Mate Gallery Is Tripling in Size

••• After ten years making the very most of a tiny space in the Montecito Country Mart, Mate Gallery is moving to half of the former Montecito Natural Foods storefront. With three times the room, founders Ron Brand and Matt Albiani are excited to be able to feature “larger items and more substantial home decor,” as well as the cool mix of new and vintage that Mate is famous for. They expect to be open by October. And no word yet on who will be taking Mate’s current shop or the space next to Bettina.

••• Bungalo805, the private club for families, has made a pivot toward childcare, partnering with WeVillage Flexible Childcare Centers. From founder Erin Kanaley: “Bungalo805 will reopen as WeClub (with snack shop, classes, and events) and the space will be shared with full-time and flexible childcare for littles 0-5. We will eventually offer camps and after-school programs. The space will be available for private events as well.”

••• The Bellosguardo Foundation posted photos of the property’s beach house and cabanas, which aren’t on the tour when I went in December. (I’d embed the post, but Instagram appears to be busted.) The structures “were there before Bellosguardo. Likely built for the Graham Estate,” according to a comment posted by the foundation.

••• T. asked for an update on the smart meters that the Montecito Water District has been working on for years now. Good news: the organization says the goal is to have them up and running by “late 2023.” And the website was updated thus: “Customer water meters were upgraded in 2020 as part of the District’s ongoing Capital Improvement Program. In addition to a new meter at each site in the District, the upgrade includes a transmitter that will send data to receivers by radio (aka the ‘smart’ part of the meter). Implementation was delayed due to the recent pandemic-related global chip shortage, however data collection supplies have been delivered, and the Smart Meters are now operational and being tested internally. As soon as testing is complete, District customers will receive an update with information on how to access their account usage information online.”

••• Some Biltmore scuttlebutt: I hear that while the Four Seasons is doing everything it can to make a deal with Ty Warner about the New York City flagship hotel, an agreement regarding the Biltmore is looking increasingly unlikely.

••• The Steward hotel, as the former Pacifica Suites at Hollister Avenue and Highway 217 is being called, has reopened after getting redone. I was going to take a look in person (and may yet), but inertia won. Also, I was a little irritated by the website, which makes dubious claims that avocado toast is “rumored to have been conceived on these grounds” and that the hotel is “nestled between the Pacific Ocean and wine country—just 10 minutes away in either direction.” The rooms, all of which are suites, look nice, though.


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I’m curious about what others think regarding marketing like the Steward avocado toast claim. When I reach such apocryphal stories I tend to doubt the veracity of anything on their website.

ES Corchero

Agreed! And of course, this was a good 3 in the afternoon diversion from my own work and life. Hey Google, where did avocado toast originate? The answer seems fuzzy, but no mention of this quaint (the grounds are beautiful) hotel. Go figure.,empire%2C%20with%20originating%20the%20toast.

Allyn Fleming

My mom made avocado toast on salt-rising bread beginning in the 1950s. Yum! Where can I find that bread now?


Van de Kamp used to make. I remember that smell of it toasting, like stinky gym socks but boy was it good. Nowadays you have to make it if you want it. In California anyway.


Did anyone really think that Bungalow 805 concept would succeed? The belief that families want a members-only social club to take their kids to instead of childcare was completely misguided.

ES Corchero

Is it just me or what I love about Mate Gallery is how tiny it is?
I hope the expansion goes well — unlike the previous men’s clothing shop they opened next door (briefly) to their current location. Gulp.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the shop — but is a bigger footprint always success?

Mate Gallery

Thanks ES!

Running a shop for ten years out of 150 sq feet is no small feat. We hope you’ll be pleased shopping in a normal sized store! There will be no shortage of charm.

And running two stores during a pandemic was not feasible (gulp).

-Your friends at Mate Gallery