The past couple of days, spent with friends visiting from out of town, have been a wonderful mini-vacation for me right here at home. Warm and sunny Santa Barbara skies. Leisurely meals. Entertaining conversation. And trips around town to take in a couple of our annual food festivals. For the past few years in October, Santa Barbara bursts forth with a month-long celebration of its rich agricultural bounty and thriving foodie scene in a series of festivals and events under the umbrella of EpicureSB.
At the Harbor Seafood Festival, we got to sample the freshest uni ever, with live red sea urchins being cracked, cleaned, and handed to us literally in under a minute right there on the pier. We spooned the orange and creamy uni straight out of the shell, enjoying it simply with a sauce of ponzu, wasabi, and lime juice and a sprinkling of sea salt and green onions...absolutely heavenly! Other treats were seared sesame-crusted ahi and a paella plentiful with chunks of crab, fish, mussels, and clams.
At Carpinteria's annual Avocado Festival, I met up with more friends and tried out some of the special concoctions like avocado cream pie, a cheesecake-like filling with a hint of lime on a bed of graham cracker crust.
Then, of course, there was the avocado ice cream. Subtle in flavor, I'd describe it as a vanilla ice cream with overtones of avocado.
The locally-grown flowers and produce were just so pretty! My friends and I had a fun time playing with our cameras and capturing some of the essence of the day.
Such a refreshing weekend, a taste of what life should be like. Connecting with friends. Tasting good food. Seeing throngs of people coming together in celebration. Slowing down to watch the sunset. Hearing the crashing of the waves on the beach. Being thankful. In the midst of this busy season, I'm so grateful for these reminders that point to life's real beauty.
Epicure SB will continue on all through the month, so there's still time to come and participate in the celebration of our local cuisine, wines, and culture. Check out the website for a full listing of upcoming culinary events!