Celebrate Solstice theme with food, drink pairings

Eating SB –

By Anne Hamner

For most Santa Barbarians, June is most associated with June Gloom, but more importantly it’s the month for the Summer Solstice Celebration, the largest art event in Santa Barbara County.

This year its theme is unity, which is quite fitting after a very disruptive 2016. I think we could all agree that we could use a stable and unified 2017.

Unity can be expressed in numerous different ways — in family, friends and of course in food.

Applying unity to food is really quite easy, especially when you incorporate wine, beer or spirits. Take Brass Bear Brewing, for instance. This tiny husband and wife shop opened roughly a year ago and has been serving up fantastic fresh bites and brews in the Funk Zone.

What makes this beer and bistro establishment original, however, is its monthly “pairing dinners” that feature four courses paired with four local, delicious beers. They will typically make each dinner seasonal or may choose a theme such as Costa Rican.

With pairings starting around $50 to $65 per person, you can count on a fun date night and also take home some chef-worthy skills. You can also often catch me at Brass Bear eating one of their charcuterie boards, chicken skewers, and delicious potato cakes.

Their food is always fresh, simple and affordable, especially for their location. I also want to congratulate whoever designed their adorable California-shaped beer flights that make for a perfect social media post.

C’est Cheese platter – Photo contributed

Another delicious and affordable place to go to get a wonderful wine selection and good fresh eats is C’est Cheese. The first time I ever visited was with “Edible” food editor Krista Harris, and she introduced me to the Kouign-Amann. This incredible pastry is like a buttery croissant but glazed with sugar and cinnamon. Now I am addicted and every time I go in, I have to get it as an “appetizer.”

C’est Cheese also offers fantastic  monthly wine and cheese pairing classes. Cheese and wine are one of the first united pairings, and the history of their merriment is one of exploration.

C’est Cheese is a great go-to in the morning for a delicious cappuccino or a healthy salad, or at lunch for a grilled cheese. I’m a huge fan of their Feta and White Bean Salad with Chicken and their Spicy Grilled Cheese with a goat cheese blend and jalapenos.

The best hidden secret about C’est Cheese, though, is their fantastic catering platters. If you are looking to impress someone at a potluck or during a holiday, be sure to pick up their charcuterie and cheese platters that include select meats and cheese paired with crostini and accoutrements.

So during the month of June gloom, think about these fantastic places where we can embrace the theme of unity by coming together over delicious food and drinks.

You can find other great places to eat in Santa Barbara and surrounding areas by following Anne Hamner on Instagram @eating_SB.