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Need idea about finger food... Any review or comment will be of great help...

Lavosh roll-ups and sticking some creamed something on the end of endive has been done for some time now but always popular at our events. Something to avoid are things that take two hands because one is often juggling a drink in one hand already. No crackers that require spreading something with the other hand. Nothing that drips or breaks apart on the first bite.

Aug 24, 2015
glbtrtr in General Topics

Sisquoc (town) and Foxen Canyon Rd.

I can't comment on wine quality, but we always enjoy the drive going out to Rancho Sisquou, particulary when the hills are green. It is the most remote winery so if you are in the neighborhood I would include it for its beauty and history of the old church meeting hall that gave it its logo.

We like their reds and will gift their River Red because my DH knows wines better than me. But I don't think they are any secret award winners - just good solid well-produced wines. It has lovely, tree-shaded picnic grounds with a rustic but elegant tasting rom and is as still and quiet as the Valley can be.

Aug 20, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Fancy Santa Barbara lunch

Thanks for this report - Finch and Fork is right in the heart of Downtown at 31 West Carrillo in the luxury Hotel Canary.

Not a place that immediately comes to my local mind, but in the past I have also enjoyed both their food and the spacious urban chic setting for lunch.

Aug 15, 2015
glbtrtr in California
1

Fancy Santa Barbara lunch

For some reason we are now finding ourselves at The Paradise Cafe more and more for their simple, well-prepared grilled basics. Setting is old time, casual Santa Barbara funk, downtown, outdoor tables and they do have a full bar.

Agree with macdog, those are very nice more upscale lunch settings, the El Encanto being my own favorite but the food at the Biltmore has improved of late and San Ysidro is a classic. Wine Cask is another nice, more formal downtown lunch setting.

Tell us a little more what type of setting you are looking for - busy, private, elegant, casual, upscale, down home, location close to what? Assuming you want hard-liquor cocktails and not just beer and wine.

.............
Ooops ....sorry, I did not remember in your title you wanted "fancy" - then by all means stick with macdog's suggestions. Or try the Bacara Hotel which just went through a renovation of their dining options. http://www.bacararesort.com/best-sant...

Aug 14, 2015
glbtrtr in California

PASO ROBLES LUNCH AND DINNER

Not quite on topic, but just back from a stay at the SummerWood Inn in Paso Robles, a wine estate inn just a few miles from downtown Paso. They specialize in appetizers, wine tasting, dessert and breakfast for their guests (only) - really top rate in the food category, if one is considering this type of stay in this remarkably scenic area.

A walk up the road from the Inn, one finds winery after winery. I say this still stunned having known Paso Robles for so many decades - who knew it would ever end up like this, after so long as a funky little Appalachia backwater.

Aug 12, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Pismo, Monterey, and something in between

I need to add those appetizers are served at the McLintock's bar only - a big horseshoe shaped affair - plenty of space to have nice draft beer and enjoy your "appetizers" and avoid the wait, the prices and the overkill portions in the main dining room.

Jul 31, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Pismo, Monterey, and something in between

Pismo has a lot of places with high recommendations. If you search this website for Pismo Beach you will come up with many of them. It was almost as if this was a secret gourmet get-away instead of the gritty tourist town it looks like on the surface.

My own favorite is Mo'BBQ - Philthy Phil ribs and we go out of our way all the time just to pass through Pismo to get them. I also like the array of saltwater taffy at HotLix- though I always stick with the coffee flavor myself.

If teens are still in love with James Dean, you can take a detour to where he died and get some great items at the Jack Ranch Cafe in Cholome East on Highway 46 - out of the way but you are kind of in the neighborhood and their peanut butter pie and tuna melt is worth the extra drive.

But elsewhere in Pismo is the Splash Cafe and their clam chowder also has people waiting around the block. There are also Thai and Mexican places that continue to get rave reviews here. Plus I always enjoyed the "steak pieces and potato skillet" they serve as a appetizer (its a meal) at McClintok's in Pismo too.

Jul 30, 2015
glbtrtr in California

NEW CUYAMA - venerable Buckhorn Cafe re-opens 2015

Deserves a new thread and title - the vernable old buffalo burger cafe the BUCKHORN in the remote Cuyama Valley has a new owner and getting some very nice reviews.

It apparently has continued its quirky menu offerings, plus plenty of old standards too. No longer a fly-in air strip, but the motel rooms are getting redone so this can be a worthy road-trip destination for those further afield.

On my list now, so will report back later.

Jul 28, 2015
glbtrtr in California

NEW CUYAMA-Buckhorn now closed

Thank you for this highly appreciated update. Worth trip into our local back country.

Jul 28, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Central California coast recommendations

Which route into Highway One? Where will you cut off 101 to Highway 1 to get to San Simeon?

Both open for lunch:

Mo's BBQ (Philty Phil Ribs) in Pismo is always our go to meat-eating spot but their sides of BBQ beans and cole slaw are also really superb and freshly made too.

Copper Cafe at the Madonna Inn just south of San Luis Obispo is a surprise and always very fresh - more comfort food with pretty lavish desserts - home made.

Both of these are old-time places - not trendy or foodie. Just good, reliable road food and unique setting locally run operations.

A wander through the back country to Orcutt on your way to Highway One offers the ranch food items at the Far Western Tavern in the old part of Orcutt. Meat- yes, their speciality but lighter and local fare too.

http://www.farwesterntavern.com/lunch/

Jul 26, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Central Coast - buy fresh lima beans?

Limas is what brought in the large numbers of Dutch farmers to this area - limas were very popular until after WWII. Then tastes changed and the Dutch started growing flowers instead and still own many of the large green-house operations in this part of coastal California.

DH has a mid-western lima bean- sour cream - bacon recipe that is beyond delicious. My favorite is a lima bean- Italian tuna - mustard/herb vinaigrette -cold salad.

Jul 18, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Central Coast - buy fresh lima beans?

Mission accomplished. Saturday Santa Barbara Farmers Market - McGrath Farms booth- limas - shelled or unshelled. Says he has them between mid July and November. Not cheap.

Thank you Melanie, you are a remarkable resource. You certainly hit a home run this time: both source and location.

Jul 18, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Anything good or noteworthy around Silver Lake?

Did an extensive Gold County road trip a while back and it was pretty much a culinary wasteland, except for the novelty of eating "American". But times and tastes have changed even in the past few years. Hope you uncover some of those gems. Regardless, sounds like it will be a good trip anyway.

My favorite fresh fish and pie place is on the other side of the Sierras - south of Mammoth - Rock Creek lodge - blackberry pie - umm, umm.

Jul 17, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Anything good or noteworthy around Silver Lake?

Sorry, the only Silver Lake I know is in downtown LA. Where is your Silver Lake?

Jul 17, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Central Coast - buy fresh lima beans?

Wow, even better tip. We will take a look this Saturday in Santa Barbara. Otherwise we will make the drive to Camarillo and check them out.

Jul 16, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Central Coast - buy fresh lima beans?

Worth a trip - thanks for the tip, Melanie.

Jul 15, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Central Coast - buy fresh lima beans?

Lima beans used to be the biggest crop on the Central Coast.

Now I have no idea where to buy fresh one since our garden did not produce any this year. Any suggestions between Ventura and Lompoc?

Thanks.

Jul 14, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Recommendations for August Cali Trip!

Been driving the 101 for almost 50 years and love the sweep of the land - it is a virtually untouched landscape, even though California has changed so much. Rolling hills converted to vineyards from pasture land has been the most notable change as the Calif wine industry exploded over the same period of time.

The delight of CH over the years has been to learn how many great dining spots it also offers when one's first impression is a chain restaurant waste-land when viewed only from the highway.

Agree, the full length of Highway I becomes tedious driving - an endurance test more than an enjoyable amble. Picking the unique dining stops up and down 101 works better for those who need to drive this route routinely. But everyone does have to do Highway 1 - once. Lacking cafes for scenic lingering is one of its drawbacks.

As a native Californian, it is renewing and refreshing to drive 101 - it goes back to the roots (heh, heh) of this state and a reminder somethings have remained timeless.

Jul 11, 2015
glbtrtr in California
1

Recommendations for August Cali Trip!

Tuesday afternoon is the State Street Farmers Market in Santa Barbara. Not worth a trip, but you might be passing through at that time.

http://www.sbfarmersmarket.org/farmer...

Jul 10, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Recommendations for August Cali Trip!

It ain't Frisco neither, though I think Slow Town is okay for SLO. And we are not Barbarians in SB. Cali is a gangsta drug cartel moniker. Now how to turn this into ...food for thought..... to keep this within CH posting guidelines. Because it is unappetizing to hear it called "Cali". Also just sayin' and the OP sounds like a very nice person.

Jul 10, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Recommendations for August Cali Trip!

Abel-skievers (round pancake balls) and spicy polse sausages.

Jul 10, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Recommendations for August Cali Trip!

Paula's Pancakes in Beullton, off Highway 101 also gets good reviews for breakfasts - Danish style.

Jul 10, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Recommendations for August Cali Trip!

Thanks for these tips - even us locals love hearing about new places for a day trip.

Agree, the LA board is best for asian and hope you don't overlook the Korean BBQ choices found in the old, historic Chapman Market on 6th street, one block up from Wilshire. Classic "old" ( less than 100 yrs!) architecture saved from the wrecking ball - site of California's first drive in grocery store.

Jul 10, 2015
glbtrtr in California
1

Recommendations for August Cali Trip!

Some people are very fond of Jocko's in Nipomo, just off the freeway too in a quaint little small town but I found it to be more volume than quality myself. A must do for the sheer local vibes of the experience only if you live around here, but not worth the detour if you do not.

Jul 10, 2015
glbtrtr in California
1

Recommendations for August Cali Trip!

Welcome to Calif - number one is to visit the Chowhound LA board for the LA recs. Number two is to leave room for the Toffee Crunch cake at the Madonna Inn.

My favorite road stop along Highway One south of San Luis Obispo (SLO - Madonna Inn) is Mo's BBQ in PISMO BEACH and a visit to the saltwater taffy shop called HotLix on the same street that ends at the city wharf - funky, down beat beach town, none of the SoCal glamour but lots of good small eating places to explore. Others love the Clam Chowder (NE style) at Splash Cafe on the same main street. Search the Pismo Beach threads for other good suggestions.

However, in Pismo we never get past Mo's BBQ and its Philthy Phil pork ribs with all the delicious sides: beans, cole slaw and a cornmeal muffin with honey butter. Very casual place. Order at the cashier and they bring it to your table.

SANTA BARBARA is the obvious stop between SLO and LA and there are comprehensive threads already posted here listing the dining high points. Though of late I am finding myself going back for the hamburger and chocolate mousse pie at the funky, local Paradise Cafe more than its more upscale offerings. Though a dinner at Julienne is a worthy stop.

If you want to capture the feeling of a remote oceanside, palm tree lined beach setting and not worry too much about its sadly more pedestrian food options (salads, sandwiches okay), visit the Shoals restaurant right off the highway in LAS CONCHITAS, south of Santa Barbara and CARPINTERIA. Waves crashing in the distance, but a wind free patio view poolside really says it all for Southern California, without the crowds and craziness. This is a place to chill in the sun for a while, if you get the contradiction.

A very scenic detour is the Highway 154 cut off from Highway 101 (Highway 1) (drive carefully because this is a dangerous stretch of narrow highway frequented by often impaired Indian casino and SANTA YNEZ VALLEY wine tasting customers).

Drive through the back wine country, sample the Danish offerings in the town of SOLVANG, dinner at the superb Ballard Inn in BALLARD, the eclectic offerings of LOS OLIVOS (Movie Sideways), or the deli items at the Los Olivos Market. Or the good restaurant choices one can find in the very tiny town of SANTA YNEZ. But the most scenic off the beaten path choice is the historic stage coach stop Cold Springs Tavern off San Marcos Pass (Hwy 154)

Speaking of CARPINTERIA which is another sleepy dining spot south of Santa Barbara, we are always pleased with the young chef's take on Italian - Sicilian touches - at Giannfranco's.

For something really off the beaten path east of PASO ROBLES try either the V-Ranch Cafe in the tiny 18 population burg of PARKFIELD (grass-fed steaks) which is the epicenter for earthquake activity in this state, or Jack Ranch in CHOLOME where James Dean met his untimely death (Tuna melt and peanut butter pie.) Both of these are found on Highway 46 - east of Paso Robles - an hour drive away. The really interesting way to approach Parkfield is to take the country drive out of the little Mission town just north of Paso Robles - name escapes me now but a map will show this country road.

Another worthy detour is to explore the old town of ORCUTT and the Far Western cafe - old time local ranch style in its new setting, after a move out of its original train stop bordello building in Guadalupe. But it still delivers its take on steaks and ranch fixings.

Some good wine tasting on the small Far Out Wineries route going east outside of Paso Robles on Peachy Canyon Road. (they have a website for directions)

Oh, oh, oh -- so many choices, so little time ......enjoy!

Warning, we are so much prettier when there is rain to turn the hills emerald green so much of this country will be parched brown when you visit. Though the rolling hills of vineyards still seem to keep their green leaves.

Jul 10, 2015
glbtrtr in California
1

Shanghai Lumpia @ Gabilan Pizza in Soledad

Thanks for the tip. Always looking for the unusual on this Highway 101 route. Reminds me also to return for the opulent Toffee Crunch cake at the Madonna Inn - one of a kind and worth the calories -- occasionally.

Jul 04, 2015
glbtrtr in California

SANTA BARBARA: Barbareno - dinner report

Repeat from a prior thread about Santa Barbara - new restaurant at West Canon Perdido and DelaVina in downtown Santa Barbara - parking onsite and on street

BARBARENO report: Thanks for the nudge to get here. We tried it tonight. I think it makes a very good choice and is a very nice new addition to Santa Barbara, unique in several ways.

Thurs night - very full after 7:30 so make reservations as this place has really caught on with the 30 something crowd. Couples, solos at the bar, large dinner parties, out door dining, neighborhood crowd and just generally a nice place .Very congenial service and lovely rustic, shabby chic decor - which is quite stunning since I remember it when it was a local self-service deli.

Creative menu with a "historic and local" twist to their menu choices. This is the place to try "tri-tip with local piquinto beans" which is a local classic that usually takes going to an out door fund-raiser BBQ to get it done right. But this version was right on point for savory, juicy tri tip and a more refined way to get the typical sides.

Started with a slice of their homemade sour dough bread with at bit fresh garlic seasoned salt house made butter: Divine - best bread in town and I could have stopped right there and spent the rest of the night eating more of that wonderful bread. But moving on .....

We shared their appetizer special that offered three very unique taste tempters, each special in flavor, texture, balance and execution. Chopped delicate beets on a lime-rose water geleƩ in a parmesan tiny tart crust .. that was one so you can see they have fun with flavors here.

I had the hamburger because I always think this can be a real test of a kitchen and it was good, not great but a worthy choice if the mood strikes you. I still am comparing a dinner burger with Hungry Cat back in their good old days and even they can't replicate it when they got it 100% right. So this was a fine alternative just not a great one. So I am sorry I had not tried their other menu items instead but will return for sure. DH loved his tri-tip.

Had to find some room for dessert and again DH picked the winner - beignets with pistachio marzipan filling - plenty to share for two people, if you just order one. I had the muffet-tuffet - which was a nice, dense chocolate like "lava cake" except it was not, but you get the idea.

The additions of fresh herbs in all dishes put everything into the higher level of care about flavor counter-point here. So the fresh mint on my Muffet-Tuffet balanced the dense, heavy chocolate in this choice.

They try to replicate local dishes with a sense of history - back to the mission and ranchero days, so this menu is more rustic than refined, but also refined far more than rustic. You'll get it, when you go there. Earnest food, honest food, well-presented, creatively executed and highly satisfying.

I think it is a perfect place to take guests because it is a very stylish venture away from the tourist heavy old reliables on State Street, has very nice young energy to the place, care for the flavors and a very comfortable setting with just enough elegance to feel you have dined out well.

Handlebar coffee available so if you are local, you know this is where you get coffee in this town- just bare naked coffee because it tastes like coffee. This place cares about what you get to put in your mouth.

Dinner for two with two glasses of wine: $113.

May 29, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Trip Report - Santa Barbara in February

BARBARENO report: Thanks for the nudge to get here. We tried it tonight. I think it makes a very good choice and is a very nice new addition to Santa Barbara, unique in several ways.

Thurs night - very full after 7:30 so make reservations as this place has really caught on with the 30 something crowd. Couples, solos at the bar, large dinner parties, out door dining, neighborhood crowd and just generally a nice place .Very congenial service and lovely rustic, shabby chic decor - which is quite stunning since I remember it when it was a local self-service deli.

Creative menu with a "historic and local" twist to their menu choices. This is the place to try "tri-tip with local piquinto beans" which is a local classic that usually takes going to an out door fund-raiser BBQ to get it done right. But this version was right on point for savory, juicy tri tip and a more refined way to get the typical sides.

We shared their appetizer special that offered three very unique taste tempters, each special in flavor, texture, balance and execution. Chopped delicate beets on a lime-rose water geleƩ in a parmesan tiny tart crust .. that was one so you can see they have fun with flavors here.

I had the hamburger because I always think this can be a real test of a kitchen and it was good, not great but a worthy choice if the mood strikes you. I still am comparing a dinner burger with Hungry Cat back in their good old days and even they can't replicate it when they got it 100% right. So this was a fine alternative just not a great one. So I am sorry I had not tried their other menu items instead but will return for sure. DH loved his tri-tip.

Had to find some room for dessert and again DH picked the winner - beignets with pistachio marzipan filling - plenty to share for two people, if you just order one. I had the muffet-tuffet - which was a nice, dense chocolate like "lava cake" except it was not, but you get the idea.

The additions of fresh herbs in all dishes put everything into the higher level of care about flavor counter-point here. So the fresh mint on my Muffet-Tuffet balanced the dense, heavy chocolate in this choice.

They try to replicate local dishes with a sense of history - back to the mission and ranchero days, so this menu is more rustic than refined, but also refined far more than rustic. You'll get it, when you go there. Earnest food, honest food, well-presented, creatively executed and highly satisfying.

I think it is a perfect place to take guests because it is a very stylish venture away from the tourist heavy old reliables on State Street, has very nice young energy to the place, care for the flavors and a very comfortable setting with just enough elegance to feel you have dined out well.

Handlebar coffee available so if you are local, you know this is where you get coffee in this town- just bare naked coffee because it tastes like coffee. This place cares about what you get to put in your mouth.

Dinner for two with two glasses of wine: $113.

May 28, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Trip Report - Santa Barbara in February

Thank you. No, I have not been to Barbareno yet and quite honestly it slipped my mind so thanks for the reminder. Not going out so much any longer so hope another more active Santa Barbaran comes along to pick up the slack.

Local reviews still coming in good, but one must always be on guard on this local site for the BFF "awesome Yelp" factor. It does sounds like it is still a worthy choice and if it is missing the mark, it also sounds like a place that would listen to what you had to suggest, instead of give attitude.

http://www.santabarbara.com/dining/re...

May 27, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Large Group in Santa Barbara - Kids!

1. Palapa has a cute outdoor patio on Upper State. Mexican.

http://www.santabarbara.com/dining/re...

Kid's menu at Palapa, plus they have a pre-order "family pack" for units of four and a separate room you could arrange for about $10 each kid. Less for the solo items off the kids menu and it offers dessert and drink.
http://palaparestaurant.com/kids-menu/

2. Boathouse at Hendry's Beach for Happy Hour - (check times) has large outdoor patio and right on the beach. Good choices but tight parking.
http://www.sbfishhouse.com/boathouse/...

3. Giovanni's Pizza on Upper State is our favorite - typical pizza place, very casual, mainly take out so you might have the place to yourself - large picnic type tables.

4. Another possibility is to try the food courts at the UCSB campus - UCen is the student center in the middle of the campus - and do a campus tour at the same time.

Need to check times they are open for a Saturday - and parking can be a problem but it is a great setting, open tables and over a lovely lagoon. Any noise they make will get quickly lost in this setting. Could be fun .....and educational.

http://www.santabarbara.com/dining/re...

5. The town of Isla Vista right next to the campus has lots of casual student places - though things can get busy on a Saturday night if UCSB classes are still in session. If not, then you might have the place pretty much to yourself.

May 18, 2015
glbtrtr in California