Category archives: Appetizers

Real Party: Making Sushi with Studio Nihon

A little while ago I attended a fun sushi making classes with Kim from Love Mikana and Samantha from Could I have that? and it was a seriously fun, interactive, and tasty, dining experience.

First up cocktails… We of course kept with the theme and had sake and Sapporo and then we got started learning the art of sushi.

A couple of things I learned… Those bamboo mats for rolling? Put saran wrap on them for an easier time, and don’t put too much rice in the roll (my California roll was a little structurally unsound).

And then we feasted on our handy work! I love this idea for a foodie bride who wants something different for her bachelorette or even as a great ice-breaking event when the newly engaged couple’s parents meet. To learn more about sushi making, Fukiko and Studio Nihon go right here. And to see Sam’s and Kim’s posts about the sushi party check them out here and here.

In the Kitchen w/ Duo: Watermelon, Lime & Basil

Today we’re continuing our food series with Duo Events and this time they’re putting a spin on a classic summertime treat, watermelon. For this recipe you will need:

-1 Small Watermelon

-6-8 Black Finger Limes (Caviar Limes) – available at specialty groceries and area farmers markets

-1 Bunch Thai Basil (can substitute lemon basil, opal basil or Italian basil)

-2 Tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil

-1 Tablespoons, Flaked Sea Salt (we use Maldon Sea Salt)

To begin, Start by removing the watermelon rind and reserve for another use (makes great pickles!):

  1. Cut the watermelon into 3/4 inch thick slices.
  2. Cut slices into bite sized portions (a small pastry cutter works great for this)
  3. Roll each finger lime under the palm of your hand on a cutting board to loosen the “beads”.
  4. Slice the limes in half and squeeze into a bowl.
  5. Drizzle limes with olive oil and spoon 1 tsp onto each watermelon segment.
  6. Top with a basil leaf and 2-3 flakes of sea salt

Enjoy as an hors d’oeuvre on a hot afternoon or serve as a first course for a summer dinner. To see more ideas from Duo, check them out right here.

*Duo & Michael and Anna Costa are sponsors of Santa Barbara Chic

In the Kitchen with Duo Events: Padron Peppers

Today I’m super excited to welcome Duo Events as contributors to Santa Barbara Chic!  They are one of my favorite caterers in Santa Barbara and they’ll be contributing some tasty recipes this month with all local ingredients. First up, is this simple, but delicious, recipe with padron peppers.

Padron peppers are available at the Santa Barbara’s farmer’s market and are a quick and easy summertime snack. They taste similar to rajas and its pretty easy to chow down a whole basket worth before you know it.

To serve 4-6 people you’ll need:

-1 pound of padron or shishito peppers (source from your local farmers market or specialty grocer).

-2 Tablespoons good quality olive oil

-1 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

-Zest of 1/2 Lemon

Heat a large, heavy bottomed sauté pan over high heat (cast iron works great for this). Add the olive oil and peppers. Saute for 1-2 minutes (the peppers should blister) – some spots will brown or blacken, do not worry, this is what you are looking for. Toss with sea salt and lemon zest.  Enjoy with friends (warning these are addictive, you may want to double the recipe!).

And a big thank you to lovely Anna Costa for taking the lovely photos and you can check out her own food blog right here. Happy snacking!

*Duo & Michael and Anna Costa are sponsors of Santa Barbara Chic

Restaurant: Arlington Taven

Last week me and my partners in crime, Samantha from could I have that and Kim, from Love Mikana, had a little girls night at one of Santa Barbara’s newest (and tastiest) restaurants, Arlington Tavern. Of course we had to get all glammed up (why not) and put on our best sparkly attire (you can see more about Sam’s outfit right here).

To add a bit more fun to our night out, I brought simply clipped flowers from my garden and Kim brought some adorable favors (more about that over on Love Mikana). Since Arlington Tavern’s logo is the crossed fork and knife, I styled the place settings accordingly.

We of course had to sample as many appetizers as possible… One of my favorites? The kobe beef hot dog… Best hot dog in Santa Barbara? I think so!

And the of course, what party wouldn’t be complete without mac n’ cheese. This dish is seriously perfect, I could have eaten the whole bowl by myself. And for some vegetarian friendly options, we ordered the heirloom tomato salad and the aspargus with deep fried poached egg. And yes, its as decadent and delicious as it sounds.

Of course, what would a birthday party be without some serious desserts? We shared with the lemon cake (super zesty and delicious) and my personal favorite, the warm espresso brownie with caramel sauce.

Special thanks to Arlington Tavern for hosting us! You can stop in and sample the mac n’ cheese (do it!) Monday through Saturday from 5pm to 10pm (closed Sunday). The Tavern has a regular sit down dinner menu and also a bar menu if you’re feeling just like some small bites. And, if you’d like to see more of our party, be sure to hop on over to Could I have that and Love Mikana. Party on!

Duo Burgers + Happy Long Weekend


A few weeks ago I did a mini food photo shoot at Duo Events because I love food photography and it was excuse to eat Duo’s food outside of tasting or wedding. I’m in love with these little sliders, they are the perfect late night snack.

I’m looking forward to a long weekend (hello beach time) and then I’ll be off to Engage!11 in San Diego. Who else is going?

Photo by Kirsten Ellis of Beaux Arts Photographie.