With fall quickly approaching, I’m looking forward to catching stunning sunsets and cozy-ing up indoors with live music, a good friend, and a comforting cocktail. As this is an extremely busy season of the year workwise, I’m also setting my sights on celebrating moments of rest with new experiences to both invigorate and luxuriate.
With this in mind, a best friend and I ventured out for an evening at Rosewood Miramar Beach. Just because I’m a local doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy being treated like a guest sometimes, and I was excited to show my best friend the best of the best. Walking into the stunning high-ceilinged lobby with a wedding setting up outside, I may have felt a tad intimidated by the uninhibited elegance in front of me. But in true Santa Barbara fashion, as soon as we strolled up to the Beach Bar, the staff was down to earth, warm, and immediately made me feel at home. Well, dream home, that is.
As the sun began to set in hues of baby pink, we curled up on the comfy couches and ordered our drinks: a glass of the delightful Flowers Chardonnay from Sonoma and a flute of the Veuve, its bubbly carbonation mirroring our giddy effervescence. The menu features a vibrant selection of refreshing bites, including the Mayan Ceviche featuring habanero citrus marinated white fish, pickled onion, cucumber, radish, cilantro, and chili oil.
“The inspiration of the entire menu is based on traditional Hispanic cuisine mixed with a little flare. A simple way to think about it is classic dishes your grandmother from Mayakoba or Tulum would make when you would come and visit her,” Travis Robbins, General Manager of the Beach Bar, said.
We were also wow’d by the succulent Quesabirria Tacos – corn tortillas loaded with red chili braised beef, oaxaca cheese, onion, cilantro, and an addictive consomme for dipping on the side. It’s made for the tacos, but you’ll want to drizzle it over everything.
“Each one of these dishes really showcases not only the creativity of our chef but also represents a unique culinary experience that encapsulates the essence of classic Hispanic tradition,” Robbins said.
I would be remiss to not mention my favorite dish of the evening, the Tuna and Totopos, delightfully succulent umami-filled bites of SB bluefin tuna, avocado, lemon, chive and salsa macha paired with their freshly made tortilla chips.
With the Beach Bar’s location, literally steps away from getting your feet in the waves, the seafood emphasis on the menu feels delightfully in the moment. The Ensenada Fish Tacos with lightly-tempera’d fish, a zesty cabbage slaw, pico de gallo and chipotle aioli, are the perfect complement to the sound of waves crashing and the ocean breeze.
Save room for the luscious tres leches cake, infused with seasonal berries, this little cup of heaven is almost too pretty to eat. As we savored the last tastes of summer’s bounty, dipping our spoons into bright bites of candy-like strawberries with fresh whipped cream, we watched the sun set from the comfort of our cozy outpost and were ready to transition into fall, with a visit to the Miramar’s Manor Bar.
We weren’t sure how long we’d stay, but as soon as we stepped in to hear a skilled musician tinkling away on a beautiful piano, saw the warm glow of the backlit bar, and curled up in a buttery leather chair, we knew we weren’t going anywhere soon.
The Bar is book-themed, and their menu takes the form of a beautiful vintage leatherback, whose preface beckons, “Allow us to bring you on a literary journey with some of our favorite female authors and protagonists, one sip at a time…Each libation features a distinct story written by a celebrated female author and highlights female protagonists or heroines.”
The New Wilderness is a dry and herbaceous cocktail featuring Monkey 47 Gin, Cardamom-Infused St. Germain, Dolin Blanc, Verjus Blanc, Port Wine, Angostura Bitters, and Green Chartreuse Mist. Its preface is written by author Dianne Cook and the cocktail inspiration is the young protagonist Agnes, who learns to live peacefully in nature after having to flee a dystopian metropolis. St. Germain and botanicals sing of the forest setting, and the sweet port wine and honey echo Agnes’s innocence.
Each cocktail chapter is fun fodder for conversation and adds to the overall sense of imaginative enchantment that pervades the bar. I have to say, I felt a bit like Belle from Beauty and the Beast, swinging from the ladder in the library (OK, I didn’t have enough cocktails to do that). But the wildly talented trio, delectable drinks, not to mention their delicious food menu, and gracious and knowledgeable service was intoxicating. I have yet to find anywhere else like this in Santa Barbara, and I’m excited to write my next chapter at this treasure trove of a bar.
So for those who are feeling the grind of the fall season, let this be your friendly reminder to seek out the wonder in your own neighborhood. We’re lucky enough in SB to be able to dine outside even as the days get shorter. So for an invigorating dose of both summer’s glory and the magic of fall, head to the Miramar and take it all in.