Saturday, October 11, 2008

Every Day is Barbarella

It's only October 11, but already the neighborhood Cal-Ital bistro Barbarella in La Jolla Shores is decked out in enough Halloween decor to fill up a small store. Owner Barbara Beltaire is still a kid at heart and spends much of the year planning her display. The entire restaurant is draped in cobwebs, bats and witches; motion-activated black fuzzy spiders drop from the ceiling when diners least expect it.

The cocktail menu isn't left out when it comes to the Halloween fun; Barbarella offers a special menu of spooky seasonal drinks. The headliner is the Vampire Martini (right), a mix of Chambord, creme de coco and vodka with a chocolate rim; its garnished with plastic spider rings or gummy worms. The Captain Sparrow, combines pineapple juice, coconut cream and Pyrat Rum XO Reserve, a blend of 15-year-old Caribbean rums. It's an homage to the natty, eyeliner-wearing pirate played by Johnny Depp. My favorite though, is the Caramel Apple, which makes me think of the candied apples that were always a part of autumn in Chicago.

For more updates from food and drink expert Maria Hunt on the latest and best when it comes to cocktails, wine and cuisine, visit

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