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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

Brophy Brothers Santa Barbara

We also like Chuck's Waterfront Grill with its great view, heated outdoor tables (or indoor dining) which is right next to Brophy's along the same harbor walkway.
http://chuckswaterfrontgrill.com Straight forward steak etc, but always consistently good.

May 06, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Central coast seafood. Santa Barbara to Paso Robles on a budget.

Thanks for the tip about this Sunday pop-up - casual great fish you say in Santa Barbara? Sounds very welcome and certainly agree Handlebar is best for just pure naked coffee too - made me remember why I liked coffee in the first place.

May 05, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Osaka-ya (snow cones, ice cream, manju, mochi), Sacramento - anyone?

Totally agree about your mochi information, melanie and you described the great ones perfectly. I was settling for what I could find in my local area only which are good enough, compared to either nothing or these new commercial extended shelf life soft pillows.

They are much smaller that the usual ones I could get in Little Tokyo too. There is a moment between frozen and thaw that works best to get close to that fresh perfection texture, too little or too much and much is lost.

I would stop by Little Tokyo before going to the LAO and have a few for "dinner" before the opera and then at first take them home. But even by the next morning they had lost much/most of their former appeal.

Thus I learned if I bought them that day I would have to eat the whole six pack before I got back home - three before the opera and three on the drive back home - okay with me but kind of crazy mochi overkill for that short period of time. But no way was I going to "save them" which meant in fact waste them.

May 05, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Brophy Brothers Santa Barbara

Since you will be in the middle of the SB Harbor area at Sea Landing for whale watching, you can go several different directions for casual dining.

One direction is Stearns Wharf (east) has a CharBurger, fish and chips or the SB Shellfish Market -both for outdoor table dining.

Or the direction (west) of Brophy Bro for the more casual "In the Alley" which is in the ally right next to Brophy Bros. Or even venture up State Street to Yanonali or along Cabrillo Blvd to Anacapa and into the Funk Zone for Lucky Penny.

Personally I would choose either In the Alley by the Brophy Bros in the Harbor (west) , or SB Shellfish on the Wharf (east) which has a very decent Crab Louie salad.

May 04, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Osaka-ya (snow cones, ice cream, manju, mochi), Sacramento - anyone?

Speaking of mochi, I used to make special trips to Little Toyko in LA to get mochi at the bakery next to the FryingFish revolving sushi bar.

But of late they changed them to what I can only describe as "slimy" and lost all the wonderful snap and mouth feel of the former version. I got directed to another bakery in the area and had even worse luck.

Then I saw in our Santa Barbara area Indo China Market in the K-Mart shopping center (a gem of a market!) they carried frozen mochi which are finally like the ones I came to love from Little Tokyo. But meanwhile they also carrying those soft slimy "fresh" ones too. They bring the frozen ones up every Friday from LA - not cheap, but saves me a trip and I feel like I finally get the "good ones" again.

Brand for anyone having the same mochi meltdowns as I was having: Nishmoto Trading Company - brand name on package is in Japanese. Called in English Japanese Rice Cake - "Sanshoku Dango"

May 03, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Anything new in Paso Robles ...?

Not new, but we liked Artisan Cafe close by.

May 03, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Sta. Ynez wine recs

Not known for particularly great wines but certainly the best for off the beaten track is our own favorite drive out to Rancho Sisquoc Winery - pleasant wines, River Red always a new blend every year and the trip ...is worth the trip. http://www.ranchosisquoc.com

Hills have dried up to pale gold now but still its remoteness and history makes a good drive since you have a few days to spend in the area. You can loop around this area and pick up some of the others in the same drive. Though the Rancho Sisquoc grounds provide nice carry-along picnic spot with sweeping views of the out of the way valley.

Apr 22, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Central coast seafood. Santa Barbara to Paso Robles on a budget.

Side trip off 101 south of San Luis Obispo to Port San Luis, a little past Avila Beach - the Harford wharf has a walk-away crab cocktail from its working fish market that you can eat outdoors while watching the sea lions, if they are basking on the steps in the sun. Other dining choices also in this little detour community.http://www.avilabeachpier.com/informa...

Apr 20, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Marysville, CA area Indian??

List of venues who sell tickets for Punjabi-American Heritage events - might want to drop in and ask them which restaurant is their favorite:

Yuba city

Bollywood music house
(530) 673-5133
LA Merchandise
(530) 671-0439
Mann bro.
(530) 751-1439
Kashmir bazaar
(530) 674-2127
Bombay video
(530) 673-5133
Apna bazaar
(530) 751-2442
Punjab bazaar
(530) 673-4503
New Delhi Palace
(530) 673-7994

Apr 19, 2015
glbtrtr in California
1

Marysville, CA area Indian??

Large Sikh population of farmers in this area - Punjabi-American Heritage Festival on Memorial Day in Yuba City is a wonderful foodie event. Vegetarian.

However in Marysville itself, which is a very charming low-key small town and surprisingly undiscovered, explore the Chinese restaurants near the historic Chinese temple, the old West Silver Dollar Saloon by the river, and Brick's for coffee and breakfast, lunch on one of the main down town shopping streets. Fun to watch farmers drive up in their pick-ups in bib overalls ordering lattes. It is definitely the city's early morning watering hole to get a feeling for the place.

Apr 19, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Lake Tahoe in the summer

If there is enough water, river tubing down the Truckee and lunch at the River Ranch. Or a picnic on the lawns of the fabulous Ehrman Estate at the Sugar Pine Point state park near Homewood - or lunch at near by Sunnyside on their dock.

If you are there in July look for the Living History days events at the Sugar Pine Point park. http://laketahoelivinghistory.com They offer hot dogs and ice cream concessions during that event.

Apr 18, 2015
glbtrtr in California
1

Central coast seafood. Santa Barbara to Paso Robles on a budget.

Some Santa Barbara suggestions:

Happy hour specials at the BOAT HOUSE at Hendry's Beach in Santa Barbara - hours are odd for a main meal, but great specials and drink prices - standard stuff - fish and chips, calamari but can't beat the setting.

MAC'S FISH AND CHIPS on lower State Street in Santa Barbara. THE LURE in Ventura Old Town.

The Warm Seafood Salad at OPAL in Santa Barbara is also a good bistro dinner or lunch choice. The Ceviche tostada at CARLITO'S right across the street from Opal is a good light meal, even though it is listed as an appetizer.

I personally have not found just a good plain fish place in this town, but there are plenty of places that offer some kind of fish on their menu.

A reliable favorite for me for just plain salmon with little fuss is The PARADISE CAFE along with their incomparable chocolate mousse pie for dessert. Simple, plain but very well done modestly priced offerings. (But the real treat here is the Paradise burger)

SANTA BARBARA SHELL FISH on the wharf has a very decent crab louie for the price. And for salmon teriyaki combo dinners you just can't beat the various SUSHI-TERI places around town - my favorite is the original one on Bath Street at Carrillo in Santa Barbara.

HARBOR RESTAURANT, I believe has some seafood night specials so check out their website.

Apr 13, 2015
glbtrtr in California

santa barbara bound

Jane/Montecito Cafe: Good reliable food. Always a good choice. Not a star, but always a pleasure for solid consistency. Another sleeper in the same category is Crocodile on Upper State Street in the Lemon Tree Motel (of all places). But a nice, stylish setting with a well-selected and well-executed menu, plus coconut cake too.

A new one that is getting some good buzz but I have not tried myself is Barbareno at 205 West Canon Perdido - downtown. Love to get a chow report back on that one. Hard to know if local reviews are real or just good friends of the owners. (!) But it has made a good splash in an unlikely location so those are all good pluses for me.

Apr 05, 2015
glbtrtr in California

santa barbara bound

Thank you, it is always so helpful to get feedback. Glad you enjoyed yourself and I see this thread now is quite old and some places have already changed hands and new ones come about. Surprising really, now many are no longer there on that list just two years ago

But the view from the El Encanto on a clear day remains lovely no matter who runs it and their hamburger for lunch is a good enough way to enjoy it for anyone.

Now I would add SamaSama (Indonesian), Toma (replaced Emilio's), and SB Public Market for informal grazing, but very nice quality in all their offerings.

Apr 04, 2015
glbtrtr in California
1

Santa Barbara "Urban Trail" wineries

Metropolus on East Yanonali in the Funk Zone area is worth seeking out for lunch and deli items:

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

Mar 13, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Santa Barbara "Urban Trail" wineries

I don't think any of them have food service too. But there are restaurants close by in either The Funk Zone or Milpas Street. I wasn't crazy about The Lucky Penny in the Funk Zone for lunch, but others have liked it. Their pizzas sound better than their sandwich offerings.

Nothing else really close by for lunch, but a few blocks away puts you on Stearns Wharf and Cabrillo Blvd where there are some good lunch choices - Santa Barbara Shellfish has a good crab louie and outdoor tables on the wharf. A little further over is the SB Harbor where there are a lot of lunch choices - In the Alley is my own favorite there for lunch.

Jaffurs is closer to Milpas Street which has LaSuperRica taqueria, along with other more casual and ethnic spots - Thai, Mexican, Chinese

Mar 13, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Santa Barbara "Urban Trail" wineries

Link and map for the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail which is intended to be mainly walkable.

Many are in what is now called the Funk Zone around Yanoali Street and the SB Railway Station, so that area has a little more independent life than some of the other that are more remote on this list. The well-regarded Lark restaurant is in the Funk Zone.
http://urbanwinetrailsb.com/the-trail...

Is your concert at the County Bowl? Then the ones further away from the beach area would be closer and Jaffurs is the best pick for that off Milpas. Lots of casual dining choices on Milpas too.

Mar 12, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park - Boysenberry Pie (summer dessert) for over 50 yrs - who's tried it?

Thanks for the update. It does look pretty generic and formulaic. Don't blame you for being disappointed and I hope you let them know. Hate to think they are going back to their bad old days again.

I got the feeling from our last two visits that they were actually caring about what they were serving instead of just offering "food". And in this case just kind of food with unnecessary fake and drizzle fluff. That is so sad because good pie is so good and not all that hard if you just have the berries, sugar, flour and fat.

Mar 05, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Best of Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, Shell Beach, Arroyo Grande, or Oceano?

Snicker. I thought Jocko's ambience was better than the steak and their quantity over quality dining experience. It is a fun place to experience however.

Mar 04, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Help the newcomer learn the ropes! [moved from California board]

Ever indebted to CH for alerting me to Australian Bunderberg Ginger Beer - the best of the best. That is the sort of thing CH does for its readers.

Mar 02, 2015
glbtrtr in Site Talk

Palm Springs - grapefruits? Dates? Date shakes?

The Windmill people are friendly local folks who can give you tips where to find what your are looking for.

Mar 02, 2015
glbtrtr in California
1

Harbin - China - Ice Festival 2015

BTW: Our final breakfast before an early flight at the Harbin airport was in the little cafe where they gave us two large bags of peanuts in shells when we ordered "mixed nuts". It was either that or a bag of popcorn!

Help the newcomer learn the ropes! [moved from California board]

I use CH a lot for travel because I get local advice, well beyond what the tourist industry will offer, particularly when doing world wide travel. It is fun to eavesdrop on local foodie debates in new areas on the different boards where I will be visiting.

Chowhound for me is about good eating more than just fine dining. It is often robust, filling food, something unique, local, high ambiance, out of the way, well priced, unusual, seasonal ....... not just "gourmet". It includes the solid local favorite as well as what might be hot and trendy.

I often find I really like one dish at a restaurant and maybe not so much of what else is on the menu, so this is one other benefit of CH - what other diners you get to know also find worth seeking out among their own favorites and local hidden gems.

Went out of our way once to find a new restaurant at the Paso Robles airport a few years ago because of CH (Polarbear?) and it was a total surprise we never would have found by ourselves on our many drives up and down 101. So CH is also good for those who do road trips within the state. Many of ours have revolved around CH suggestions - the Ranch restaurant in Parkfield, CA was another CH tip.

Welcome. Things are pretty slow on the California board as we seem to have plowed a lot of the same turf for the past several years, but there is lots of action on other boards if you poke around when traveling.

I have far more trust in CH recs than with Yelp or TripAdvisor - by a mile with Yelp, which I find tedious and unreliable. But CH is a cut above in both discernment and attitude - these are folks who know their stuff and know a good deal when they see it too.

The other value is a research archive - again for local as well as travel. Invaluable

Mar 01, 2015
glbtrtr in Site Talk
1

Palm Springs - grapefruits? Dates? Date shakes?

My sister's grapefruit in her back yard is the best I have ever tasted anywhere in the world - hope you can get something similar. Something about this desert air and soil makes them sweet, juicy, flavorful and fabulous.

Mar 01, 2015
glbtrtr in California

What Is America's Worst Restaurant Chain?

IHOP is the best.

Feb 28, 2015
glbtrtr in Features

Palm Springs - grapefruits? Dates? Date shakes?

Best Date shakes: Windmill Market and Produce - Desert Hot Springs
https://plus.google.com/1144989134536...

The really great bus trip tours around Palm Springs gives you all sorts of dining and local tips - highly recommended. They stop at the Windmill Market ending all controversy about who has the best date shake, plus they sell whole dates including some of the very rare seasonal ones if you hit them at the right time. They are good for prepared carryout and deli items good. And 1950's sodas and kitsch.

Feb 28, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Trip Report - Santa Barbara in February

Happy to get a good report about Barbareno, please tell me more. Have not been there yet but happy to see this interesting neighborhood location get recycled again as a local dining spot.

Feb 21, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Trip Report - Santa Barbara in February

Thank you for your report with photos. We like the offerings at the Public Market too. Plus you encourage me to get down to the Lark after a highly disappointing meal at their companion place Lucky Penny.

Since you come here a lot, hard to know what else to add that you may have already tried, but if not be sure to take in Julienne and Toma. Sama Sama is also very good for their upbeat take on Indonesian.

The Las Positas shopping center in the San Roque neighborhood has Renaud's French Bakery and Via Maestra 42 for N. Italian. Worthy for the view at lunch is the El Encanto Hotel patio.

I still like the antipasto assortiti at Ca'Dario with an affogato for dessert, though it is not as good as it used to be in the past.

For an off the beaten-path kick if you have the time - the Santa Barbara City College Gourmet Dining room Culinary Dept does dinners with wine Thurs/Fri night in session or lunches every day - Friday is the easiest day to get parking there.

Yes, we think is is a fine place to live too. Venturing on to Milpas Street is worthy of a chowdown too- the new "Eat Street" in town for casual, ethnic places and new start-ups. Speaking of which GiannFranco's in Carpinteria is worth the drive.

Feb 16, 2015
glbtrtr in California

Fresno/Clovis Area Dining

What a wonderful list. We road-tripped to Fresno a while back to visit the quite fabulous underground Forestiere Gardens, and tried to make it a foodie trip at the same time. Wish we had your list at that time, though we were charmed by Trelio and Clovis, so it was a chow-worthy trip to recommend to anyone. We also visited the Greek diner in the downtown redevelopment square and a tamale place on the main commercial drag north of downtown. Stayed at the Garden Inn and were treated to all sorts of fresh fruit samples, grown on the property by the ex-pat Chinese gardener owners.

Feb 14, 2015
glbtrtr in California