Savor Santa Barbara Tour

Perched on the Pacific Ocean, the Santa Barbara South Coast is a symphony of unique history & vibrant flavors!

Savor Santa Barbara | A culinary & cultural tour | ( @marlameridith ) #SavorSB

When I travel, the most important attributes to me are amazing food, authentic experiences and super beautiful locations. I just visited the Santa Barbara South Coast in sunny California. I was wowed by everything this beautiful town has to offer! This is the perfect place to visit and now, do I want a second home there? You betcha! Please share the amazing & delicious experiences with me…

A tour of the Santa Barbara South Coast | ( @marlameridith ) #SavorSB

If you follow me on Instagram then you watched this epic journey unfold last week. I was completely taken by everything Santa Barbara has to offer! This region is bursting with locally sourced flavors.

I was invited on this tour & joining me was the fabulous Aida Mollenkamp of Salt & Wind. We savored everything this town had to offer in style! Our itinerary was full of rich experiences that helped me to understand why this place is so special. Santa Barbara South Coast is a collection of towns perched on the Pacific ocean. It’s referred to as the American Rivera for many great reasons. It’s culture is rich in history which is reflected in it’s well preserved mission style architecture.

Savor Santa Barbara | A culinary & cultural tour | ( @marlameridith ) #SavorSB

I stayed at the gorgeous Belmond El Encanto. With every detail I could see why this is the only Forbes 5 star resort in the area. The property sits high in the hills with grand views of the Pacific. The landscape is beautiful and the property breathtaking. Set on 7 acres of lush gardens this hotel will whisk you away from the rest of the world. The El Encanto has been a landmark since the 1920’s. Hollywood has always chosen it as a place of elegant refuge. The buildings are a mix of Craftsman & Spanish Colonial Revival. Time & time again proven to be the ultimate spot for a wedding or special event.

Savor Santa Barbara | A culinary & cultural tour | ( @marlameridith ) #SavorSB

The pool is situated with breathtaking views, it’s very private & inviting The weather was hot & the salt water so refreshing!

Savor Santa Barbara | A culinary & cultural tour | ( @marlameridith ) #SavorSB

The overall vibe at the El Encanto is clean, fresh, romantic & chic. The food is locally source and completely delicous.

Savor Santa Barbara | A culinary & cultural tour | ( @marlameridith ) #SavorSB

The staff was super personable & made sure that my every whim, wish & need was met. When I checked into my room I was astounded to see a M monogramed pillow decorating my lush bed! A detail I will never forget. Looking for the ultimate romantic getaway? This is your serenity spot. I will certainly go back!

Savor Santa Barbara | A culinary & cultural tour | ( @marlameridith ) #SavorSB

Our days were spent exploring Santa Barbara from all sorts of unique vantage points. We saw if from the sea…on a tour on a SB Harbor Patrol Boat. We learned about the local fishing industry (amazing natural resources!) There is all sorts of seafood caught here, so you can bet you will get the freshest of the fresh!

Santa Barbara Harbor Tour| ( @marlameridith ) #travel #luxury #SavorSB

Some of the local catches include: Halibut, White Sea Bass, Lobster & Crab. The area yields 10 million pounds of seafood per year. We explored the wonderful flavors with plentiful tastings. I tried the regional specialty Uni (Sea Urchin) for the first time & loved it!

Santa Barbara Harbor Tour| ( @marlameridith ) #travel #luxury #SavorSB

How cute are these guys?! Totally relaxing in the warm, golden sun…

Santa Barbara Harbor Tour| ( @marlameridith ) #travel #luxury #SavorSB

Santa Barbara Harbor Tour| ( @marlameridith ) #travel #luxury #SavorSB

We had a great experience from the air too! We went on a helicopter tour with Nanco Helicopters.


I highly suggest you do this if you visit. It was amazing seeing the coastline with a birds eye view. Our pilot took the windows off for excellent non-glare photo ops! It was so cool to see the mansions and gorgeous scenery from the air.

Helicopter-Marla-Meridith IMG_1571

A BIG part of the Savor Santa Barbara Tour was of course the food! We toured & tasted at so many locally owned restaurants & tasting rooms. A day trip to the Santa Ynez Valley was truly spectacular.

S.Y. Kitchen | Santa Ynez, California | ( @marlameridith ) #SavorSB

The valley is made up of a string of quaint towns, each with a rich history of it’s own. This area is making it’s mark worldwide as an excellent source for California wines. While there we enjoyed lunch & a mixology class at S.Y. Kitchen. This experience was so fun! We were taught some basic cocktail techniques, then we explored hands on mixology. Each cocktail was filled with fresh & unique flavors.

Basil Pomegranate Margarita | S.Y. Kitchen | Santa Ynez, California | ( @marlameridith ) #SavorSB

This ruby red beauty Pomegranate Basil Martini is perfect for the holidays!

Wildcat Cocktail | A bourbon, pear & pine syrup cocktail for the holidays. ( @marlameridith )

Here’s my bourbon based cocktail that I named the Wildcat (after a Telluride, CO ski run) I’ll be posting the recipe for that soon here on MM…stay tuned!

Pineapple Arugula Cocktail | ( @marlameridith )

This dreamy cocktail is a S.Y. Kitchen signature…a Pineapple Arugula Daiquiri. Out of this world delicious!

S.Y. Kitchen | Santa Ynez, California | ( @marlameridith ) #SavorSB

S.Y. Kitchen | Santa Ynez, California | ( @marlameridith ) #SavorSB

The food at S.Y. Kitchen was AMAZING! The food is clean, fresh & Italian inspired. The owners are from Italy…they really know great food & drink! This Grilled Octopus Salad Nicoise was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten!

Grilled Octopus Nicoise Salad | S.Y. Kitchen | Santa Ynez, California | ( @marlameridith ) #SavorSB

In between all the food & fun I was treated to a relaxing facial at FLOAT Luxury Spa. Here’s a little Insta video of that….

Another special foodie treat was a private cooking class taught by Executive Chef Cartumini at the Four Seasons Biltmore. This property is also perched over the Pacific Ocean & it’s Four Seasons fabulous! This Hollywood retreat is so elegant!

Lunch Tasting at the Four Seasons Biltmore | Santa Barbara, CA | ( @marlameridith ) #SavorSB

He made a homemade Ricotta Gnocchi with Kobocha Puree & Brussels Sprouts.

Carrot Caprese was a modern interpretation of a classic dish…

Lunch Tasting at the Four Seasons Biltmore | Santa Barbara, CA | ( @marlameridith ) #SavorSB

For dessert Chef made Brûlée Figs with a decadent mascarpone cream & stresa cookie.

Lunch Tasting at the Four Seasons Biltmore | Santa Barbara, CA | ( @marlameridith ) #SavorSB

Some day I must take a dip at their Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club!

Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club | Four Seasons Biltmore | Santa Barbara, CA | ( @marlameridith ) #SavorSB

We also toured the Funk Zone (part of the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail) …this eclectic & hip neighborhood is so cool! It’s filled with Chef owned restaurants & locally produced wine tasting rooms. We enjoyed a tasting at the Santa Barbara Wine Collective. We had delish wines & freshly caught Uni. We also discussed wine with Brian McClintic, a Master Sommelier featured in the movie Somm. Great guy & super knowledgable!

Santa Barbara Wine Collective | Great place for wine tasting in Santa Barbara's Funk Zone! | (@marlameridith ) #SavorSB

Santa Barbara Wine Collective | Great place for wine tasting in Santa Barbara's Funk Zone! | (@marlameridith ) #SavorSB

We also tasted at the super cool Valley Project (I fell in love with their chalk illustrations on the walls) While there we enjoyed blissful tastings of wines produced in each of Santa Barbara’s county regions.

The Valley Project wine tasting in Santa Barbara'a Funk Zone | ( @marlameridith ) #SavorSB

The grand finale on this trip was a Quick Fire Challenge at the Santa Barbara Public Market. This experience was a blast!! There were 3 contestants including yours truly, the fabulous Ted Nguyen and  (a local FOX Santa Barbara reporter) and 2 judges…one of them being the awesome Cat Cora. Our first dish was Tuna Tartare, the second round was a Red Thai Curry. I took the overall win in both challenges! I will share my recipes here with you soon.

Quick Fire Challenge at the Santa Barbara Public Market | ( @marlameridith ) #SavorSB

I’m so very grateful that we got to take a great big bite out of Santa Barbara’s South Coast! I look forward to getting back there some day soon. To book your trip please visit the Visit Santa Barbara website.

Please visit these folks too…taste tested & very much approved!

  • Barbareno A CA style bistro that serves up delicious regional cuisine.
  • Intermezzo Bar & Cafe Located in the vibrant Presidio neighborhood. Great for tapas & a glass of wine!
  • The Lark Located in the historic Santa Barbara Fish Market building. Completely delish share plates that take advantage of seasonal ingredients.

Disclosure: This trip was hosted by Visit Santa Barbara. All thoughts & opinions are my own.


~ Marla Meridith

Join the Conversation

13 thoughts on “Savor Santa Barbara Tour

  1. Marla this trip looks amazing! From the helicopter to the resort to the food and wine and fun cocktails…and you took the overall win with Cat Cora judging? NICE job! Loved this post. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Marla! Thank you so much for coming to visit us here at Float Luxury Spa! We loved meeting you and love reading about your wonderful time here in beautiful Santa Barbara- always good to have a reminder about just how lucky we are to live in this paradise! Come see us again soon!!

  3. Thank you for this lovely post and for sharing a morning at the Santa Barbara waterfront with us. It makes our day to share the bounty and beauty with visitors. Hope to see you again!

  4. Getting ready to take my father to SB for his 68th birthday this month. Total surprise and will be his first time to this beautiful area. Booked our flights and our lodging. Thanks for helping me find some great places to add to our itinerary. Wanted something local and adventurous. I think you provided both.