Santa Barbara Recs?

Seems like this is as good of a thread as any to put some Santa Barbara spots I went to over the past weekend.

RECIPES BAKERY
Saw @ipsedixit mention this, so I stopped by for the cinnamon roll and a flat white while I waited for La Super Rica to open. Really friendly. And a dang solid cinnamon roll.

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LA SUPER RICA
I got there right after open, so not much of a wait. But I did have to walk to the 7Eleven down the block to get cash. Not pictured is the great horchata. Loved this place.

#16 Super Rica Especial (added chicken - would add a different protein next time)
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TOPA TOPA
This trendy brew pub was bumping on a Friday night. The tux stout tasted like a chocolate milk shake. In a good way.

LOS AGAVES
Went to the location on Milpas. This reminded me of Los Anayas in LA, which is a place I hold dear. The Tampiquena (steak / enchilada / taquito / beans) was a plate heaving with food, and there’s no way I would have finished it all if it hadn’t all been so friggin good. But it was all great. Which was a bit surprising because this was ready literally within two minutes of me ordering. They churn and burn.

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We spent a lovely weekend in Santa Barbara recently. The weather was fantastic, and we got to try a lot of new things recommended by a good friend who used to work in town…I had totally forgotten to check this board for recs.
Woke up early and skipped breakfast for a leisurely drive on PCH starting in Santa Monica. That drive, while a tad long, is just lovely. There are few lovelier drives in California than this. We made it all the way to Oxnard before deciding to stop for a late breakfast/early brunch. In hindsight, we probably should have stopped at Moqueca. We ended up at Fishermen’s Catch (Oxnard) with fish & chips with fresh local sea bass…I’ve never had sea bass for fish and chips before and we both really enjoyed it. Well-cooked and when prepared in this manner, the sea bass becomes meaty and similar to swordfish. It was a nice rendition. I wanted to highlight that there were folks already in line before Fishermen’s Catch opened…they were all in line to pick up fresh rock crab being sold at $2.99 /lb…what a great deal! We gave the kids each cash and they ended up with sandwiches from Jersey Mike’s…go figure. There are plenty of other options in the plaza.
On the pier, we took the kids to the candy shop for some salt water taffy.
We got some ice cream at McConnell’s on State Street. I went all in and had 4 different scoops. I had gotten my walking in at the zoo and did some biking and more walking on the pier…I deserved it. I had pistachio Amaretto, Pineapple Rum Guava, Boysenberry Rose Milk Jam, and Strawberry Rhubarb. I loved them all, but found the pineapple rum guava and strawberry rhubarb the most.
While out and about on State Street, I stopped by Lilac Patisserie. It was slim pickins’ because I showed up half an hour before close. I was able to snag a slice of peach pie (delish) and the last 3 lemon squares…these were magnificent. Set on a super crispy graham cracker crust, the lemon mixture was so good…tart and sweet…like eating sunshine. Note to self, get here earlier next time.
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We had a late dinner at The Lark. Didn’t have reservations, so we had a bit of a wait. But the easiest way to offset a wait after a short walk about the neighborhood? Go order a pizza from Lucky Penny if your quoted wait time is more than 30 minutes. The woodfired oven makes a delightful pie. The OG pie has housemade pork & fennel sausage, Calabrian chiles, and smoked mozzarella and is topped with arugula. The crust was the right balance of crisp and chew…and the underskirt had a lovely char.
Back to The Lark. Once we were seated, we got cocktails for us and soft drinks for the kids. They make a Shirley Temple with Luxardo syrup and it looks and tastes more like a Roy Rogers. But the kids enjoyed it. We both rather enjoyed our cocktails and the lime popcorn that comes to the table. Dinner was great as a whole.
Jack Motter’s Early Summer Garden
chiogga beets, snap peas, compressed strawberries, sheep’s milk cheese, coriander pickled carrots, pistachio, lemon-thyme honey, squash blossom
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Caramelized Broccolini
diStefano burrata, chile de arbol, sunchoke chips, shaved bottarga, lemon balm
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Southern Pimento Cheese Toast
smoked gouda, aged provolone, trumer beer aioli, pickled chiles, grilled sourdough
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Cast Iron Chicken
green peppercorn gastrique, crispy confit fingerling potatoes, California delta asparagus, grilled spring onions, wild rocket arugula, chicken skin cracklin’
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Grilled Prime Hanger Steak
charred japanese eggplant, shishito peppers, crispy wild rice, scallion, black garlic butter, thai basil
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For dessert the kitchen brought out a Pavlova filled with a super thick lemon custard/curd. It was the best lemon custard/curd we had ever had.
Before we got out of town, we stopped by La Super Rica. We got an assortment of things to share because we weren’t terribly hungry, but the highlights for me were anything with the adobada and/or cheese. The watermelon agua fresca was great, too.
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On the way home, we pit-stopped in Oxnard for strawberries. There’s a stand a few minutes to the west of the Victoria Ave exit off the 101. The nice cashier let us sample different sizes and we picked the candy-sweet medium size. A flat was $20…we bought 2 because they were so good!

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Les Marchands / Lark combo is pretty dang great I have to say. We pigged out.

tagliatelle with tons of corn, too much butter, great mushrooms and cheese… i skipped the truffles but shouldn’t have.
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wagyu short rib was pretty amazing! shocking amount and variety of roasted veg it was served with… (was really hard to cut with a butter knife tho and the sauce was nearly useless) image

a really great gems salad
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a small board at Les Marchands
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im’ putting them together since they’re 1 company

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Glad you enjoyed it! Great photos.

Going back up in September for 3 days/2nights. Here is my initial list based on past visits and recent info on this thread. Anybody have others to add into consideration? We want to go wine tasting one day and have been to Paso - anybody have specific area/wineries they recommend within 20-30 minute drive of the area?

Breakfast/Coffee
Handlebar Coffee
Helena Ave Bakery

Desserts
Recipes Bakery
Lilac Patisserie
McConnells

Lunches
Super Rica
Lucky Penny
Los Agaves

Dinners
The Lark
Loquito

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A little further than 20-30 minutes (about 40) is Saarloos and Sons in Los Olivos. They have the best wines I’ve had up there. They do (or used to do) pairings with scratch-made mini cupcakes. I thought it was weird at first, but it was great. My ex wife and I were club members for years.

Thanks @OCSteve. Los Olivos looks like a fun town. Not familiar with Saarlos and Sons but will keep this in our back pocket. It’s a bit further than I want to drive but doable.

When we used to go, we would use a shuttle service (Cloud Climbers was one of them) to take us out there from SB, drive us to different wineries, and drive us back at the end of the day. We would usually hit 4-5 wineries. Not sure if you have that much time, but it’s a fun day.

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Solid plan.
I might also consider Bibiji for a different take on Indian. I like what they are doing with wine, I love what they are doing with beer, and their limited menu is surprisingly tasty.
I can’t say it’s better than Lark or Loquito, but since you’ll be hitting Lucky Penny, Helena Ave. Bakers AND Lark, all owned by the same group, you might seek a different perspective.

Also, I’m kinda over La Super Rica these days. It’s still as good as ever, but I got a little burnt out on them. Corazon Cocina in the Public Market is what I’m liking these days.

I only went once and thought it was ok. Wanted to try it again. I think @ipsedixit also mentioned Corazaon Cocina. We’ll see. May skip LSR if the lines end up being too long.

Almost every restaurant mentioned on the thread is on this list

LSR lines are short at off-peak hours. I think we caught it at around 2PM. Quick bang and then on the freeway home.

Ill write tomorrow. If you’re in Los Olivos, the top quality in town are Dragonette and Samsara

Best in SB is Whitcraft.

Barbareño we’ve had amazing dinner at after wine at Au Bob Climat and Marjoram walking distance

@Nemroz thanks.
We like the idea of staying in Santa Barbara and not having to drive around a lot, especially with kids in tow.

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Then you’ve got several options in town. I’d vouch for Whitcraft, Au Bon Climat, Kuni, Jaffurs, Margerum, Pali is a fun space. The rest I couldn’t rec for quality. We never used to miss a stop at Les Marchands but it was sold a while back

Just had La Super Rica for the first time in a decade. Very good tortillas and enjoyed the red salsa and fresh pico de gallo. I ordered the beans and especial. The especial felt like a pound of melted cheese with about 12 pieces of chopped up chorizo. I liked the beans but I know that’s not what they are necessarily known for.

Was on the way to check into the hotel for a conference and wasn’t very hungry. May try to go back during the week.

My especial came with chorizo and no chili and was served in a styroform bowl with tortillas on the side. This is what I thought I was getting but must have ordered incorrectly. Now I have to go back.

Corazon Cocina was great. Love the tortillas. Got the pastor quesadilla and ensenada fish taco. The fish was lingcod. Would come back here over LSR every time. Doesn’t hurt that the beer + wine shop in the public market had a great selection.

Thanks for the recommendation of BiBi Ji @frommtron. Forgot to take pictures but highly recommended. They have a very good selection in their beer fridge but we opted to partake in their all natural wine selection. Very nice somm shared many tastes and even brought us over 2 glasses that were poured accidentally. They had a whole section for orange wines. Love that skin contact funky stuff. We had an orange Riesling and my friend tried a super funky smoky wine from Mexico. Lots of interesting unique natural wines.

Food was great too. Don’t forget to order the General Tso cauliflower. Indian spiced riff. Well prepared with a kick. The chicken tikka was not the heavy orange sauced version but more of a grilled marinated chicken but delicious. Chana masala was wonderful spooned on top of the rice with raita. All of the dishes had wonderful amounts of spice. I was expecting this place to be more expensive so was pleasantly surprised to get out at $50 per person with a good amount of wine.

Sorry @Nemroz looks like Les Marchands recently closed.

Lucky Penny was a nice casual dinner spot. Seating is all communal and outdoors right next to the Lark. Ordered margarita and classic which came with sopressata. Kids, wife and I all enjoyed the pizza. Great fresh tasting sauce. Not a ton of spots on the pizza. Crust tasted more like bread but wish it was cooked a bit more. The roasted veggies were corn, jalapenos, scallions, tomatoes with an avocado mousse. Excellent when combined together. McConnell’s ice cream down the street was much better than the last time I had at it GCM.

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Nice report back and I’m happy you enjoyed Bibi Ji! Great pics, too!

Yikes! We weren’t much excited since they sold a couple years ago anyway. But things are achangin

Brophy Bros is a nice local place with good views of the harbor. The clam chowder was fantastic. Big chunks of potatoes, clams and celery whilst not being overly rich or creamy. Good peel and eat shrimp. A good amount of shrimp. They only had 1 type of oyster but well priced at $12.95 for half dozen. I think they were blue points which aren’t my favorite. Wish they had beers on tap. A nice place to go for a daytime snack but not sure I’d go out of my way with all the great choices to eat in SB.

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