Dishing It Out for Charity
Eat well while doing good. That’s the idea behind Dishing It Out for Charity, launched five years ago by 805 Living as a way for restaurants and their patrons to whip up donations for dozens of charities at the local and national levels. Nearly $83,000 has been raised to date.
Here’s how it works: Each participating restaurant has selected a favorite dish or created an enticing new one for the challenge. For each specified dish sold during the months of November and December, the eateries have pledged to donate $2 to the nonprofit of their choice.
Last year’s challenge raised more than $17,100 for 19 nonprofits, an amazing show of generosity by restaurants at a time when they were in dire need of support themselves. More than two dozen charities stand to benefit this year with a little help from their restaurant friends—and you. Read on for a list of participating locations to get into the giving-back spirit, then start ordering. Every participatory bite is for an important cause.--Lisa McKinnon
Acme Hospitality’s Funk Zone restaurant group is participating once again this year, joined by its latest addition, La Paloma Café in downtown Santa Barbara. All five eateries, Helena Avenue Bakery, La Paloma Café, The Lark, Loquita, and Lucky Penny, are taking part in support of Direct Relief (directrelief.org).
The Breakfast Sandwich on Brioche is a crowd-pleasing combination of baked farm egg, melted smoked cheddar, scallion butter, and a choice of black-pepper bacon or avocado. Proceeds go to Direct Relief (directrelief.org), a Santa Barbara-based humanitarian aid organization that is active globally. “Direct Relief is right here in our backyard and is one of the best conduits to effectively bring assistance to where it’s needed,” says Acme spokesperson Willie Simpson.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Helena Avenue Bakery will donate $2 to Direct Relief.
Spanish, Mexican, and Chumash influences come together in Santa Barbara Mission Chicken, a signature, cooked-over-fire dish from executive chef Jeremy Tummel that features rotisserie chicken with lemon peel, rosemary, apple-pink peppercorn sauce, and rotisserie potatoes. Proceeds go to Direct Relief (directrelief.org), a Santa Barbara-based humanitarian aid organization that is active globally. “Direct Relief is right here in our backyard and is one of the best conduits to effectively bring assistance to where it’s needed,” says Acme spokesperson Willie Simpson.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, La Paloma Café will donate $2 to Direct Relief.
Executive chef Jason Paluska taps one of the restaurant’s longest-running dishes for the challenge: Crispy Brussels Sprouts, a hit since The Lark opened its doors in 2013. His creative take featuring sesame, medjool dates, lime, and garum (a fermented fish sauce) will have diners coming back for more. And that’s the idea. Proceeds go to Direct Relief (directrelief.org), a Santa Barbara-based humanitarian aid organization that is active globally. “Direct Relief is right here in our backyard and is one of the best conduits to effectively bring assistance to where it’s needed,” says Acme spokesperson Willie Simpson.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, The Lark will donate $2 to Direct Relief.
At Loquita, chef Jasmine Shimoda prepares the quintessential Spanish tapas, Patatas Bravas, with Roots Organic Farm marble potatoes, bravas sauce (a tomato and chile–based condiment), hot pimenton emulsion, roasted garlic aioli, and parsley. Add jamón serrano or jamón ibérico (Spanish ham varieties) to complete the Iberian experience. Proceeds go to Direct Relief (directrelief.org), a Santa Barbara-based humanitarian aid organization that is active globally. “Direct Relief is right here in our backyard and is one of the best conduits to effectively bring assistance to where it’s needed,” says Acme spokesperson Willie Simpson.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Loquita will donate $2 to Direct Relief.
The Margherita Pizza at Lucky Penny isn’t just a pizza. Built on house-made dough topped with San Marzano marinara, cherry tomatoes, burrata cheese, and opal basil and served straight out of the oak-fired pizza oven, with the burrata still melting into the marinara, it also has the power to raise money for a worthy cause. Proceeds go to Direct Relief (directrelief.org), a Santa Barbara-based humanitarian aid organization that is active globally. “Direct Relief is right here in our backyard and is one of the best conduits to effectively bring assistance to where it’s needed,” says Acme spokesperson Willie Simpson.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Lucky Penny will donate $2 to Direct Relief.
Prepared by kitchen supervisor Amanda Barnes, the Panna Cotta Trio draws inspiration, says spokesperson Adam Sandroni, “from our cocktail and spirit selection [with an emphasis on amari, Italian herbal liqueurs], and from the Italian dessert and pastry tradition.” The sale of each sweet trio benefits Surfrider Foundation (ventura.surfrider.org), in support of the work it does to keep “local beaches clean and accessible for everyone to enjoy,” Sandroni says.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Bank of Italy Cocktail Trust will donate $2 to Surfrider Foundation.
Basta’s Verace Pizza is “the highest quality margherita pizza, made with imported buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes from Naples, oregano, basil, and imported flour to cure the pizza dough,” says Devon Wolf, co-owner of the restaurant with husband Saverio Posarelli. Sales of the challenge dish will support Many Mansions (manymansions.org), the Conejo Valley-–based housing, services, and education assistance program where one of the restaurant owners’ sons volunteers as a tutor “for young children who need help in school,” says Wolf.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Basta will donate $2 to Many Mansions.
Fresh from earning its first Michelin star, Bell’s returns to the challenge with its take on the Egg Salad Sandwich, available during lunch service. The simple, comforting dish “speaks to our collaboration with No Kid Hungry (nokidhungry.org), whose mission is to end hunger and poverty,” says chef Daisy Ryan, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband Greg Ryan.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Bell’s Restaurant will donate $2 to No Kid Hungry.
Ballard and Los Alamos
“Egg in a Jar is probably our number one signature dish that everyone craves and makes sure to order when visiting Bob’s,” says owner and proprietor Bob Oswaks. Served in a canning jar, it features purple potato puree topped with Gruyère, poached egg, bacon lardons, chives, and crème fraîche, with toast points to help scoop out every last bit. Proceeds go to Breast Cancer Research Foundation (bcrf.org). The cause is personal, says Oswaks: “Breast cancer has affected the lives of our team and our families. We want to help fund the resources and research that can help those in need.”
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Bob’s Well Bread Bakery will donate $2 to Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Tri-Tip Beef Skewers
“Tri-Tip is a staple in our region but our take is unique, and the grade of meat we use is unparalleled,” says owner Seth Anderson of the bistro’s Tri-Tip Beef Skewers. Head chef Matt Marsit starts with American Wagyu dry-aged beef that has been marinated in basil, ginger, and teriyaki, resulting in a dish already popular with regulars. Sales will benefit the Elings Park Foundation (elingspark.org) in aiding the largest community-supported, nonprofit public park in America. “We go there about eight times a week with our two boys and dog,” Anderson says. “Best neighbor anyone could ask for.”
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Brass Bear Brewing & Bistro will donate $2 to Elings Park Foundation.
Carrara’s is known for its European-style pastries, but don’t miss the Fettuccine Pesto featuring fresh, house-made pasta, pesto sauce, pine nuts, basil, and Parmigiano-Reggiano that’s imported—along with 00 flour and other ingredients—from cofounder, co-owner, and chef Damiano Carrara’s native Italy. Proceeds go to Food Share of Ventura County (foodshare.com), so, mangia! “We love feeding people incredible high-quality food,” says Carrara’s spokesperson Shaylee Olson. “We want no one to go hungry.”
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Carrara’s will donate $2 to Food Share of Ventura County.
Grilled over an oak pit and served in a red wine demi-glace with horseradish mascarpone and seasonal vegetables, the Certified Black Angus Filet is Cello’s don’t-miss-it contribution to the challenge. Proceeds go to Bailliage de Central Coast, the regional chapter of the nonprofit Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs (centralcoast.chaineus.org). Currently overseen by Allegretto Vineyard Resort food and beverage manager Thomas Humphrey, the organization supports the development of young chefs and culinary programs.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Cello Ristorante & Bar will donate $2 to Bailliage de Central Coast.
Coast Range opened in September and hit the ground running with menus overseen by partner-chefs Anthony Carron, Steven Fretz, and Lincoln Carson, who teamed with sommelier/winemaker Raj Parr to create the dining haven. Their choice for the challenge is Wagyu Steak Tartare. Made with Worcestershire aioli and topped with a cured egg yolk, it’s already a favorite with diners. Proceeds will benefit People Helping People (syvphp.org), a Santa Ynez Valley–based organization that provides social services throughout the region’s rural communities.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Coast Range & Vaquero Bar will donate $2 to People Helping People.
Located inside Your Choice Thai Restaurant, Creaminal is “a reinterpretation of the modern ice cream shop, creating flavors inspired by our personal experiences and background,” says Piti Sukavivatanachai, who co-owns the businesses with wife Kathy Dao. Both lost their mothers “too early in life to pancreatic cancer,” Sukavivatanachai says, inspiring the couple’s selection of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (pancan.org) as their challenge charity. Sales of any flavor of small-batch ice cream will benefit the cause, but Classic Coconut holds the most meaning: The original recipe from Sukavivatanachai’s mother “laid the foundation for all the flavors for Creaminal,” he says.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Creaminal Ice Cream will donate $2 to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
Whether you go with the Santa Maria–style tri-tip option, the dry-rubbed pulled pork, or a combo of the two, the Buckhorn Smokehouse Platter offers a taste of local history: All of the meats are smoked on the property’s red-oak grill. Executive chef Daniel Horn pairs the meats with pico de gallo, baked Rancho Gordo pinquito beans, local vegetables tossed in house-made vinaigrette, house-made ciabatta garlic toast, and barbecue sauces à la Memphis and Carolina. Each order benefits the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County (foodbanksbc.org). “We’re located in a rural, unincorporated area of Santa Barbara County,” says Buckhorn spokesperson Savannah Fox, “and we’re so grateful for [The Foodbank’s] commitment to supporting our community through ongoing partnerships and food donations.”
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Cuyama Buckhorn will donate $2 to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.
“El Encanto works with many charities, but we have been partnering with Santa Barbara Rescue Mission (sbrm.org) on a regular basis,” says resort spokesperson Julia Solomon, adding that the resort donates half-empty shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion containers to the nonprofit organization, which provides showers for 150 people each day. Expanding on that support, executive chef Bruno Lopez selected Seasonal Salmon, served with organic herbs, vegetables, and a colorful salsa of local citrus, as the dish for the charity challenge, which will be served in The Dining Room.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel will donate $2 to Santa Barbara Rescue Mission.
Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, and Westlake Village
With four Finney’s locations (and counting) to choose from, there’s lots of opportunity to order Peggy’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich. Created by executive chef Eric Bosrau, the meal on a brioche bun includes pepper jack cheese, Fresno chiles, coleslaw, spicy aioli, and tomato. “It’s our No. 1-selling sandwich, and it’s named after my beautiful Mom, Peggy,” says owner Greg Finefrock. During the challenge, sales of the sandwich will benefit Support for the Kids (supportforthekids.org), a Finefrock family favorite that provides food, clothing, shoes, and school supplies for underprivileged children in Ventura County.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Finney’s Crafthouse will donate $2 to Support for the Kids.
This Michelin Plate–rated restaurant is helmed by executive chef Javier Ramirez, who is showcasing a signature starter, Truffle Roasted Cauliflower, throughout the challenge. The main ingredient is garnished with crisp quinoa, golden raisin verjuice, Marcona almonds, truffle vinaigrette, and a quenelle of whipped cauliflower, creating “great complexity and flavor,” says the restaurateur, Jonathan Rosenson. Proceeds go to Feed the Valley (feedthevalley.org), which fights food insecurity in the Santa Ynez region.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, First & Oak will donate $2 to Feed the Valley.
“At Goat Tree, we always look to use seasonal and local ingredients to celebrate the bounty of the beautiful Central Coast, and this dish allows us to do just that,” says Hotel Californian spokesperson Mia Thomas. Creamy Orecchiette Pasta by executive chef Travis Watson brings together butternut squash, rapini pesto, pecorino, herbed breadcrumbs, and the titular “little ears”–shaped pasta for a dish that supports Dream Foundation (dreamfoundation.org) and its efforts to fulfill the wishes of terminally ill adults and their families.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Goat Tree at Hotel Californian will donate $2 to Dream Foundation.
A mix of just-picked lettuces, radishes, and shaved beets tossed in currant-caper vinaigrette and sprinkled with grapes, pistachios, and gorgonzola, the Little Gems Salad by chef Brooke Stockwell offers a taste of the certified-organic Café Farm, owned by the restaurant and located just a mile away. Ordering the dish supports Veggie Rescue (veggierescue.org), a cause dear to restaurateur Shawnda Marmorstein’s heart. “When we have excess produce from our farm, we donate it to Veggie Rescue. We support their mission to help improve the nutrition and quality of life for community members who are struggling with food insecurity by providing them with healthy, local produce and high-quality prepared food,” she says.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café will donate $2 to Veggie Rescue.
King oyster, maitake, and shimeji mushrooms are prepared in a truffle cream sauce with sage and ricotta salata (salted) cheese for Bucatini and Roasted Mushrooms, an earthy, comfort-food nod to fall by executive chef Beto Huizar at this restaurant inside The Landsby hotel. The dish benefits People Helping People (syvphp.org), a nonprofit that provides emergency and basic support services to families and individuals in the Santa Ynez Valley.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Mad & Vin will donate $2 to People Helping People.
Owner and chef Alvaro Rojas is dedicating a favorite dish to the support of Organic Soup Kitchen (OSK; organicsoupkitchen.org), a Santa Barbara nonprofit that provides plant-based foods for low-income seniors and others fighting the effects of cancer and chronic illnesses. “ ‘Take your food as your medicine or your medicine will be your food,’ is a quote that resonates and embodies what I see to be the greater mission of the OSK,” Rojas says. The restaurant’s participating dish is That’s My Jam, “a flirty and light take on a Spanish pintxo” (small snack) that features breakfast Brie, onion jam, dragon fruit powder, and toasted baguette.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Milk & Honey Tapas will donate $2 to Organic Soup Kitchen.
“I love making healthy dishes taste amazing,” says chef-owner Luis Sanchez, whose Jumbo Grilled Shrimp Bowl includes mixed greens, house-made guacamole, zesty lime aioli, and sautéed onions and peppers served over the diner’s choice of quinoa or garlic white rice. He also loves the mission of Every Child’s Dream Foundation (ecdnonprofit.org). “We wanted to give back to the youth, and this charity does just that. They focus on sending specialty care packages filled with vital supplies to babies and children all over the world.”
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Mouthful Eatery will donate $2 to Every Child’s Dream Foundation.
Santa Barbara’s long-running Unity Shoppe (unityshoppe.org) is the beneficiary of, and inspiration for, Oku restaurant’s participating dish, created for the challenge by executive chef Koji Nomura. The Unity Roll features cooked shrimp rolled with avocado, cucumber, and burdock root, finished with bigeye tuna and garnished with house-made shiso (beefsteak plant)–yuzu aioli, and tobiko (flying fish roe). “When creating a dish that we want many to enjoy, and therefore raise more money for the charity, we choose something that is not too specific to only a few,” says Oku spokesperson Tina Takaya, adding, “We feel that this sushi roll will be enjoyed universally.”
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Oku Restaurant will donate $2 to Unity Shoppe.
For a unique take on fried calamari, order the Calamari al Nero. “Fried calamari is not typically black,” notes Elaine Andersen Morello, owner of the restaurant with husband and executive chef Alberto Morello. “Our signature version utilizes nero di seppia (squid ink) infused into the frying batter, yielding a unique appearance and flavor.” Served with lemon aioli, the dish benefits Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation (teddybearcancerfoundation.org), which offers financial, educational, and emotional support to families with children facing cancer in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Olio Pizzeria will donate $2 to Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.
Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Ventura
Three locations, two charities, one delectable dish. La Reina Lager Tri-Tip Potato Skins features beer-marinated tri?tip in crispy potato “boats” topped with bacon, chives, and melted cheddar, and served with sour cream and house-made pico de gallo (salsa) on the side. Orders placed in Carpinteria and Santa Barbara will benefit CALM, The Child Abuse Listening & Mediation program (calm4kids.org), while those in Ventura will support Kids and Families Together (kidsandfamilies.org). The organizations were selected “for the very important work they do to support the physical, emotional, and mental health of children and families in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties,” says brewery co-owner Luisa Hyatt.
For every order of this dish sold in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria through December 31, 2021, Rincon Brewery will donate $2 to CALM. For orders sold in Ventura, $2 will be donated to Kids and Families Together.
To help the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation (nationalpcf.org), The Royal Egg Café has earmarked the Keto Bowl, a combination of crispy pork belly, poached egg, and avocado over Spanish-style cauliflower “rice” and lemon-braised kale. “This has become one of our best sellers,” says chef Jaron Gugliuzza, co-owner of the restaurant with wife Bree Gugliuzza.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, The Royal Egg Café will donate $2 to National Pediatric Cancer Foundation.
Sear is participating for the first time with its 10-ounce filet mignon—a center-cut that general manager Kara Teel praises as “our most tender cut of steak, and one of our most popular entrées.” Pair it with your choice of sides by owner and executive chef Demetrios Loizides to support Santa Ynez Valley–based People Helping People (syvphp.org) an organization that provides local human and social services.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Sear Steakhouse will donate $2 to People Helping People.
Housed in a bungalow overlooking Zuma Beach, this aptly named restaurant is featuring Pumpkin Tortelloni with brown butter and crispy sage. “The dish is very special to me because it is my mother’s recipe,” says restaurateur Franco Simplicio, “and I grew up eating it in Italy when it was pumpkin season.” His choice of charity-challenge beneficiary, LucStrong Foundation (lucstrong.org), is equally personal. Simplicio’s stepson JD Slajchert was a friend of Luc Bodden, whose death at age 10 from sickle cell disease inspired the foundation that bears his name. Slajchert now serves as director of relationship development for the nonprofit, which offers emotional and financial support to families with children facing the disease.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, The Sunset Restaurant will donate $2 to LucStrong Foundation.
Restaurant owner Debbie Thomas says she’s obsessed with executive chef Chris Closser’s Duck Confit—and hopes you will be, too. “The word confit means preserved and refers to the process of slow cooking in fat,” she explains. “The duck is so tender and flavorful,” she says of the dish, which is served with demi-glace, a chicory/fennel salad, blackberries, and crispy parsnips. It benefits one of her favorite organizations, Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County (slobigs.org), which supports local youth through mentoring relationships.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Thomas Hill Organics will donate $2 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County.
Agoura Hills, Moorpark, Camarillo, Ventura
Save room for dessert! Orders of WR Butter Cake at any of the four locations named above will benefit Happy Trails Children’s Foundation (happytrails.org), a nonprofit devoted to preventing and treating child abuse while also offering activities and support for foster children. Alejandro Benes, director of culinary development for Wood Ranch, sees a big donation in the foundation’s future: The rich, decadent cake served with vanilla bean ice cream, fresh raspberries, and raspberry sauce is “popular beyond all our expectations,” he says.
For every order of this dish sold through December 31, 2021, Wood Ranch will donate $2 to Happy Trails Children’s Foundation.