Exploring Los Alamos, CA Like a Local

“We have a simple environment, a simple place to come and enjoy but sometimes simple is all you need.

— Jacob, LoFi Wines

When you arrive in Los Alamos, it truly feels as if all your worries drift away.

When I asked a resident how he would describe Los Alamos, he said “simple.”

Downtown Los Alamos, CA
Downtown Los Alamos

It’s a well, simple, word — yet, describes so much about this little town just northeast of Santa Barbara.

Nestled amongst endless, lush rolling hills and filled with serious hometown pride, you can’t help but feel the energy of this town, in every person you meet. A love for the food, the wine and the people that make this place home.

And, while the town may be small, the quality of its food and wine are not.

In about half a mile, you can walk down the town’s main street – Bell Street – experiencing local, specialty cuisine and natural, bio-dynamically-harvested wine.

When I travel, I love to talk with the locals. Locals hold the key to exploring any new city, with a resident’s lens. When I travel, I want to know: where the local’s favorite bar is, who makes the best food in town and what I have to do before I leave.

I talked with two locals to get the low-down on Los Alamos:

Local Expert: Nicole, works at Bodega Los Alamos

Local Expert: Nicole, works at Bodega Los Alamos

How would you describe Los Alamos?

“You can eat and drink your way through town within a couple hours and you’re eating from these amazing restaurants such as, Bell’s, Flatbread, Plenty, Bob’s and within that there’s lots of wine and just fun little shops – definitely a nice, low-key vacation spot.”

Bodega Los Alamos patio
Bodega Los Alamos

How would you describe Bodega Los Alamos, where you work?

“Our wine list is a little different from what you would typically find in the Santa Ynez Valley or Los Olivos. We bring in a bunch of international, all-natural, bio-dynamically-farmed wines. We have (wine) anywhere from Chile to Greece to Paris and it’s very eclectic, it’s very fun—there’s always something new here. Just pour yourself a glass of wine and you make yourself at home and hang out.”

Must-try wine spots:

Casa Dumetz: “Female winemaker by the name of Sonja. She is amazing. She makes beautiful red blends and right next to her tasting room is this place called Babi’s Beer Emporium so they pour her wine on tap as well as a bunch of funky beers kind of similar to what we got going on. That place is amazing.”

LoFi: “They’re amazing. They grow here. They’re all-natural, bio-dynamically-farmed. They do Cab Franc, Carbonic Cab Francs, Skin contact Sauvignon Blanc – that’s where you go for a little bit of the funk and a nice, good time.”

Tribute to Grace: “Female winemaker by the name of Angela. Beautiful, sweet woman. She is known as the queen of Grenache so you can have four different Grenaches sourced anywhere from Morro Bay to Los Olivos, Santa Barbara and it does not disappoint.”

Local Expert: Jacob, lives in Los Alamos and works at LoFi Wines

Local Expert: Jacob, lives in Los Alamos and works at LoFi Wines

How would you describe Los Alamos?

“Los Alamos is a little bit of a wine getaway … and very much a classic agricultural cattle-ranching town.”

How would you describe LoFi Wines?

“LoFi ties with our style of winemaking. So, low fidelity very much encompasses our natural winemaking style. In the winery itself, we’re very minimal intervention, low manipulation, not any additives to the wine and low Sulphur usage as well. We like to spin records here and we have a great record collection and all that really ties in with our hands on approach in the winery.”

Patio at Bell's with wine and fries

Must-eat when in Los Alamos:

“First thing, don’t go anywhere else. Bell’s. If I could eat there every other day, I would. Greg and Daisy are amazing human beings that just give exceptional hospitality. They got their start at per se in New York. A 3-star Michelin restaurant by Thomas Keller. They have the structure of fine dining and the understanding of genuine hospitality very much on point, but they give you a very comfortable and really easy to enjoy atmosphere –which I think is really, really key. Great wine list as well, good mix of international and domestic, which is always good to have balance.”

Elena’s Recommendations:

The Alamo Hotel room

STAY: The Alamo Motel — cozy rooms in the center of town, featuring a winery and fire pits with s’mores at night

TRY: Avocado toast from Bob’s Well Bakery

DRINK: Happy Hour at Bell’s — I still can’t forget the wine (and fries!) I tried: Foxen, Chenin Blanc from Ernesto Wickenden Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley 2017

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