Early fall in Santa Barbara is our true summer. August, September and October are much less foggy than the early summer months in our central coast zone. The trees aren’t so much changing color yet as wilting under a relentless sun. It is a time of year that reminds me that California has always been a cultural and geographic extension of Mexico. Growing up in the Beach Town Bohemia of Santa Cruz, several hours north along the California coast, I was raised to see these late summer/early autumn months as suited to Mexican cooking: cilantro and lime, an abundance of late season avocados mashed into a tangy guacamole, and shrimp tacos doused in MexiCali hot sauce. I wanted the next Slow Supper to celebrate this sexy, hazy, slightly overheated beachtown bohemian feeling with a meal and a caftan silhouette to embody this feeling.
A group of local friends gathered in my gravel side garden to drink Mezcal and Pacificos and tuck into my guacamole (recipe from a friend from Mexico City: no tomatoes, extra cilantro.) In a nod to Californiana, the table was set with taco sauce gouache illustrations with accompanying prose like, “True luxury is a homemade corn tortilla.” The vibe: unpretentious, soulful, SoCal coastal culture.
My kindred spirit creative friend, Kelly Hatchett of @laveredasb, a native of Santa Barbara, wore the evening’s featured caftan, the Inez dress. Hewn of a slinky lightweight matte woven fabric, the dress is a classic Moroccan caftan shape, but features a deep front center slit that allows for movement, and three-quarter length sleeves that make it suitable for cooking. The vertical stripe of the dress calls to mind the pinky-burnt red of bougainvillea.
We dined outside with Mexican beer and simple homemade tacos and fresh guacamole (spicy) to a playlist masterfully curated by Niklas Odman, the head sommelier/music curator at Stockholm's Ett Hem, whom I met during our family's travels to Sweden in 2022. We wrapped the Slow Supper marveling at the simple childlike pleasure of the made in California It’s-It ice cream sandwich. After everyone had left, the patio bricks were still warm from the day’s heat, and I picked up beer bottles in a happy haze.
Comrades in Beachtown Bohemia:
Kelly and Che Hatchett @laveredasb
Justin Carpenter @elranchocarpintero
Isa Hendry Eaton @isabirddesign
Blakeney Sanford @blakeneysanford
Maj and Frederik Henriques www.creativenotes.dk
Jesse and Brian DeLowe @jessiedelowe @briandelowe
The Olivia Joffrey Experience by Niklas Odman - Mexico meets California, soul and salsa and guitarra and Latin-inflected chic. Like the urbane mothers from Mexico City whom I remember admiring poolside as a child: black string bikini, gold bracelets, sleek chignon and dark tan.
Inez Dress in Bougainvillea Stripe.
All photography and video by my brilliant comrade Danielle Rubi @Danielle_rubi-productions.