This past weekend my mother came to Santa Barbara for her birthday. Naturally I planned some Santa
Barbara'esque birthday activities: good food, wine tasting and a concert at the Bowl to see her favorite
musician, Bonnie Raitt. Since she calls my apartment her vacation home, it's fun to treat every
visit as a holiday.
I was invited to the opening of a new wine tasting spot, Pali Wine Company. Pali set up shop in Lompoc
about 7 years ago and just opened their tasting room in Santa Barbara. It's located on 116 East Yanonali
Street, right in the hub of the Urban Wine Trail. I was really excited to check Pali out since I had been
eyeing the construction of that Funk Zone building for quite some time and this gave me the perfect
opportunity to snoop. I love the industrial look and feel and I was wondering what was going to be put
in there. Wine Tasting! What a surprise.
Let me just say this, well this and more stuff. But, Pali knows how to throw a party. Unlimited wine
pours, mini cupcakes, wood fire pizzas, and a dude singing with a keyboard who sounded like Michael
McDonald. When can I move in?
The space is a perfect setting to kick back and take in the funk. I love the simplicity, keep it about the
wine and not the other superfluous knick-nacks. (*cough*)Santa Barbara Winery(*cough*).
I wouldn't say that I have a refined wine palate, but I do enjoy a nice red. I know what I like and what I
don't like. Smooth and fruity, yes. Peppery and smoky, no thanks. Pali set up a Sensory Table with a
bunch of different items to help enhance the flavors of their wine. Raspberries, tobacco, pepper and
orange peels were just a few that I tried, and it actually works. If you have some raspberries lying
around, give it a try. Take a sip of wine, then a whiff of berries, and then another sip. It really does bring
out the flavors. I wonder if that would work for beer too. I'll have to remember that next time I'm
frolicking in a wheat field.
Towards the end of the party, those mini cupcakes were quickly being snatched up. Admittedly I needed
something to cover up the deep shade of purple my teeth were turning into. It's an unwanted ability
really, a few sips and I'm looking like a Batman villain. Watch out for Purple Mouth, the more glasses she
has, the sassier she gets.
Pali is well worth a stop. I'd recommend my favorite Pinot Noir, the 2010 Bluffs, it was my first
and last taste. Although all of them were quite good.
(If you'd like to read an in-depth critique of Pali's wine, check out Marc Libert's recent post.
He knows his stuff while I just like to drink it).
Now Sunday was a day of music, Bonnie Raitt with her opener Mavis Staples at the Santa Barbara Bowl. I
know I'm part of the younger generation and wasn't around long when these singers made their claim
to fame, but that doesn't mean I cant appreciate good music when I hear it. To be completely honest:
this was one of the best shows I've seen by far. Sorry to Florence and the Machine, Gotye, Fiona Apple
and all other indie bands that start with "The". Bonnie and Mavis have you beat.
Mavis Staples opened the show with her gospel style parading. There was something magical and
almost religious about the experience. With Mavis it felt like an old church choir or revival tent that my
grandmother used to make me watch on TBN. At 73 and still grooving, she stomped around the stage,
bowed and walked off when she was done while the band kept playing.
Then Miss Raitt stepped on the stage with her signature flaming hair and guitar riffs.
There is something about the heart and soul of these two singers that cannot be mimicked or auto-
tuned. Rhythm and blues, soul, gospel, whatever you want to call it, this show was an absolute
experience, not just entertainment. The simplicity of the guitar and harmony reverberated through my
soul. The audience was absolutely silent with Bonnie's ballads. I was in complete awe of her effortless
depth and range in her voice. The soul and fortitude simply cannot be taught, listen up Bieber and T-
She played songs off of her latest album Slipstream as well as the songs that made her famous.
I grew up with my mother singing "I cant make you love me" and "Let's give ‘em something to talk
about," and we both belted out the words along with the audience. My new favorite is her
cover of Bob Dylan's, "Million Miles."
I took a few videos of her performance. The visual isn't great but the audio is well worth a listen.
Last but definitely not least, Happy Birthday Mom. I love you and you're the best. Thanks for sharing a
weekend with me. Enjoy 37 the second time around.
Lauren is a member of the Dedicated Staff and is currently working on her first novel.