OFF TOPIC

Here are pics and a video I shot of Johnny Depp arriving at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival tonight. Sorry, the video is a little rough.

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NEW GOLETA RUSTY’S OPEN?

This message came in last night from reader Goleta Bob:

“Goleta Rusty’s [at 5934 Calle Real] was open tonight when I drove by.”

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LA HACIENDA CLOSES

Yesterday I received a message from reader Stephanie:

“Hello. We ate dinner at El Bohemio/Hacienda [298 Pine Avenue] in Goleta on Friday night. The place was packed. It was mariachi night. I had friends go back Saturday for Karaoke night, which they said was a blast. On Sunday they were completely closed down….for good. Any idea what happened?”

Today Edhat and readers Steve & Annie report that there is a sign on the door indicating that La Hacienda has closed permanently. La Hacienda opened in January 2015, replacing El Bohemio.

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NIMITA’S CUISINE COMING TO HALEY STREET

Reader Steve let me know that Indian restaurant Nimita’s Cuisine will open soon at 508 East Haley Street, the former home of Muddy Waters. A message on the windows says that the eatery offers Ayurvedic vegetarian Indian cuisine, coffee, tea, and more. Nimita’s web site, which currently offers cooking classes and food delivery to private individuals, includes a description of the business:

“I pride myself in being able to offer Ayurvedic meals geared to support health through a vegetarian diet by collaborating with local farmers and finally nurturing members of our community. The abundance and variety of fresh vegetables in our local market allows my cuisine to conjure up a modified version of Indian food that focuses on allowing us to respect the flavors of each vegetable while still enjoying the spices. I have been a culinary instructor since 1994. I have taught in the Canary Islands, Spain and have been actively teaching in the community of Santa Barbara since 1996. My commitment to nurture the community embraces every sector including the Hispanic community with which I delight doing group work in my job as a therapist. More than often, I integrate the art of cooking with therapy work. My passion has led me to create my own company, Nimita’s Cuisine, which offers weekly deliveries to private individuals. I also actively supports the Meatless Monday campaign and am committed to bring this awareness to my local community.”

Visit nimitascuisine.com.

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Photo by reader Steve

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FARMERBOY DOES DINNER

Farmerboy restaurant at 3427 State Street has extended their hours to 9 p.m. The eatery used to close for the day in mid afternoon.

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PASCUCCI GOLETA SET TO OPEN

Just under a year ago I reported that lease negotiations were underway for Pascucci restaurant to open a second location at 6920 Marketplace Drive in Goleta, the former home of Holdren’s Grill. Another Santa Barbara favorite, Jane restaurant, will occupy the neighboring space, that was once the home of Pastavino and Smoke N Barrel BBQ Shack. I am happy to report that Pascucci Goleta anticipates opening on Wednesday, February 10th. Final inspections might shift the opening date slightly. In June 2005 a Pascucci restaurant opened in Camino Real Marketplace, run by relatives of the owner of downtown Pascucci, but the name soon switched to Zaffiro and that business closed in June 2008. This new Pascucci is the real deal. It is run by Laura Knight who owns and operates the ever-popular Pascucci restaurant at 729 State Street in downtown Santa Barbara.

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CRUSHCAKES ANNIVERSARY

On Monday February 8th, Crushcakes & Cafe will be celebrating their 8-year anniversary. Crushcakes will be offering a free mini cupcake (1/3 size) with every breakfast or lunch purchase on February 8th. The same day they will also be offering a buy-one-get-one-free deal on all regular cupcakes. These offers will be good at all three Crushcakes Cafe locations, including Santa Barbara, Goleta and Carpinteria.

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SEEING RED

Reader Cathy tells me that there is a new sign for The Red Piano at 519 State Street, formerly Statemynt and the Study Hall. Does this have anything to do with restaurants? Your guess is as good as mine.

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Photo by reader Cathy

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NOTHING BUNDT CAKES OPENS

nbc_logo_small_cropNothing Bundt Cakes opened for business at 5784 Calle Real in Goleta (immediately next door to El Pollo Loco). Founders Debra Shwetz and Dena Tripp started Nothing Bundt Cakes in Las Vegas in 1997 and have since opened 154 franchises coast to coast and have another 14 locations on the way. The Goleta bakery is owned by locals Beverly Doman and her sister Beth Enriquez. The Grand Opening celebration has been moved to March 11th and 12th.  Nothing Bundt Cakes is open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Call 845-4899 or visit nothingbundtcakes.com.

CORRECTION: The first 50 guests on Saturday, March 12th that buy a Bundlet or cake will get a coupon to receive a free Bundlet every month for a year.

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NOTHING BUNDT CAKES UPDATE

Reader Anastasia tells me that Nothing Bundt Cakes in Goleta did not open this morning as originally scheduled. I am also hearing that the grand opening may have been moved from February to March.

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COSTCO TACO TUESDAY?

Periodically I receive tips that Costco will be offering a Taco Tuesday. I am a huge taco fan so I was of course thrilled when I first heard the news, but when I spoke with Costco I was told that the rumor is false. While shopping at Costco recently I discovered the source of this mysterious rumor: a large sign on the wall near the cash registers says “Taco Tuesday.” This sign is an example for their poster print offerings, and not an indication of impending cuisine from south of the border.

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PHAMOUS CAFE COMING TO UNIVERSITY PLAZA

A Vietnamese sandwich shop named Phamous Cafe is coming 7127 Hollister Avenue Suite 25 in Goleta next to Albertsons, in the space formerly occupied by Quiznos Sub.

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HIGHWAY TEA OPENS IN UNIVERSITY PLAZA

Highway Tea has opened at 7127 Hollister Avenue Suite 23 in Goleta next to Albertsons. Highway offers boba milk tea, Thai tea, and, starting next week, smoothies. Hours are Monday-Friday 3 p.m.-midnight, Saturday-Sunday 3 p.m.-2 a.m.

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BLAZE PIZZA COMING TO FIVE POINTS

On November 19th the Rumor Machine popped out a message that said “Carl’s Jr. at 3925 State Street will depart in a few months and that address will become a second location for Woodstock’s Pizza of Isla Vista.” I spoke with a representative of Carl’s Jr. and was told that after they close the space is being split into two restaurants and that one of the tenants is Blaze Pizza which currently has a location at 6546 Pardall Road in Isla Vista. Assuming that two competing pizza parlors wouldn’t occupy the same building, I’m guessing that Blaze, not Woodstock’s is heading to Upper State. Your call.

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UPPER STATE CARL’S JR CLOSES

Based on a tip from reader Jose I called Carl’s Jr. at 3925 State Street in Five Points Shopping Center and was told that they close permanently today at 3pm. On November 5th I wrote that the end of Carl’s was near but never received confirmation until now. Jose also says that the location will be split up into two restaurants.

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ISLA VISTA GIOVANNI’S TO REOPEN

Edhat reports that Isla Vista Giovanni’s, which is a franchised location, will be reopening Monday. Edhat adds that after closing last week, the Isla Vista location was acquired by Danny Babai, who opened the original Giovanni’s Pizza on State Street.

Update: The Babai family contacted me and asked me to pass this message to you:

Danny and Debbie Babai would like to confirm that we will be reopening our “Founders Family” Giovanni’s Pizza Isla Vista location on Monday January 25, 2016. We have been busy doing some restoration work inside the restaurant and are so happy that everything went quickly transferring all the permits back to this location. The menu will be largely the same with a few updates and tweaks here and there. We are keeping our famous beer specials and happy hours and will have some GRAND OPENING specials on the weekend of January 29 – 31. We appreciate the return of many of the employees that worked under the previous owner and welcome them back to help us reopen on Monday. We have been in the community serving great food since 1979 and will continue to do so at all our locations. Please come join us to relaunch Giovanni’s Isla Vista this week.

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NEW OWNERS OF THE WINEHOUND

Local wine industry veterans Richard Heilman and David Russell have bought The Winehound, consistently voted Santa Barbara’s Best Wine Shop in The Independent’s Best of Santa Barbara Readers’ Poll. The Winehound is at 3849 State Street, #165 (in La Cumbre Plaza between See’s Candies and Chipotle).

Russell was the Wine Director at the Wine Cask from 1988 until 1999 and created a wine list there which garnered the Wine Spectator’s prestigious (and highest) “Grand Award” in 1994, a distinction shared by only 94 restaurants around the world at the time. Before his recent return to Santa Barbara, Russell worked in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, where he focused on bringing his customers the best that France and Italy have to offer and traveling often to both countries to meet and taste with the best producers.

“In coming back to Santa Barbara, I feel like the Prodigal Son,” Russell said, “as my happiest and most productive years in the wine trade were spent here. And while I’ve stayed in touch with many of my local customers while away and have continued to sell them wine via e-mail and the like, I much prefer the idea of interacting again with them face to face.”

Heilman, like Russell, has spent more than 30 years in the wine industry, accumulating experience in all sectors. He began his career in retail, as manager and wine buyer for the old Pierre Lafond store on the Mesa. Subsequently, he moved onto the wholesale, importation, and production sides of the business.

“David and I hope to use our combined experience to not only honor the loyal customers and fine traditions established at The Winehound, but also to add a new dynamic to both the selections and service,” Heilman said. “We will be offering aggressive pricing and an ever expanding selection of wines at all price points and in many styles, but with an emphasis, frankly, on wines of balance and finesse and which reflect a sense of place, whether a $10 or $100 bottle. We will shift emphasis somewhat toward Old World wines to achieve this; but given how impressed we are with the work of many local growers and winemakers, we’ll without question continue to offer the best of their wines as well.”

Be sure to call the store before coming by just to make sure it is open. Full hours of operation will start January 25, and will be 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It will be a few weeks before the selection begins to approach the depth and variety they intend to offer. Call 845-5247.

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SUSHI CORNER COMING TO ISLA VISTA

Reader J tells me that a section of Kol’s Cafe at 6533 Trigo Road in Isla Vista is going to become a Japanese restaurant named Sushi Corner. It’s in the spot where Pressed Juicery used to be while Crushcakes Cafe was the primary tenant.

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LE PETIT BISTROT COMING TO STATE STREET

Reader Steve tells me that a new French restaurant named Le Petit Bistrot is coming to 532 State Street, the former home of Verde and Zia Cafe. Their web site, which appears to be a work in progress, offers this message:

Le Petit Bistrot provided authentic French bistrot food. Traditional dishes and modern French bistrot classic dishes are offered in a comfortable setting in the heart of Santa Barbara.

Featuring French cuisine expertly prepared, le petit bistrot Santa Barbara can be a perfect introduction to the delicious French cuisine, or a reminder to those who already love.

Our menu includes specialties from Alsace, whose chef executive Mario Carvalho originated, such as pork shank braised in beer, steak sauce Munster.

His daily specials, offered on certain days of the week include Pied de Cochon braised and duck breast.Our team is happy to offer you a traditional cuisine prepared with ingredients of the highest quality and the greatest respect for the traditions that have made the French cuisine a reference.

Our Bar with a full liquor license offers delicious cocktails and a full range of best spirits.

Open 6 days a week for breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch on Saturday and Sunday, the petit bistrot is also open in the afternoon for a happy hour where you can enjoy cocktails and a discount menu of our delicious and authentic French burgers. The bistrot serves small private events and banquets on site upon reservation.

There will  always be a moment to enjoy our French cuisine.

The eatery will be open Tuesday-Sunday and serve breakfast 7 a.m.-11 a.m., lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and dinner 6 p.m.-11 p.m. A weekend brunch will be offered 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Visit lepetitbistrotsb.com.

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THE LITTLE DOOR UPDATE

Last May I mentioned that a new restaurant named The Little Door will be opening toward the end of the year at 129 East Anapamu Street, the former home of Piano Riviera Lounge and former home of Elements Restaurant & Bar. The eatery opened it’s doors last September. Now reader Kim says they are closed:

Hi John,

Any news as to what has happened with The Little Door on E. Anapamu?  I thought they were saying open until they got their remodel permits, but the space seems to have been closed for several weeks.

Thanks
Kim

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CHASE SOLD?

Reader CaroinJM tells me that Chase Restaurant & Lounge at 1012 State Street has been sold. I have not confirmed this.

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RESTAURANT CONNECTION ADDS WINE TO THE MENU

Reader Annie sent me a tip that Restaurant Connection has announced on their Facebook page that they are now delivering wine from local wineries. Annie says that the wineries they deliver are Area5.1, Kalyra, Lafond Winery, Santa Barbara Winery, and Pali Wine Co. Visit restaurantconnectionsb.com.

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SUPERFOOD POPUP

This just in from reader Bill:

There is a new permanent Superfood Popup named Grace+Alley (@graceandalley) in Isla Vista. Market fresh, seasonal offerings from the farmers market. Almost everything they use is organic….offering UCSB students quality that does not currently exist in IV.

Superfood smoothies, bowls & cold brewed coffee priced for the student market. Everything is made to order, all toppings are absolutely fresh, and the presentation is attractive.

It’s in the Sweet Alley venue at 955 Embarcadero Del Mar.

- Bill

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“MILK” AND COOKIES AT EUREKA

Here is a press release from Eureka! restaurant in Paseo Nuevo:

FIRESTONE WALKER MILK AND COOKIES AT EUREKA!
Take a trip back in time and enjoy an adult version of milk and cookies at the all-American restaurant with Firestone’s Nitro Merlin Milk Stout and cookies from Brown Butter Cookie Company

WHAT: Guests are invited to take a trip down memory lane on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 by joining Eureka! for Steal The Glass. Every Wednesday at 6 p.m. the all-American restaurant features a specific beer from a local microbrewery and when guests buy this beer, they take home the branded glass it comes in! This exclusive Steal The Glass is featuring an adult version of a childhood favorite, milk and cookies. Get ready for a one-of-a-kind event featuring Firestone Walker’s 2015 Nitro Merlin, a milk stout, and mouthwatering cookies from the Brown Butter Cookie Company, a California favorite.

The recently released 2015 edition of Nitro Merlin is a barrel aged oatmeal milk stout on nitro, rich with robust chocolate and coffee flavors. This milk stout is brewed with lactose sugar, giving the beer a creamy texture similar to milk. Also, the beer is being poured on nitro to enhance the mouthfeel of the beer. Guests will feel nostalgic, almost back at grandma’s with their favorite snack, milk and cookies. Experience this exclusive pairing on January 20, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. as a perfect dessert after enjoying one of Eureka!’s signature burgers, and it’s even encouraged to enjoy this delectable combination as a pre-dinner snack.

WHEN:  Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.

PRICE: $12

WHERE: Eureka! 601 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 (805) 618-3388

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GANDOLFO’S NEW YORK DELI OPENS TUESDAY, JANUARY 19TH

Reader Dad recently sent me a tip that Gandolfo’s New York Delicatessen at 718 State Street (formerly Killer B’s) appeared to be on the verge of opening, and sure enough, on Tuesday, January 19th South Coasties can start gobbling up Gandolfo’s goods. Until next week the nearest Gandolfo’s will have been in Oxnard. Gandolfo’s has 50 locations in 13 states. The first 200 customers on January 19th will receive a Gandolfo’s travel coffee mug that gets you free coffee for a year. A few weeks from now the deli will have a grand opening and ribbon cutting.

I stopped by and spoke with Dain Pool who is part owner of the brand along with his father, and who is in town with his team helping launch the Santa Barbara location. Pool tells me that the deli combos are some of the most popular items on the menu. The combos include Cup of Soup & Half Salad ($8.29), Half Sandwich & Cup of Soup ($8.29), Half Sandwich & Half Salad ($8.69), Half NY Fav. Sandwich & Cup of Soup ($9.29), Half NY Fav. Sandwich & Half Salad ($9.29), Pasta & Half Salad (8.69) and Pasta & Cup of Soup ($8.29). The menu is extensive so I asked Pool for some personal recommendations and his suggestions include Rockefeller Rueben ($6.79 half), Pastrami on Rye ($6.79 half), Staten Island ($9.69), Big Apple ($8.69), L.I. Chicken Salad ($8.89), City Hall Salad ($6.49 half), and the Chicken Cobb Salad ($6.49 half).

Pool tells me that Gandolfo’s uses single muscle meat instead compressed meat found commonly in delis. “When you see our turkey breast it is literally half of a turkey,” says Pool. “When we say our pastrami is wood-smoked it is not injected and filled. It is literally wood smoked. Same thing with our corned beef and such. Everything we do is about quality. We run a little bit higher food costs because of it but for us it’s the way you do business. We like serving good food.” Pool tells me that everything on the menu correlates to New York some how and that Gandolfo’s tries to do as much as they can locally sourced and organic. “Everything we do is fresh. You get nothing pre-packaged. Everything about it is hand-done, hand-made and that is what sets us apart,” he added.

Hours are 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and 7 a.m. – close Friday-Sunday. “Close” on weekends can mean anything from 9:30 p.m. to midnight for the next few months. Call 845-9384 or visit gandolfosdeli.com.

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FREEMAN’S UPDATE

This just in from reader Annie:

I am a real fan of Freeman’s Flying Chicken. All of a sudden they are not open. They have posted on their website “Closed for the season, be back in May.” That makes no sense. Earl Warren is a hotbed of activity starting in April. Horse shows, the fair, etc.

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

I am unable to answer this question from reader Lynn. If you think you can help, leave a note!

Hi John,

By any chance, would you happen to have a list of peanut free restaurants in Santa Barbara?  I thought you would be the best person to ask.

Thanks much,
Lynn

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NOTHING BUNDT CAKES OPENING JANUARY 29TH

Nothing Bundt Cakes, coming to 5784 Calle Real in Goleta (immediately next door to El Pollo Loco) is currently scheduled to open January 29th.

Founders Debra Shwetz and Dena Tripp started Nothing Bundt Cakes in Las Vegas in 1997 and have since opened 154 franchises coast to coast and have another 14 locations on the way. The Goleta bakery is owned by locals Beverly Doman and her sister Beth Enriquez who are in the process of hiring locals. “We’re the perfect statement to bring to a party or birthday or celebration or offer as a gift,” says Doman. “We are really excited to be here in Goleta. We donate a lot of cake. We are big about philanthropy. We offer samples every day in our store.”

Sizes include 8 and 10-inch Bundt Cakes (serves 8-20), Tiered Bundt Cakes (8-inch cake over a 10-inch cake, serves 26-30), Bundtlets & Bundtlet Towers (mini cakes, serves 1-2), and Bundtinis (bite size, smaller than a cupcake). Flavors include Red Velvet, Chocolate-Chocolate Chip, Lemon, White Chocolate Raspberry, Marble, Carrot, White-White Chocolate, Cinnamon Swirl and Pecan Praline. A flavor-of-the-month will also be available. Cakes come with a signature cream cheese frosting.

Nothing Bundt Cakes plans to send out coupons for 5,000 free cakes for locals to try it and if you signup for their newsletter you receive a medium size Bundlet on your birthday. A grand opening is planned for February 27th which will be a whole family day. The first 50 guests on February 27th that buy a Bundlet or cake will get a coupon to receive a free Bundlet every month for a year.

Nothing Bundt Cakes will be open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Call 845-4899 or visit nothingbundtcakes.com.

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CIELO UPDATE

Reader Mark asked me if Cielo Bar and Grill (formerly Cabo’s) at 5096 Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria is closed. I called them and their phone number is disconnected. Reader Primetime sent me these photos taken during business hours. Everything looks normal except where have all the people gone?

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Photos by Primetime

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NEW KOREAN RESTAURANT IN GOLETA

This just in from reader Andy:

Hi John,

Choi’s Oriental Market (185 S Patterson Ave # D, next to South Coast Deli) is now serving (Korean) food. They have Bulgogi (marinated Beef), Spicy Pork, Bibimbap (mixed rice bowl), Yukgaejang (Spicy(!!) Beef Stew), Jajangmyeon (Black bean noodles, (Korean Chinese Food)), Short ribs, and more! View menu pic.

It is authentic, the owners are Korean and very nice. I have known them for many years. The converted part of their market to the restaurant, and continue to sell Korean/Asian food and wares.

Andy

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