Left to right: Helen Klein, Jordan Loftus, Hilary Williamson, and Ashley King

The Lark

Ashley Gove

Celebrating Food & Drink Introduction

Santa Barbara has evolved from a gastronomic desert in the 1970's to a culinary oasis in the past couple of decades. Along the way people like Norbert Schultz, Isidore Gonzalez, John Downey, Michael Hutchings, Bill Kaneko, and the beloved Julia Child have all inspired the constantly improving local dining scene. Today Central Coast wines are getting national and international accolades. Food purveyors, from Hope Ranch Oysters to Hass avocados, are stimulating the taste buds of locals and visitors alike. Beer crafters, spirit distillers, juice pressers, and every kind of artisanal creator is building a cornucopia of exceptionally delicious and satisfying products. For the sweet tooth in us all, Santa Barbara is now synonymous with some of the finest handcrafted chocolates, small batches of premium ice creams, and exceptional cookies and treats. In this inaugural edition of the Santa Barbara News-Press' Celebrating Food & Drink, we explore the very best from the table, touring from restaurants to bistros, cafés, and trattorias. Bring your appetite with you as we uncover the delicious side of Santa Barbara County.

Arthur Von Wiesenberger, Co-Publisher
Every once in a while, something comes along, something authentically unique. Such a thing could be a person or an experience; it could be a book or a movie, or a song or album. Such a thing could even be a dining experience. The recently unveiled restaurant The Lark, with its thoughtfully decorated interior, its carefully crafted convivial menu, just may be such a thing.
Long before it opened, those charged with launching The Lark (named after a Pullman train of the Southern Pacific Railroad that served the area from 1910-1968) had hatched a very detailed notion of what they hoped to accomplish with their new eatery. Their vision was to create a space that would engage a wide audience and bring people together in a comfortable yet stimulating environment. The building, a former warehouse in the revitalized Funk Zone district in downtown Santa Barbara, lent itself to big open spaces both inside and out with an urban style that synthesizes vintage and repurposed materials. A 24-seat live-edge communal table stacked on vintage radiators, and enough seating for 130 diners capture the convivial sensibility, which is also reflected in the menu.

Executive Chef Jason Paluska and Executive Sous/Pastry Chef Nick Flores have created a menu that encourages shared meals among diners, and taps fresh, locally sourced, artisanal ingredients. And it's clear that people are taking notice.
Our time at The Lark, shooting the cover image for the inauguralCelebrating Food & Drink, was enjoyed by all - cheers! Check out The Lark at 131 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, 805-284-0370, or thelarksb.com.
Ashley Gove is blessed with loads of positive energy and vision to spare, and the News-Press has secured her services to capture the cover image for our first ever Celebrating Food & Drink issue. Born in the 80's in Texas, where her fondest memories include raising chickens and goats, Ashley was driven by both her love for fine food and stunning imagery to attend a highly regarded photography institute in Santa Barbara. While here, she has been fortunate to pursue her creative endeavors, in addition to cooking and hunting down great eateries. Ashley intends to continue cultivating her passion for food and travel to produce more stunning imagery that captures the same feeling, desire, and nostalgia as the cover image does.