Even chefs, maybe even especially chefs, like to get out and relax. After being in a hot kitchen all day it’s nice to be able to sit back and just enjoy the hospitality experience. Often times after spending hours in the kitchen the last thing you want to do is actually cook, so it’s nice to relax and and get out with some people you like spending time with. This page is devoted to all the places The Angry Eater likes to visit and blow off a little steam.
This is by no means a complete list of wineries and breweries in the Santa Maria Valley. There are dozens of establishments like these to choose from. This post reflects my personal favorites that surround the area of Sisquoc where I grew up and call home today. Note: At the time of writing many of these establishments are open for pickup only so some of the options may have changed before the quarantine rules start to relax
Naughty Oak Brewing Company is located on the edge of Old Town Orcutt. All I can say is that they make excellent beer and it’s a cool spot to hang out. They also have cold brew coffee and house made sodas. You can sit and sip in the taproom or they have a nice dog friendly patio. Regular bands and food trucks make the rounds just outside the patio. My personal favorites right now are The Able and the Goldilockdown double IPA. A michelada shows up from time to time and it’s pretty tasty. Check out the Coin Club memberships for discounts on beverages and merchandise
Riverbench Winery and Tasting room on Foxen Canyon road near Tepusquet Canyon is a favorite with locals and travelers alike. It’s situated in a 1920’s craftsman style home near the Sisquoc river. They specialize in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay which are all delicious but my favorite has to be the sparkling wines. The grounds are lovely, the tasting room is dog friendly and they have a bocce ball court and horse shoe pits for entertainment along with regular bands and food trucks. Riverbench has a second tasting room located in the Funk Zone in Santa Barbara.
Kenneth Volk Winery, sits near the entry of Tepusquet Canyon near the Sisquoc river. Kenneth Volk has a wide variety of delicious wines to choose from with my favorites being the Negrette and the Tannat. You can taste among the barrels in the tasting room or relax in the shade on the picnic tables under the pergola. There is a small grassy area with bocce ball and some space for your four-legged friend to run around in.
K. Volk has a unique wine club offering. Known as the Cellar Door Club, it allows members to pick what wines they would like to receive in their shipments as opposed to most clubs where members don’t get to choose their wines. This feature is especially nice here because of the diverse list of wines you will find at Kenneth Volk.
Cambria Winery and Tasting Room overlook the vineyards of the Santa Maria Bench a.k.a the Santa Maria Mesa or locally known as The Mesa. They specialize in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The wines here are very good. I highly recommend the Pinot Noir clone tasting the Rosé of Pinot Noir.
The tasting room is dog friendly and they have locals discounts on Sundays for those living in the 805. There is a nice patio just outside the tasting room with live music on occasions. The best seat in the house is at the top of the hill on your left just before the tasting room parking lot. There is seating that overlooks the vineyards and provides amazing views of Autumn sunsets over the picturesque multicolored leaves.