Urban Wine Trail - Cupcakes and Sparkling Wine!

Want to get away but don't have much time? If you live in Los Angeles, try taking Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner to Santa Barbara for wine tasting in the heart of downtown. The Pacific Surfliner offers its passengers a seaside seat and delivers you to downtown Santa Barbara, just blocks from the beach, Stearns Wharf, restaurants, shops and tons of wine tasting rooms!  

My girlfriends and I met Saturday morning at the the Glendale, CA Amtrak train platform. Free parking for 72 hours. All aboard...destination fun!  

I've been wine tasting several times to the wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley, which is about 35 miles outside of Santa Barbara. The Santa Ynez Valley makes for an amazing day of exploring different wineries and vinyards,  but since we took the train into town and didn't have transportation, we stayed downtown and hit the many tasting rooms.   

The collection of tasting rooms in this area is known as the Urban Wine Trail,   all within blocks of the beach, restaurants, shops and bars. 

We went to several tasting rooms on Saturday and walked around the shops. Make sure to fit some lunch in between your tastings. It has been said that Santa Barbara has more restaurants per capita than any other city on the West Coast.  

We watched the sun set from Stearns Wharf then took a short cab ride up State Street for dinner at Pierre LaFond's Wine Bistro. I had purchased a bottle of wine from the Santa Barbara Winery earlier that day and since the winery & restaurant are owned by the same folks, there was no corkage fee.

One tasting room, Corks n' Crowns http://corksandcrowns.com/, offered a cupcake and sparkling wine pairing on Sundays. Obviously we had to go.  

Sunday morning we headed to brunch at Beachbreak Cafe, on State Street. $3 mimosa and veggie eggs benedict...thumbs up. After brunch we strolled over to Corks n' Crowns for dessert. Doesn't everybody have dessert after brunch?

As we approached the front porch we were greeted by a friendly sign. Our timing was perfect because it wasn't that crowded and it felt very relaxing.

Cupcakes & Sparkling Wine is on Sundays and starts at 11:30 AMGourmet Cupcakes are made by Sugar Cat Studio  http://www.sugarcatstudio.com/.  

Alison Riede, the designer and creator of Sugar Cat, is at Corks n' Crowns every Sunday to pour wine and answer questions. Every week there is a new selection. Did I mention that Sugar Cat Studio was a winner of the Cupcake Wars on Food Network? 

At first I attempted to look civilized by taking a tiny bite of the cupcake. But my manners quickly went out the window and I decided a better technique was to pop the entire mini cupcake in my mouth, all at once. Much less messy, or at least that what I told myself.

One of my girlfriends chose to have a red wine tasting with her cupcakes, instead of the champagne. So if bubbly is not your thing, they have red, white and beer samplings as well. Beer and cupcakes you ask? Why not!

Our train back home was at 4:00 PM on Sunday. The train station will hold your bags for $3. So if your hotel check in/out time is different from your arrival/departure time, just check your bags at the station and go have fun in the city. Everything is in such close proximity.

We found great seats on the train, that had an ocean view and faced each other. We played cards and laughed all the way back to LA.  

Good times!

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