Santa Barbara International Film Festival Starts Today!

Dates: Thursday, January 27, 2011 – Sunday, February 6, 2011
: 12:00 PM – 11:30 PM
Event Location
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
: Varies by Venue
: 805-966-9222
SB International Film Festival Website

Santa Barbara rolls out the red carpet for film-lovers and food fans during the star-studded Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The ten day celebration of cinema coincides with Film Feast, a new prix fixe restaurant program available at dozens of downtown eateries throughout the duration of the festival. Film goers and foodies can choose from “Take Two” (two-course), “Take Three” (three-course) and “Take Four” (four-course) seasonal menus at participating restaurants. Film Feast provides a time-saving and tasty way to sample the region’s best takes on the table before and after catching the action on the big screen.


One of the Top 3 Destinations in all of California

California’s Central Coast

If you’re looking for the real California—unspoiled coastline, rolling vineyards, and golden hills— then the Central Coast is the place for you.

Each of the four regions has busy and thriving wine industries and gorgeous towns notable for their classic architecture, history, and contemporary dining and shopping scenes. Anyone who loves the outdoors will find all sorts of things to do on the Central Coast including surfing, kayaking, biking, and fishing. For that matter, the Central Coast’s food scene is as diverse as its outdoor recreation, with fresh seafood restaurants in harbor towns, sophisticated bistros, and even the region’s own home-grown tradition: Santa Maria-style barbecue. And farmers’ markets, including the celebrated Thursday night market in San Luis Obispo, serve up the bounty of the season, whether its delectable strawberries or heirloom tomatoes.

The Central Coast is divided into four distinct regions and has visitor services within each of these areas available to assist you in planning your trip.

Starting from the south, the regions are Channel Islands, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Monterey Bay. These four areas encompass everything you expect from the California coast, with miles of rocky shoreline, dreamy beaches for swimming and surfing, and panoramic views out over the Pacific. But these regions also extend far inland and take in both towering mountains and rolling hills. Some areas are even desert-like too.

This post is about the Channel Islands Region which is home to the coastal cities of Ventura and Oxnard but is about more than the beach too.  Backed by rugged mountain terrain, the arty Ojai Valley looks like a vintage orange-crate label come to life while the region’s Heritage Valley is a fertile agricultural area of farms and small towns.

Come to exciting Ventura, California!  Learn more at:

Experience the Rich Biodiversity and Adventure of the Channel Islands National Park!  Learn more at:

Plan your vacation now to fabulous Oxnard, California! Learn more at:

Come Visit the Ojai Valley!  Learn more at:

Check back and learn more about the Central Coast with future posts looking at other regions.  Or go now to and plan your vacation today!


In parternship with California Travel & Tourism Commission and the Central Coast Tourism Council

Robata Grill and Sake Bar – A little bit of Japan in Carmel, California

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I recently had  dinner at the Robata Grill & Sake Bar, which I understand has been a locals’ favorite since opening back in 1980. 

Here you can enjoy the ambiance of a traditional Japanese setting with its rustic wood interior, low ceiling and its quiet graceful hospitality. The cuisine is as authentic as the decor; with fresh sushi, light tempura, and selections of quality fish, fowl, meat, and vegetables grilled on an open hearth.

I especially liked the BBQ steamed rice.  There are no BBQ sauces involved in this side dish, just a modest-sized ball of Japanese rice cooked on the grill.  Their soy sauce has aromas and flavors with a depth and breath all its own.  Fantastic!

The wait staff was consistently prompt, kind and courteous.

The restaurant is located in Carmel, CA near the intersection of Highway 1 and Carmel Valley Road.  Go east off Highway 1 on Rio Road and then left on Via Nona Marie.  There is ample free parking and lots of interesting shops and other restaurants.

Robata Grill and Sake Bar
Japanese and Sushi Restaurant
3658 The Barnyard
Carmel, CA 93923
Phone:  831-624-2643
Fax:  831-624-0360

Los Angeles Times Sings the Praises of One of the Top 3 Destinations in California – the fabulous Central Coast Region

Photo galleries, travel packages, bargains, history, wine tasting, brew pubs, festivals, beaches, and oodles more at:


For a free Visitors Guide to the Central Coast, please email

or get an online version right now at:

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Navigating California’s Central Coast state parks just got easier

California State Parks Foundation, a non-profit group that supports the state parks system, has just figured out how to answer those questions and more with the release of a free iPhone application called “CalParks.”

Read more here…

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Los Angeles to San Francisco on legendary Highway 1

Tips for trips along Pacific Coast Highway (also called Highway 1) between LA and SF!  Amazing photos and more!

Huffington Post Chimes in on Top Road Trips

The 6 Most Incredible California Road Trips (PHOTOS)

The Central Coast and Highway 1 seem to be tops on everyone’s list!  Read more and see great pics via the above link.