If ever there was ever a time to get away from it all, it’s now.
And in California, there are few better places to briefly escape to than the Danish-themed city of Solvang, about 140 miles north of here, offering a taste of Denmark in the Santa Ynez Valley with its many restaurants, bakeries, and distinctive Danish-stye architecture.
In what is rapidly becoming yet another tradition in this quaint, storybook city dubbed “Little Denmark” by the Saturday Evening Post back in the 1940s, are the Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort’s California Ranch Cookouts, a guest chef series hosted by the luxury dude ranch.
In fact, these cookouts have proven to be so popular over the past two years that they have been extended to the end of this year, featuring chefs Ray Garcia on Aug. 24, Sam Jones on Oct. 7, and concluding on Nov. 13 with actress/author/chef Tiffani Thiessen.
Garcia, who draws culinary inspiration from the rich culture of Los Angeles, Southern California’s abundant produce and his classic training, is perhaps best known for his popular Los Angeles restaurants Broken Spanish and B.S. Taqueria. Overwhelming support and praise in L.A. has drawn critical international focus on Garcia’s immense culinary talents.
Jones is a third-generation pit master who got his start in the barbecue business at an early age, helping his grandfather and uncle at the famous Skylight Inn in his hometown of Ayden, North Carolina, which he now oversees, in addition to Sam Jones BBQ in Winterville and Raleigh. In 2003, the Skylight Inn received the James Beard Award for America’s Classics, earning the distinction of being the first barbecue joint to ever receive an award from the esteemed culinary organization.
An actress and cookbook author, Thiessen joins Chef Anthony Endy, the resort’s director of culinary operations, on Saturday, Nov. 13, for the final cookout of 2021.
Fresh off the Emmy-nominated Netflix original “Alexa & Katie,” Thiessen is also known for her first cookbook, Pull Up a Chair, published in October 2018. For three seasons, Thiessen hosted “Dinner at Tiffani’s” on Food Network, which became one of the network’s most-watched shows. Her current projects include hosting MTV’s “Deliciousness” and appearing on Peacock’s “Saved By The Bell.”
Past California Ranch Cookout guest chefs have included David Lentz, Suzanne Goin, Brooke Williamson, Ben Ford, Nyesha Arrington, Burt Bakman and Neal Fraser.
California Ranch Cookouts, exclusively available to hotel guests and members of the ranch, are a one-night-only dinner prepared by the guest chef alongside Chef Endy. They feature curated menus to highlight the unique talent of each visiting chef, with recent menus featuring everything from fresh California fare to unique vegetarian cuisine, as well as The Alisal’s signature world-class barbecue cooking.
The California Cookouts rotate between the Rodeo Arena and the Oval Lawn, two spacious and unique al fresco dining spaces at the ranch. Both locations sit amidst the beautiful rolling hills of the resort’s property, making for a wide-open backdrop to the cookout experience.
The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort offers 73 private guest cottages and suites, more than 50 miles of horseback riding trails, two 18-hole championship golf courses, a 6,500-square-foot spa and fitness center, six tennis courts and a 100-acre spring-fed lake with water sports, including fly fishing, canoeing and kayaking. Spanning across 10,500 acres of rolling hills in the Santa Ynez Valley, The Alisal has long been considered the premier full-service guest ranch for couples, families, and conferences since it opened in 1946. This secluded hideaway on the central coast of California is one of the few places where time seems reluctant to move forward and continues to offer a safe getaway with wide-open spaces and a multitude of outdoor activities for all ages.
The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort Ranch is located at 1054 Alisal Road, Solvang.