10TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE July/August 2023
805.452.3884 CalRE #01961570 805.403.5220 CalRE #01465425 Not intended as a solicitation if your property is already listed by another broker. Affiliated real estate agents are independent contractor sales associates, not employees. ©2023 Coldwell Banker. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker home IS EVERYTHING LET US HELP YOU NAVIGATE THROUGH YOUR NEXT REAL ESTATE JOURNEY LORI CLARIDGE BOWLES 805.452.3884 firstname.lastname@example.org | loribowles.com | CalRE #01961570 DANA ZERTUCHE 805.403.5220 email@example.com | danazertuche.com | CalRE #01465425 Not intended as a solicitation if your property is already listed by another broker. Affiliated real estate agents are independent contractor sales associates, not employees. ©2023 Coldwell Banker. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker and the Coldwell Banker logos are trademarks of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. The Coldwell Banker® System is comprised of company owned offices which are owned by a subsidiary of Anywhere Advisors LLC and franchised offices which are independently owned and operated. The Coldwell Banker System fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act
805.452.3884 #01961570 805.403.5220 #01465425 Banker and the LAPOINTE BRIDAL CAPSULE IN STORE NOW 1269 Coast Village Road, Montecito CA | 805.563.2425 | @allorabylaura CELEBRATING 10 YEARS LAPOINTE | PETER COHEN | AMINA RUBINACCI | CLERGERIE | D. EXTERIOR ZERO + MARIA CORNEJO | PESERICO | KAI LINZ JEWELRY SHOP ONLINE at allorabylaura.com
not your average gallery
4 JULY /AUGUST 2023 PLANTGALLERYSB.COM
Our new Botanica Afternoon Tea is now available from Monday to Thursday, 2:30pm to 4:30pm. CONTACT OUR CONCIERGE TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT. CONCIERGE.ELE@BELMOND.COM (805) 845-5800 800 ALVARADO PL SANTA BARBARA, CA 93103 BELMOND.COM
THE FINEST MONTECITO & SANTA BARBARA HOMES ©2023 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (BHHSCP) is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC. BHH Affiliates LLC and BHHSCP do not guarantee accuracy of all data including measurements, conditions, and features of property. Information is obtained from various sources and will not be verified by broker or MLS. *Individual agent by sales volume in 2022 for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. CRISTAL CLARKE • MONTECITO-ESTATE.COM • 805.886.9378 • CRISTAL@MONTECITO-ESTATE.COM • DRE 00968247 UNRIVALED OCEAN VIEW CONTEMPORARY ESTATE 811 CAMINO VIEJO ROAD, SANTA BARBARA | OFFERED AT $10,750,000 HOPE RANCH EQUINE ESTATE 4662 VIA ROBLADA, SANTA BARBARA | OFFERED AT $6,475,000
@SBLIFEANDSTYLE | 7 CRISTAL CLARKE • MONTECITO-ESTATE.COM • 805.886.9378 • CRISTAL@MONTECITO-ESTATE.COM • DRE 00968247 ©2023 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (BHHSCP) is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC. BHH Affiliates LLC and BHHSCP do not guarantee accuracy of all data including measurements, conditions, and features of property. Information is obtained from various sources and will not be verified by broker or MLS. *Individual agent by sales volume in 2022 for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. THE FINEST MONTECITO & SANTA BARBARA HOMES DIVINE AND TIMELESS BIRNAM WOOD ESTATE 412 CROCKER SPERRY DRIVE, SANTA BARBARA | OFFERED AT $12,300,000 I Love Where I Live. Love What I Do. Sell What I Love. #1 AGENT LOCALLY AND GLOBALLY
Letter Perfect LOCALLUXURYLOVE . . . . NEVER STOP WRITING Letter Perfect Santa Barbara Stationers since 1984 farmtopaper.org letterperfectsantabarbara.com Now at the Farm to Paper Collective 2325 Lillie Avenue Summerland Paper Shop 805 969 7998 Farm Store 805 770 3677
1106 STATE STREET | ANDERSENSSANTABARBARA.COM | 805-962-5085 EVENT STYLING @ALONGCAMEDANI @THEBETSLIFE PHOTO @KRISTINECRAMER
Situated on four hundred acres in Carmel Valley, Stonepine Estate is not far from Pebble Beach, Big Sur, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf. The estate includes the Tuscan-style Chateau Noel and Double H Ranch Country Inn.
Our Summer and Fall Packages include:
• Carmel Valley Wine Discovery
• Stonepine Estate Experience
• Romantic Interlude
All are two-night packages with various amenities and chauffeured touring options. Visit our website or call for information. We look forward to welcoming you to Stonepine Estate!
Paddock House (4 BR), at Double H Ranch
Tours via Rolls Royces Tours to 17-mile Drive Romantic Interlude
150 East Carmel Valley
Carmel Valley, California 93924 • firstname.lastname@example.org stonepineestate.com • hh-ranch.com •
Hermes House (2 BR) Hermes House Living Room Double H Ranch Briar Rose Cottage (2 BR) Cartier Suite, Chateau Noel
For information and to view our video, go to
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EDITOR IN CHIEF & PUBLISHER Ottocina Ryan
ART DIRECTOR Vide Olsson
CONTENT COORDINATOR Olivia McGovern
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Alexandra Lee
STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Silas Fallstich
PHOTOGRAPHERS Tynan Daniels, Jared Fix, Jacqueline Pilar, Angelo Sgambati
WRITERS Haven Heffernan, Laura Hupp, Nicole Johnson, Alexandra Lee, Hannah Meyers, Alexandra Sharova, Maddy Sims
INTERNS Nicole Johnson, Laura Hupp
ON THIS COVER
PHOTOGRAPHER Angelo Sgambati
STYLIST Daniella Clarke
MODEL Sarah Siegel-Magness
HAIR Andre Gunn
MAKEUP Nichole Servin
LOCATION Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club
Saint Art jacket Alchemy bodysuit
Santa Barbara Life & Style Magazine is published by Santa Barbara Life & Style, Inc. 26 West Mission Street #5, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
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Discover the highly rated wines of Alma Rosa Winery in its gorgeous indoor/outdoor tasting room in downtown Solvang
Vineyard estate tastings also available by appointment
1623 Mission Drive, Suite M Solvang
PEACE OF MIND
10,000 Steps in the Right Direction
JOIN US FOR OUR 4TH ANNUAL FUNDRAISER FOR MENTAL HEALTH
Saturday July 22, 2023
JOIN US FOR OUR 4TH ANNUAL FUNDRAISER FOR MENTAL HEALTH
Saturday July 22, 2023
Alma Rosa Winery is pleased to announce its fourth annual fundraiser to support mental health
Peace of Mind:
10,000 Steps In The Right Direction
$55 registration fee
All additional donations are matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $35,000 for each charity and a total of $70,000
100% proceeds benefit Mental Wellness Center and One Mind
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS: RIO VISTA CHEVROLET, SPECIALTY CONSTRUCTION INC, BRAVE & MAIDEN ESTATE, KATE’S REAL FOOD, PONY ESPRESSO, LIQUID I.V., GOOD SEED
A romantic bed and breakfast, steps from West Beach and The Funk Zone 805-965-3586 | theeagleinn.com
IN EVERY ISSUE
S POTLIGHT 21
Celebrating meaningful causes, wonderful times, and exceptional shopping.
SUMMER OF SELF-LOVE 22
OUT AND ABOUT 24
Clear your schedule, summer is in full swing.
48 HOURS IN SANTA BARBARA 98
Places to be and things to see for your best Santa Barbara summer.
L A DOLCE VITA 26 A detail focused dining experience at Caruso’s.
BRING THE OUTSIDE IN 32 From trail to table.
RASCALS IN THE KITCHEN 36 No animal products, no problem.
T HE DUCK CLUB 42
Must have: a pond.
W ITH THE TIDE 46
The art of catching waves in and out of the water.
FAMILY AFFAIR 52
Love actually is all around.
BUSINESS OF FASHION 56
Ten years of Montecito’s most elegant boutique.
PERFECT MATCH 58
Sarah Siegel-Magness leads the way for female polo players.
F IELD DAY 66
Frolicking around the Polo and Racquet Club.
FIRST RESORT 72
Suite dreams at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara.
D REAM ISLAND 84 Paradise found in the Maldives.
PATAGONIA ESCAPE 90
Every day is an adventure at Eleven Rio Palena Lodge.
FALLING FOR NANTUCKET 94
There’s no wrong time to pay Nantucket a visit.
16 JULY /AUGUST 2023
18 JULY /AUGUST 2023 EXPLORE PASEO NUEVO and our collection of local, regional, and national retailers and restaurants @ShopPaseoNuevo 651 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara CA 93101 EXPERIENCES AWAIT #COMETOGETHER Open 11am to 7pm Daily PaseoNuevoShopping.com
TIMELESS CLASSICS FOR THROUGHOUT THE YEAR FOLLOW US: wildflowerwomenboutique.com LOS OLIVOS 2920 Grand Ave. 805.697.7377 ORCUTT 3388 Orcutt Rd. 805.922.9195 PISMO BEACH 890 Price St. 805.773.1055 SAN LUIS OBISPO 874 Monterey St. 805.543.3200 PASO ROBLES 1236 Park St. 805.226.5088 Home of Sandbox Kids “The Central Coast’s Premier Women and Children’s Boutique”
Your gastronomic Mecca awaits. Hotel Californian 36 State Street, Santa Barbara | (805) 882-0100 hotelcalifornian.com | @hotelcalifornian Dip into Happy Hour 4PM-6PM Daily Fried chicken sandwich + champagne = hump day done right. Available only on Wednesdays.
1. BEACH PARTY
We danced til midnight at Redondo’s DAOUsponsored BeachLife Festival, sipping rosé in their private cabana and enjoying a side-stage dinner while Gwen Stefani performed.
3. FRESH PERSPECTIVE
The masterminds at Santa Ynez General recently debuted their newly redesigned concept space, featuring an inspired collection of goods.
4. FOR THE KIDS
It was all fun and games at Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation’s annual Teddy Bear Picnic, with an afternoon of activities and bites to raise money for families supporting a child with cancer.
2. DRESS UP
Lou Los Olivos joins the Valley as its newest womenswear boutique, featuring contemporary designers; it's a go-to destination for high-brow shopping in wine country.
@SBLIFEANDSTYLE | 21 SBLS spotlight
@sblifeandstyle for daily behind the scenes content, new restaurants, events, getaways, and more...
PHOTO BY ALMA ROSA PHOTOGRAPHY
SUMMER OF SELF-LOVE
ALL YOU NEED FOR A SELF-CARE SUMMER
BY Alexandra Lee
Assouline Travel From Home Candle
Good news: the indulgent aromas of Marrakech markets and Tulum cenotes no longer require a plane ticket. Reminisce in the scents of your favorite destinations, from the Aegean waters of Mykonos to cozy Aspen cabins, in the comfort of home with this travel-inspired collection by Assouline.
De La Heart Facial Dry Brush
Spring Water Cascades
After-sun hydration is the epitome of summer self-care. Kopu’s artesian spring water has maximum benefits, naturally enriched with body-loving minerals including calcium and magnesium, and is sourced from untouched springs of Oregon’s Cascade mountain range.
You’ve heard of dry brushing for the body–why not reap the benefits of this age-old Ayurvedic technique on the visage? Gently exfoliate away dead skin cells without the harsh chemicals while boosting circulation and stimulating your body’s natural “detox flow.” 5
Eminence Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Hydrator
Give your sunkissed skin a well-deserved drink of water with this Strawberry Rhubarb Masque. Infused with Eminence’s signature botanical hyaluronic acid complex, this treatment simultaneously exfoliates, purifies, and soothes for freshly plumped (and happy) skin.
Andie Swim The Amalfi in Cherry Red
A one-piece that would make Pamela Anderson proud. Andie Swim’s first and only brick-and-mortar boutique just opened in Malibu Country Mart, as your new go-to for easygoing, effortless, figure-flattering swimwear all summer long.
22 JULY /AUGUST 2023 SBLS covet & crave
We're gearing up for an amazing summer! Join us at CAYA for live music, food and drink specials. 5650 Calle Real theleta.com @theletahotel
OUT AND ABOUT
As the summer heats up, there’s no shortage of places to see and stay, activities, and dining experiences.
BY Hannah Meyers
Next time you take the trip down south, dip into the new AC Hotel Downtown Los Angeles. Centrally located across from the Crypto.com arena and the Los Angeles Convention Center, the 347-key hotel is modern and fresh, and their upscale yet cozy rooms are a haven for work or relaxation. Neutral fabrics frame the view of the Hollywood Hills through the floor to ceiling windows. With eight dining concepts between AC and the edgier Moxy Hotel that shares the building, it’s hard to bore even a foodie’s palate. The options are wide, from tasting French-Japanese fusion at Maison Kasai to soaking up the sun at Mother of Pearl, an alfresco oyster and ceviche bar. Be sure to take in the view at La Lo La Rooftop lounge on the 34th floor featuring wraparound vistas of the sprawling city (and the traffic you’re not sitting in trying to rush home), while enjoying refined tapas and signature cocktails.
A NEW SEASON
Cheer on your favorite team this summer at Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club
The season is packed with a record number of teams and players so there’s never a dull weekend. Start on Friday at the happy hour match, featuring drink specials and bar bites. On Sunday opt for a meal at the club’s Fieldside Coastal Steakhouse for a front row seat to the action.
VACATION IN A GLASS
Take a seat under the sunlight for Après Sea at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara. When the clock strikes 6 p.m., the fun begins. Wrap up a beach day by indulging in one of the three experiences. Relax with their new signature Après Sea cocktail–the gem of a drink is inspired by the annual butterfly migration, fusing butterfly pea pollen tequila with refreshing floral and citrus juice. Watch the colors transform into a work of art as the liquid transitions from a deep lavender to a bright magenta reminiscent of a Santa Barbara sunset. This unique cocktail is as delicious as it is beautiful. Guests can also opt to enjoy a guided sunset walk or a luxurious massage in the incredible spa.
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SBLS this season
AC HOTEL DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES
THE RITZ-CARLTON BACARA
A DECADE OF SUCCESS
Raise a glass to the 10th anniversary release of DAOU Family Estates’ flagship wine: Soul of a Lion. The Cabernet Sauvignon’s debut was 2010, and it has since received nothing but praise from wine critics and lovers. The 2020 Soul of a Lion vintage is crafted from their grapes at DAOU mountain in the Adelaida district of Paso Robles, the perfect setting for Cabernet Sauvignon. With notes of blackberry, fig, and black cherry, this wine will perfectly complement any summer dinner table.
WALK FOR A CAUSE
Put your walking shoes on for the fourth annual fundraising walk at the beautiful Alma Rosa Winery this summer. The “Peace of Mind” walk originated in 2020 to support mental health services and fund research, and has since raised over $545,000 for mental health organizations. On Saturday, July 22, participants will take 10,000 steps through the vineyards on the 628-acre Buellton property, enjoying expansive valley views. A glass of wine and a cozy reception await at the finish line. Support a wonderful cause and increase your endorphins at this incredible event.
A DAY FOR YOURSEL F
Feelings of safety, healing, and connectedness envelop guests at Enlightenment retreat. Set on a gorgeous Santa Ynez estate, the annual one-day workshop is designed to help you feel your best. Created by Chloe Redmond of Vino Vaquera Consulting, Enlightenment focuses on supporting mental health and fostering self love, and offers tools to “implement in your own personal journey towards enlightenment.” Attendees embark on a host of events including a fire ceremony, trauma-informed yoga and a sound bath led by Kovina Avila, meditation lead by Darci of Soul Boost Meditation, and neurotrophic watercolor painting with Christi Belle. Guests also enjoy a farm-totable lunch by Kate Campbell paired with local rosé and Sunstone’s new cannabis spritzes. The day concludes with the opportunity to interact with mindful vendors offering intuitive henna tattoos and tarot card readings, and depart with a tote of gratitude goodies. While we need to wait until 2024 for the next ticketed Enlightenment retreat, if you feel called to host a wellness workshop as a team building, or treat your loved ones to an elevated well-being retreat, Vino Vaquera Consulting will customize a curated wellness event to deliver an unforgettable experience.
@SBLIFEANDSTYLE | 25
ALMA ROSA WINERY
PHOTO: TALI BURKETT
BY Alexandra Lee | PHOTOGRAPHY Silas Fallstich
LA DOLCE VITA
CARUSO’S AT ROSEWOOD MIRAMAR BEACH IS AN EXQUISITE JOURNEY INTO MICHELIN STARDOM HELMED BY ROMAN-BORN CHEF MASSIMO FALSINI
I GREW UP IN TRASTEVERE, YOU SHOULD TRY THIS CARBONARA
Along the Santa Barbara coast, nestled atop a pristine stretch of sand where blue-and-white striped umbrellas dot the shore, lies a place where caviar exists as a mere accessory to bread and butter, and off-the-market champagne flows freely. Where menus are prix-fixe only, and celebrity sightings are yesterday’s news; where handsome decor and even more handsomely slicked-back waiters pace, eager to refresh your wine glass. This exquisite beachfront scene is something out of a Fitzgerald novel, perhaps the inspiration for Gatsby’s mansion, or, where the author himself might have nursed old fashioneds and bolstered his imagination, should it be a century earlier. In my mind, Caruso’s at Rosewood Miramar Beach has always been the lavish and fabled summit of Santa Barbara’s already-impressive array of culinary establishments. One Sunday evening, I finally have the chance to experience the sensory journey at 1759 South Jameson Lane for myself.
As I sit with a girlfriend, sipping a flute of Delavenne champagne that’s exclusive to the property, my heart beats with tantalizing anticipation of what the evening holds. Just the walk to Caruso’s felt luxurious, my heels tapping against the Miramar’s polished floors while absorbing the regal Hamptons-house atmosphere. Considering this is the only restaurant in Santa Barbara county to hold not only a Michelin Star, but also a rarified Michelin Green Star (one of only 426 globally), I’ll admit I have lofty expectations. Soft jazz accompanies the clink of crystal glasses, and in front of us, a masthead billows in the wind and gentle waves lap the deck just steps away, as if we’re on a yacht sailing the Pacific.
Caruso’s, named after Miramar’s owner and billionaire developer Rick Caruso, is nothing short of what you’d expect from a Michelin-starred restaurant. Exquisite gold leaf-dusted desserts, white asparagus imported from France, cases of Brunello di Montalcino, and tins of caviar are all abundantly present. It’s timeless and unabashedly elegant, one of few Santa Barbara establishments where a smart, buttoned-up atmosphere and a dress code of “casual elegance,” meaning no sportswear, hats, or flip flops, is still enforced. This, along with the nautical atmosphere, evokes an old-school charm reminiscent of the 60s—yet, Caruso’s is propelled into the future through the reinventive cuisine and revered talent of Director of Culinary Operations, better known as Chef,
@SBLIFEANDSTYLE | 27
Massimo Falsini. At the forefront of Caruso’s epicurean philosophy is showcasing the locally harvested, sustainably-sourced bounty of Santa Barbara’s coast, reinvented with Italian panache—though, calling Caruso’s an Italian restaurant would be a gross understatement. Think gnocchi infused with dulse, a red seaweed native to the Pacific, topped with local diver Stephanie Mutz’s uni and, of course, gold leaf. Details
Our trio of welcome bites, fittingly, better represent art than food, each presented atop their own individual cake platter in a museumworthy display. This much-awaited sneak peek into Caruso’s culinary odyssey does not disappoint. A squid ink tapioca crisp cradles rare confit abalone in a yuzu vinaigrette, while a chilled tin of caviar awaits upon a bed of garlic basil mousse. We relish in the artistry of these initial bites, while puzzled by a most impossible task: how to select just four courses from the entirely fascinating prix-fixe menu. If, like me, you dread the all-too-overwhelming task of decision making, I suggest opting for the Chef’s Tasting Menu, an 8-course sampling with a little bit of everything. A Standard wine pairing (or, if you’re a true wine snob, the Elite) is also a must, as even those without a sommelier-trained tongue can appreciate the highly curated selections of Miramar’s Director of Wine, Daniel Fish.
As is true of anywhere, the people make the place, and even at this establishment where the cuisine clearly does the talking, interacting
with the staff is an added indulgence. Chef Massimo himself hails from the Roman town of Trastevere (which you’ll notice on the menu, under his dish “I Grew Up in Trastevere, You Should Try This Carbonara”), where he earned his early start in the trattorias of the ancient city. He’s a man of few words, greeting guests with a kind handshake, a warm smile, and, if you’re lucky, “I hope you enjoy,” in his soft Italian drawl. Humble and approachable, he showcases a humility that pays homage to his heritage through reinvented classics—he’s even invited his mother all the way from Rome to demonstrate how to make fettuccine fatte a mano (handmade) in their kitchen. Should you be so lucky as to engage with the chef, I encourage probing into his 30 years of culinary experience in Abu Dhabi and at the legendary Harry’s Bar in Rome, a world-class stop that’s served guests including Barack Obama, Woody Allen, and Claudia Schiffer. Needless to say, dining in Massimo’s presence is quite literally as close as you can get to royal treatment.
After refreshing our glasses with rosé champagne, a flurry of antipasti adorns our tablecloth, and the culinary journey has truly begun. The Bluefin Ahi Tartare is a Michelin Guide-favorited course, whose umami flavors are transformed by one key ingredient: almond granita. Yes, this sweet Italian dessert melts into savory tuna and Taggiasca olives— yet, unsurprisingly, it works, balancing heavy saltiness with a light hint of vanilla. Hand-pulled Burrata con Le Fragole is
28 JULY /AUGUST 2023
a heavenly treat ever so reminiscent of strawberries and cream, elevating the dish from a childhood staple to a Michelin-worthy dish. Paper-thin slices of osmosis strawberries couple with dehydrated ones, layering the creamy, silky burrata with varied texture, and finished with rhubarb for an herbaceous zing. Antipasti is rounded out by Yellowtail Crudo, balanced with gems of tangerine, finger lime, and pickled kumquats for a bright citrus tang.
As our glasses are refilled yet again, I’m curious to learn more about the restaurant’s coveted Michelin Green Star, unbeknownst to many after its quiet debut in 2020. The star represents a devout commitment to sustainable gastronomy through altruistic work uplifting local farmers, fishermen, and ranchers, lessening environmental impact, and sourcing locally-grown seasonal ingredients that ultimately grace your final dish. Through action that is anything but performative, Caruso’s is involved in every step of the culinary process, right down to the seeds planted for their house-fermented sourdough. The restaurant is a supporter of the Tehachapi Grain Project, which aims to preserve and harvest drought-tolerant organic heirloom grains right here in Southern California, additionally partnering with the California Wheat Commission to use only California Desert Drum in their pasta. 90% of the resort’s seafood is sourced locally and sustainably, and much of the produce is either grown in the on-site vegetable garden, or from the farmer’s market which Massimo attends himself every Saturday.
I witness one such facet of the Michelin Green Star during our bread service, an optional course that occurs between Antipasti and Primi upon request. The rustic sourdough bread is made with red fife and sonora wheat sourced directly from the Tehachapi Grain Project. As we embark upon our bread and butter journey, a three-step process involving caviar-bejeweled butter, a dulse-infused umami butter, and a drizzle of Il Fustino olive oil, there are two thoughts running through my mind: one, you can truly taste the intention behind this project, and two, bread and butter will never be the same.
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OUR BEES WENT TO OJAI
CRUDO DI YELLOWTAIL AGLI AGRUMI
Little do I know, my favorite dish—though this is a controversial topic well-suited for the debate floor—is just around the corner. With a penchant for pasta, I order the “I Grew Up in Trastevere, You Should Try This Carbonara,” largely because the name has me convinced that I really should try this Roman-born chef’s carbonara. I fall in love for three reasons: the charismatic title, the flavor complexity, and the audaciously wrong composition of Massimo’s nontraditional recipe. Simply put, this is not a carbonara—and before anyone gets offended at the abandonment of spaghetti and substitution of jamon íberico, Massimo is only allowed to do this because he, himself, is Italian. He turns the dish on its head, presenting a trio of ravioli using pureed house-cured guanciale, jamon íberico, and pecorino cheese as the filling, and white truffle for adornment. After this, I’m confident that three ravioli and an oaky chardonnay is really all it takes to reach la dolce vita
In an instant, the signature umami scent of truffle infuses the air, and with it soon follows Hibachi Grilled Tenderloin. Butterysmooth Angus Prime marries the aromatic truffle bordelaise, infusing every bite with that coveted melt-in-your-mouth piquancy and complexity on the palate. Paired with the weight and slight acidity of 100% Sangiovese Brunello, which Daniel Fish dubs the “kiss of Italy,” this dish is another menu stand out complete with foraged mushrooms, fiddlehead ferns, and a layered crispy potato pavé.
Channel Islands Halibut, conversely, is a bright, light protein with green garlic and burro fuso sauce, infused with wine from Dolce in Napa Valley. The smooth poached fish is accompanied by a single, yet hearty, stalk of white asparagus, a staple in French and German cuisine whose lack of chlorophyllic green is due to its entirely underground life cycle, seeing the light of day for the first time on my plate. Paired with 2019 Vincent Girardin Meursault Les Vieilles Vignes, a buttery and complex white wine, this dish is a lighter option for the meat-heavy Secondi—though for those who enjoy a plant-based diet, Caruso’s offers an entirely vegan prix-fixe menu.
The richness of truffle bordelaise, caviar butter, and four glasses of wine has certainly left me satiated, yet I’ve saved just enough room for one
more course, though I soon find out dessert is actually three. Pre-dessert is a one-bite palate cleanser with tiny rosemary cake soaking in Il Fustino olive oil, and topped with a scoop of lime sorbetto. Now that that’s out of the way, our real Dolci arrives. Our Bees Went to Ojai is a texture-rich, heavenly panna cotta that resembles real honeycomb, a work of art almost too perfect to touch. Pixie tangerine and Miramar-harvested honey add balance to this unique, multi-layered dessert. Our wine pairing, a golden elixir from Royal Tokaji, is what I imagine the Greek gods drank as their nectar—it tastes like liquid gold. “Kings and queens were drinking this five centuries ago,” remarks Daniel, sure enough. It’s not the first time throughout this dining experience that I’ve felt like royalty. The Bolle di Cioccolato, which literally translates to “bubbles of chocolate,” is a chocoholic’s dream, with Cara Cara orange pistou whose tangy citrus cuts through the rich 66% Valrhona base. Naturally, the dessert is garnished with edible gold. At this point I’ve almost died and gone to heaven, until our waiters return with something I didn’t think was possible—a post-dessert course. Mignardises, including limoncello bon bon, hazelnut nougat, and tangerine pate fruit, act as the cherry on top of a most astounding display of courses.
The clock has somehow reached 10 p.m., though we arrived at 5:30, and we’re one of the last parties to relish in the final beads of royal wine left hugging the glass. While I could likely recline in this chair, serenaded by the serene breaks of the Pacific, for several more hours, it’s long past time to drag myself back up the sweeping staircase, past the iconic Miramar sign, and through the perfumed lobby of the Manor House once again. Before standing, I glance once more at Massimo’s quote, printed in italics on the left hand side of the menu. “The magic in cooking is the ability to give others so many sensations in such limited space, a dish! In the volatility of a bite.” He must be exhausted, I muse, from dreaming up magic to delight the senses of hungry visitors, and besides, he likely has to tend to the property’s honeybees or charter a personal fishing boat to catch halibut in the morning. This down to earth dedication is why the visionary has, and will continue to, transform perspectives of this edible art form through his limited, yet wholly epic spaces—in the volatility of a bite.*
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BOLLE DI CIOCCOLATO
FINCH AND FORK’S CHEF
NATHAN LINGLE TURNS TO FORAGING TO INSPIRE HIS CULINARY CREATIONS
BY Hannah Meyers | PHOTOGRAPHY Silas Fallstich
TORTELLINI SALTIMBOCCA - GLEN WHEAT, WILD MUSTARD, DANDELION BUD CAPERS, ALLE PIA GUANCIALE, CALIFORNIA SAGES
CERAMIC BOWL COFFEE + CLAY
We all hear about farm-to-table cooking everywhere. I wanted to experience it one step further. A forage-to-table, if you will. So, I met up with Chef Nathan Lingle of Finch and Fork at the Rattlesnake Canyon trailhead in Santa Barbara on a bright Sunday morning to see what we could find.
Lingle grew his knowledge of plants from a lifetime of hiking and exploring. The Maine native was no stranger to the foliage we encountered. Every shrub had a story and I could see a recipe building in his mind with each snip of a stem. The wild fennel’s pollen to the left of us could dress up a plate, while the thistle on the right could be harvested to make a liver detoxing tea.
The storms that blew through Santa Barbara earlier this year created a fertile ground for mushrooms a month ago, but unfortunately the soil quickly dried back out. While we didn’t find mushrooms, there was no shortage of other vegetation. Lingle’s flora expertise overflowed as we continued our hike. He explained how dried California broom grain makes a cereal grain that can be eaten like oatmeal or toasted and turned into flour.
We stumbled across elderflower, which Lingle plans on making into a specialty beer. He’s been mixing up creative brews with what he can find and putting them on the menu for guests to try, the last being a chanterelle mushroom pilsener. “Right now is elderflower season so we’re going to do an elderflower beer. I’ll harvest all the elderflower and take it to the brewery. They have different kinds of beers—a lager, a porter, a pilsener—and we’ll mix it to see how it goes,” he said.
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Prior to the pandemic, Lingle was based in San Diego, but wanted to follow his passion and have an urban farm. Santa Barbara allowed him to do exactly that and he’s been in love with the place since. His home in Ventura is a vivid representation of a dream come true—he tells me about his six chickens and the latest addition of bees. When he’s not tending to his farm, he is creating brilliance at Finch and Fork at Kimpton Canary Hotel where he’s been head chef for the last six months.
Of course, I had to taste his foraged ingredient-embellished dishes for myself. On a recent evening, I nestled into a cozy booth across from a dear friend. We were greeted with glasses of sparkling wine, which were soon joined by sweet and tart raspberry daiquiris.
We started with the hamachi crudo where buttery fish perfectly paired with avocado, creating a luscious bite complemented by bright tangerine. We moved onto the Italian burrata sitting atop a crisp spring pea salad and pistachio twirl. It’s so creamy it melted in our mouths. We were still raving about the burrata when two of Finch and Fork’s specialty deviled eggs came out. Don’t be fooled, they aren’t your average picnic appetizer. The pink hued bite was topped with a generous hunk of cajun maple pork belly and pickled shallots. A true one bite wonder.
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“The wild fennel’s pollen to the left of us could dress up a plate, while the thistle on the right could be harvested to make a liver detoxing tea.”
Soon, our entrees appeared—king salmon and fried chicken. The crackly salmon skin was crisped to perfection while the succulent fish paired perfectly with the smoked potatoes. Juicy chicken coated in a light, flaky batter served as the best vehicle for their house made pomegranate hot sauce. The sauce is good enough to be bottled and sold on its own. Accompanied by fresh pickles, it was comfort food at its finest.
Even after an incredible meal, there’s always room for dessert, and dessert they do well. First up: a beautiful tangerine curd tart adorned with fresh citrus. The tangy tangerine balanced out the sweetness in the creamy confection. It’s one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. We rounded it off with a milkshake reminiscent of a blueberry muffin with a streusel topping and lemon meringue. The frozen treat was as unique as it was delicious.
After undergoing renovations last year, the restaurant has been refreshed with Lingle’s creative direction. He has big plans for the future of Finch and Fork, placing an emphasis on sweet treats. He shares, “One thing I’m passionate about is bringing pastry back into the dining experience. We’re looking at doing a dessert prix-fixe in the lobby and bar on Fridays and Saturdays. I feel like there’s a gap in dining here in Santa Barbara and we’re missing that dessert experience. I want to create a whole dessert experience. Having special experiences like that is our focus.”*
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GOLDEN EAGLE RIDGEBACK SHRIMP AGUACHILETANGERINE, MINER’S LETTUCE, MUSTARD GREEN KOSHO, NASTURTIUM, SEA BEAN, SPRING FENNEL
CERAMIC BOWL COFFEE + CLAY
BEET HUMMUS BOWL NAPKIN ATELIER SAUCIER
RASCALS in the kitchen
AFTER FIVE YEARS OF MAKING A NAME FOR HIMSELF IN THE SANTA BARBARA COMMUNITY, DALAN MORENO HAS BECOME A LEADER IN THE VEGAN FOOD SCENE WITH HIS RESTAURANT RASCAL’S
BY Maddy Sims | PHOTOGRAPHY Silas Fallstich
If you ask Dalan Moreno if his plan was always to own a vegan restaurant, he would tell you no. But if you spend 15 minutes talking to him, it’s clear this is exactly what he was meant to do. There are subtle signs, like the way he straightens his posture and looks you directly in the eye as he speaks about the suffering involved in industrial agriculture. There are less subtle signs, like the tattoo on his neck that reads “VEGAN'' or the way his entire face lights up with excitement as he describes the perfect vegan burger. But the real sign is the way he looks in his kitchen. Moving quickly from post to post—wrapping up a to-go order with care before stepping over to stir a pot and then turning to check on fresh tortillas.
As you watch Moreno in the kitchen at his restaurant, Rascal’s, it’s obvious: this was the plan all along.
Moreno, a Santa Barbara native, went vegan at 15 years old. “I still wanted all the things a 15-yearold wants, but there weren’t many options here,” he explains. “Back then, the only way to get [good vegan food] was to just make it.” So, he and his
friends had pizza parties and taco nights, cooking plant-based dinners together.
Little did Moreno know that these Friday night gatherings would inspire the name of his all-vegan restaurant. “I felt like none of us knew what we were doing,” he laughs. “We were just a bunch of rascals making vegan food.”
Fast forward 10 years. Moreno was working as a carpenter and traveling around, tasting vegan food all over the continent. “I’d seen how much veganism had grown, but I felt like it hadn’t grown much in our community.” As he visited different restaurants, he found himself thinking the same thing: “There were places that were pretty good, but I'd been to other places that I thought weren’t as good as the stuff I was making myself.” So, he decided to host pop-ups.
Moreno knew he wanted to make American food (hence the excitement around vegan burgers), but he also wanted to create delicious vegan Mexican food. He spent his time traveling to foodie hot spots (such as Los Angeles and New York City)
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38 JULY /AUGUST 2023 SPICY ELOTE
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“The dish melts in my mouth: a creamy balance of sweet, salty, citrus, and (just a little) spice.”
and working in the industry before focusing on Mexico City. He would go there for months at a time, learning as much as he could. It was there that he learned the true importance of tortillas. “It's part of our mission to make really good tortillas,” he says. “When you order tortillas here, they're made for your order.”
The first Rascal’s pop-up was in July 2018—and it was a hit. From there, as Moreno says, it snowballed. He hosted pop-ups all over Santa Barbara, showing the community just how delicious vegan food can be and building a strong following. Eventually, Alejandro Medina of Bibi Ji offered Moreno a residency, since they weren’t operating full-time due to COVID. Moreno jumped at the chance, taking over Tuesday and Wednesday service. He stayed there for a year until Bibi Ji opened back up full-time.
“We were scrambling because at that point, I had quit my other job,” he says. He turned to his supportive social community, asking if anyone knew of another residency. The people at Good Lion reached out, offering their portion of the kitchen at Venus In Furs.
His time at 18 E Cota Street, he says, prepared him for opening his own location. “It was the first time we had been able to have a space that was fully our own, at least kitchen-wise,” he says. “I wouldn't be prepared for what I'm doing right now if I didn't have that time, so I'm really thankful for that opportunity.”
When the time came to leave, Moreno turned to his support system again. “We built up a communal following of people, and we always put our laundry out to the world,” he says. He settled on 432 E Haley Street, getting the keys January 1, 2023 and opening the doors on March 11, 2023.
It took him some time to get the space ready. “I used all of my construction skills to revamp the dining room area,” he says. “We remodeled, we redid the bar, we put in new tables and shelving. All kinds of stuff like that.” It was just Moreno working tirelessly. He had sold his own tools after signing the lease at Venus In Furs, so he reached back out to his friends and old co-workers to see if they would lend him tools overnight. He smiles
and shrugs, saying it was challenging—but as you look around at the beautifully-crafted bar and sleek modern tables, you can tell he poured his heart into the entire space.
Rascal’s is bright, open, and warm. The space is decorated with Mexican cookbooks, Topo Chico bottles, and plants (lots of them). The laid-back alternative music matches The Smiths poster on the wall perfectly. The tables are full of families and friend groups. The place is buzzing on a Wednesday night (and a cloudy, cold one at that). The people of Santa Barbara love Rascal’s—and it’s not hard to see why.
I start with the esquites, a mixture of steamed corn, veganaise, almond parmesan, and crushed takes. The dish melts in my mouth: a creamy balance of sweet, salty, citrus, and (just a little) spice. Next up is the infamous crunchwrap. Whether you’re vegan or not, this delectable creation hits the spot. Filled with lettuce, pico de gallo, refried beans, soy “asada,” and cashew crema, you wouldn’t believe it’s plant-based. I end with the Baja cauliflower tacos (they’re Moreno’s favorite, how could I not?!). After just one bite, I am in disbelief. The fried cauliflower is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, seasoned perfectly with nori to taste, just like your favorite shrimp tacos.
Moreno is on a mission to prove that vegan food isn’t gross, boring, or bland. And after tasting these dishes, it’s safe to say he’s succeeding. “My hope is to get people more open to trying vegan food,” he says. “I know some people won't go vegan as steadfast as me, but if they're open to trying it even two or three days a week, that's better than nothing.”
In terms of the future, Moreno dreams of opening up Burger Town, featuring his mouth-watering vegan burger, fries, and milkshakes (seriously, I dream about the shakes). Eventually, he’d like to expand across the country, continuing his pop-ups in different places, sharing his talent of vegan cooking with the world.
So while he claims he never thought he would open a vegan restaurant, it’s clear it was always meant to happen. When asked what being vegan means to him, he pauses, and shakes his head softly. “It's just who I am,” he replies.*
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BAJA CAULIFLOWER TACOS
DUCK The CLUB
EVERYTHING HAS A STORY AT THIS OUTDOORSY-CHIC ESTATE IN THE HEART OF THE SANTA YNEZ VALLEY
BY Alexandra Lee | PHOTOGRAPHY Tynan Daniels
When Greg and Mishel Rohl searched for an ideal luxury vacation home in Santa Barbara wine country, Greg’s one non-negotiable was a bit different than you'd expect. It wasn't a pool, not a sauna or home theater, not a tricked-out party barn (though they have one of those, too). It was a pond. A pond just big enough to fish (catch & release only), swim and paddle, for a community of bass, bluegill, and turtles to thrive, and for an island with a dock and two chairs to watch the sunset. So, it seemed like fate when their realtor took the couple to tour a one-square-mile Santa Ynez property with a pond smack in the middle. After one 30-minute tour, their offer was on the table that same day.
“The owner must’ve thought, ‘Who are these people? Are they serious?’” Greg laughs. The truth is, they could make such a quick offer because they understood the
property so well. However, another buyer was interested, and a competing offer was on the table. Mishel knew she’d have to fight for the property, so she directed Greg, “You’re the English major, write them a letter explaining why we get it!” And so, it was—Greg wrote the owner that letter, and the property was theirs not long after. Something about the mix of heartfelt memories of growing up in the Midwest and photos of times spent at a family’s property in Wisconsin convinced the current owner that the Rohls were the right buyers. “Simply put, our pitch came down to, “when you know, you know,” Greg says. Thus, The Duck Club was reborn.
Greg and Mishel were not, by standard means, “country people.” At the time, they lived in Newport Beach and, previously, the charming town of Mill Valley in Marin County. In fact, they were one of two couples ever to get married at Kokkari in San Francisco (Mishel’s
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background is Greek). What could be more city than that? However, this move to the Valley represented a return to old ways. To simpler living. To a nature-abounding lifestyle and close-knit relationships with neighbors. Greg describes his experience with city living as the “ambient angst,” something from which Santa Ynez Valley could not be more opposite. “There’s something about when you pass Lake Cachuma, you come through the pass, and you start looking out and…something changes.” It’s true—as you approach the end of their access road, surrounded by vineyards and past many a quaint country home, something does change. It's like you've been plucked out of California and dropped into Tuscany, all the pastoral allure of the fabled region appearing right in the property's cypress-lined driveway. It’s like the Valley has been waiting for you—at least, The Duck Club certainly has.
Oriented north to south on 26 acres of land, this spot blends rustic country living with high-tech luxury and modern aesthetics, resulting in the most tricked-out yet idyllic off-the-grid vacation spot imaginable. It's every kid's dream summer camp and every adult's dream home all wrapped into one. A quick jaunt around in the golf cart and you'll discover hidden gems at every turn—my personal favorite is the Tipsy Goat Bar. In this fencedin enclosure, guests can sip dry martinis in the company of two lovable Nigerian Pygmy goats. Of course, there's an obligatory bocce court, but also a volleyball court, basketball half-court, party barn, pond-side “beach club,” and an on-site campground complete with an Airstream and a swim spa. It would be easier to name what they don’t have. The common thread amongst these activities is to get visitors off the couch and outdoors, exploring what natural entertainment the Valley offers.
What's the best word to describe the Duck Club?
“Habitat.” It's like a nature TV program constantly occurs outside their closed doors. “As my uncle back in Wisconsin would say about his property, you don't really own property like this. We're just renting,” says Greg, he and Mishel, the self-proclaimed “fortunate stewards” of the land. They keep a running tally of every wildlife sighting over the years, including, but not limited to, coyotes, herons, swans, osprey, turtles, baby bunnies, and, of course, mallard ducks. “Did you see that movie a few years ago with Matt Damon, We Bought a Zoo?” Greg asks. “Well, if we made a movie, it'd be We Bought a Park.”
With credit to its natural abundance, The Duck Club has a rich history within the Santa Ynez community, long
before Greg and Mishel became those fortunate stewards back in 2016. As a tributary blue line passes through the property on its way to the Santa Ynez River, it naturally collected water where ducks would gather, enticing some locals over the years to sneak over the fence and try to “catch” them. “I used to do it with my godbrother Chad!” chimes in Kate Campbell, the Rohl’s current realtor, friend, and goddaughter of The Duck Club’s next-door neighbors has her own fair share of memories on this very property. Those days are long past, but the tongue-in-cheek reference to the property as “The Duck Club” still endures. Now, the logo Greg created for the modern Duck Club asserts that the estate is “a club for ducks,” a statement representative of their philosophy for sharing the wealth of this natural treasure trove with the surrounding community.
Case in point: Kate's four-year-old son, Chase, caught his first fish here the other week. “Seeing it through kids' eyes is so cool,” she says. “As an adult, you walk in, and you're like, 'Wow, look at this, it's so vast and gorgeous,' it takes you a good twenty minutes to walk around this place. As a child, think about how it’s like seeing Disneyland for the first time.” With a summer camp feel and everything but the ropes course, the property boasts its own Duck Club Beach Club on the pond shores, with an authentic lifeguard chair and collection of paddle boats and kayaks. “It's sort of like an infinity pool. It's an infinity pond,” says Greg. Angsty teens can disappear on the golf cart or into the party barn of never-ending rounds on the golf simulator and skee ball machine. The adults call their expeditions “going on safari.”
During the pandemic, The Duck Club became a therapeutic escape for friends and family to unwind from never-ending lockdowns. “This is such a healing property,” they would say. “There's something about it.” Aside from the unique location and views encompassing vineyards, mountains, and water, the home features comfortable community spaces and five ensuite bedrooms, offering tranquility and privacy for those seeking seclusion. The house, a modern sprawling luxury villa, boasts five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, collections of artwork (including two hand-painted portraits of their poodles, Riley and Hattie), a wine shower (because who needs a cellar?), and a beautifully redone kitchen with an island ideal for hosting dinners and wine tastings.
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“This spot blends rustic country living with high-tech luxury and modern aesthetics.”
Over the past few years, The Duck Club has benefitted many friends, family, neighbors, and the community. Examples include a private omakase sushi and sake cocktail party for thirty guests and an Atterdag Village Harvest Party fundraiser for the senior center in Solvang. Music group The Side Deal, a band made up of Grammywinning artists from Sugar Ray, The Pawn Shop Kings, and former member of The Who whom Greg happens to know from his Orange County days, hosted a concert by the pond that raised $100,000 in just one day. The most meaningful event was a wedding for the son of their neighbors and close friends, the Falloons.
As I wrap up my tour, all spots considered, I have one burning question: which part of the property is their favorite? Greg launches into a story about the island in the middle of the pond and their great search for its final touch. “When we bought the property, I loved walking out on the island, but there wasn't a dock,”
he says. While, like the pond, a dock might not be a priority for most luxury homeowners, it was the cherry on top for Greg. “Surprisingly, trying to find a pond dock is hard in California. I got this thing shipped from Connecticut,” he says. “We put it out there, and the first time I sat…” his words trail off, his eyes belying a wave of nostalgia. The dock is a full-circle tribute to his childhood of joy in the lake-mottled Midwest and undoubtedly a place where today's children can create the same long-lasting memories and develop an appreciation for the natural entertainment of the Valley.
“It's been incredibly enriching,” adds Greg of their experience as stewards of the land. “We're constantly surprised, sometimes challenged, but always grateful for every day.” So, there you have it: a Tuscany-inspired luxury retreat with partying goats, sweeping views, and a pond great enough to make a grown man cry.*
@SBLIFEANDSTYLE | 45 The Duck Club
will be on the
summer 2023. Private showings available by appointment for qualified buyers. Contact: Kate Campbell (626) 840-8582 | firstname.lastname@example.org
With Tide t e h
SURFING LEGEND AND SANTA BARBARA LOCAL SHAUN TOMSON ON RECONNECTING WITH OUR ROOTS
BY Nicole Johnson | PHOTOGRAPHY Tynan Daniels
Alight audible buzz and wandering gazes follow me as I stand in line for a routine midday chai latte at Pierre Lafond. It’s my company that’s garnering the attention, though: I peer up at the drink menu in tandem with Santa Barbara resident and world-renowned surfer Shaun Tomson, all but casually.
A local reverence accompanies Tomson’s every move: just moments prior, he had been musing about Miramar swells with a pair of wide-eyed fans as I waited back, anticipating making my introduction. His 1977 World Surfing Champion title and regard among the top 10 professional surfers of all time are unnerving, but the barrel rider’s warm grin and soft spokenness, marked by a distinct South African accent, immediately soothe my nerves. I cheekily comment on his popularity, and he chuckles, casually dubbing those who venerate him as “friends.”
“In transitioning out of professional surfing, your followers grow with you—your role shifts, but it doesn’t fundamentally change,” Tomson explains. “As an athlete, people connect with you not just because you win, but because you inspire them in some way,
and as your age, career and work evolve, that essential connectivity remains.”
Humility marks his every word. Throughout his two-decade career, Tomson’s unparalleled grace and depth in tube-riding carved out an utterly monumental legacy both inside the pipeline and beyond. From naïvely surfing the lengthy point breaks up his native Durban coast in boyhood to touring the globe in professional campaigns of the ‘70s and ‘80s, Tomson was among a horde of brazen South African and Australian waveriders who revolutionized the global landscape of the sport. In what he calls a “dramatic and violent birth,” Tomson and company elevated surfing to the professional realm.
His salt-soaked, shaggy brown locks have since retreated to a clean trim, but the same vivacious enthusiasm illuminates his hazel eyes, imbuing his disposition with an easygoing wisdom. Tomson learns by doing, and surfing is his pedagogy: the material and spiritual meet in the swells, and his decades at this intersection have instilled life on land with insight. “The best moments in surfing happen when you’re riding inside the tube, which you drop into entirely on instinct,”
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“As an athlete, people connect with you not just because you win, but because you inspire them in some way.”
Tomson grins, hollowing out his hand to engulf an airborne rider in a miniature barrel. “At times I honestly thought I could bend time and space, curving the water while being in this state of flux.” Progressively, these juvenile moments of marvel became metaphorical.
As he absorbed the natural world through visceral intuition and visualization, a series of incontrovertible truths slowly washed over all else. Twelve purposeful statements—his “code,” as he’d come to call it—soon materialized as he put them on paper, translating the ethos of surfing into an energizing scripture for everyday life. As he begins to enumerate these from memory to me, he pauses, as if some vital ingredient is missing. A palmsized black leather wallet emerges from his jacket pocket, revealing the original ‘code’ enclosed behind a thin lamination. I begin to laugh, partially in astonishment at its unworn condition but mostly in sheer admiration of Tomson’s commitment to— literally—wearing his heart on his sleeve. It’s almost overwhelmingly straightforward, and in such, is incredibly potent.
Over 20 years of memories, revelations, and promises inundate his expression as he presses his fingers to it, a wistful grin filling his cheeks and a slight wateriness lining his eyes. Tomson sealed this code before his life “came to an abrupt stop” at the sudden death of his 15-year-old son, Mathew, in 2006. His overwhelming grief turned galvanizing: he began to pour his energy into “enriching projects that were good both for others and [himself] in this period of seeking purpose,” he recalls. As with the natural evolution of the tides, much has changed since then, but the tenets encased by these four leather corners ring truer every day. “I will never turn my back on the ocean—first line,” he recites softly. “I will always paddle back out—second line.”
Tomson’s inner healing manifests outwardly: his efforts to share his transformational principles with broad audiences take many forms, among which are several novels.
His first, The Surfer’s Code: 12 Simple Lessons for Riding Through Life, guides readers through their own code-writing process, seeking to lay foundations for spiritual rejuvenation. “I like to think that the code that surfing gave me is inextricably intertwined with the life of my son, whose name means ‘gift from God,’” he expresses. “The code is my gift to humanity.”
To call Tomson giving is an understatement. To date, he has guided innumerable audiences— among them elementary-aged children to graduate students, incarcerated populations, doctors, and Navy SEALs—in codifying their own 12 lines, leaving them newly attuned to their innate, subjective purpose. The surfing sage is by no means dogmatic: Tomson simply redirects audience focus back to our most rudimentary human instincts,
asking us, What do we value? Who are we presently? How can we embrace and embody our truest selves? Fundamentally, the code “is about activating purpose and maintaining a passion and enthusiasm for life,” he shares; “while it teaches perseverance and resilience, underlying it all is hope.” He’s a realist, yet is infectiously optimistic.
The code was originally crafted to be shared with growing children, and is profound in its plain nature. Fittingly, it gained its initial gravity in the words of a 13-year old student at Anacapa School: Tomson recalls reading “the first line of code written by a child” during a speaking engagement promoting his novel there, just months after losing his son. “This young girl had been a victim of bullying and social isolation,” he reflects. Low and behold, “Her first line was ‘I will always be myself.’ It brought me to tears.”
Why is there something so evocative in the most understated expressions? Perhaps, as our experiences ebb and flow over time, the over-occupied adult mind loses sight of its serenely simple roots. To Tomson, it’s not exactly innocence that we lose; it’s our footings in our foundations.
Once all 12 lines are written down, they’re tangible and concrete, raw and real—and now we’re accountable for aligning our behaviors with these committed values. Intimidating, no? Tomson agrees, but finds empowerment in the vulnerability it takes to forge a promise with our peers, and most pertinently, ourselves. “I’m fascinated by great leaders like Mandela, Gandhi, and their guiding
principles. These words inspire us, without a doubt. But our own words are the ones that transform us. You want transformation?” he smiles. “Write it down.”
And what if our code necessitates revision? Read between the lines, Tomson advises, reminding us that we can be as dynamic as the often tumultuous change around us. Pivoting to find new definitions in our guiding tenets may prove just as useful as cementing them in the first place. What we may discover in those free-flowing waves of new meaning— forgiveness, growth—may breathe new life into our code, and by extension, ourselves.
This is quite the emotionally weighted conversation to be having while sitting in a quaint coffee shop courtyard. But Tomson’s grounded effervescence is transfixing—I’m shocked to notice we’ve spoken for upwards of an hour, and the uplifted energy flowing through me could sustain our conversation through several more. I’m getting a personalized education on the holistic power of learning through lived experience—yet I’m still curious about how often the surfing luminary gets out in the Santa Barbara swells.
“I paddle out when the conditions are good; I no longer have that competitive spirit, but still have a deep and abiding love for the ocean,” Tomson nods. He pauses, ushering in a nearly mischievous smile. “And when there’s no surf, I repeat a line of my code: ‘I will catch a wave every day—even in my mind,’” he chuckles, heartily.
I seldom surf, but you know what? Now, so will I.*
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LORI AND OLIVIA RUNNFELDT ARE THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER DUO BEHIND ECLECTIC MONTECITO BOUTIQUE TRUE LOVE ALWAYS
BY Alexandra Lee | PHOTOGRAPHY Kelly Fajack
On any given day, a casual jaunt along Coast Village Road predicts stopping at a few Montecito mainstays. A coffee and croissant at Bree’osh, a burger at The Honor Bar, or, on a particularly remarkable afternoon, a Lucky’s extra-dirty martini. Perhaps you’ll dip into quintessential boutiques like Angel, to freshen up those white linens you’ll be living in all summer
long. Be informed, however, that there’s a new kid on the block—and if it hasn’t already, this eclectic collection of “favorite things” is about to become a permanent fixture in your usual rotation. At True Love Always, you may run into Lori, with her signature blonde pixie cut, or her eldest daughter Olivia, if she’s taking a break from scouting out fashion shows in New York City.
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Photo by Teal Thompsen
LORI AND OLIVIA RUNNFELDT
Should you not fall in love with their collection of Italian cashmere scarves and slouchy suede bags right off the bat, then it will surely be the story of a mother and daughter pursuing a lifelong dream that’ll win you over—and, the heartfelt symbolism behind what, exactly, is true love always
This eclectic, personality-rich haven of treasures for the inspired Montecito woman is helmed by Lori and Olivia Runnfeldt, owner and assistant buyer, respectively. Hailing originally from the charming San Francisco-adjacent community of Tiburon, California, the Runnfeldt family of five switched their home base for the hills of Montecito come pandemic-era. As a former interior designer and project manager who’d just put her finishing touches on their remodeled chateau, Lori was stuck for ways in which to further pursue her creative itch. “Jeff [my husband] was driving up Coast Village Road and saw the space was for rent. He's like, ‘Lori's always wanted to do something like this. I'm going to find out about it,’” she says.
Long story short, TLA Goods officially opened its doors in June 2022, celebrating its one year anniversary on the Montecito thoroughfare last month. Lori defines it as a “favorite things” type of store—as in, your favorite leather jacket that’ll last the next 20 years. Your collection of favorite statement rings. Your authentic suede bag that’s traveled the world over by your side. Combing the shelves, you’ll encounter ostrich feather tops, a rainbow of Italian cashmere scarves, furry knit bucket hats, throw pillows from Turkey. The boutique orders only in small quantities, making everything feel like a collector’s item you’ve got to get your hands on before it’s truly gone.
“The both of us, for years, have been thinking Montecito needs something new, fresh and different,” Olivia explains. “We love the stores on
Coast Village, but TLA is a different option for people who are there all the time.”
In very Lori fashion, the TLA aesthetic heavily aligns with her own personally heterogenous taste, drawing on her own world travels and experience as an interior designer—especially, as one who was heavily involved in the process of curating her own home. “We live in what you would call a French chateau, it was built in the 1930s. I didn't want to take away from the era, but at the same time, I had to bring my style,” she says. What it wound up as, in her words, is a space that’s very un-stuffy “I think if you live your life authentically, you walk into someone's home and you want to see their personality and where they’ve been,” she says. “Instead of walking into a home that looks like it was torn out of a catalog,” Olivia adds. “That’s what the store is, too.”
When Lori first started curating the boutique, it was simply a collection of pieces she loved most— not, necessarily, what customers would buy. A lifetime of travels with her husband and children informs the store’s cosmopolitan aesthetic, and it’s one that embraces breaking the rules with mixand-match colors, patterns, textures, and even gender roles, meant to introduce people to new ways of looking at fashion and home decor.
“I started with, ‘What do I love? What have I loved over the years? What do I want to share with people?’” Lori says. “I had to get away from who my target audience is. It's sort of like, my target audience will find me, right?”
That’s where Olivia comes in. Representing a youthful demographic and with a keen eye for trends, she brings a fresh perspective to the store’s already-diverse collection. As assistant buyer, Olivia overlaps with Lori in almost every line of business, running their social media and
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consistently collaborating behind-the-scenes on fresh ideas. “We’re definitely in constant contact,” she jokes. Being based full-time in New York, she offers the leg-up advantage of access to fashion shows and fresh releases, benefitting TLA’s search for the eclectic. “I love the idea that people can come into the store and find something unique, that they're not going to see when they go back to LA or are walking around day to day,” she says.
A recent Milan buying trip exemplifies the duo’s dedication to sourcing one-of-a-kind pieces from niche, small-production, non-name brand designers. “The origins of the store always had an element of travel and things that Lori loved from all over, so this was exciting to do that purposefully,” says Olivia. You get the feeling that you’re spending autumn in Milan while browsing their Italian cashmere scarves, or traipsing through Istanbul with their handcrafted Turkish pillows. “It makes you travel the world without leaving Montecito,” Lori says. While we’d all love a shopping trip in Italy, you can save the plane ticket and rest assured you’ll discover those worldly treasures right here in our own backyard.
As for the unconventional dynamics of a motherdaughter run business? Lucky for us, they love it. “When I tell people that I work with and for my mom, people who have good relationships with their mom are like, ‘Oh, that's so cool!’ Some are like ‘Why would you want to?’” Olivia laughs. “It’s just not something that ever concerned me. It's fun! We have similar style and taste and ways of doing things, so it's an easy collaboration.” After moving to New York to work in fashion, doing freelance styling jobs and events at a fashion company, joining her mom’s clothing store as assistant buyer seemed like an obvious next step.
“It really has been a family affair,” Lori embellishes. “Working with Olivia has been wonderful, and it's lovely too because there's that automatic trust.” Owning a boutique together has been somewhat of a lifelong dream come true for the duo. “When we were in Tiburon, and we'd see a store had closed, we were always like ‘We could open that.’ And it was just a passing comment, but it always was such a fun idea to me, and I studied entrepreneurship in college,” says Olivia. “I always wanted to start something on my own, and getting to watch her do that is a great learning experience for both of us. It's been so cool to get to figure it out together and be a part of the team.”
That doesn’t mean the process of businessbuilding hasn’t been without its challenges. “If you haven’t done it before, it’s like walking in the dark. But she’s a problem solver,” Olivia says of the matriarch. Lori adds, “I knew once we were open, it's gonna happen. It's sort of like ‘If you build it, they will come.” And come they have—TLA even hosted a clothing pop-up at the Rosewood Miramar Beach's esteemed Miramar Club last November, less than six months after their hard opening.
So, what’s the real Runnfeldt definition of true love always? Lori, self-admittedly, has a penchant for naming things, whether it be children, cars, dogs, et cetera, but she admits this was a tough one. After stalling on what to name her long-awaited boutique, it came almost divinely one day as Lori and her youngest daughter, Alli, watched their favorite show together. “In one episode, there was something painted on a door that kind of looked like a carving on a tree, and it said ‘True Love Always.’ I was like pause it, pause it…that’s it! That’s the name of the store.” For her, the name needed to have significance, and not only is this one meaningful because of the connection to her daughter, but because “true love always is what I was trying to convey with the opening of this boutique.” It’s all of her loves wrapped up in one— three strong daughters, a supportive family, travel, a collection of favorite things gathered from across the globe.
Browsing their website, you’ll encounter this motto: “Wherever you roam, there’s True Love Always.” To Lori, it’s a sentiment that TLA will, quite literally, always have your back—because clothes are so much more than items you put on your body. They’re a vehicle of sentimental value, a medium of memories; whether it be what you wore on your honeymoon, dressed your first child in, or what accompanied you on that once-in-alifetime journey around the world. The value of those long-lasting heirlooms compounds over time, rendering them priceless at the end of the day.
“Everything we do really boils down to love. It’s where you love to go, what makes you feel happy, and Montecito is a happy place for us,” says Lori. “It's about loving what you do, bringing what you love to people, and sticking to what your conviction is. Which is, you know, True Love Always!” On that note, if you ever feel like you’re lacking in a little love, or have let that conviction go fuzzy, you know exactly where to find it.*
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Business of FASHION
CELEBRATING A DECADE OF ELEGANT STYLE AT ALLORA BY
BY Haven Heffernan PHOTOGRAPHY Jacqueline Pilar
Adecade ago, a local mother-daughter duo had a vision to create a boutique for luxurious everyday fashion. Today, Allora by Laura celebrates 10 years of elevated style and a strong community-oriented customer base. I sat down with owner Laura Dinning and her daughter TJ Harlin, Allora’s fashion director, to discuss their journey.
“One of the greatest things about the Allora by Laura brand and concept is that it hasn't changed,” says Harlin. “It's always stayed true to what it is: captivating modern luxury and telling the stories of great designers.” The eloquent pair stick to this motto by curating their selection of elevated European clothing through a coastal Californian lens. The bright, airy boutique is filled with luxurious options appropriate for any occasion— from relaxing at home to a black tie event.
Dinning’s thirty-plus years of styling and merchandising and Harlin’s lifelong dream to work in fashion inspired their distinct vision for the Coast Village Road boutique. Since opening in 2013, they have held tight to their intention to stock only designers that feel special and represent their timeless personal style. They pride themselves on the boutique’s hand-picked inventory of elegant pieces, from washable cashmere loungewear to Norma Kamali fringe minidresses. Popular brands such as Lapointe and Peter Cohen have been sold at
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“They pride themselves on the boutique’s hand-picked inventory of elegant pieces, from washable cashmere loungewear to Norma Kamali fringe minidresses.”
Allora by Laura since the doors opened. (Fun fact: SBLS launched the same month and collaborated on Allora’s grand opening party.)
They tastefully mix business with pleasure, setting off to Paris every several months on buying trips. “Our buying trips are truly where I see my mom get inspiration,” says Harlin. “Just walking the streets of Paris and looking at window displays helps us come back with so many great things to implement for the business.” Not surprisingly, Allora’s whimsical window displays look as if they’ve been plucked straight from the upscale shopping districts of Paris or New York.
Sparkling jewelry and tailored clothing aside, what truly fulfills Harlin and Dinning is the connections they have made within the community. Since opening, Allora by Laura has hosted trunk shows, aided philanthropic efforts such as Angels Foster Care, and made each customer who enters the store feel special. This has helped them build a loyal clientele and longlasting employees who Harlin and Dinning call family. Dinning candidly recalls fond memories of weekly Friday night staff dinners and martinis at Lucky’s and delighting in helping women find the perfect pieces to express themselves.
“Keeping close relationships with our customers is something that makes this community absolutely magical,” says Dinning. “It’s always been our priority to keep the relationships healthy and alive with the lovely people that support us.” The pair foster genuine bonds in all aspects; from uplifting clients when a loved one passes to shipping items to neighbors who have moved away.
Reminiscing on the past 10 years, Harlin and Dinning agree that they have grown in tandem with Allora by Laura. Navigating the fashion and business sides of the boutique has helped the pair feel assured in their personal styles. “It’s just gotten easier to know what we like,” says Harlin. Most of their wardrobe staples can be found at the shop, like Laura’s favorite pant from Zero + Maria Cornejo.
The mother-daughter duo has big plans in store for the future. Since their recent move to Nashville, they intend to use the same formula for their Montecito shop to open a Tennessee location. Harlin and Dinning are excited to continue improving the boutique to exceed client expectations. “We want to keep fine-tuning Allora by Laura and get it ready for the next 10 years,” says Dinning.*
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LAURA & TJ
MOVIE MOGUL TURNED POLO PATRON SARAH SIEGEL-MAGNESS IS TRAILBLAZING A NEW TRAJECTORY IN THE SPORT
AngeloSgambati |STYLIST Daniella Clarke
MAKEUP Nichole Servin |MODEL SarahSiegel-Magness&TeamDundas
HAIR Andre Gunn|LOCATION SantaBarbaraPolo&RacquetClub
BY Nicole Johnson
The high-brow worlds of Hollywood red carpets and polo fields share notable overlaps in their elite exclusivity, their time-honored luxe, and their esteem. Sarah Siegel-Magness, the film producer-turned-polo patroness, is among a select few who have held both an Academy Award and a polo mallet. She may very well be one of the only women to exchange movie studios for horse stables—and spearhead shifts in both fields.
A custom saddle with black leather wings sprouting from beneath her petite build, the fierce redhead and her purebred mares bring a competitive edge and chic flair to the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. If not distinctive enough in her bold presence and formidable resumé, at the top of which is the 2009 Oscar-nominated Precious, the polo patroness is pioneering a league of her own. In the company of Mia Cambiaso—daughter of the sport’s premier player, Adolfo Cambiaso— Siegel-Magness’s team, Dundas, will be the first two-woman seed ever in a 12-goal tournament.
Nearly riding solo as a female in mixed matches for upwards of six years, Siegel-Magness has jumped constant hurdles brought on by the sport’s age-old male domination. Her latest undertaking? Women’s polo, and ushering in a new era of female participation in the sport at large via financial incentives and leadership initiatives. “Women’s polo players truly rival the guys, and the reason women haven’t infiltrated the pro scene is financial inequity,” she says. “I pay all my [Dundas] female pros the same I would pay males, and in women’s tournaments, where players don’t get paid a lot in the first place, I pay more in an attempt to help with the gap. But we’ve got a long way to go,” she firmly admits.
A longtime partner in Peter Dundas’s namesake design house, Siegel-Magness’s sponsorship of her Dundas polo team is a natural extension of her foundations in fashion. The highly decorated squad is a medley of American and Argentinian powerhouses, and a force to be reckoned with as they tackle their upcoming summer series.
“We operate like we’re playing in Palermo, Argentina everywhere we go. We make sure we have the best horses, the best grooms—competition is not something we take lightly, and we truly take pride in what we’re doing,” Siegel-Magness expresses.
Honing her prowess with the guidance of polo legends like Memo Gracida, Siegel-Magness holds a palpable hunger for competition, rooted a stalwart dedication to her craft and the simple conviction that, “If it’s not more fun than polo, [she’s] not doing it.” She trains with the first-rate intensity and intentionality of her pro teammates and recently packed on three pounds of pure muscle while rebounding from a fibula fracture in March.
“We’re doing two hours a day of physio and strength training as well as cardio, in addition to a few hours of actual horseback riding,” she reports. Though Siegel-Magness sprung into the sport decades later than her counterparts hailing from polo dynasties, she finds this “race against the clock” riveting.
“I’m humbled every time I get on the field, and I’m never, ever satisfied,” she admits, while listing off the meticulous changes—including regimented meditation and diet—she recently appended to her pre-match routine.
To say the least, she keeps busy. A self-described polo vagabond, Siegel-Magness is nothing short of a globe-trotter on horseback: after her early summer post in Santa Barbara, she’ll jet off to Colorado, followed by Argentina, then Florida for a multitude of matches. Frequenting her various polo estates but never calling one home, SiegelMagness finds solace in never being stationary. “This lifestyle has allowed me freedom I’ve never had before, and I’ve learned that I can adapt to any place I am as long as I’m in this small traveling polo community. There’s nothing like it,” she grins.
It certainly helps, too, that her travel companion and close competitor is her 18-year-old son, Cable. To Siegel-Magness, the sport is an invaluable family affair. “Polo is a lifestyle; we’re living our lives outdoors, and operating in a space with multiple generations, which [allows for] incredible bonding,” she gushes. “And being able to get on a horse, communicate with an animal, and function as a unit every day is more than I could have ever dreamt up.”
Though doing so in fleeting periods, she wouldn’t trade living and riding in Santa Barbara for anything. “Polo clubs with an ocean view are few and far between,” she chuckles. “The local polo community is extremely enthusiastic: each Sunday there are beautiful cars, beautiful outfits, and people are truly having a good time, which you don’t see everywhere.” This combination of pure grit and glamour makes for quite the scene on match days, all season long.*
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Faux fur coat DUNDAS
Bodysuit ALCHEMY Jacket SAINT ART Leather pants ALL THINGS GOLDEN Hat ÀCHEVAL
Dress MARA HOFFMAN
Boots ISABEL MARANT DIANI
PHOTOGRAPHER Angelo Sgambati
HAIR Andre Gunn MAKEUP Nichole Servin
MODEL Eden Bristowe with Freedom Models
STYLIST Ariella Lewis
LOCATION Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club
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Blazer SMYTHE DIANI
Bralette & Trousers ANINE BING DIANI
Necklace KAI LINZ Allora by Laura
Dress BRAZEAU TRICOT DIANI Boots DOROTHEE SCHUMACHER Allora by Laura
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Hat GRAND CENTRAL HATS Allora by Laura
PHOTOGRAPHER Jared Fix | STYLIST Ottocina Ryan
MODEL Jessica Le Bleis with LA Models | HAIR & MAKEUP Ja’nice Ramos
LOCATION The Ritz-Carlton Bacara
Dress NORMA KAMALI Allora by Laura
Earrings KAI LINZ Allora by Laura Sunglasses DEZI
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Dress SOLID & STRIPED Bikini SO DE MEL Earrings KAI LINZ Allora by Laura Sunglasses DEZI
Dress NORMA KAMALI Allora by Laura Earrings KAI LINZ Allora by Laura Sunglasses DEZI
Dress MILVA MI Allora by Laura
Earrings & necklace KAI LINZ Allora by Laura
Bikini SO DE MEL
Earrings KAI LINZ Allora by Laura Sunglasses DEZI
Top SEVENTY Allora by Laura Earrings ALI GRACE Allora by Laura
Dress ALÉMAIS Clic Ring ALI GRACE Allora by Laura Earrings KAI LINZ Allora by Laura
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Top & pants SEVENTY Allora by Laura Necklace & bracelet KAI LINZ Allora by Laura Earrings ALI GRACE Allora by Laura Heels BEAUTIISOLES
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Dress SOLID & STRIPED Jewelry KAI LINZ Allora by Laura
Dress A.L.C. K. Frank Ring KAI LINZ Allora by Laura Bracelet ALI GRACE Allora by Laura Sandals AMANU
THE MALDIVES, WHERE OPULENCE AND MARINE WONDERS CONVERGE
BY Ottocina Ryan
The moment I wake up, I slip on a bikini and jump into the private plunge pool on our deck. I gingerly fold my arms on the ledge and gaze out at the Indian Ocean, where the water gains vibrance the further you look, transforming from clear tap to Gatorade blue. A bright green parrotfish darts beneath the overwater bungalow, luring me in for a snorkel. I descend the ladder beside the pool and dive into an ecosystem that surpasses an aquarium. Neon clamshells illuminate the reef as triggerfish, angelfish, and reef sharks swim around me. A docile turtle floats by, as curious about me as I am about it.
After working up an appetite exploring Kagi Island’s house reef, my boyfriend and I head to a breakfast as world-class as the snorkeling. I expected the spectacular marine life from the Maldives, yet the impressive culinary offerings are a welcome surprise. My high expectations of the island nation have already been surpassed, and it’s only day two of a weeklong vacation to three islands—Kagi, Hurawalhi, and Kudadoo. The one-resort islands pair the best of both worlds: the pristine beaches and reefs flourishing with life only available in remote places and a major city’s culinary diversity, theatre, and masterpieces.
Our first stop, Kagi Maldives Spa Island, is a wellness-focused resort in the Malé Atoll that’s a twenty-minute seaplane flight from Malé
(the capital city housing the international airport). The property has fifty rooms, yet walking along the powdered sugar beaches and dining at the four restaurants, we rarely see other guests and feel like we have the island to ourselves. Even the staff is hands off, yet always a WhatsApp message away.
The epicenter of the island is the Spa Circle. Each door of the circular overwater building reveals a health-oriented haven. A gym looking out to the crystal waters, a healthy lunch spot, a sound healing room, sauna, nail salon—there’s no shortage of ways to relax here. We waste no time, starting with massages followed by one of the daily meditation and yoga classes.
Blissed out from the day, we walk to dinner; a train of bungalows silhouetted against pastel skies acts as our backdrop. One night we dine at Nonna, where classic Italian dishes reign supreme, and the next at Ke-Un, which expertly mingles Asian flavors with international fair. On our last morning, we forgo the decadent buffet and opt for a floating breakfast in our pool. Thanks to the photogenic presentation, it’s nearly cold by the time we put away our phones and eat. Practical? Not quite. But beautiful? Absolutely.
After a few days of wellness and indulgence at Kagi, we take a two-hour boat to Lhaviyani Atoll and check into Hurawalhi Island Resort, an
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“The one-resort islands pair the best of both worlds: the pristine beaches and reefs flourishing with life only available in remote places and a major city’s culinary diversity, theatre, and masterpieces.”
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KAGI FLOATING BREAKFAST
86 JULY /AUGUST 2023 DREAM ISLAND
all-inclusive adults-only property known for its underwater restaurant 5.8. We opt for a beach villa with its own pool and more privacy than the iconic bungalows.
We kick off our first night at Champagne Pavilion, scenically located at the end of the overwater bungalow line. The sun sets behind bubbling flutes and canapés, painting the sky and sea with strokes of saturated orange, purple, and pink. Next, we stroll along the beach to Kashibo for a teppanyaki dinner. I question if Chef Su Jan went to comedy school after his culinary training because our meal is exceptionally entertaining—he jokingly narrates the preparation of each dish as he plates it. On our way back to the room, we wander through the main restaurant, Canneli, where the buffet attendants, always eager to please, offer us ice cream. Never ones to turn down dessert, even after a seven-course meal, we sit beneath the stars spooning ice cream before it melts in the warm evening air.
As I did every day, I awake in awe of the serenity and natural beauty of the Maldives. I take an early swim in the pool, as one does here. We walk the lush winding pathways back to Canneli for breakfast, passing guests playing tennis on bougainvillea-lined courts. Along the way, I spot a couple of bats dangling from palm trees—a novelty, to say the least. The buffet has at least 20 sections, including stations for fresh sugarcane water with added superfoods, eggs Benedict, tropical fruits I’ve never seen before, and pastries that taste like they’re from a patisserie—my hands magnetize to the caramel cruffins. It’s impressive by any standards.
The rising heat calls for a languid morning on the beach. The combination of relaxation and blinding white sand makes me want to close my eyes, yet I don’t want to miss a second of the delectable view. The flat, clear water lapping at the powdery sand looks like a dream…the pinnacle of which is Dream Island—the most pristine sandbank you can imagine, just offshore. The friendly staff takes us there with a picnic in tow, and we spend a few hours with the sandbank all to ourselves. It’s like we’re on a remote private island—romantic doesn’t begin to cover it. The experience replays in my mind as a beautiful daydream to this day.
Our boat docks back on Hurawalhi just in time to dress up for lunch and descend to 5.8—the resort’s
famed underwater restaurant. It’s one of the coolest experiences (dining or otherwise) I’ve ever had. And it’s not one bit kitschy. The service and tasting menu are flawless, while gazing at fish through the glass dome provides constant entertainment. We watch clown fish hide in dancing anemones, and cleaner wrasses enter the gills of larger fish, all while savoring a menu of delicacies like Patagonian toothfish and Beluga caviar. At one point, another guest and I are crouched on the floor, mesmerized by fish territorially chasing one another—memorable, to say the least.
Saving the best island for last (if you can imagine), we transfer to Kudadoo, a few minutes away by speedboat. The private island houses just 15 residences—the change in the air from 90-room Hurawalhi is palpable; it’s even more intimate and thoughtful. Our butler (yes, butler!) shows us the lay of the land. As I’ve gathered, sustainability is innate when you’re a speck in the middle of the ocean. Kudadoo, however, takes it a step further—984 solar panels that power the entire resort cover the roof of The Retreat, which houses the restaurant, spa, and main pool.
Our residence is jaw-dropping. The clean Japanese architecture allows the surroundings to speak for themselves. The lofty interior opens to a deck with a 475-square-foot pool, swinging daybed,
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KUDADOO BEACH DINNER
“A gym looking out to the crystal waters, a healthy lunch spot, a sound healing room, sauna, nail salon—there’s no shortage of ways to relax here.”
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KAGI LAGOON POOL VILLA
HURAWALHI 5.8 RESTAURANT
and lounge chairs. I launch myself onto the floating pillow in the pool. With amenities like sunscreen, sleeping masks, and gourmet snacks beneath glass domes, they’ve thought of everything—and anything you can think of is available…anytime. From jet skiing to parasailing to diving—it’s a playground. What’s not included is a shorter list than what is.
The extensive menu alone makes us want to extend our stay to a month to try everything: pizzas, sushi, seafood, Buddha bowls, lobster… There’s even a cheese cellar, which is adjacent the wine cellar and equal in size, as it should be. We order a buildyour-own salad (welcome at this stage of the trip), sashimi, truffle pizza, and beef tartare. Of course, saving room for dessert. I settle on earl grey tea, pink dragon fruit, and honeycomb from the twenty ice cream options.
To occupy ourselves between meals, we detox in the Lonu Cave (a Himalayan salt room) and snorkel off our residence. Sea urchins the size of basketballs punctuate the coral reef. We spot a mesmerizing array of reef sharks, bannerfish, rays, and clams that look like they could glow in the dark.
Night two’s dinner melts in my mouth like cotton candy; wagyu truffle cream tortellini and Atlantic black cod entertain my tastebuds, as sleeping nurse sharks just beyond the deck offer an unforgettable scene. Speaking of, sleep is not an afterthought at Kudadoo. I quite literally sink into the most cloudlike bed I’ve ever experienced. Though I initially raised my eyebrows at the pre-arrival bedding menus, they could not make more sense as I drift off atop a lavender-infused pillow to the sound of waves lapping at pillars.
Breakfast brings smoothie bowls, lime mascarpone french toast, and a honey menu listing a dozen options. We savor our meal and the last of the view while our butler fills out our immigration forms for the journey home.
From culinary experiences to marine activities, the entirety of our Maldives trip was a highlight reel. Of course, the sea life alone is enough to make the vacation. Yet, the menus—reading as if there’s a prize for the resort with the most Beluga caviar and truffle shavings—created an unparalleled mix of natural wonder meets opulence. After a week immersed in the best of the best of island life, I leave realizing that no matter what you desire— rest, romance, or riveting adventure—this paradise delivers just that, and more.*
WHAT to PACK
PEARL OF THE SEA
This sleek, shimmering, coral-hued number is perfect for dining across from marine companions in Hurawalhi’s underwater restaurant. Its feminine details and glistening sheen pair perfectly with Beluga caviar and subaquatic cocktails.
BRENT NEALE SHELL PENDANT
Brent Neale’s Splash collection is the ultimate ode to the ocean, featuring clamshell necklaces and earrings reminiscent of longlost Silk Road treasures. Opt for this pink opal and rhodochrosite pendant, finished with pink sapphires and 18k gold, for the ultra-oceanic accessory.
ROAM LARGE DUFFEL
Wherever you jetset, take ROAM with you. This lightweight, customizable duffel features plenty of storage and backpack straps for ultimate ease, and is water resistant—ideal for an entirely islandbased nation. Plus, it’s sustainably made, meaning those fish friends you’ll snorkel with can keep on thriving.
SAME ROSE ONE PIECE
A swimsuit as fashionable as it is functional is ideal for days exploring the reef. This pearlescent one piece features a bustier of handmade three-dimensional rose blooms, worthy of the Little Mermaid herself. samelosangeles.com
by ALEXANDRA LEE
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ELEVEN RIO PALENA LODGE OFFERS A LUXE AND COMFORTABLE JUMPING-OFF POINT FOR EXPLORING PATAGONIA
BY Ottocina Ryan
OF Eleven ELEVEN RIO PALENA LODGE
Whether you’re hiding from your responsibilities or a stalker, Eleven Rio Palena Lodge is the perfect escape. Think about it…phones are no-go while whitewater rafting. The obligations of everyday life fade into the background when you’re busy craning your head back as far as you can to see the top of a towering waterfall. Heli-hiking a glacier that only Rio Palena Lodge visits? Nobody, and I mean nobody, will find you.
From Santa Barbara, Eleven’s Chilean Patagonia property is four flights and, bear with me, a twohour dirt road drive away. It’s more than remote and oh-so-worth the trek. What awaits is a rugged and pure landscape like nothing I’ve ever seen. And with the staff expertly guiding the way through an immersive journey into the region’s natural wonders, unforgettable is an understatement for the overall experience.
Rio Palena Lodge is the fourth Eleven property I’ve had the pleasure of exploring, and like the others, it blew me away. Their adventurous offerings provide access to the ultimate hidden gems in the area, while chic, intimate lodges—outfitted with pool tables and piled with books—create an elevated sanctuary to return to. In addition, friendly staff members are always there to offer a sense of local culture and somehow remember your drink order from day one, adding a personal touch often missing while traveling. Needless to say, the combination keeps me coming back.
This time, they seem to have guessed my new favorite drink—quickly exceeding my expectations. A welcome concoction of pisco and yerba mate (both local specialties) in hand, I open the door to my room, Palena—the master suite of the seven-
room lodge. I walk through the living room and bedroom, out onto the balcony. Clouds part with more drama than a reality TV episode, revealing the Andes Mountains. Peaks garnished with glaciers and cerulean lakes peer out in the distance. The Palena River flows just in front of the property, offering a wealth of activities—from fly fishing to kayaking. Plus, Eleven’s helicopter allows easy access to nearby lakes, glaciers, and rivers for angling, standup paddle boarding, you name it. The Lodge is renowned for fly fishing and is a men’s playground—the other guests on the property are a father-son trio and two brothers. My friends and I went against the grain here, making it a girl’s trip. Spoiler alert: we don’t pick up a rod the entire week.
A rooster crow wakes me in the morning. The crackling fireplaces, audible from upstairs, lure me to the lounge. I curl up on the couch with tea and peruse coffee table books as my friends trickle downstairs. Although there’s no breakfast menu, aside from a daily Chilean specialty, they’ll make whatever you want, adding to the homey feel of the lodge. We send our compliments to the chef for the avocado roses that accompany our omelets, and next thing we know, he’s at our table with a chopping board and some avocados, teaching us how to make them.
It’s time for our first river activity. We convene in the gear room, where we’re each given a designated
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closet stocked with dry suits, helmets, buffs, water booties, and boot dryers. The guides, Sarah Jane, Juan Carlos, and Andres, brief us on the kayaking excursion. It’s our first dry suit experience, so Sarah Jane helps us put them on over our clothes. What initially seems like a ridiculous onesie, I later appreciate once we emerge from the river fully dressed, warm, and completely dry. They think of everything here.
We hop in inflatable river kayaks, sitting crosslegged, paddling single file, like ducks, as Andres puts it. Then, cruising downstream for a few hours, we take in the moody scenery. The river is a mystical bright blue, trees in every shade of green cover the hillsides. Cloud wisps float low over the mountains. We can’t remember the last time we traveled for hours without seeing modern civilization. The only signs of life are the occasional gaucho cottage and herds of sheep nibbling rose hips along the bank. We’re isolated from the outside world: it’s peaceful and rejuvenating.
Lodge staff awaits onshore with hot tea and snacks. They drive us to a nearby home they partner with, where locals greet us like old friends—with hugs, kisses, and Navegado, a Chilean mulled wine. An asado, meaning barbecue, lunch is already underway. Skewers sizzle on an open fire beside cauliflower and mushrooms roasting in cast iron pans. We don traditional ponchos and pet their dogs until lunch is ready. We then fill our plates and sit on sheepskin-covered benches, cheerfully conversing with the family and going back for seconds. We feel immersed in the local lifestyle without even trying or having to visit a city. It allows us to feel more connected to the community, making me long for a simpler life.
We’re expecting to drive back to the lodge, but Experience Manager Trini (lauded as a miracle worker by her colleagues) has other plans. Out of nowhere, the prettiest helicopter I’ve ever seen lands on the bank. Yes, pretty. The Ecocopter (known for its Everest summits), painted with butterflies, beetles, and dragonflies, whisks us back to the property, offering a jaw-dropping perspective of the Palena River and waterfalls streaming down the Andes. As if reading my mind, we’re told that tomorrow’s adventure is a waterfall hike.
Sarah Jane and Andres lead us up the trail, exhibiting dry humor, confidence, and an impressive knowledge of the region and its plants. The hike is technical enough to keep us engaged, yet not difficult. Every time I look up,
a “wow” escapes my lips. There are towering trees covered in moss and ferns, a gushing river, and the powerful waterfall drenching us in mist—it’s all remarkably captivating. The guides later join us for Apres (Eleven’s signature daily cocktail hour), telling stories over a pisco tasting. The bartender explains the nuances of distillation as he pours us tastes of Peruvian and Chilean piscos—complete with advice for making the best pisco sours (pro tip: don’t use aged pisco, as not to add oaky flavors to the cocktail).
Contrasting last night’s extensive tasting menu, tonight’s meal is an asado. Meat and pineapples dangle over an open fire beside the patio, roasting to perfection. They’re served family style alongside other traditional dishes and Carmonier, a Chilean wine. The guides stay with us for dinner, offering culture, connection, and laughter until the wee hours of the morning.
It’s our last full day, and we’ve worked our way up to whitewater rafting the renowned Futaleufu River. We raft a series of class four rapids with names that sound cute, until they’re applied to rapids…puma and dessert paint a picture. Immediately we’re drenched, yet grinning ear to ear. I smile the entire time—even as the whitewater tips the raft almost perpendicular to the river, leaving us paddling air, unable to reach the water. Our guides assure us that our all-female group was the strongest paddlers they’ve seen all season. Thanks to our experienced rafting guide, we never capsize, and in fact, we help rescue people from a raft that flipped.
Back at the lodge, we ease into relaxation mode in the wood-fired sauna and hot tubs overlooking the river, followed by massages in the spa tent. Rio Palena Lodge hits that sweet spot of perfectly balancing thrilling adventure with luxurious tranquility.
All activities are included (yes, even the helicopter), so there’s no shortage of delightful surprises. Between hiking, asados, and flights over the river, responsibilities and the outside world didn’t even cross my mind.
The summer season is December-April. Can’t wait until then? Well, if you’re particularly good at skiing, they offer heli-skiing—to a breathtaking array of open bowls, steep couloirs, and mellow glacier runs—during the winter season, September 16-November 12. No matter the time of year, Eleven Rio Palena Lodge is always a worthwhile adventure.*
92 JULY /AUGUST 2023
PADDLE BOARDING THE PALENA RIVER
THE WHITE ELEPHANT HOTEL
Falling for Nantucket
NANTUCKET’S HISTORIC HOTELS AND SIGHTS ARE JUST AS CHARMING AFTER THE LEAVES CHANGE
BY Ottocina Ryan
Nothing beats sunshine on palm trees year-round, but there’s something about flipping the calendar page to September that makes me crave coziness, crisp air, and the sound of boots crunching fiery leaves along cobblestone streets. Not wanting to forsake coastal charm for a New England fall entirely, Nantucket was the perfect destination. Though I lived in Boston for three years, my first visit to the quaint island off of Massachusetts was this past autumn.
With my friend’s list of recommendations in hand, I arrive at the Wauwinet Hotel. The beachfront gray-shingled building, adorned with white trim, is set outside of town, surrounded by open fields and forests. Fun fact: half the island is conservation land. Tonight’s dinner is at Topper’s, named after the original owner’s Welsh Terrier. Retsyo oysters harvested just 300 yards from our table prelude a decadent carbonara covered in truffle shavings and, to wrap up, a pumpkin parfait dessert in keeping with the season’s theme.
In the morning, I open my shutters to a view of the manicured lawn and, just beyond, the ocean. I tuck back into bed with room service pancakes and watch the waves. Called to the shore, my friends and I take the hotel’s complimentary BMW X7 out to Great Point Beach to explore one of the island’s three iconic lighthouses. I soak up views scattered with shells, gray seals, birds, and polished homes. In the summer, it’s packed with people. Locals repeatedly insist that fall is the best time to visit; the temperature is still in the 60s, but the crowds are long gone.
@SBLIFEANDSTYLE | 95
“I soak up views scattered with shells, gray seals, birds, and polished homes. ”
96 JULY /AUGUST 2023
THE WHITE ELEPHANT HOTEL
We walk along an unimaginably quaint street made of crushed oyster and clam shells, gazing up at shingled homes with names like Pipe Dreams, Snug Harbor, and Hedge Fun. Gardens of hydrangeas and trellised roses seem like a requirement, appearing everywhere we look. On the walk, we pass a home with a whale topiary, spout and all. Nature isn’t the only thing preserved on the island. Rather than tearing down houses, they move them. If the walls could talk, they would tell stories of actors migrating to the island in the 1880s, cranberry bogs, and the rugged whaling industry. The uniform structures trace back to Quaker roots, where everything was equal. Now it’s just aesthetic.
For the rest of our time on Nantucket, we move to The White Elephant to be closer to town. Each aspect of the hotel is its own item on my list of recommendations, and I can see why. My suite opens to a patio with a sweeping view of the harbor: an irresistible spot for reading or a morning coffee. Even in October, the weather is pleasant enough to soak up the autumn sun on a wicker chaise, and cozy enough to ignite my living room fireplace in the evening.
Dinner is naturally at Brandt Grill, the onproperty restaurant. A round of White Elephant cocktails—essentially a tequila piña colada— starts a night of long conversations and endless laughter. The salad with truffle vinaigrette is the most memorable salad I’ve ever had. Still, the pasta special is the star of the show—fettuccini swirled with hefty lobster claws, bacon, and a poached egg, all drizzled with duck fat from a candle. Decadent would be an understatement.
Main street, where each shop and restaurant is more idyllic and charming than last, is just a five-minute walk away. Lily Pulitzer, Veronica Beard, and Polo Ralph Lauren commingle with contemporary boutiques like Wheat. Brick and slate sidewalks—homeowners are responsible for the sidewalk in front of their house—line cobblestone streets. Better yet, the quintessential New England town is small enough to put away the Maps app after a couple of days. It’s like something out of a movie.
We spend the week making our way through recommendations. The Green Market for smoothies, gourmet grab-and-go, pretty tableware, and clean beauty products. Lemon Press for shrimp saffron lettuce wraps and extensive açai bowl offerings. The Whaling Museum to immerse ourselves in the island. A sperm whale skeleton that washed ashore in 1997 anchors the museum, while the surrounding rooms detail the island’s rustic history of whaling and candle making. Tap Room for a classic menu beginning with popovers and finishing with sticky toffee pudding.
One afternoon we take White Elephant’s complimentary bicycles to Cisco Brewery. The 20-minute bike ride takes us through residential neighborhoods and forested paths. It seems half of the island is at the brewery, dogs in tow, sipping beer flights and rosé from Nantucket Winery, grazing on lobster rolls and pizza from the various food vendors. Community is strong here, but everyone is welcoming as ever.
Back in town, I walk to an ice cream shop my friend promises is the best ice cream ever, eager to follow through on her instructions to get a mud pie and orange cream. Yet, it’s closed for the season. It’s the only moment I wish I’d made it to Nantucket earlier in the year, and for the hundredth time, I wish I’d gone 14 years sooner. *
@SBLIFEANDSTYLE | 97
THE WAUWINET HOTEL
in Santa Barbara
Your summer active and lounge wear wardrobe is about to get a major upgrade at Montecito Collective
With an array of brands like Alo, Eberjay, and even their own line of apparel, this pandemic creation has finally opened a storefront in their namesake town.
No summer is complete without live music, and Santa Barbara Bowl is the perfect place to catch your favorite artists. Jason Mraz, Little Big Town, and Young the Giant are all set to hit the stage this season.
Soak up the sun at Red Rock Pools. While hiking along the Santa Ynez River, pop off the trail to secluded swimming holes for a refreshing reward.
DAY 1 48 HOURS DAY 2
More than just a steakhouse, Lucky’s menu boasts seafood dishes, including King Salmon and Australian Lobster Tail, as well as Pan Roasted Chicken and Sautéed Tofu. Montecito’s “second living room” is a classic dining spot to wrap up a wonderful Santa Barbara day.
Sleep amongst oak and sycamore trees at El Capitan Canyon. From canvas yurts to cedar cabins, this property offers premier glamping. Pick up your barbecue kit, sit by the crackling fire and embrace a warm summer evening under the stars.
It’s berry season! Santa Barbara Blueberries at Restoration Oaks Ranch has 18 acres of blueberry bushes for you to pick. Not a blueberry person?
Raspberry and blackberry plants are also ripe and ready for snacking–I mean picking!
BY Laura Hupp
The Sacred Space is open in Summerland for all to come find their zen. Amongst decor imported from Asia, crystals, and lush greenery, visitors can find beauty and tranquility around every corner. Pick up a candle, unique piece of clothing or artwork to serve as a reminder of the peace found here.
Sitting on the 37-acre estate of Madame Ganna Walska, Lotusland serves to educate and inspire those who visit.
The property is home to over 3,000 types of plants, and tours include a rich history of the land and a beauty unlike any other.
Let’s Fiesta! Fiesta celebrates Santa Barbara’s Spanish founders and their heritage. The annual festival features Spanish markets, Mexican-American eats, traditional performances, and concludes with the Historical Parade. If you find yourself in Santa Barbara August 2-6, you won’t want to miss this event.
Dining choice made easy: Blackbird at Hotel Californian. Santa Barbara Sea Urchin, Hope Ranch Mussels, and Seared Dayboat
Scallops pay homage to the restaurant's home on the Central Coast, and the cocktail Helluvagoodnight pays homage to what you’ll be saying about the evening tomorrow.
98 JULY /AUGUST 2023
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