I spent 48 hours exploring the fabulous Santa Ynez Valley back in September. In the decade since I first visited the area (Hello, Pea Soup Andersen’s and Saarloos & Sons), the region which includes six towns (Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Solvang, and Santa Ynez) has come into its own to become a tremendous food and wine destination.
The Valley’s breathtaking vistas, easy-going spirit, and community of passionate chefs and artisans make a visit here equal parts rejuvenating and delicious. Given its close proximity to Los Angeles, I make an effort to visit the area annually, along with my other favorite wine region the Valle de Guadelupe.
My whirlwind trip included visits to both new and familiar restaurants, along with a few stops at notable farms and vineyards. Early fall’s sunny skies and mild temperatures made for outstanding conditions. The plump grapes clustered on the vines were almost ready to be plucked, processed, and transformed into wine.(more…)