June 2015 - Please The Palate
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There is a saying in the wine biz that it  takes a lot of beer to make great wine. So, it seems only natural that a brewery would set up shop in Santa Barbara wine country.

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co

Jaime Dietenhofer grew up in Los Olivos and wanted to start a brewery when he was in high school. Perhaps it was in his blood, as he is of German heritage. But, his dad Jim laughed and told him to go to college. He went to Whitman in Walla Walla, Washington and researched beer while he was there. It was the mid-90s and breweries were growing in the Northwest. Jamie also studied abroad in Vienna, Austria for a year with his now wife Meighan. Between Austria and Germany, they visited a lot of biergartens. Jaime then attended graduate school at UCSB for economics and green development but his dream to own a brewery didn't die. Regardless, his father told him to get a job. Jaime Dietenhofer Jamie started pimping garages and started a business called Garage Envy. He did this for 12 years and had a show on the DIY Channel for 3 1/2 years. During this time, Jaime spent 15 years building his idea, interviewing over 140 brewers and writing a business plan. Then in 2008, he presented his idea again to his dad and this time his dad agreed to start a business with him. The economy was failing and they were able to purchase things cheaply. Then, in 2010, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company opened their doors. The first year they made 600 barrels, 1200 in the second year, 3600 in the third year, 8000 in the fourth year and 15,000-20,000 by the end of this year (their fifth year). Jamie and Jim Dietenhofer The main brewery and bar is in Buellton but they also have locations in downtown Santa Barbara (in the Funk Zone), Westlake Village and Arroyo Grande. Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co
The Little Door restaurant is like a little secret hideaway, but it's not a secret. The space on 3rd Street in West Hollywood has been known as a romantic French restaurant since it opened in 1996. It seems  to be tucked away but it's actually on a busy street and easy to find, if you are looking for it. In September (2014), The Little Door opened a second location, tucked out in the open on 26th Street, just south of San Vicente, in Santa Monica (across the street from the Brentwood Country Mart). The Little Door Santa Monica With ornate wrought iron fencing covering the entrance on 26th Street, it is easy to miss The Little Door Santa Monica, if you are not looking. There are no signs that pop out as you drive by. But, located in the former space of Mimi's, enter the "little door" and you are in a large open patio area. To the right is indoor dining and bar and there are two private rooms in the rear [who hadn't been to a bridal shower, baby shower or birthday lunch in those spaces when it was Mimi's?]. But what the Little Door Santa Monica offers is lots of outdoor dining space that will make you feel like you have been transported to a French Mediterranean village.....white washed walls with blue accents and lots of fresh greenery. While the space may be a perfect romantic destination at night, it is an ideal spot for a weekend brunch.