulder, Colorado-based Id Est Hospitality Group, led by James Beard Nominated Chef Kelly Whitaker. During his tenure, Legrand headed several of the group’s kitchens and oversaw high-profile openings including BASTA, BRUTØ and The Wolf’s Tailor. Viloria returned to Hotel Californian as Executive Pastry Chef earlier this year and will continue to champion the creation of exceptional baked goods and confections from scratch each day.
The hotel’s consciously expanded culinary team will host several events – in-person and virtually – in the coming weeks. Beyond the kitchen, locals and visitors can now indulge in a reimagined cocktail menu at Blackbird, Hotel Californian’s signature restaurant, and sip on fan favorites at Djinn, the Moroccan-inspired library bar. Additionally, the hotel’s popular tasting room, The Society: State & Mason, has welcomed new Foley Family Wines addition, Silverado Vineyards, to its selection of more than 70 world-class wines.
“Hotel Californian’s iconoclastic spirit truly echoes throughout the highly appealing updates we have made to our food and beverage program,” said Warren Nocon, Executive Vice President of Foley Entertainment Group’s Hospitality division. “With these new offerings and the thoughtful development to our culinary leadership team, we look forward to continue celebrating some of life’s greatest passions with our guests: world-class wines and exquisite cuisine.”
The hotel’s latest enhancements further its commitment to showcasing Central California as a world-class culinary destination on the American Riviera, providing the exploration and indulgence of a European vacation – without the passport. Located in the heart of the pulsating Funk Zone, bustling with galleries, wineries, and shops housed in converted warehouses adorned with graffiti murals and signature art pieces, Hotel Californian offers visitors easy access to explore the area’s cool factor while enjoying traditional Santa Barbara glamour.
New food and beverage experiences include the following:
Winemaker Dinners at Blackbird (November 17 and December 15; 6 – 8:30 p.m.)
· A mainstay of the Funk Zone, Blackbird showcases coastal-inspired fare that emphasizes fresh seafood and locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Open for dinner five days a week from Tuesday to Saturday, Blackbird provides an approachable yet elevated taste of the region, including its storied wines. Its monthly Winemaker Dinner series features a food and wine pairing hosted by visiting winemakers from the Foley Family Wines portfolio. Traveling oenophiles and local wine enthusiasts can indulge in exquisite wines paired with a four-course meal curated and prepared by Chef Travis. November’s dinner is hosted by Winemaker Greg Freeman and features world-class wines from Chalone Vineyards, while December’s dinner puts the spotlight on a beloved collection of Foley Family Wines. Sip on a few of the Foley family’s favorite wines from across their portfolio while mingling with Second Generation Vintner Courtney Foley. For 2023, the hotel is pleased to continue the popular dinner series, and will announce dates and participating winemakers in the coming weeks. To learn more and book a reservation for the remaining events this year, visit Hotel’s Californian’s online calendar of events.
Dishing It Out for Charity at Blackbird and Goat Tree (November through December)
· Blackbird and Goat Tree café are once again stepping up to the plate by creating signature dishes that will raise funds for a good cause during 805 Living’s 7th Annual Dishing It Out for Charity program. Both restaurants have created enticing new entrees for the challenge and will donate $2 from the sale of each sold during the months of November and December to Dream Foundation which provides end-of-life dreams to terminally ill adults. Blackbird’s Avocado-Crab Uni dish ($21) features jumbo lump crab stuffed avocado, Santa Barbara uni, pickled cucumber with smoked caviar. Those dining at Goat Tree can choose the Roasted Tomato and Tiger Shrimp Suga ($27) with tagliatelle, crispy shallots, Campari tomatoes, and torn basil.
New Cocktail Menu at Blackbird
· Celebrity mixologist Devon Espinosa continues to shake up Santa Barbara’s spirits scene by presenting creative new libations to complement Executive Chef Travis’ creations. Capturing the hotel’s exotic and unconventional vibe, the new cocktail menu available at Blackbird includes concoctions like The Tramp, an ode to Charlie Chaplin’s most memorable on-screen character, to On the Ice, which thoughtfully brings the Foley Family’s growing portfolio of entertainment properties together in a single glass, playing tribute to the players on the Vegas Golden Knights and the Henderson Silver Knights. At Djinn, visitors will find familiar favorites such as Midnight in Morocco, a mix of Volcan tequila blanco, violette, orgeat, lime, Luxardo liqueur, and firewater bitters, and the Just Chai Me, an unusual blend of Copper & Kings apple brandy, Rittenhouse rye, and chai syrup that’s like a sip of the season.
The Society: State & Mason Welcomes Silverado Vineyards
· Just steps from Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trail and occupying a prime corner on State Street and Mason Avenue with its chic indoor/outdoor space, The Society: State & Mason is the perfect spot for enthusiasts to kick off their wine wanderings. Offering unique and exclusive wine experiences, the Funk Zone’s newest tasting room, which opened in March 2022, features more than 70 world-class wines from across the Foley Family Wines portfolio, including Silverado Vineyard’s renowned Cabernet Sauvignon – the venue’s most recent introduction following Foley Family Wines’ acquisition of this famed Napa Valley winery this year. The Society: State & Mason is open daily Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Tuesdays with Travis
· Hotel Californian is keeping locals and visitors inspired on social media this fall with Instagram sessions that include delectable tips and treats from Chef Travis. Tune in to Tuesdays with (Executive Chef) Travis on IGTV to learn new cooking skills or try one of his stand-out recipes. In this weekly series, Travis shows viewers how to make the most of the season by paying homage to quintessential flavors such as sweet and savory pumpkin-inspired dishes in the fall and Farmers’ Market finds in the summer, as well as offering tips for how to transform some traditional holiday go-to meals this year. Follow @hotelcalifornian on Instagram to learn something new each week. Previous episodes can also be found on the hotel’s Instagram page under the Reels tab.
Located 90 minutes from Los Angeles, 20 minutes from the Santa Barbara Airport, and one block from the Amtrak station, Hotel Californian is ideally situated for travelers seeking an iconoclastic getaway. For further information, please visit www.HotelCalifornian.com or call (805) 882-0100.
ABOUT HOTEL CALIFORNIAN
Hotel Californian continues to redefine luxury in the celebrated American Riviera. The 121-room boutique hotel is a magnet for the Hollywood elite, international visitors and locals alike. Featuring dazzling spaces from celebrity designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, the iconoclastic enclave – part history, part imagination and all Californian – continues to drive the revitalization of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone while upending conventional expectations. Hotel Californian is Santa Barbara’s urban luxury resort destination. For more information, please visit www.HotelCalifornian.com.
ABOUT THE FOLEY ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
The Foley Entertainment Group is committed to providing five-star service and experiences to its fans, guests, customers and clients. Established by Bill Foley in 2021, FEG operates the Foley Family’s growing portfolio of entertainment properties which is highlighted by: the Vegas Golden Knights of the National Hockey League, the Henderson Silver Knights of the American Hockey League, the Vegas Knight Hawks of the Indoor Football League, two community hockey facilities, the 6,000 seat Dollar Loan Center venue in Henderson, NV scheduled to open in the spring of 2022, the Vegas Golden Knights Foundation, Hotel Les Mars and Chalkboard Restaurant in Healdsburg, California, Hotel Californian and Blackbird restaurant in Santa Barbara, California, Whitefish Mountain in Whitefish, Montana, a number of other assets and any future acquisitions.