patio at Babi's Beer Emporium in Los Alamos.
the heart of Santa Barbara’s wine country, the
California town of Los Alamos is slow to awaken in the
mornings. It’s quiet along Bell Street, the main drag
lined with vintage storefronts clustered around a
flagpole. But at lunchtime, doors swing open, corks pop
and local eateries come to life.
might think this quirky spot was once a cow town. It was
actually a biker haven. Now wine-tasting rooms, antique
shops and art galleries co-mingle with boutique hotels and
artisanal food producers. And a few bikers, too.
are plenty of ways to spend time in Los Alamos. Here are
just a few to get you started.
Bob’s Well Bread Bakery
inside a vintage service station, Bob’s Well Bread
Bakery beckons passers-by. The big patio is dotted with
red cafe chairs and tables. Owner and master baker Bob
Oswaks mans the counter. And the yeasty aroma of baked
bread, croissants and pain au levain fill the air.
Resistance is futile.
here is made by hand, from the English muffins to the
butter, salad dressings and pate. Breakfast and lunch are
served all day, so if you want the avocado toast tartine
($8.50) for your morning meal, you’re in luck.
miss: That avocado tartine, slathered on thick slices of
toasted pain au levain, seasoned with sea salt and chile
flakes, and topped with toasted pumpkin seeds.
Egg-in-a-Jar ($8.50) is the ultimate comfort food, with
its poached egg perched atop a purple potato mash with
chives and crispy bacon lardons.
Open 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday through Monday; 550 Bell St.,
Los Alamos; www.bobswellbread.com.
around the antique shops and used-book shops along Bell
Street, then head for Stephan Bedford’s winery and Los
Alamos’ first tasting room. There, you’ll find old
typewriters scattered about. Bedford hopes to refurbish
the burgundy Smith-Corona on the tasting bar, so guests
can type out their wine-tasting notes.
miss: Wine tasting in the lovely garden among succulents,
wine barrels and a gurgling fountain. Try the bright,
citrusy 2010 Chenin Blanc ($25); fruity 2010 Grenache
($35) with strawberry notes; rich, powerful 2010 Syrah
($35); and our favorite, the 2010 Cabernet Franc ($39),
full of black plum, blackberry and blueberry fruit.
details: $10 tasting fee. Open daily 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; 448
Bell St.; www.bedfordwinery.com.
next door to feel the good vibrations at a relative
newcomer on the town’s wine scene. Behind the bar at
this rustic tasting room, winemaker Zach Wassermann’s
mother, Maria, chats up visitors. Zach’s take on the
winery name, she explains, "is we all vibrate at a
certain frequency, including wine and grapes. My take on
it is Frequency: Drink it frequently."
miss: The 2014 Blanc ($25), a viognier, grenache blanc and
roussanne blend with a lovely aromatic honeysuckle nose
and citrus, stone fruit and toasted nut flavors; and the
GSM ($32), a deep purple-hued wine with notes of crushed
violet and rose petal, baking spices, blueberry and black
details: $5 tasting fee. Open 12-6 p.m. Friday-Sunday;
448B Bell St.; www.frequencywines.com.
at this cozy eatery is just a few steps away in one of the
oldest buildings in Los Alamos, built about 1880. The
General Store here houses both the cafe and an art
gallery, with local artists’ work on display. The cafe’s
lineup of sandwiches includes a Pulled Pork BBQ & Cole
Slaw on a Bun ($12.95), overstuffed with succulent, smoky
pork in a zesty sauce.
miss: One of the best burgers we’ve had in recent
memory, a juicy, meaty 8-ounce hamburger with blue cheese
details: Open 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday; 458 Bell St.;
next to this bright, joyful tasting room to sample the
Rhone varietals from passionate winemaker Sonja Magdevski.
Colorful stencils cover the walls of this welcoming space,
with a corrugated metal roof awning and rustic wood bar.
Magdevski makes feminine and soulful wines. Her philosophy
is "Ground. Grapes. Grit. Without that you have
miss: Her 2013 Viognier from Ballard Canyon’s Tierra
Alta Vineyard ($30) is a revelation, rich in white flowers
and pear on the nose, with a mouthful of juicy, luscious
peach, a hint of honey and a minerally finish. The 2013
Common Ground Grenache ($35) is an earthy, luscious blend,
with jammy blueberries and blackberries, black pepper and
details: $10 tasting fee. Open noon-7 p.m. Thursday, 11
a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday. 388 Bell St.; www.casadumetzwines.com.
Babi’s Beer Emporium
you’d rather quaff suds instead, Magdevski can oblige.
Her Babi’s Beer Emporium next door to Casa Dumetz serves
an eclectic mix of local and international craft beers.
Choose from an ever-changing roster of six beers on tap
($20 for six tastes), plus loads of bottles and hard
ciders, too. "You won’t find any beer you can get
five miles down the road," she says.
sure what to order? Pop in on a Thursday for the weekly
Bottle Share. "People come in, buy a bottle and
share," Magdevski says.
miss: The emporium’s Craft Kitchen at Babi’s, where
chef Georgio Curti serves beer-friendly, farm-to-table
food. Enjoy your brews and eats outside on the large,
details: Open 4-8 p.m. Thursday, 12-8 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 12-6 p.m. Sunday. 448 Bell St.;
Full of Life Flatbread
rave about Full of Life with good reason. The front bar is
warm and inviting, but head straight for the back, where
all the magic happens. The smoky, yeasty aromas will hit
you before you even see the gigantic wood-burning oven,
whose light bathes the room in an amber glow as it roasts
flatbread after flatbread.
the week, Full of Life operates as a bakery and sells a
line of frozen flatbreads at local grocers. But on
weekends, locals and visitors flock here. If you don’t
arrive early you’ll have a long wait — no matter,
stick around. The wait for these divine, seasonal pies is
miss: The creamy Burrata and Peach Salad ($14) served with
purslane, mint and cherry tomatoes, or the flatbreads with
their ultrathin crusts. The savory Squash Blossom and
Burrata ($21 for a flatbread generous enough to serve two)
and the Central Coast Sausage ($21), with spicy housemade
pork and fennel sausage, were both winners.
details: Reservations not accepted. Open 4:30-9 p.m.
Thursday, and 4:30-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. A "Sunday
Supper" menu is served 4-8 p.m. Sunday. 225 Bell St.;