NIK BLASKOVICH PHOTO
January 18, 2008 11:57 AM
You don’t have to wait for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival for Hollywood to come to Santa Barbara. In fact, Hollywood already works the bar at Trattoria Vittoria, the hot Italian restaurant in town. Charlie Manzo, or “Hollywood” to his fans, has been tipping and flipping tipple for the restaurant since its Valentine’s Day grand opening. When he’s not managing the bar here, he’ll likely be found at Stateside where he DJs.
When our gang rolled up on Thursday night, we were lucky to grab the last seats at the end of the bar — the rest of the restaurant was packed. Up first on the menu was the Mixed Berry, a mix of three flavored Stoli vodkas (blueberry, raspberry and black cherry), fresh muddled berries and a splash of Chambord. The drink comes served in a midnight blue martini glass with a sprig of mint, so none of us really knew what the cocktail looked like. Sweet up front, but with a tart, sour aftertaste — whether this was a vagary of the sometimes-sour berries, we couldn’t say.
Hollywood returned with a shooter/chaser called the Sweet Tart, a pleasing mix of Southern Comfort, Red Bull, fresh lime juice and orange juice, straight from his own recipe book. Southern Comfort and Red Bull make fine bedfellows, strangely enough, as they seem quite close on the taste spectrum.
A few more friends joined us, and soon the orders were coming two-fold. More drinks to sample? We were set. The peach bellini balances the tartness of the champagne with the sweetness of the peach puree. Hollywood disappeared down the far end of the bar near the classical “order-up” archway that looks into the kitchen, and returned with a blazingly red cocktail in a martini glass. At first the color threw us off as to what we were tasting, but soon we figured it out (or rather, Hollywood told us): a mix of Malibu rum, sour apple mix, cranberry juice and a dash of Sprite.
Stuck for a name for this just-realized concoction, we polled our companions and chose the obvious: Hollywood. And because we were surrounded by delicious food — especially desserts — our cocktail of the week choice has to go to the Liquid Tiramisu, which is, as they say about some power drinks, a meal in itself. Creamy, sweet and a little bitter, this is a beautiful cake-in-a-blender type of drink.
2 oz. Espresso
2 oz. Faretti Biscotti
1 oz. Dulseda
1/2 oz. Vanilla Stoli Vodka
Combine in shaker and add ice. Shake and strain into martini glass.
30 E. Victoria St.
Hours: Dinner: 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
Lunch:11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday
©2008 Santa Barbara News-Press