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Just back from Buenos Aires -- lots of "don't miss" places...

Thanks for your report. Am heading down that way again in a few months. I remember all the great "meat" restaurants and the devine chimmichurri sauces each offered .Had forgotten there were gelato shops on almost every block. This is a foodie paradise city. Things were pretty cheap when I was there a few years ago. How did you find the prices now?

about 5 hours ago
glbtrtr in Latin America & Caribbean

Santa Barbara/San Ysidro

I always knock off points for every use of the words "amazing" and "awesome", and then add points back on if they had a hissy fit over some service malfunction and took it out on the whole restaurant.

Bottomline: nothing is really terrible in SB, nor is anything really earth-shattering. Most are nice enough, or else they wouldn't still be here. Though low-common denominator sells often as well as striving for the high marks. It is Chowhound country - good grub found in lots of places.

Go to Michelin if one wants more discernment. If there is any lesson about this town, it is even the great places stumble, and the humble consistently surprise.

1 day ago
glbtrtr in California
1

Santa Barbara/San Ysidro

I do not consider these to be the most reliable reviews and sometimes suspect in their raves and pans, but here is what the local reviews are saying about the StoneHouse:

http://www.santabarbara.com/dining/review_read.asp?pk_restaurant=792

On the other hand, Plow and Angel seems to still please --go figure, same kitchen:

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

1 day ago
glbtrtr in California

Santa Barbara/San Ysidro

SYR is too expensive for most locals to bother with, same for the newly opened El Encanto. There are too many other more accessible good spots, plus some low-down local ones we tend to frequent as well.

SamaSama is currently closed for renovations and not sure when it will re-open, but agree it is a very good choice.

Others that are relative new comers getting a buzz but I have not been to myself are Toma on Cabrillo Blvd that used to be Emilios, and the new Peruvian-fusion LA chef at the Hotel Indigo restaurant that used to be the Anchor Fire Grill. Arlington Tavern next to Ensemble Theater,is also apparently greatly improved under its new ownership, but have not been there myself.

For casual dining and food shopping experience be sure to visit the newly opened Santa Barbara Public Market near the Arlington Theater in the heart of the downtown restaurant zone. Everything we sampled on our first run through was very good: Crazy Good Bread croissants, Green Star Coffee and Rori's Ice Cream - hey, we snacked and grazed first time through.

My own favorites in this same area around the Arlington Theater are Scarlett Begonia (B, L or D), Downey's (D), Julienne (D), Renaud's (B or L) and the antipasto plate with an affogato at Ca Dario's for lunch.

Was not impressed with Lucky Penny in the Funk Zone for lunch at all, a companion daytime restaurant to The Lark, and one of the few (only?) places open for food in this new area mid-day.

Since you will be in Montecito, you might want to head towards Carpinteria and the very good take on Italian (Sicilian) at Gianfranco's on Linden Ave. A surprise dining secret in this little town.

2 days ago
glbtrtr in California

One night in Santa barbara

My first very early review of SamaSama chided them about their spartan setting saying their food deserved a far better showcase. With all the lush Indonesian arts and crafts for possible inspiration, it will be interesting to see which way their new decor goes.

Theirs is a classic local success story. Start small, deliver the goods and build loyalty and value. Not quite the formula used across the street at the now defunct Maggie's, was it? Start large and fail to win over anyone. Crash.

Worst legacy of Maggie's (former State and A corner) was building that gloomy patio overhead which is now apparently too expensive to remove, permanentlylosing one of the best outdoor patio dining scenes on State Street.

Apr 19, 2014
glbtrtr in California

3 Nights in Goleta -- Searching for Santa Babara's Three Best Restaurants

Looks like you are in good company at Nikkas …. shhhhhh! Sounds like a hit. Thanks again for the tip.

http://www.santabarbara.com/dining/review_read.asp?pk_restaurant=1739

Nikka's website but warned this shows only part of what they offer: http://www.nikkafmgrill.com

Apr 18, 2014
glbtrtr in California

One night in Santa barbara

Just down that way in the Funk Zone in the middle of the day when things are really dead so be sure to hit the Funk Zone in the evening hours.

Tried the Lucky Penny for lunch which is the daytime companion to The Lark - won't be back nor did the Lark menu look appealing enough to try either.

But agree, this is the new happening place so give it a try. It is a new center of creativity and enterprise in this town and deserves exploration. A couple of other places are of intrigue down there too - see if you can get the Walking Tour booklet because venues are a bit scattered around a former industrial area.

Apr 18, 2014
glbtrtr in California

3 Nights in Goleta -- Searching for Santa Babara's Three Best Restaurants

When you are local you learn there are lots of "best" restaurants, or best items at many different indifferent restaurants but they never jump to the top of anyone's big time list. Thanks for the tip.

Apr 17, 2014
glbtrtr in California

One night in Santa barbara

Stop by the newly opened Santa Barbara Public Market in the same area and graze a bit too.

You have some good picks. Hope your appetite holds up to match their offerings. (!). I stopped going to Hungry Cat so it will be good to get your updated report.

Apr 17, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Lake Tahoe Lunches

See if the West Shore Cafe is open yet for the season in Homewood, or try Sunnyside in the same area - both for lake views and good dining. http://www.westshorecafe.com

Great lake views also from the historic Ehrman Mansion at the Sugar Pine Point state park in the same area - take a picnic here or a pre-or post meal sojourn. http://www.sierranevadageotourism.org...

Apr 16, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Lake Tahoe Lunches

South or Northshore, Calif side or Nevada side - long drive between the two. Best sunset views from the Nevada side.

Apr 16, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Santa Barbara: Public Market near Arlington Theater now open

Think they were trying to shoot for somewhere between basic needs shopping and a boutique deli, but with the food court activity thrown in as an entertainment destination as well.

They are similar to Cantwells and/or Tri Counties for their general groceries line, but with more product variety depth.

It is new concept for our town to combine the two -- particularly downtown with an intent to pick up street traffic. Will they become the grocery shopping choices for the growing numbers of downtown dwellers?

Time will tell. I hope it works for all concerned. They are filling a food source need for the downtown condo dwellers who only had the humongous and relatively inconvenient Ralphs, once the Victoria Von's was lost.

Meanwhile, looking forward to working my way through the menu at Empty Bowls. And yes, the BelCampo Burger is on the short list.

An aside to downtown SB dining changes -

The Hamburger Habit on State Street has managed to clear out the intimidating loiterers with few small and necessary changes that have dispersed this population: notices of surveillance cameras, scrounge-proof garbage cans to stop misuse of "free sodas" and blocking the former sitting benches that led to a unsanitary misuse of public property. One can breathe again walking past this block on State Street and get another good downtown burger. They earned the gratitude of us all.

Apr 16, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Santa Barbara: Public Market near Arlington Theater now open

You can even buy fresh pork lard there -- which is hard to find. Now if they can also carry duck fat, one would be in culinary heaven.

Apr 16, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Last minute overnight stay in Carmel

Mundaka - in the village of Carmel for excellent tapas and sangria.

Apr 15, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Santa Barbara: Public Market near Arlington Theater now open

Santa Barbara Public Market finally opens - West Victoria, one block off State Street next to the back of Arlington Theater and right in the center of restaurant ground zero for Santa Barbara. I suspect the surrounding restaurants may become good customers as well.

This is a new concept for Santa Barbara, though successful in the SF Bay area - Ferry Bldg and Rockridge Market come to mind. A food court of sorts with an array of groceries, prepared food items for eating in and solo food items for take away. There was a large wine selection in the center in an enclosed area that allowed for wine tasting at tables. Did not check this out, but saw others inside this area enjoying it.

Offers a product variety line similar to our local Tri-Counties Produce or Cantwells - on the premium end, but similar to some of the exotica appeal of Trader Joes off beat products. They also carry a stock brand I had not heard of before - Calida (?) which looks like it is one that is found in shopping set ups like this.

Once could do their primary grocery shopping here, and also pick up artisan breads, cheeses, meats, ice cream, cup cakes, and olive oil from the select purveyors. Good one stop shopping. I came away a believer this was indeed a market for real food, for real meals and realistic budgets.

Not just imported frou frou, but ingredients from which to actually cook or prepare simple and delicious meals.But mainly I came away a believer that it offered really good items for reasonable pricing, considering the quality.

Yes, Rori's is good ice cream - the dense, sticky gelato one finds more typically in Europe.

Yes, the croissants were right up there with the best one finds elsewhere in SB. The olive oil tasting bar proved there is vibrant choice available that really does make a difference depending on the intent of your use.

The very pleasing and welcoming buzz to the place did not let up as we went mid-morning and came back later in the afternoon. May have some kinks to work out in managing the numbers of shoppers without getting lines that would be too long. It was a steady stream of both lookers and shoppers with everyone looking quite pleased.

So good place to drop by for special ingredients, picnic staples, easy snacks and meals with counter service for solo dining, as well as stocking up on premium staples.

I think we have a hit on our hands here and happy to recommend it. Welcome to Santa Barbara - Santa Barbara Public Market. http://sbpublicmarket.com/purveyors/

Apr 15, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Ranch House Cafe in Olancha, Route 395 - Great Breakfasts

Don't overlook The Still Life Cafe in Independence - French heritage owners. Too late for lunch, but they use Lavazza for their French press coffee so worthy of a second look. Gets nice reviews from those who do get to dine, either lunch or dinner.

Apr 07, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Central Coast Fine Dining?

Ballard Inn, Ballard - Sta Ynez Valley

Apr 06, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Santa Barbara: Brummis is now closed

One of my local favorites in now closed: Brummis for German classics. It was an unlikely hit selling the heavier German dishes to a Southern California town but she made it work because she did it with love and picked the best of the best German home style favorites.

My own was Bockwurst and strong German mustard with her version of potato salad and sublime home made sauerkraut.

This place will be so missed. Thank you Brummis for those years of dining pleasure.

Apr 04, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Trip report Santa Barbara: Los Agaves, the Lark, D'angelos, etc.

Thank you for your report and attention to all the details! Glad you enjoyed our city and plan on coming back. Be sure to include Scarlett Begonia in Victoria Square net time for breakfast or lunch as it sounds like a place you would also enjoy.

Apr 02, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Santa Barbara/Solvang

TOMA on Cabrillo Blvd and the new chef at the Hotel Indigo on Lower State seem to be getting good reviews down in the Funk Zone area, and beachside too. Always the good old reliable Stella Mares at the Bird Refuge down that way too.

Apr 02, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Santa Barbara/Solvang

I liked the Firestone-Walker pub and brewery in Buellton where you turn off to Solvang from 101. Cold Springs Tavern is always a worthy pick for a lunch stop on your way to Solvang via Highway 246, where you need to drive in full alert mode.

Apr 02, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Rori's Artisinal Creamery - Montecito & Santa Barbara

They sometimes years ago resold "seconds" which had melted and refrozen, but were still safe and flavorful because the ingredients were so premium.

But they were clearly labeled at their outlets as "seconds" and the greatly reduced price let you know what you were getting.

They were sometimes as you described "granular". Some times you got first run stuff that had been mis-labeled, so it was always pot-luck with those.

Perhaps someone was selling the McConnell's "seconds" as the real deal out there in shady IV? But I have not seen any "seconds" sold anywhere now for years so you can count on getting their best quality stuff these days.

Looking forward to your report on Rori's. I need to get out there myself one day. Reviews are good.

Apr 02, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Santa Barbara

Latindancer knows the way around town - made some very good starting reference points, though finding the great view and food combo in this town just has not happened ……yet.

Try the lavishly renovated El Encanto Hotel in the Lower Riviera Hills of this city for the best views and hope they finally have the kitchen pulled together by now to justify the prices. Good choice for a lunch to get the best daytime views, and lower price points.

I'll add SamaSama on State Street downtown for innovative takes on Indonesian, but in a clearly functional setting with no views. Just very interesting taste combinations, well priced and casual.

Some of the city's best views are from Stearn's Wharf at the ocean end of State Street where the food choices sadly do not match the scenery, but with this in mind the Harbor Restaurant is good for basics and the SB Shellfish at the end of the wharf is good for casual and take-away.

If you are here on a Thurs or Friday night, try the Gourmet Dining Room on the SB City College Campus School of Culinary Arts student run restaurant - best prix fixe in town, with wine. The views from the campus are some of the best in town though none from the dining room itself -which is smart and trendy in its own right so the overall experience is one of SB's best dining hidden gems.

Happy Hour specials at the Boat House at Hendry's Beach at the ocean end of Las Positas Road are good for both ocean side setting and well -priced options and drinks if you want late lunch or early dinner.

Apr 01, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Rori's Artisinal Creamery - Montecito & Santa Barbara

Not been there myself, McConnell's Ice Cream, too close and too loved by me the make the effort, but Rori's gets good local reviews even if one writer uses ColdStone Creamery as their taste and quality reference point:

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

I believe Rori's custom made the ice-cream flavors for the Indonesian SamaSama Test Kitchen which were very good and novel.

And I also believe Rori's will be opening a place in the soon to be open "Public Market Place" by the Arlington Theater catering to the high-end foodie clientele in this town and within the new downtown luxury condo complex. Expected opening for the Public Market Place featuring local premium product purveyors now set for April 2014….. but not "firm".

Apr 01, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Between San Diego and LA

There is a Los Angeles board and a Dan Diego board and they will have some great suggestions for you. Palm Springs is having a MidCentury Classic historic buildings festival this month. Maybe worth the detour?

Feb 26, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Fresno and around

Tower District of Fresno looked interesting for smaller, local restaurants, but did not try any during our own visit to Fresno to see the Underground Forestiere Gardens.

There was also Greek deli cafe known for its lamb sandwiches, downtown near the county buildings. Very local place and worth seeking out. It was in a pretty little pedestrian mall area near the Fresno Opera office.

Feb 26, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Fresno and around

Clovis - Trelio is a worthy jaunt if you are looking for places nearby.

Feb 25, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Mammoth?

Which way to Mammoth? Still Life Cafe in Independence is probably the best of the lot if coming in from the south. https://plus.google.com/1136618324752...

Feb 25, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Campo in Mammoth?

It was closed when we were there but we found some good substitutes though of a different genre, including the BBQ place next door.

Feb 25, 2014
glbtrtr in California

Spudnuts in Sacramento!

Spudnuts are really good. Local paper had a blind donut tasting when KrispyKreme was making inroad into our area: Spunuts won hands down. Sight unseen; just on taste and texture.

Feb 23, 2014
glbtrtr in California