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Archives for May 2015

Deadly Duo: Poison Oak & Hemlock

You can identify poison oak  by its shiny triple-leafs. Heat or water stressed plants turn a deep orange or red in some areas. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

You can identify poison oak by its shiny triple-leafs. Heat or water stressed plants turn a deep orange or red in some areas. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Santa Barbara hikers, watch your step at Romero Canyon: The trail is lined with poison oak and hemlock. I noticed the green shiny triple leafed plant, up and down the trail during a recent Mother’s Day hike. In many cases, the poisonous plant, sometimes scorched red in spots by heat and drought, was growing alongside small patches of hemlock.

And, Romero Canyon isn’t the only area hiking spot where you will run into poison oak or hemlock. You’ll find plenty of this toxic shrubbery along most of the hiking trails in Santa Barbara county, so it’s important to know what it looks like so you can avoid it.

It was wonderful to see water in Santa Barbara's  Romero Canyon, since California is in a severe drought. Romero is a shady hike, which offers hikers wonderful ocean views from the top of the canyon. There is a wide dirt road (sunny) path for hikers who make the loop, which is 6+ miles. (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

It was wonderful to see water in Santa Barbara’s Romero Canyon, since California is in a severe drought. Romero is a shady hike, which offers hikers wonderful ocean views from the top of the canyon. There is a wide dirt road (sunny) path for hikers who want to take a loop back down the hill, which is 6+ miles. (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Carpinteria photographer Ken Pfeiffer, an avid hiker, explains how to identify this deadly duo:

“Poison oak is a dense shrub in sunny areas, or a climbing vine in the shade.  It has three leaflets with scalloped edges, and can range from shiny green to red when it is heat or drought
stressed as in the fall. The plant contains an oily sap called urushiol which can create a severe allergic reaction, including an itchy rash. This allergic reaction can get worse with repeated exposure. Inhaling the smoke from burning the plant can create a very dangerous or fatal reaction.”

Pfeiffer continues, “Poison hemlock is a highly poisonous plant with lacy green leaves resembling carrot or a fern.  Eating the plant, or even touching it
can lead to poisoning.  The symptoms include dizziness, trembling,  paralysis and death by respiratory failure.”

Hemlock is often found growing next to poison oak.  Hikers can develop an itchy rash after touching or brushing up against this fern-like plant.  (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Hemlock is often found growing next to poison oak. Hikers can develop an itchy rash after touching or brushing up against this fern-like plant. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Make sure you don’t brush up against these poisonous plants while hiking. Getting the plant’s oily resin on your hand and then later touching your body, especially face or eyes, can be very dangerous. You might also want to wash hiking clothes when you get home from the trails to wash away any lingering toxic essence.

 

 

Heat  or water stressed poison oak turns a deep shade of orange and red. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Heat or water stressed poison oak turns a deep shade of orange and red. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Traffic411 Insider’s Tip: There are a lot of mountain cyclists on this narrow trail, keep an eye out for them as you trek up the hill.

Distance from LAX: 92 Miles

Prayer flags blow in the breeze along the path at Montecito/Santa Barbara's Romero Canyon (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Prayer flags blow in the breeze along the path at Montecito/Santa Barbara’s Romero Canyon (Photo Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

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SB Fork & Cork Classic

guy hamilton and crowd

2nd Annual Santa Barbara Cork and Fork Classic at the Montecito Country Club (Photo Ken Pfeiffer)

good time

Enjoying the beautiful day (Photo Ken Pfeiffer)

The weather was perfect for enjoying an afternoon of world class sips and bites at the Santa Barbara Fork and Cork Classic, presented by Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

The Kobe beef meatballs prepared by chefs from the Four Seasons were hard to beat. But, ravioli from Via Maestra 42, a Santa Barbara local favorite, was over-the-top yum!

Industrial Eats served salmon tacos, cut from the whole fish. Los Arroyos, Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar, Sama Sama Kitchen and Paxti’s Pizza were there, too.  There were also plenty of sweet treats.  

Fish tacos don't get much fresher than this, from Industrial Eats in Buellton (Photo Ken Pfeiffer)

Fish tacos don’t get much fresher than this, from Industrial Eats in Buellton (Photo Ken Pfeiffer)

Many of the area’s best winemakers poured some of their crowd-pleasers, from Richard Sanford’s Alma Rosa to Zaca Mesa.  Carpinteria’s Island Brewing Company featured two beers, including its Island Blonde, on tap.

The 'cork' in this year's Cork & Fork Classic, winemaker Blair Fox (Photo Ken Pfeiffer)

The ‘cork’ in this year’s Cork & Fork Classic, winemaker Blair Fox (Photo Ken Pfeiffer)

Island Brewing Company, a Carpinteria staple, broke up the wine cartel serving two beers on tap. (Photo Ken Pfeiffer)

Island Brewing Company, a Carpinteria staple, broke up the wine cartel, serving two beers on tap. (Photo Ken Pfeiffer)

Chef Justin West of Julienne and winemaker Blair Fox of Blair Fox  Cellars were event honorees, recognized for their support of the SB Foodbank and the local community. 

West told me how he raised more than $14,000 for the SB Foodbank.  Much of that money came from a $10,000 grand prize from a contest held by the James Beard Foundation. The competition involved gathering the most social media posts. Chef Justin himself convinced the most diners to take a pic and post online, he even had to educate some Julienne guests about what a ‘hash tag’ was. For many, it was their first social media post.

Chef Justin West of Julienne  in Santa Barbara, was this year's chef honoree. He roasted two whole pigs for the event. (Photo Ken Pfeiffer)

Chef Justin West of Julienne in Santa Barbara, was this year’s chef honoree. He roasted two whole pigs for the event. (Photo Ken Pfeiffer)

West said he was astonished that he won, because his restaurant was the only Santa Barbara restaurant in the competition, and he was up against multiple big-city restaurants from coast to coast. “Sometimes when  you’re smaller it’s easier to galvanize people,” he said. 

Judging by the sold out attendance, with most silent auction items going for their market value, this was a successful event for the SB Foodbank, who serves more than 300 local non-profits.

Spirits were high on the upper lawn of the Montecito Country Club as guests sipped, noshed and danced to the classic hits from the Temptations to Lynyrd Skynyrd, courtesy of Music by Bonnie.

Groovin' to the DJ tunes on a gorgeous Sunday (Photo Ken Pfeiffer)

Groovin’ to the DJ tunes on a gorgeous Sunday (Photo Ken Pfeiffer)

Bonnie and her DJ from Music by Bonnie entertained the crowd with a soundtrack of classic hits. (Photo Ken Pfeiffer)

Bonnie and her DJ from Music by Bonnie entertained the crowd with a soundtrack of classic hits. (Photo Ken Pfeiffer)

This may just be my new favorite Santa Barbara area food & wine event, because it wasn’t overwhelmingly large. It was easy to get around and sample many of the offerings, see friends and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Photographer Eric Roland working overtime to get a bunch of great shots (Photo Ken Pfeiffer)

Photographer Eric Roland working overtime to get a bunch of great shots (Photo Ken Pfeiffer)

Me and super-photographer Ken Pfeiffer, enjoying the day.  (Photo Eric Roland)

Traffic411 ‘super-photog’ Ken Pfeiffer and me, enjoying the day. (Photo Eric Roland)

With PR whiz Kerry Allen at the Fork & Cork Classic, to benefit the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County (photo Ken Pfeiffer)

PR whiz Kerry Allen with Lisa at the Fork & Cork Classic, to benefit the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County (photo Ken Pfeiffer)

Prisciilla of "Santa Barbara Seen", who is usually behind the camera, lifts a glass with me at the SB Fork and Cork Classic. (Photo by Ken Pfeiffer)

Prisciilla of “Santa Barbara Seen”, usually behind the camera, raising a glass (and fork) with me at the SB Fork and Cork Classic. (Photo by Ken Pfeiffer)

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