Tag Archives: wine

Santa Barbara getaway

Earlier this month, I took a gal pals trip to Santa Barbara. We were celebrating a birthday (not mine).

Santa Barbara is a cute town! It’s the county seat for Santa Barbara County. The county courthouse is gorgeous.

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

There are 360 degree views from the clock tower, and a view into the clock fromt the inside, too.

I meant to share this last week. Inside the clock tower. Time flies!

A video posted by Michele (@pdxknitterati) on


This mural depicting the history of the area is in the meeting room. Click to embiggen; it’s worth it.

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

The Santa Barbara Mission is also beautiful, and is next to a rose garden.

Santa Barbara Mission

Santa Barbara Mission and Rose Garden

Santa Barbara is right on the water. We watched surfers, paddle boarders, and dolphins? Porpoises?

Another from last week. Dolphins or porpoises? Very cool, either way.

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Pelicans are bigger than I thought.

poppies and Channel Islands

The Channel Islands are right across the water. These are not the islands of Channel Island cast on fame.

We spent a day on the beach at Carpinteria. The fog rolled in during the afternoon, so it was warm and cool at the same time. The water was cold! I re-designed this knitting project three times on this trip. It’s finally done, pictures in an upcoming post.

Carpinteria beach knitting

There are a lot of wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley on the other side of the mountains behind Santa Barbara. We took the opportunity to sample the local offerings. But first, aebelskivers (pancake balls) in Solvang, a Danish-themed town.

solvang windmill


old gringo boots

And these boots were quite tempting, too. But on to the wine!

Deep Sea Winery

Figgie at Brander Winery

Too much wine for Figgie?

Millie at Brander Winery

Millie reminded me of my Mookie.

J Ludlow Winery

While we were tasting at J Ludlow in Los Olivos, we met fellow tasters Lori and Bob. Bob makes his own moonshine, distilled from merlot. He shared some moonshine with us; this one was cinnamon flavored. It was DELICIOUS. Thanks, Bob!


A very fun trip.

knit leaf coasters

I came home and knit these coasters as a gift for our hosts, and will get them into the mail this coming week. Onward!

Some enchanted evening

Piano and pinot was grand!

I love the whole process of a party, cleaning the house, getting out the nice china, crystal, and silver, setting the table. It’s like playing dress-up with the house.


The event was a fund raiser, and we served 12 different pinot wines: a sparkling white pinot, pinot gris, pinot blanc, pinot noir, pinot meuniere, a rose (sorry, don’t know how to find the accent mark), and some sweet late harvest dessert wines. All were from local Willamette Valley vineyards: Brick House, LaVelle, Penner-Ash, Willakenzie, Winter’s Hill. My favorite was the LaVelle sparkling wine, but I’m a bubbly girl. No picture of the wine-laden buffet; I forgot.

Desserts included cheesecake, cream puffs, a raspberry/blueberry tart, and a dark chocolate and raspberry cake. Yes, that’s a gravy boat on the table, but it’s filled with chocolate sauce. Recipe at the bottom of this post.

Our pianist played Bach (C# prelude and fugue), Mendelssohn (Song without Words), Debussy (first Arabesque, Clair de Lune, La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin, Golliwog’s Cakewalk), Grieg (Andante from a sonata), Rocherolle, and more. She was fabulous!


This picture was taken before we put the lid on the high prop stick. The piano sounded glorious; it was such a treat to hear someone else play it. The sound experience is different out in the room; I’m used to hearing it just from the bench.

I have a fridge full of leftover wines and desserts, and I get to enjoy a still-clean house!

In other news, remember how I mentioned that the squirrel had won the bird-feeder battle? It turns out that he has a friend. I saw them taking turns at the bird feeder. I chased one off, and while he was on the telephone pole, the other one appeared. They’re pretty brazen; they don’t mind me taking pictures from fairly close range.



I’ve figured out how Onan and Conan access the feeder. They jump from the trellis on the front of the house onto the top of the feeder pole. It’s about five feet, laterally. No problem for these guys!

Here’s the recipe for the chocolate sauce:

Chocolate Sauce

24 oz semi-sweet belgian chocolate chips
One pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup butter, cut into chunks and softened

Five 8 ounce jelly jars

Place the chocolate chips into a large heat-proof mixing bowl; place the bowl over a large pot filled with hot water. Let the chocolate melt as you proceed with the recipe.

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips, stirring until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the butter until blended. Ladle the sauce into jars; cool completely before screwing on lids. Store in the refrigerator (all that butter and cream!). Scoop out the sauce as desired and warm it on low power in the microwave. Or eat it by the spoonful directly from the jar.😉

Makes about 5 cups