Friday, May 25 , 2018, 11:31 am | Partly Cloudy 64º

Here & There

Donna Polizzi: Buellton Strikes an Idyllic Balance of Blended Cultures

In span of just a few miles, you can pay a visit to an ostrich farm and then sip some of the Central Coast's most cutting-edge wines

Hello. A curious ostrich sizes up a curious visitor at OstrichLand U.S.A. in Buellton. Click to view larger
Hello. A curious ostrich sizes up a curious visitor at OstrichLand U.S.A. in Buellton. (Donna Polizzi photo)

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Have you ever been to a self-service wine wall? If not, Terravant in Buellton is a fun place to sample some of the Central Coast’s finest wines, with the added convenience of enjoying its innovative self-serve wine dispensers.

At Terravant, 35 Industrial Way, you get to control the size of the pour and, of course, the frequency of the pour, which is my favorite feature.

Trust me, this restaurant has delicious food and an interesting selection. The tapas menu has a wide variety of large and small plates to pair with your wine choices. Without exception, everything I’ve tried on the menu is excellent.

My favorite is the yuppie crack. It’s a crispy, bacon-wrapped date stuffed with goat cheese, drizzled with balsamic and served with basil oil. I order it every time I go so it is indeed addicting.

A couple other must-tries are the Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese and the Pear and Prosciutto pizza. Yum!

Terravant has an industrial feel with a sense of sporty sophistication. The lights are somewhat low, and a beautiful mural of Spanish dancers graces the walls.

The view out of the bar window is spectacular. Picture a rustic country setting with mysterious green mountains and low-lying clouds as the backdrop.

Santa Barbara County has many hidden spots that don’t make the national news as often as Santa Barbara proper does. In movies, rarely will a character mention that they’re heading to Buellton.

But located roughly a half-hour from Santa Barbara, the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley has a bounty of cultural and recreational riches, from spectacular outdoor hiking up Figueroa Mountain, to some of the most sensational wineries on the Central Coast. If you want to explore a delightful Danish village, Solvang is unmatched for its quaintness.

Another unusual destination is the OstrichLand U.S.A. farm at 610 E. Highway 246, between Buellton and Solvang. It’s a picturesque property, with rolling hills to your right and green horse pastures to your left. The place is a delightful reminder of a quieter, slower-paced life.

Not to mention having the chance to see these remarkable, prehistoric-looking creatures up close and personal. The gift shop sells ostrich eggs that are roughly the size of a cannonball. One egg is the equivalent of 18-24 chicken eggs, and I hear they’re quite tasty. Now wouldn’t that be an interesting conversation starter for your Sunday brunch?

My guess it that you’ve heard the old cliché, “Pull your head out of the sand,” stemming from ostrich behavior. The truth is that they dig holes in the sand to bury their eggs. Periodically, the birds put their heads in the hole to turn their eggs. Watching this is a fascinating display of effective parenting.

So whether you’re interested in flightless birds or delicious food and wine, or both, the Santa Ynez Valley is the place to go. And at the crossroads of Highways 101 and 246, you’re sure to be awakened and delighted by the myriad of hidden gems in enchanting Buellton.

— Donna Polizzi is a regional travel expert and founder of Keys to the Coast, a Central Coast travel resource providing members with a customized list of recommendations on the best places that locals want to go. She can be contacted at [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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