Launching Taste of the Santa Ynez Valley’s 4-day food and wine event running through Sunday, was a Thursday evening Los Alamos-based gala where guests pulled up a chair for a seated open-air dinner at a lengthy communal table in the Old West town’s Ferrini Park. 

Though a windy evening, guests bundled up in good spirits for a sparkling toast featuring Riverbench Vineyard & Winery that kicked off the delectable al fresco dinner. 

Serving up a feast were chefs and restaurateurs, baker Bob Oswaks of Bob’s Well Bread Bakery and pioneering Los Alamos chef/restaurateur Clark Staub of Full of Life Flatbread.

The husband/wife team Greg and Daisy Ryan of Bell’s Restaurant added their gastronomic magic with a French-inspired salad of frisée, lardons, soft boiled egg, tomato with black truffle lemon vinaigrette.

Winemaker Will Henry joined forces with chef Drew Terp, Pico at the Los Alamos General Store brought curried cauliflower risotto with Valley Piggery Porchetta to the party, and farmer James Ontiveros of Ranchos de Ontiveros Wines teamed up with chef Conrad Gonzales' Cisko Kid oak wood grilled savory ceviche tostadas, braised pork tostadas, lamb belly tacos.

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Attendees were offered samples from a variety of Santa Maria and Los Alamos wines, beer and cider from Casa Dumetz Wines and Babi’s Beer Emporium, Lo-Fi Wines or Bodega Los Alamos, Bedford Winery, Municipal Winemakers and others.

Smiles and live music filled the evening air, and even more so once dessert was served.

As part of the upcoming Los Olivos Day in the Country slated for Saturday, Oct. 19, the SYV Spoke and the SB Bike Coalition will host a secure bike valet for those who choose to "beat the traffic and congested parking situation by riding their bikes" and need a safe place to store their bikes while enjoying the day of fun, according to Dunn School MTB Team Director & Founder, Mike Hecker.

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Lisa André covers Valley Life for Santa Ynez Valley News.