Sugar. Spice. Everything nice. Maybe a little gin, vodka, and vermouth. Shaken, of course. While recipes both classic and classified are available year round, there are far more than just three ingredients on display throughout this year’s Dine Out Santa Maria Style.
Also known as Santa Maria Valley’s Restaurant Month, the 2024 iteration of the annual promotion kicked off in mid-January and features edible and drinkable offerings from a dozen businesses, including the Guadalupe Social Club.
Guests of the club, located on Guadalupe Street in downtown Guadalupe, during Dine Out—now through Feb. 11—have the opportunity to order a trio that includes one of the eatery’s signature flatbreads, an organic seasonal salad, and a chocolate brownie bite with whipped cream for $20.24.
“We use an Italian crust, traditional tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese, with some artisan toppings,” Lexie Bell, co-owner of the Guadalupe Social Club, said about the venue’s flatbread offerings. “The flatbread is great because it can feed two to three people. You can eat it yourself, or share it, and it pairs great with wine.”
Visitors hoping to take advantage of the $20.24 promo can inquire about which flatbreads they’re able to choose from by calling (805) 356-6018. In terms of topping options for eatery’s general flatbread selection, “we have a little bit of everything across the board,” added Bell.
“We have a spicier one, the Buffalo chicken, which is really popular,” Bell said. “Our chef makes an amazing sauce on that one. That one’s been a real hit.”
Patrons of the $20.24 deal can add a glass of wine to their meal for an additional $8. Bell recommends a chardonnay or sauvignon blanc.
Other participating restaurants in this year’s Dine Out promotion include Cielito Lindo Restaurant (grab a chicken fajitas dinner combo, which includes a soft or alcoholic drink), Cool Hand Luke’s (choose between a bacon jam burger combo or ribs combo), Cubanissimo Cuban Coffee House & Cafe (pick any meal at the restaurant with a Cuban cocktail), the Garden Mediterranean Restaurant & Cafe (enjoy a tender lamb shank cooked to perfection), and Nena’s Kitchen (order any combination plate with an included beverage).
There’s a plethora of additional offerings available from Maya Restaurant, Santa Maria Public Market, Blast 825 Brewery, Naughty Oak Brewing Company, Mountain Mike’s Pizza, and Straw Hat Pizza during the ongoing event as well.
Some of the participating businesses, including the Historic Santa Maria Inn’s Century Room Restaurant and Olde English Taproom, are simultaneously competing in the 2024 Craft Cocktail Contest, hosted in conjunction with Dine Out by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce.
While the Santa Maria Inn is currently offering its chicken saltimbocca dinner (with pan-seared chicken wrapped in prosciutto, cherry heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella) for $20.24, the local landmark is mixing its 1917 cocktail (available for $14) as part of this year’s juried cocktail competition.
“It’s gin, Chartreuse, Luxardo liqueur—which is a cherry liqueur,” blended with fresh lime juice, bartender Shane Combs said of the cocktail—which is named after the year the historic hotel was established. “I’ve tried it, it’s really good. I had a couple judges come in here already and try it out, and they said they liked it a lot.”
The green Chartreuse liqueur gives the drink a bittersweet apple taste, Combs added, while the sweet cherry flavor “kind of masks the gin” and makes for “a really nice blend,” thanks to both the Luxardo and a maraschino cherry that sinks to the bottom of the cocktail.
Aside from the deals associated with both Dine Out and the craft cocktail contest, there are few deals more special than the Santa Maria Inn’s complimentary fresh popcorn, available on a 24/7/365 basis.
“It’s always been here,” Combs said of the popcorn maker, located next to the bar in the Olde English Taproom. “People come here all the time and ask when I’m making the popcorn.”
Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood is stuffing his top hat with popcorn and butter. Compliment his attire at [email protected].