Ballard Inn has been a fixture in Santa Ynez Valley since 1985, known as a wine country getaway with romantic ambiance and award-winning cuisine. Now, it’s undergone a complete transformation, from the 15 guest rooms to the modern farmhouse dining room complete with a long, communal table in front of the fireplace. And the cuisine is also refreshed: California Creative with a menu featuring shared plates. Welcome to the Gathering Table!
Chef Budi Kazali is still at the helm, consistently producing some of the top cuisine in the area. His style is to use local, organic produce to create favorite and innovative dishes, frequently with an Asian spice or flavor.
“Growing up in Indonesia, I crave some of the foods I had when I was young,” Kazali says. “And I’m lucky that Shu Takikawa is growing some of them right here in Los Olivos at The Garden of…”
Takikawa’s organic, clean produce is a result of him genuinely caring for the land and his lettuce is widely known as the best (he’s something of a master gardener and other farmers come to study under him). Kazali gets local sea bass and abalone from Santa Barbara area fishermen;
Takikawa is something of a mater gardener (other farmers come to study under him) whose organic, clean produce is a result of him genuinely caring for the land. Kazali gets produce like shishito peppers and yu choy from him, and local sea bass and abalone from Santa Barbara area fishermen. “It’s great to get such innovative stuff that’s such great quality – it really allows me to do something fun and challenging.”
To make the crispy sea bass, sautee shopped onion, garlic and corn until soft, then adds white wine and white miso and cook until reduced by half. Puree, then add butter and put on plate. Chop Shishito peppers and add to a cast iron pan on high heat. Cook until charred on one side, then add corn to get charred. Add tomatoes and basil, stir a few times and add salt and pepper and add to plate. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, then cook the fish skin side down until 75% done. Flip the fish and cook the other 25%, add salt and pepper and add to plate, then top with micro cilantro. Shiso Herb Crusted Tempura Abalone with daikon radish sprouts and Ogo seaweed also available this summer!