Beauty Bar, Benefit Dinners, Spiked Milkshakes & Tequila

Fountain of Youth

Restaurant Sevilla was transformed into a glamorous mini spa on March 15. Maître d’ John Loewen teamed up with Caroline Loureiro, owner of Indulgence The Home Spa, to offer specials on cocktails, tapas and spa treatments with a Brazilian flair.

“It’s a beauty bar, and an indulgence happy hour,” says Loureiro. “This is something we plan to do every Thursday in the middle of the month.”

Adds Loewen: “We’ve got five-dollar Caipirinhas (the national cocktail of Brazil) and seven-dollar tapas.”

Jaqua Beauty products from Santa Barbara sisters Jennifer and Sara Jaqua were featured, and samba, bossa nova and other popular Brazilian sounds from guitarist Bruno Pinhiero filled the Sevilla indoor space and spilled onto the sidewalk. Featured treatments included manicures, polish changes and chair massages. Guests nibbled on tapas, including steak tips with Roquefort and chimichurri vinaigrette, a potato dumpling version of mac-n-cheese with Spanish cheese and truffle oil, and smoked chicken and rosemary paella.

In addition to serving dinner Tuesday through Saturday, Sevilla features live music, including flamenco guitar on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Steven Karan on piano on Thursdays.

Sevilla is located at 428 Chapala Street. For more information call 564-8446 or visit www.restaurantsevilla.com and www.indulgencehomespa.com.

Dinners and Donations

Ten wineries and 15 restaurants, including Lucky’s, Pane e Vino, Bella Vista at the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel, Stella Mare’s and Sevilla, participated in the Family Service Agency’s 15th Annual “Evening of Benefit Dinners.”

Wineries and restaurants donated a series of dinners totaling 230 for the benefit, which took place over two evenings the last week in February.

“The incredible thing is the dinners sold out right away,” says Shirley Ann Hurley, a Family Service honorary board member who hosted a table for eight at the Santa Barbara FisHouse.

Guests, donors and hosts arrived for dinner with tables preset with bottles of wine donated from wineries – including Melville Winery, The Brander Vineyard and Fess Parker Winery – and See’s Candies chocolate truffles donated by Dr. and Mrs. Robert Reed.

Family Service Agency programs include Big Brothers Big Sisters, School-Based Counseling on-site at more than 20 public schools, a Children Guidance Clinic, Counseling Center, Senior Outreach, 2-1-1 Helpline and much more.

For more information call 805-965-1001.

Quantum Kitchen and Cocktails

It’s official. Quantum re-opened to the public on March 15 with its new concept – “A modern American grill featuring gourmet burgers, great steaks, fresh fish, a full bar and spiked milkshakes,” says owner Cynthia Miranda.

Alongside soups, salads, grilled meats and seafood, the menu boasts specialty burgers like the Bourbon Mushroom Burger with honey-cured bacon and aged cheddar, and the Big Blue Burger with blue cheese, bacon, barbecue sauce and tobacco onions. Sides include coconut lime rice, rosemary sea salt fries and hot fudge sundaes and ice cream sandwiches for dessert. An extensive wine list is complemented by a full bar and specialty drinks like the “Nightcap,” coffee ice cream with Kahlua and Bailey’s Irish Cream milkshake – complete with whipped cream and a cherry top.

An extensive “build your own burger” section of the menu allows guests to choose from ground sirloin, grilled citrus chicken, seared spiced ahi, veggie burger, grilled halibut or marinated Portobello mushroom as a base, and there seems to be something for any appetite and palate with offerings like tempura battered fish and a “Grilled Cheese Trifecta,” a sandwich with smoked gouda, aged cheddar, jack cheese, heirloom tomato and basil. Burgers range in price from $8 to $14, salads $6.50 to $8.50 and grilled meat and seafood $20 to $36.

The restaurant is open for lunch Monday through Friday, from 11 am to 3 pm, and dinner Wednesday through Saturday, 5 pm to close. “We plan to serve a bar menu until midnight,” says Miranda.

Quantum Kitchen and Cocktails is located at 201 West Carrillo Street. For more information call 884-0884.

New School Tequila

El Cazador Del Mar, Gene Montesano’s downtown addition to his restaurant collection, has been hosting monthly tequila dinners.

“We choose different styles of tequila for these monthly events,” says general manager Alex Castillo. “The third generations of many tequila makers are coming through now and the newer versions of tequila are made a very different way from the old school styles of tequila. Now you can really make tequila cocktails.”

Castillo explains that old-style tequilas have a harsh quality, but are changing and are being replaced by higher quality, smoother ones that naturally tend to pair better with foods.

“The dinners are six mini-courses, each served with a tequila cocktail,” says Castillo, noting they just featured Patron tequila with menu items like empanadas with housemade chorizo con pasilla chiles served with a Patron Silver Peso Margarita.

“We had reservations for ninety guests for the Patron dinner. It was a beautiful night,” says Castillo, explaining that the restaurant’s spacious outdoor heated patio is the ideal setting for these fiesta-style evenings.

The next dinner, on April 12, will feature Trago Tequila. The price is $70 per person and reservations are limited.

El Cazador Del Mar is located at 731 De La Guerra Plaza; call 965-5606 for more information.