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Santa Barbara Savory: Film Feast

Dining around the American Riviera pairs up with the annual film festival.

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    Santa Barbara Film Feast
    Dining around the American Riviera pairs up with the annual film festival.

    WATCHING A THRILLING FLICK, or a weepie, or a combo thriller-weepie, can take the vim and vigor right out of a film goer. Of course, we don't mind, because we expect, and hope, that the vim and vigor will be deftly swept away by a sweeping cinematic experience. No one likes to walk out of a theater completely unchanged after two hours in the dark, after all; we want to feel slightly tired, slight energized, slightly something. This change in our personal weather is often followed by a meal or snack, which not only fortifies us and brings our vim and vigor back to their factory setting but gives us the chance to discuss what we've just watched with a companion. This powerful urge -- to dine and discuss -- grows even more powerful at a film festival, when fans are out in talkative force and the cinematic topics swirl around every venue and panel and Q&A. To keep everyone well-fortified and well-energized and to honor the tradition of eating after the credits, there is the Santa Barbara Film Feast, a complementary partner to the star-filled, movie-lovely Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The February flickful fun is getting ready to roll, and eateries around the American Riviera shall take part in the bustling movie-seat-to-restaurant-seat action.

    FEB. 3 THROUGH 13... are the upcoming dates for the 2016 Film Feast, which will "explore the best plates and pours throughout Santa Barbara's many theatre districts during SBIFF." Special fest-related menus at spots like Opal Restaurant and Bar, The Dining Room at Belmond El Encanto, and Olio Crudo Bar are part of the feasty fun, as are lodging specials at stayovers like Hotel Santa Barbara and Ramada Santa Barbara. And a Red Carpet Red estate pinot noir is the spotlight-centered libation of the film festival. It's all a lively reminder that enjoying movies isn't simply about enjoy movies but the other pleasures that go hand-in-hand with attending a festival, such as dining out, sipping a nice vino, and finding a good place to bed down. If deals and special menus and other extras are part of that food/hotel extravaganza, so much the better. Santa Barbara, and the fest-adjacent Film Feast, are really onto something.