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Friday, April 11, 2014

Santabarbara independent article

Foodie Fest at Sama Sama Kitchen

By Kailey Erlich and Molly Christison

Courtesy Photo

State Street Restaurant Hosts Hunt & Gather Event

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

By Kailey Erlich and Molly Christison

With a deliciously modern menu of Indonesian-inspired dishes that rely mostly on the seasonal harvests of small, nearby farmers, Sama Sama Kitchen (1208 State Street; [805] is already climbing to the top of Santa Barbara’s ladder for eye-opening and taste-bud-tingling dinner experiences. But this Sunday, April 13, 5-9 p.m., Sama Sama takes its commitment to creative cuisine even further by hosting Hunt & Gather, a free festival where customers of all ages can sample and shop for handmade foods, drinks, and other items on the restaurant’s back patio. Here is info on just three of more than a dozen purveyors expected to be selling their wares this weekend.

KULT KITCHEN: Jon Riddell and Julia Rose of Kult Kitchen pitched their big idea for a pickle and sauerkraut business on, eventually gaining enough financial backing from pledges to start fermenting regionally farmed food out of their home base in Ojai. “It’s so healthy for you,” said Riddell. “You get more probiotics from sauerkraut than from yogurt!” They’ll be peddling their sauerkraut at Hunt & Gather, as well as their signature sweet and spicy pickle, seasoned with turmeric and chili flakes.

SWEET LADY COOK: For those who prefer sweet without the spicy, try Sweet Lady Cook, homemade organic preserves sourced from Santa Barbara and Ventura county farms by Arian Blanco. Even if you don’t usually like jams or jellies, you might surprise yourself after tasting Blanco’s creations, which can include savory and bitter flavors. “I am a one-woman operation,” said Blanco, who started her company after trying a family friend’s jam a couple of years ago. “I make the jam; I make deliveries; I do everything myself.” Business skyrocketed over the past six months, said Blanco, explaining, “I try and make my business very visible, especially through Instagram.” Favorites include clementine and sea-salt marmalade, as well as balsamic strawberry, both of which will be on hand Sunday.

MIZUBA TEA COMPANY: With a mom who served tea every morning before school, Santa Barbara native Lauren Danson is a lifelong tea fanatic, even hosting weekly tea parties out of her Westmont College dorm room. “My friends would tell me every week, ‘This is what you need to do with your life,’” said Danson. But she pursued journalism until falling in love with tea again during a visit last spring to Uji, Japan, the birthplace of the Japanese tea ceremony. “I stepped off the train, and the first thing I noticed was the scent of matcha infuses your nose,” recalled Danson of the stone-ground, shade-grown, especially nutritious green tea. “You walk downtown, and every single shop is tea-dedicated. Needless to say, I had the best day of my life.”

After grad school in Denver, Danson reached out to a 100-year-old family tea farm in Uji, as she said, “knowing nothing about business, knowing nothing about FDA, knowing nothing about importing, knowing absolutely nothing other than the fact that I love sharing tea.” She successfully navigated the international intricacies, and her first order of matcha came last September. The Mizuba Tea Company was born. See


The free foodie festival Hunt & Gather is Sunday, April 13, 5-9 p.m., at Sama Sama Kitchen, 1208 State Street.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Moving along

We are talking to the Ventura County environmental health folks about the pickle cart! Fingers crossed

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ojai Rancho inn

Ojai Rancho Inn Kicks Off Summer Concert Series

Pure Bathing Culture Plays Poolside on July 3

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

THE HEAT IS ON: This week marks the start of what I affectionately call “grillin’ and chillin’ season.” It’s that extra special stretch of summer when popsicles and pools are hot commodities, short shorts and sunnies are the uniform of choice, and almost everything becomes an outdoor activity. Fitting, then, that this week also marks the start of what just might be the best new addition to the summer music scene: the Ojai Rancho Inn Summer Concert Serie

Since losing their lease on State Street’s Presidio Motel, Shelter Social Club proprietors Chris Sewell and Kenny Osehan have headed over the hill to Ojai, where they now run and manage the Ojai Rancho Inn. The property itself is a total score: 18 rooms, a pool, a sauna, BBQ pits, mulberry trees, and an expansive pool house and picnic zone. In short, the place is begging for a party. That’s where the fun comes in. Starting this Wednesday, July 3, Shelter Social Club is teaming up with a slew of music-philes — S.B.’s Cool Summer Records, Warbler Records & Goods, KCSB, and L.A.’s Origami Vinyl and KXLU — to present a show a month on-site at the Rancho. The performances are family-friendly and kick off with a picnic and pool party. The tickets are cheap at just $12 a head. Oh, and the lineup is a killer mix of young and divergent bands that pair nicely with hot summer nights.

First up: Portland’s Pure Bathing Culture. If you’ve yet to hear these guys, this opportunity couldn’t be riper. Led by frontwoman Sarah Versprille and guitarist Daniel Hindman, the band offers up a breezy sound that’s part Fleetwood Mac dreaminess, part yacht-rock smooth grooves, and part hazy psychedelic pop. Currently, PBC only have a (glorious) four-songEP to their name, but they’re slated to drop their debut LP, fittingly titled Moon Tides, this August on Partisan Records. Add to that the warm-up act, a dancey side project from S.B.’s own Gardens & Villa called Monitor Blizzard, and you’ve got the makings for a pool party like no other.

And the fun just keeps on coming. Next month, the Ojai Rancho will host dance pop artist Nite Jewel, and September brings Los Angeles hard-rock experimentalists No Age. All shows start at 8 p.m. Doors (and pool) open at 4 p.m. The Ojai Rancho Inn is located at 615 West Ojai Avenue, Ojai. for tickets, or purchase by cash at Warbler Records & Goods (131 E. De la Guerra St.).