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Santa Barbara Trip Summary

To all,

Thanks for the replies and suggestions. A few clarifying thoughts:

glbtrtr: Your numerous posts were valuable during my pre-trip research. Thank you. Yes about Cold Spring Tavern's chili. It was very good. If I ever return there I'll try to remember to order the ribs. And (thanks Beach Chick), if it's daytime I'll take a little walk and find the bridge. Sounds like the style of croissant at Renaud's is pretty authentic. I'm definitely a fan. I'm rather surprised that you haven't been to Jeannine's. Looks like they have two S.B. locations and one in Montecito. We went to Montecito twice. An employee there told me that's their busiest location and has the nicest atmosphere.

I also wanted to clarify that I'm not upset about the experience at Chase. I really should have called when I realized we would be late. Their food was good.

My family and I really enjoyed our Santa Barbara trip.

Dec 19, 2011
Trep1 in California

Santa Barbara Trip Summary

Had a wonderful, relaxing time in Santa Barbara this week. Three days of eating as follows:

Day 1:
Breakfast at Jeannine's Restaurant, Montecito. The French Toast with bananas sauteed in Kahlua, brown sugar and butter - this was an amazing, unique experience. The breakfast quesadilla was full and satisfying. Also, the fruit was very fresh. If Mama's, San Francisco is too far, go to Jeannine's.

Lunch at La Super Rica. The line was very short, thanks probably to being a weekday and off-season. Got #1-Tacos de Bistec (steak tacos), #2-Tacos de Costilla (top round tacos), #9-Quesadilla, and special menu chicken enchiladas. And horchata. I was soooo tempted to get the #15-Tocino Especial (melted cheese with bacon) due to glbtrtr’s frequent positive comments about it, but I just needed more of a meal-like item. I’ll try it next time. The food was good. They do a very good job with their meats. The prices are low. The quesadilla was very nice.

Post lunch refresher – McConnell’s Ice Cream. Brazilian Coffee Chip. Perfect refresher after Mexican food. Beware: to get the ice cream shop on Google maps you have to type in “mc connells” or “ice cream”. If you type in “mcconnells” it doesn’t show you the shop. We ended up at their corporate office first.

Dinner at Chase. Had a minor adventure getting seated. We had reservations at 5:30. I drove by at 5:25 but had no idea about parking so ended up driving around for a while until we parked in one of those structures and ended getting to the restaurant at 5:42. We were told that they had given away our table but should be able to sit in about 15 minutes. At 6:00 they said they’re cleaning our table. At 6:15 they said they’re setting our table. We were seated a few minutes later. In retrospect, I should have called when we were parking and told them we’d be there in a couple minutes. Continuing on, the reservation was for two plus a high chair. When we were seated the hostess said there’s no high chair. I told my server that when we made reservations we said “two plus a high chair” and they accepted it. He said there should be one and went and found it. The server was good. Got lasagna and chicken piccata. Both were very good, but especially the chicken piccata.

Day 2:
Breakfast at Renaud’s. The staff was very friendly. Egg dishes were good and the croissants, like most people say, were great. A little more cooked/crispy on the outside than I’m used to but it worked well.

Lunch at Paradise Café. The burger was good but about par with, say, Islands. Not worthy of accolades. BLT was good, too.

Dinner at Cold Spring Tavern. Absolutely a unique experience. Romantic setting. Out in the middle of nowhere. One cool thing was getting out of my car and hearing a running brook. Loved the interior. Wood everywhere with older photos and art on the wall. Gas lamps at each table. Too bad the food wasn’t anywhere near the ambiance. The New York steak was of mediocre quality. The Elk chops were ok. The garlic mashed potatoes were a bit looser than I’d expect, lacking garlic, and consisting of too much sour cream.

Day 3:
Breakfast at Jeannine’s. Again. It was that good. Pancakes (great) and a breakfast burrito.

Lunch at Super Cuca’s on Micheltorena. Ok, this carne asada burrito is in my top 5 burritos of all time. Quality of ingredients, moisture and mix were all very good. Meat was better then Cold Spring. Also got a shrimp taco. That was very good. I kinda wish I could have picked it up. It is a taco after all. That’s ok. Had sticker-shock when ordering, but the size of these things…huge!

Then repeated McConnell’s for another scoop of Brazilian Coffee Chip.

Dec 18, 2011
Trep1 in California

Best Burgers in Los Angeles

I just had a burger at The Counter for the first time. Very unimpressive. Father's Office, 25 Degrees and Mortons are all far, far better. The meat and bun at The Counter were basically generic, grocery store quality. I don't know what all the fuss is about. Maybe because it's a burger place and people automatically think it must be good without even thinking about it.

Nov 28, 2009
Trep1 in Los Angeles Area

My 4-Day Seattle Trip

I'm with you. I'm anti feeding the birds, but there were signs there that said it was okay to feed the seagulls but not the pigeons. They are nasty.

Oct 12, 2009
Trep1 in Greater Seattle

My 4-Day Seattle Trip

My wife and I just returned from a Thu-Sun trip to Seattle. We did things tourists do, but here I'll focus on the food. Most of my pre-trip research is done using Chow.com, yelp.com, Zagat guides, and various google searches.

Day 1:
Flying out of Burbank gave us the benefit of eating breakfast at Porto's Bakery. We had Egg & Bacon Paninis, an Iced Chai Latte and an Iced Mocha (his & hers), and a Cheese Roll for good measure.

After arriving in Seattle, checking in to our hotel, and in time for a late lunch, we introduced ourselves to Seattle cuisine with burgers from Two Bells Tavern. I got the Tavern Burger, add Swiss; my wife got a Cheeseburger with Havarti. The patty in my Tavern Burger was juicy and thick. The sourdough roll was harder than typical burger buns/bread but worked fine. Bacon and grilled onions with the terrific patty combined to make this an exceptional burger. In my personal top 3.

For dinner we went to Thai Ginger, located on the 4th level of Pacific Place (shopping center). We ordered Beef Salad, Chicken Pad Thai and Panang Curry with Chicken. The dishes were served faster than seemed possible. Thai Ginger allows you to set the level of spiciness from 1 to 4. We opted for 2 on the salad and curry dishes. The meat in the Beef Salad was very tender. Seemed like a better cut than is typical. They used less fish oil than most. This salad was a winner. The Pad Thai came looking oily, but to my relief it was more a water-moist than oily. Tasted great. Sweet. The curry was very good, too. The service was friendly and upbeat. The meats in all three items were of excellent quality.

Over to Pike and then east opened up some nice coffee and dessert options. Some of the extra calories I didn't need to take in at Thai Ginger were burned off on the walk to Caffe Vita. Saw Quinn's on the way and made a mental note of its location since it's on my burger list. I'm not a true coffee drinker--I get the frou-frou drinks. So at Caffe Vita I got an Iced Vanilla Latte and my wife got an Iced Mocha (she's on an iced Mocha kick).

Another block east and we landed at Cupcake Royale (or is it called Verite Coffee?). Not sure of the official name of the joint but I got a cupcake named "Kate". She was chocolate with pink-colored vanilla icing. The cake was on the more dense side, not very moist but definitely not dry. Creamy icing topped it. The proportion of icing to cake was ideal. Not an overload of icing like many cupcakes.

Day 2:
Glo's on Olive for a late breakfast (slept in). Fantastic Eggs Benedict. Their Hollandaise with the egg, ham and tomato were great together. Fresh fruit was very fresh. Service was very slow and I never got the orange juice I ordered, but it was still worth it.

Later, while walking to the Space Needle we stopped at The Yellow Leaf Cupcake Company. Shared a very good cupcake--yellow cake with chocolate icing. The icing was two-part. There was a thin, dark chocolate coat on top of the cake, and then a more traditional chocolate icing on top. Very good, but I'd put Cupcake Royale a notch above it.

Through the telescope on top of the Space Needle I was able to see the Skillet-mobile, which was located at 1st and Republican that day from 11am to 2pm. I didn't see a line as I had read about. Looked kinda slow. I saw a couple of guys emerge from the metal thing for a smoke break.

Took a cab to Stumbling Goat for a burger. It was closed but the backup, Red Mill, which is about a half-minute walk away, was open. I got a Deluxe Bacon Cheeseburger. It was great, and while I'd put it in the top 3% of fast food burgers, I definitely have to disagree with epicurious putting in the top 12 in America or best in Seattle.

Caught the #5 bus back to downtown. Much cheaper than the cab ride up.

We were feeling like having some pizza for dinner that we could eat at the hotel. Walked over to Serious Pie and ordered their pizza with cherry bomb peppers and sweet fennel sausage. While waiting for the pizza I noticed that their pizzas were pretty small and might not be enough for two. We didn't want to order another, but we also didn't want to end up hungry later. Some people see a crisis. We saw an opportunity. Plan: honey waits for the pizza while I walk to Palace Kitchen and order a burger to go. It worked well--she and pizza showed up at Palace Kitchen only a couple minutes after I ordered a Palace Burger Royale with cheddar and bacon. Before the burger was ready we had a few minutes to walk to McDonalds for Coke and a Sprite. Very nice for washing down pizza and burger. Back to the hotel for chow time. Wow, that pizza was good. Really liked the dough. Reminded me of naan. The burger was really good. Very thick. Great taste & bun. The patty was mostly medium-rare, as I ordered it, except for the center, which was closer to raw. I'm still alive to write this so I guess all is well. The fries were thin, very good, but a little to salty.

Before retiring for the evening I brought the pizza box and buger containers downstairs to dispose of them so the room wouldn't smell. On the elevator ride back up with me there was a pizza delivery guy. I patted my stomach and told him I had some good pizza tonight myself. He asked me where from. I told him Serious Pie and he said he never hear of it. He said that his pizza was name best in Seattle for something like 12 years. I asked him who decided that and he said some TV station or something. The logo on his shirt was Pagliacci Pizza.

Day 3:
Brunch at Macrina Cafe. Love the atmosphere. We started with the warm pastry of the day--a Pear and Frangipan Braid. Got two entrees: 1) Brunch Cafe Special - corn bread topped with 2 eggs, crisp pancetta and tomato salsa. Served with herb roasted potatoes, organic green salad and seasonal fruit, and 2) Buttermilk Waffle topped with roasted cameo apples, vanilla sugar whipped cream and toasted pine nuts. Served with Zoe's applewood smoked bacon. Every item was excellent. I was also impressed by how the cook, visible behind the counter in a small working area, was able to turn out so many dishes. Very efficient. Everything she needed was within arm's reach in various drawers and trays. Sitting at the counter for this view was enjoyable. If I lived in Seattle I'd probably visit Macrina periodically. About half of their brunch menu changes each week. I'd enjoy discovering "What are they serving this weekend?".

Lunch at Ivar's Seafood Bar on the waterfront. Fish & Chips with Cajun spices. That was fun. Fed some fries to some seagulls. Some of those things are aggressive and mean. I threw some fries to some of the weak, brown ones that were bullied to the edges of the feeding area by the stronger (or meaner) gulls. That was something.

Enjoyed some (frou-frou) coffee drinks at Cherry Street Coffee House, Pioneer Square. Really liked the setting and decor of the basement-level lounge.

You'll never belive this. Maybe you will. Pretty tired and ready to crash, we didn't feel like going far for dinner. Did Two Bells again. This time I got the Bleu Burger. She got the hummus plate and a salad. The Tavern Burger is my favorite of the two burgers I tried there.

Cooled down with ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery. Mud Pie Mojo.

Day 4:
Slept in. Donuts and coffee at Top Pot. Donuts: Chocolate Sandcastle, Old Fashioned Glazed. Coffees: House Roast, Iced Vanilla Latte.

Lunch time already? Wife and I both craving pasta but not enough time to go to Spinasse or elsewhere. Walked to Il Fornaio. Didn't even get pasta. Shared and enjoyed a spinach salad and a risotto with chicken and broccoli.

At the airport shared a Mocha Ice Blended Frappe from Dilattante Chocolates. Haven't had much protein today. Got a Bagel Dog with Bacon & Cheese at Great American Bagel Bakery.

Other notes/questions:
1) The tap water in Seattle was good.

2) Didn't try but high priority next time I visit: burger at Stumbling Goat, burger at Quinn's, Thai Tom, Trophy Cupcake.

3) While at McDonalds for sodas I noticed a poster advertising their Frappes. They had Mocha and a Caramel. Anyone had it? Any good?

4) Is Pagliacci Pizza worth trying next time I'm in Seattle?

I'd love to hear any comments or questions about my visit.

Oct 11, 2009
Trep1 in Greater Seattle