If You Go
Crawford Family Wines 2477 Alamo Pintado
Road, Los Olivos
Melville Winery 5185 CA-246, Lompoc
Brothers Restaurant at the Red Barn 3539
Sagunto St, Santa Ynez, brothersredbarn.com
First & Oak 409 First St, Solvang,
The Gathering Table 2436 Baseline Ave,
Industrial Eats 181 Industrial Way, Buellton,
Sides Hardware and Shoes 2375 Alamo Pintado
Ave, Los Olivos, brothersrestaurant.com
HOTELS AND INNS
The Landsby 1576 Mission Drive, Solvang,
Mirabelle Inn 409 First St, Solvang,
Santa Ynez Inn 3627 Sagunto St, Santa Ynez,
For more information: sbcountywines.com.
Olivos, with its gallery-and-tasting-room-
lined main drag, Grand Avenue, is the valley’s
closest approximation to Healdsburg or St.
Helena. Buellton is more everyday California
town, albeit one with a famous Days Inn.
All have blossomed into first-rate dining and lodging destinations. In Solvang,
British-born chef Steven Snook (he trained
with Gordon Ramsay) serves an adventurous tasting menu at First & Oak, housed in a
chic boutique hotel, the Mirabelle Inn. A few
blocks away, a cutesy Danish motel has been
transformed into the sleek Landsby, more
Danish supermodel than Little Mermaid.
In Santa Ynez, the redone Santa Ynez Inn
But to experience the Santa Ynez Valley’s
resembles a mansion owned by your favorite
wealthy great aunt. And two newish restau-
rants — Italian SY Kitchen and carnivore
haven Brothers Restaurant at the Red Barn
— make the tiny town a gastronomic capital.
Los Olivos has quirky, tasty Sides Hardware
and Shoes, run by the same siblings who run
the Red Barn. And, perhaps taking a cue from
Lompoc, Buellton’s Industrial Eats offers
wood-fired pizzas in a stylish corrugated
metal building of the sort that normally
houses muffler shops.
appeal at its purest, head to the Ballard Inn.
Ballard is a tiny “township” of Solvang, with
its own history as a Wells Fargo stage stop,
and the world’s cutest little red schoolhouse.
Here, Java-born, Santa Barbara–raised Budi
Kazali has done two things really well. First,
he’s created a country inn that is elegant and
soothing. Second, the inn’s newly reimagined
restaurant, The Gathering Table, is a marvel.
It features Asian-accented French cuisine and
a deep selection of Santa Ynez Valley wines.
You can enjoy your dinner at one of the long
communal tables Kazali insisted on. Because,
as he says, “we wanted people to come here
and make friends.”
Chances are you will. And chances are that
once you get to Ballard and to the Santa Ynez
Valley, you’ll feel that the drive was worth it. m
Santa Ynez Inn
Table First & Oak