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Wine Enthusiast Names Santa Barbara the Wine Region of the Year

Plus a new sports bar to know about, and the Cambodian food scene gets more recognition.

Spring Arrives in Santa Barbara Wine Country
A winery in Santa Ynez.
Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

Santa Barbara County has been named the 2021 wine region of the year by Wine Enthusiast, one of the leading trade publications for the wine industry and drinkers worldwide. The announcement, made last week, comes as the entire area experiences a boom in hospitality, from new restaurants across Solvang and Santa Ynez to Michelin stars out in Los Alamos to high-end hotels emerging in Los Olivos. The publication celebrates the region’s diverse landscape and wide array of grape varietals to choose from, as well as the local industry’s growing focus on sustainability and — surprisingly — the community’s highly regulated zoning that allows for a mixture of small towns, farms, wineries, and tourism areas in a relatively compact area.

More drinking near the beach

Grain whiskey bar has reopened as part of the Playa Provisions compound out in Playa del Rey. The Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts project is now being led by bar manager Liam Odien.

A Belly moves to Garden Grove

Fast casual Southeast Asian fusion restaurant Buddha Belly is opening at SteelCraft in Garden Grove next month. The former food truck operators turned Downtown LA restaurant owners will serve their existing fare including pad Thai, banh mi, and ka prow chicken.

Cambodian food on the come up

Condé Nast Traveler dives deep into America’s growing love of Cambodian food, focusing in part on Long Beach’s historic and prodigious restaurant scene including names like 21-year-old Sophy’s.

Sports bar wonders in the San Gabriel Valley

A new sports bar named Five 55 is now open at the Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles Monterey Park. The open, bright space includes multiple viewing options from small rooms to the bar to the main dining area, with comfort food like burgers, bao, and hot dogs (plus a full slate of wine, beer, and cocktails) from former H.Wood Group chef Austin Lee.

An overhead shot of a table filled with food, from burgers and hot dogs to drinks.
Five 55 food.
Jakob N. Layman

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