The Palace Grill has been a downtown Santa Barbara fixture for more than 25 years, serving a wide array of food choices, but with a focus on Creole and Cajun. We started with a Cajun martini, marinated with jalapeño and served with cherry peppers in a Mason jar.
After several requests to photograph him, the monk reluctantly obliged, telling us we could each take one photo. Noticing one person shooting several photos with their phone he asked with a slight smile "something wrong with your phone?"
“The secret is to be ahead of the curve and on top of our game,” says Gerry Cordiano. “All of our vineyards are young. As they grow and mature, we will be better than Napa/Sonoma and Paso Robles. Our soil is harsher here. That makes for stronger more flavorful grapes.”
I remember co-owner Gray Hartley telling me years ago that a guy came in, ordered a glass of wine and then a bottle and his world turned upside-down. The man was Rex Picket, author of the book Sideways. I sat with Frank Ostini, Gray's partner, who told me he knew something was up when director Alexander Payne walked in.
Diane and Ken Wilson own the Wilson Artisan Wineries as well as the Grape Leaf Inn. There are eight wineries all totaled and I visited three of them, starting with Matrix Winery. Formerly Rabbit Ridge Winery, the Wilsons purchased the property in 2007.