Solvang Celebrates USA Independence Day with Fun for the Whole Family!

Celebrate USA Independence Day on Monday, July 4, 2016, with fun festivities right here in Solvang!  First up, at 10:00 a.m. in the Solvang Park Gazebo, a free concert by Valley Wind Ensemble. You don’t want to miss the traditional parade at 11:00 a.m. presented by the Solvang Breakfast Rotary Club that steps/strolls/canters/rolls along Mission Drive (Route 246); turns south on Fourth Place, then east along Copenhagen Drive and back to the starting point at Old Mission Santa Ines (1760 Mission Drive). This year’s theme is “Valley Life and Liberty.”   Grand Marshals are brothers Erik and Hans Gregersen, whose grandfather Rev. Jens Gregersen was one of Solvang’s founders in 1911.

SolvangIndependenceDay2009--194From Noon- 2:00 p.m. enjoy the BBQ and Free Concert by the T-Bone Ramblers at Solvang Park sponsored by Solvang Breakfast Rotary Club featuring hot dogs, hamburgers, linguiça and all the fixings for $5-7 combos–with chips and soda or water.

At 2:00 p.m., gates open at Old Mission Santa Ines for the 22nd Annual Solvang Independence Day Festival & Fireworks Show sponsored by Rotary Club of the Santa Ynez Valley . Admission is only $10.00 per adult; and FREE for children ages 7 and under, as well as FREE for active duty military and their immediate family members with ID. Tickets can be purchased in advance  or at the gate on July 4th. The Solvang Independence Day Festival will feature food booths, wine & beer garden, kids’ activities including bounce castle, face-painting and plenty of time to kick-back & relax. All proceeds benefit local charities. Don’t miss the live entertainment on the outdoor stage starting at 5:00 p.m. This year, six 2016 Teen Star finalists will perform: Jillian Garnett, Kaitlyn Chui, Daniel Geiger, Rachel Guron and Jericho Guron.

fireworks-wallpaper-wallpaper-download-17Then at 9:00 p.m.—it’s what we all want to see—an amazing 20-minute fireworks show!



Also at 2:00 p.m., the Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale and The Jamboree Band will perform at the Old Mission Santa Inés this year (since Solvang Veterans Memorial Building hall is currently under renovation). The concert will feature 100 percent made-in-America music including “What a Wonderful World,” a medley of songs celebrating the West and patriotic, rousing tunes such as “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Happy Wanderer”  under the direction of Chris Bowman. Concert goers who arrive before 2 p.m. may enter for free; after 2:00 p.m., you will be asked to pay admission to the Solvang Independence Day Festival.

Remember, there is free parking in public lots and businesses throughout Solvang year-round. The Solvang Visitors Center is open daily from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at 1630 Copenhagen Drive offering free maps, guides, savings coupons and plenty of information.

Happy 240th Birthday USA!

#ShareSLO Photo of the Week: All Greek To Us

They were dancing in the streets during the San Luis Obispo Greek Festival this past weekend. The 2-day festival included music, dancing lessons and performances by the Cal Poly Greek Student Troupe. And, of course, there were plenty of  gyros and baklava available.



















Thanks for @Leifslo for sharing a video of a Greek dance (this is a screen shot from that) in front of the history center. If you’re in San Luis Obispo for a fun festival, remember to share with the hash tag ShareSLO.



New Summer Flavors at Restaurant 1833 in Monterey

By: Allyson Thommen
Blog Monterey

The season of warm weather, longer days and more importantly, patio drinking is quickly upon us and nowhere is more prepared than Restaurant 1833. The historic Stokes Adobe in downtown Monterey has been quenching thirsts with unique craft cocktails on their popular onyx bar for the past few years and is now stepping up its game for the summer months ahead.

Restaurant 1833Bar at Restaurant 1833

Today, Restaurant 1833 launches its new summer cocktail menu full of interesting concoctions created by mastermind and bartender Josh Perry. Not one, not two but eleven new summer spirits line the menu with names as interesting as their ingredients.

Summer Cocktail Menu Restaurant 1833

The Big Guns packs a punch with rye whiskey, coffee liqueur and orange bitters while the Hummingbird offers softer flavors with cana brava reserva rum, honey syrup and lavender sprig picked directly from the restaurant’s garden.

Bartender Josh Perry at Restaurant 1833

Looking to share? Try the tropical Coconut Milk Punch for two which serves as an instant vacation and presented in a copper pineapple chalice. The Suzie-Q is nice choice for those looking for a refreshing potion with suze, vermouth, prosecco and fresh cucumber slices.

Coconut Milk Punch at Restaurant 1833

The adobe’s expansive patio and deck is the perfect place to post up with one (or four) of these crafty cocktails. Complete with rousing fire pits, daybeds for lounging and pumping background jams- there’s truly no better place to spend your summer nights!

Restaurant 1833Restaurant 1833

Soak up the sun, and those drinks, with delicious noshes and desserts that are sure to pair nicely with your sweet libation(s). Executive Chef Jason Franey continues to amaze guests with his contemporary cuisine while Pastry Chef Ben Spungin proves that dessert is easily the most important addition to any meal.

Be sure to try one of their new pizzas including the luscious mushroom pizza with gooey fontina cheese, spring onion and roasted broccoli rabe and their short ribs wrapped in phyllo with an Asian fusion kick.

Mushroom Pizza at Restaurant 1833Baby back pork ribs wrapped in feuilles de brick Restaurant 1833

Wrap up the night with a tantalizing dessert, the trifle even comes with a flaming dose of rum!

Strawberry Trifle at Restaurant 1833

4 Reasons to Love Melville Tavern in Downtown Monterey

By: Allyson Ryan
Blog Monterey

“If you get nothing better out of the world, get a good dinner out of it, at least.” This quote by Herman Melville (also author of Moby Dick) sparked what is now one of Monterey’s newest dining establishments, Melville Tavern.
Melville TavernThe brick building at A.G. Davi Court on Washington Street is just a façade of the charm and comfort foods awaiting you inside. The wood laden floors and maroon painted walls play up the tavern’s old timey décor which makes you feel as though have stepped inside a secret British pub. Antique books and frames scatter the walls which eventually opens up to spacious kitchen and charming brick oven where the true star of the show is cooked up. Melville TavernMelville TavernMelville Tavern

There are many reasons to love this new eatery but here are a few to get started.

1.    Comfort Food with a Twist of Sophistication

The self-described “Creative American Food” menu is exactly that. American classics like burgers, pizzas, sandwiches and salads are available all with their very own tasty spin. The sophisticated gastropub dons a juicy lamb burger complete with hunks of melted feta cheese and refreshing yogurt sauce while the fall-of-the-bone pork shoulder is accompanied by irresistible creamy polenta.

Lamb Burger at Melville TavernPork Shank & Polenta at Melville Tavern

2.    Friendly Atmosphere

The expansive bar and cozy set up creates the perfect ambiance for get-togethers with old friends while making new ones. Locals have taken notice of the casual and friendly atmosphere since opening late 2015 while welcoming visitors into their lair. The outdoor patio is a bonus and uber-popular during weekend brunch.

Melville TavernMelville Tavern

3.    Beer and Wine of the Week

$3 beers are hard to come by, especially after Happy Hour. Melville Tavern not only serves a $3 beer all day long but it’s actually a delicious one at that. Each week the tavern rotates a weekly beer and wine special where a specialty beer such as Long Board and Deschutes are served for $3 and a house glass of wine is $6. For those looking for something else, the tavern also has quite the expansive beer and wine menu sure to wet your appetite.

Melville TavernMelville Tavern

4.    Great Value

Aside from an unbeatable beer of the week, the tavern also hosts a Happy Hour offered weekdays from 4pm-6:30pm serving up appetizers ranging from $3 to $7. The mushroom quesadilla and fried artichokes are particularly tasty! Entrée options also come at a steal for both lunch and dinner starting at $10.95 for a gourmet, and filling, meal.

Mushroom Quesadilla at Melville TavernFried Artichokes at Melville Tavern

5 New Restaurants You Need to Try in Monterey & Carmel

By: Allyson Ryan
Blog Monterey

Monterey County has seen an explosion of new restaurants in some of the area’s most popular hot spots. Whether you’re looking for fresh seafood, good old comfort food or an uber-authentic Mediterranean meal there is a new tasty addition here that is sure to please the palate.

Melville Tavern: Downtown Monterey

Located in downtown Monterey, Melville Tavern is one of the newest eateries hitting the dining scene. Its cozy brick facade is just the beginning to the classic comfort foods being divvied up inside.  Lunch and dinner brings cozy dishes with a twist of sophistication like their pork shank with creamy polenta and au jus and lamb burger with feta cheese and yogurt sauce. Great food aside, the tavern lives up to its name with an incredible selection of beer and wine including a $3 beer of the week!

Pork Shank & Polenta at Melville Tavern

The Crab House: Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey

Panoramic views of the Monterey Bay, margaritas for $3.95 and a plethora of seafood dishes- need we say more? The Crab House, towards the end of Monterey’s iconic Old Fisherman’s Wharf, stands out from its neighbors with a unique south-of-the-border inspired menu. Every guest is welcomed with a basket of addicting tortilla chips and tantalizing menu option like seafood infused burritos, tacos and enchiladas.

The Crab House

Mediterranean Restaurant: Ocean Avenue, Carmel-by-the-Sea

Local Carmel visitors and foodies have been flocking to Dametra restaurant for years for unbelievable dolmas, lamb shanks and Greek Moussaka. Just down the street from this popular eatery is its new sister storefront the Mediterranean Restaurant serving up the same authentic cuisine, live entertainment and family friendly atmosphere. The only difference here is its location and beautiful wall décor.

Live Music at Mediterranean Restaurant in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Lalla Oceanside Grill: Cannery Row, Monterey

Among the hustle and bustle of Cannery Row lays a sanctuary complete with crashing waves, tantalizing treats and mind-numbing craft cocktails. Lalla Oceanside Grill is one of Cannery Row’s newest attractions offering some of the best views of the Monterey Bay. Let the views, or their insane cocktail menu, wet your palate for delicious California coastal cuisine.

Craft Cocktails at Lalla Oceanside Grill

Scales Seafood & Steaks: Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey

Love Monterey’s famous Old Fisherman’s Grotto? Then you are going to love the new restaurant owned and operated by the same family. Scales Seafood & Steaks just across the way features a convenient grab-and-go café, cozy bar lounge, a spacious dining room with views for days and a wide variety of menu items including seafood, steaks and pastas.

Calamari at Scales Seafood & Steaks

Bonus- Sovino Wine Bar: Downtown Monterey

Before indulging at one of these new eateries, build your appetite at the Sovino Wine Bar located in the esplanade near Custom House Plaza. Here you will find a wide selection of California produced wines with a large range of Monterey County wines. Be sure to pair one of your libations with one of their lovely cheese and charcuterie plates.