Santa Barbara Wine is FINE

LA / SF = Santa Barbara.  Gorgeous coastline, warm and friendly people smack dab in the middle of wine country.

I spent last weekend nestled in the bosom of California’s fastest growing wine making hotbed, sampling tremendous wines, delicious food and free cookies – ’cause we were staying at the legendary Fess Parker Resort… which is now a Hilton Doubletree. Doubletree Hotels = cookies on demand.

* insider tip: Even if you’re not registered at a Doubletree hotel, if you walk in and ask for a cookie, they are instructed to give you one. Probably because those gooey delights are so incredible, they know that eventually you’ll stay with them.  Seriously, if you like chocolate chip cookies, do it. Walk into a Doubletree hotel in your town and ask for a cookie. In seconds, your grubby little mitts will be graced with the brown paper envelope containing heaven. With nuts.

The Santa Barbara Wine Festival has been thriving for more than a decade, but this was my first visit.  The event is staged at Palm park right off the beach in downtown Santa Barbara. 300 high-end wines were poured, 30 food booths dished their premiere dishes, and one lonely Tequila booth provided all the paying patrons could eat and drink from 11am to 4pm.

This was the first time I performed my Comedy Cooking Contest at the SBWF – and happily the place was packed at 2:30 when I took the stage. Attendance was up 20% over last year. Which I’m sure is more about the $10,000 Yucatan Holidays Caribbean 8 day all inclusive vacation I was giving away than me and my glib patter.

But that did not deter me. I glibbed as best I could, pulling three patrons out of the audience by virtue of winning raffle tickets, and forcing them to make their best version of my Yucatan Guacamole recipe.  This time, each winner brought up a friend to help them cut, snip and moosh their ingredients.  The three teams worked tirelessly, under a hot sun, to mix up the most delicious guacamole they could… then stood by as the entire audience filed by to taste their offerings.

Each audience member voted for their favorite, and in the end, Patricia’s guacamole earned 2X the votes of the runner up.  She is going to the Caribbean!! Think she’s happy:

Later this summer, I’ll be at the Taste of St. Louis, the Hollywood San Gennaro Feast, the La Dolce Vita Festival in Laguna Nigel and Des Moines Iowa performing my show and bestowing similar all inclusive trips on more lucky, talented chefs around the country!

Keep tabs on my schedule at


Tequila Fest in CHICAGO Wednesday, July 11

What a great summer!  We’ve been traveling and doing book signings and, of course, appearing on Chicago’s #1 show, Windy City LIVE.

This week promises to be a FUN ONE in Chi-town… and i have discounts for fans who love tequila.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT, July 11, The Dinner and Live auction takes place at  ADOBO GRILL 1610 N. Wells, Chicago, IL 60614  312-266-7999

Hundreds of the best tequilas in THE WORLD will be on display and at auction, with proceeds going to a great charity that raises money for THE SKY RANCH FOUNDATION, an organization that helps send kids to summer camps.
The WED 7/11 Dinner and Live auction begins at 6:00pm with tastings and passed foods, and ends at 10:00pm after everyone has had plenty of samples…
If you are in Chicago and want to attend to help raise money for this worthy cause – and enjoy a LOT of new and famous tequilas, tickets are $150@… unless you are reading this, in which case you can go to  and enter the code MEXICO to get YOUR TICKETS for only $110.  I’ll be there, running the auction, signing books and sampling tequila… come by and say hello.
THURSDAY 7/12 is the MAIN TASTING EVENT, being held atZocalo 358 W. Ontario St, Chicago, IL  60654

There’s a silent auction and even MORE tequilas to taste. One ticket gets your free samples of all of the brands… and great deals on purchasing these premium spirits.  Tickets are $60… unless you are still reading. In which case, go to  and use code MEXICO to get YOUR tickets for $45 @

SPIRITS of MEXICO is a great event for a worthy cause. Come on by and tip a few!