SOLVANG'S FAMOUS COMESTIBLES: If PastryVision were a thing, we'd all walk around rocking futuristic sunglasses that, through a special prism in the lens, allowed us to search out anything soft and sugary and buttery and filled with jam or chocolate or cream. If you're bumming that such glasses don't exist, at least not yet, fret not; there are some towns and neighborhoods where PastryVision is not required. Why? Because the chewy, doughy, nummable delights are found all over. At the front of this pastry pack, of course, is Solvang, a windmill-whimsical burg that knows dessert well. So well that sweets are part of the main swing of thing during Taste of Solvang, the town's big Marchtime to-do. So popular are aebleskivers, Solvang's most celebrated noshable, that one of the other celebrated offerings of the region must stand apart in its own spotlight, from time to time. It's wine -- no spoiler alert required, if you know Solvang's location -- and on Valentine's Weekend some fifteen tasting rooms will offer a passport. Stow those PastryVision glasses, or at least the dreams of them, find your designated driver or line up your van service or shuttle pass, and get to know the sippable spots of Solvang and the larger Santa Ynez Valley.
A WINE FANTASY IN FEBRUARY... will fill up the long Valentine's-into-Presidents-Day Weekend, from Friday, Feb. 12 through Monday, Feb. 15. Shuttle passes are available in addition to the $55 wine passport (the passes are ten bucks a pop). You'll be able to chat up winemakers, snack upon some chocolates or wee bites depending on the day you're there and where you are, and even swirl a few special, uneveryday wines in your glass (hello reserves). Can you put your pastry love aside for a few hours while you indulge in some vino? It doesn't have to be stowed permanently, of course. You are in the heart of Pastry Central for much of the passport-fun weekend. Grabbing a box of indulgent treats could be the ideal sweet capper to your Valentine's trip.