PLATE + PLACE: In our get-anything-anywhere-at-any-time-world it can be a little easy to forget the experience of supping in a spot that has much to do with what you're supping upon. Nope, you don't have to eat an apple beneath an apple tree to enjoy all of its apple-y pleasures, but, on occasion, being at or close to the spot something was grown or harvested or netted or picked moves us back to the beginning of our food's story. (And the story of food has become, of course, understandably higher profile in these days of sustainable eats and local growers.) This is all to say that if you want a plate of seafood -- some prawns or a lobster or shrimp or all of the above -- savoring it near the ocean, if not on the ocean, is a rather wonderful. And if you have to do anything near the ocean, doing it in Santa Barbara, which, you may have heard, is rather picturesque, is also rather wonderful. Combine the enjoyment of fruits de la mer and a seafoodie's day out in the American Riviera and what do you get? The annual Seafood & Harbor Festival, which will again serve up the barbecue albacore, clam chowder, and fish tacos on Saturday, Oct. 12.
PRESENTED BY... the city of Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, the Harbor & Seafood festival "coincides with lobster season," meaning you might see a bright red crustacean or two or two hundred among the diners. The dishes above will be served, too, as well as crab, gumbo, and other goodies. And, yep, you're right on Santa Barbara Harbor, which has a knack for appearing on postcards of that stretch of coast. (And, please: You know practically any street in Santa Barbara can be made into a postcard, so that's saying plenty.)
ALSO COOKING... is epicure s.b., a month-long food-and-wine-and-cheer event that encompasses the whole city, and a few surrounding communities. The California Avocado Festival, prix fixe deals at restaurants, and the lemons of Goleta are a few delicious highlights.