-- Gabe Saglie, Senior Editor, Travelzoo
Story by Emilio Estevez (written June 2014)
Photos by Bob Dickey, firstname.lastname@example.org
From Santa Barbara, there are two roads that will get you into the Santa Ynez Valley and your Los Alamos Day Trip destination. Both turn me on for different reasons. Your first glimpse of the valley from high on top the San Marcos Pass simply takes your breath away. The mind wanders to the indigenous people and early settlers who looked out at the vast landscape and imagined endless possibilities. The coast route is no less majestic and there is no mistaking the fact that you are at the western terminus for these United States.
|Casa Dumetz Wines and Global Gardens Cafe in downtown Los Alamos|
A great way to walk off breakfast is to check out the gallery and then explore the town, while you're anticipating where you're going to go for lunch. Connie, who owns the C Gallery, is always offering up great new exhibits from artists near and far.
Check out The Antique Depot, Gussied Up, Gentlemen's Farmer and The Irishman. Dennis always has something to sell you that you've never seen before at The Eclectic Shop -- that is, when he's not giving you a tip on an upcoming horse race at Santa Anita.
|Winemaker Sonja Magdevski|
The wine tasting rooms open at 11am and there are some great finds in this "no longer, one horse town." I am partial, of course, to Casa Dumetz, where my sweetie winemaker and tasting room owner, Sonja Magdevski, has eight different offerings. Buy the Syrah Rose while she still has it -- it's really perfect for summer.
Bedford Winery offers great Cab Franc and Chardonnay. The Wine Saloon at the Union Hotel is offering up Kurt Russell's Gogi Pinot Noir.
|The Union Hotel|
|Theo Stephan's Global Gardens Cafe|
As you leave Babi's and walk north, stop in at Global Gardens and grab some of the best olive oils and vinegars on the market. Theo Stephan's olive source is just a few miles down the road from the shop.
It's widely know that with the exception of Los Alamos' Third Saturday Evening Stroll every month, most shops, tasting rooms and eateries close quite early. This leaves you with two dinner options. Farm-to-table Full of Life Flatbread serves up some of the freshest locally sourced produce in town. One rule about Flatbread: Always order the weekend special flatbread - FULL STOP. Across the street from Flatbread is Charlie's Burger's. Don't be fooled by the "burger" part of that sign. On weekends, Charlie and his crew are doing the BBQ right. Half chickens and "ribeyes by the inch" are slow-cooked over local oak. The smell of the meat cooking over the wood puts one in a state of pure primal ecstasy.
With a bit of light remaining in the summer sky, I am back in the car for my return to Santa Barbara, taking the coast this night and, in my head, already planning my return trip to this extraordinary place many call "Little L.A."