MESA BURGER OPENS

Reader Peter tells me that Mesa Burger is now open for lunch and dinner at 315 Meigs Road,  replacing Mexican Fresh Taqueria. Spearheaded by Chris Chiarappa and led by Iron Chef Cat Cora, the fast-casual concept sets itself apart with “a robust chef-driven menu featuring Cora’s signature touch and a focus on local tastes and flavors.” The menu offers gourmet burgers and salads, locally-brewed beer, Santa Barbara County wine, and McConnell’s ice cream in scoops, hand-spun shakes, and ice cream cookie sandwiches. The produce is sustainably grown, ingredients are conscientiously sourced, and sauces are made fresh daily. The beef burgers are 100% all-Angus custom blend of chuck, brisket, and short rib, served on a locally baked brioche bun. There is also a selection of turkey, chicken, fish and vegetarian sandwiches and “farm-inspired salads.” The 75-seat space includes indoor and outdoor seating, a roomy, heated patio, and three big-screen TVs. Call 963-7493 or visit facebook.com/mesaburger

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CHAPALA UPDATE

The Hungry Cat restaurant at 1134 Chapala Street, which opened in April 2007, plans to close after Christmas. Reader Wade was walking by the business recently and noticed a liquor license change of ownership sign suggesting that the next tenant will be PAK Burger, Inc.

Reader Annie says that the new business coming to 1134 Chapala Street won’t be a burger place but instead is going to be a craft cocktail bar with small plates, and is due to open in mid January.

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GLOBE BECOMES 18E

18e3Globe restaurant, which opened at 18 East Cota Street in July 2015, changed their name to 18E (pronounced “eighteen east”) and will now be hosting local pop-up chefs, creating their own special menus. Your first dining opportunity will be December 15-17 when 18E features chef Mark Nargi. The menu includes Mole Poblano (sous vide pork loin, handmade corn tortillas), Turkey Pot Pie (flaky crust, wild mushroom gravy), Mac n Cheese (cavatappi, smoked gouda, crispy garlic crumbs, chives), Carolina Grits (cajun oil, prawns, roasted heirloom tomato vinaigrette), Pickle Plate (assorted vegetables and fruits, egg, grilled bread), and Chocolate Pot de Creme (coffee crumble, vanilla creme fraiche). 18E’s manager & master mixologist, Andy Davis, will be pouring “the 2nd strongest drinks downtown.”

18e-ptPhotos by reader Primetime

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SOMERSET OPENS DECEMBER 14

Somerset restaurant at 7 East Anapamu Street (the former home of Arts & Letters Café), offering California seasonal cuisine with Mediterranean and French influences, has moved their opening to December 14. The property has been extensively remodeled and the original courtyard has been replaced. The courtyard now has a base of pressed gravel and the space has been beautified with the addition of five 160-year-old olive trees to create a canopy. Fire pits and fountains offer an indoor/outdoor feel.

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somerset2Photos provided by Somerset restaurant

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BLUEWATER GRILL UPDATE

Here is an official press release on behalf of Bluewater Grill coming to 15 East Cabrillo Boulevard, the former home of Rusty’s Pizza at the lighthouse:

BLUEWATER GRILL COMING TO SANTA BARBARA

http://www.bluewatergrill.com/2016/03/29/coming-to-santa-barbara.php

We’re ecstatic to be adding another location to our family of restaurants! Opening in the Santa Barbara waterfront in 2017, Bluewater will offer locally caught sustainable seafood, spectacular ocean views and an upscale coastal-casual vibe. This former site of Castagnola Lobster House will be the ninth Bluewater and first on California’s Central Coast.

Bluewater Grill will bring a blend of locally caught sustainable seafood, monthly chef’s tastings and neighborhood wine and happy hours to California’s Central Coast with its debut on the Santa Barbara waterfront in Summer 2017.

Bluewater co-founders Richard Staunton and Jimmy “U” Ulcickas today announced that Bluewater Grill Santa Barbara will open at the foot of Stearns Wharf in July 2017, combining locally caught seafood and shellfish and the latest releases from Santa Barbara County wineries and other local suppliers to offer a stylish, decidedly local dining experience. The beachfront restaurant is ideally located in the heart of Santa Barbara’s downtown Waterfront area – the most visited spot in the city – and adjacent to the Funk Zone, a trendy destination of wine tasting rooms, shops and other opportunities for locals and tourists.

The new restaurant will be owned by Staunton, Ulcickas and long-time friends and partners Adam and Andrew Firestone, and David Walker, plus other Santa Barbara locals. Bluewater has proudly poured Firestone wines and Firestone Walker beer in its restaurants for years along with other Central Coast varietals.

Bluewater Grill Santa Barbara takes over the famous site of the Castagnola Lobster House, one of several restaurants established by George Virginio Castagnola in the 1950s and 1960s as part of a Southern California fleet-fishing business. The recently rebuilt landmark building at 15 E. Cabrillo Blvd. features a signature lighthouse at the corner of Cabrillo Boulevard and Helena Street and expansive views of the beach, Santa Barbara Harbor and Channel Islands.

“The perfect waterfront Santa Barbara location has eluded us for more than a decade – until now,” said Staunton. “When we saw that this legendary venue was available, we knew we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to introduce our neighborhood restaurant concept to the Central California Coast,” said Staunton. “We’re now transforming the iconic building into a stylish seafood destination befitting the culinary transformation of the area.”
The Bluewater team looks to hire a Santa Barbara-based chef who will undertake rigorous training to master the Bluewater menu and sustainable seafood preparation. In addition, Bluewater will hire local management, servers, bartenders and kitchen personnel. Potential applicants can go to www.bluewatergrill.com/careers and fill out an application!

“It’s a thrill to bring Bluewater’s commitment to the absolutely freshest sustainable seafood – ranging from small plates and simply prepared fish dishes to the most elaborate chef creations – to the Santa Barbara beachfront,” said Ulcickas. “Given Santa Barbara’s role as a world-class resort and culinary town, with an exceptional wine heritage, we expect Bluewater Grill to be an ideal fit with local foodies, wine and seafood lovers, and visitors. We’re excited to be able to add spectacularly prepared seafood and shellfish to the local mix of options.”

Ulcickas said the restaurant is being remodeled with an inside/outside second-story bar to take advantage of the spectacular sunset and ocean views. Offering a sophisticated local twist on other locations operated by Staunton & Ulcickas, Bluewater Grill Santa Barbara will blend a decidedly upscale coastal casual theme with subtle references to Bluewater founders’ ties to Santa Barbara.  Avid fishermen, Staunton and Ulcickas regularly fish the Channel Islands aboard Bluewater’s own Pilikia swordfish harpoon boat to humanely catch pristine-quality swordfish.

Bluewater Grill Santa Barbara will serve lunch, dinner and small plates daily on two floors of the newly constructed building, an oyster bar, dining counter overlooking an open kitchen and an upstairs dining patio and bar offering beach views, local Santa Barbara County wine flights and locally caught seafood purchased directly from local commercial fisherman.

The new restaurant will print new lunch and dinner menus regularly to be able showcase the freshest seafood and shellfish, and offers a separate kid’s menu certified by the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program and a popular weekday small plates menu of $4, $6 and $8 drink and appetizer specials.

“While we serve up to 40 varieties of seafood and shellfish, if it isn’t the absolute freshest possible, we won’t put it on the menu,” added Ulcickas. “That has been our philosophy since Day 1, and we’ll continue that commitment to the freshest fish, ingredients and cooking techniques in Santa Barbara.”

Another expected highlight will be a year-long calendar of seasonal seafood specials and monthly Chef’s Tasting events which pair seafood and shellfish with hand-selected wines, sakes or specialty draught beers. Hosted the second Tuesday of every month, the events have become a popular monthly diversion for local seafood aficionados and Bluewater Grill’s large fan base.

A number of long-term developments continue to transform the Santa Barbara Waterfront into a local and regional destination including the Californian Hotel complex on State Street near Cabrillo Boulevard and the rebuilding of Cabrillo Bridge across Mission Creek. Meanwhile, the nearby MOXI (Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation) will be the area’s first full-scale museum designed for families when it opens in early 2017.
Local brokers Michael Martz and Greg Bartholomew of Hayes Commercial Group represented all parties in the lease of the landmark location, which qualifies as the largest restaurant lease in downtown Santa Barbara in square footage in more than ten years.

Industry-leading Commitment to Sustainability

Since opening on Newport’s Cannery Village waterfront in 1996, Bluewater Grill has developed a reputation for not only serving the freshest seafood, but leading the industry in sustainable fishing and farming practices. Bluewater Grill was one of the first California or Arizona seafood restaurants to apply a full-disclosure menu philosophy and publish a Fish Origins Chart showing the specific farmed or wild source of every item on the menu. The prolific restaurateur has shared his marine stewardship secrets at the International Boston Seafood Show and has been featured on the cover of SeaFood Business, the nation’s leading trade publication for seafood restaurants and other buyers.

To date, more than 90% of the seafood offerings at Bluewater restaurants are sustainably caught or farmed – among the highest of any seafood restaurant in California. To be deemed sustainable, the seafood or shellfish must be certified by the Aquarium of the Pacific Seafood for the Future program; be designated a “Best or Good Alternative Choice” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program; or adhere to strict Marine Stewardship Council best-practice standards for sustainable harvesting.

Thanks to the Pilikia, Bluewater is one of the few seafood restaurants that can provide sustainably-caught, pristine-quality swordfish directly to consumers in-season. Pilikia Captain Sean Burke targets only mature fish without the use of nets or long lines, harpooning the freshest most humanely harvested local swordfish.
Stay in the loop

Keep updated with all that’s happening at Bluewater! Join the Santa Barbara eCrew at bluewatergrill.com/ecrew, for exclusive news and locals-only special offers. Also visit us on Twitter or Instagram. Each Bluewater restaurant also has its own Facebook page for restaurant-specific menu offers, recipes, events and local happenings.

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RED KETTLE COFFEE OPENS IN SUMMERLAND

Reader Jason was in Summerland this week and noticed something new: Red Kettle Coffee has opened at 2275 Ortega Hill Road #A. Red Kettle Coffee was 10 months in the making and is brought to you by owner Megan Tingstrom, daughter of Richard “Tinker” Tingstrom, founder of the Tinker’s Burgers nearby. Red Kettle Coffee also offers teas, bagels, cookie, croissants, donuts, and muffins. A grand opening is planned for Saturday, December 3 starting at 10 a.m. Red Kettle Coffee is open  6 a.m. -3 p.m. Monday-Friday and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Call 565-1900 or visit redkettlecoffee.com.

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HOLDREN’S UPDATE

Holdren’s Steaks & Seafood at 512 State Street now has a half-price wine list consisting of around 30 wines that is offered every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights.  Holdren’s recently started Happy Hour every day of the week from 4-6 p.m. “We serve lunch Monday thru Friday from 11:30- 2:30 and it is a great spot to bring clients or friends,” says owner Clay Holdren. Call 965-3363 or visit holdrens.com.

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MAC’S FISH & CHIP SHOP CLOSES, WILL BECOME HANA KITCHEN

Mac’s Fish & Chip Shop at 503 State Street has closed and will become the new home of Hana Kitchen which is moving from 5 West Haley Street. Here is a message to you from owner Grant MacNaughton:

Hi John,

After 6 1/2 years of frying up authentic British Fish & Chips to the masses, it is with extremely mixed emotions that I announce that yesterday (Tues 29th) was Mac’s Fish & Chip Shop’s last day of business.

It has been an extraordinary ride so a massive thanks to the customers, staff, suppliers, friends, family and caffeine-based products who have supported us along the way.  Running a restaurant may be up there as the most physically and emotionally demanding things we have ever taken on (and remember, we have three young kids!), but we want to step down on a high and make way for a fresher set of legs and brain cells. My family will be happy to go on our first family vacation in six years, my friends will be happy that I don’t permanently smell of fish and, frankly, I’m sick of faking this ridiculous British accent.

Our successors at 503 State St (Hana Kitchen, who have outgrown their current Haley Street location and need more room to expand) intend to give our staff the opportunity to apply for positions in their new home so hopefully there will be little disruption to their employment.

Thanks again for all your support and, whatever you do, live life to the Mac’s (can you believe you that’s the first time I’ve used that pun?).

Cheers,
Mr & Mrs Mac

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SOMERSET OPENS DECEMBER 9

Somerset restaurant, offering California seasonal cuisine with Mediterranean and French influences, opens at 7 East Anapamu Street on December 9 in the the former home of Arts & Letters Cafe. The property has been extensively remodeled and the original courtyard has been upgraded.

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NIKKA RAMEN OPENS

Reader Cris let me know that Nikka Ramen has opened at 5701 Calle Real in Goleta, the former home of India Club. The restaurant had a soft opening on November 21.

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BURGERS COMING TO CHAPALA

The Hungry Cat restaurant at 1134 Chapala Street, which opened in April 2007, plans to close after Christmas. Reader Wade was walking by the business recently and noticed a liquor license change of ownership sign suggesting that the next tenant will be PAK Burger, Inc. Word on the street is that this business is brought to you by Phil and Kourtney Wright, owners of The Sportsman and Whisky Richards. Rumor has it that one of the names under consideration for the new restaurant is “Juicy Lucy’s.”

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BLUEWATER GRILL COMING TO CABRILLO

Readers Wade and Bruce tell me that the former Rusty’s Pizza Lighthouse building at 15 East Cabrillo Boulevard, currently under construction, has signage on the property indicating that the space has been leased. Readers Foodie Dan and Cris passed word that the new tenant is Bluewater Grill and that the restaurant hopes to open next year in a new two-story restaurant space overlooking the ocean.

Celebrating their 20th year in business, Bluewater Grill was established in Newport Beach in 1996, by partners Rick Staunton and Jim Ulcickas. Bluewater Grill has grown into a family of seafood restaurants in California (Newport Beach, Redondo Beach, Tustin, Catalina Island, Coronado, Temecula, and Carlsbad) and Arizona (Phoenix). “We work directly with the Seafood for the Future program at the Long Beach Aquarium,” says Ulcickas. “They review all our purchases on a quarterly basis to make sure that we are doing our best to feature only sustainable seafood. We serve over 40 types of seafood throughout the year. Seasonal specials can feature cioppino and bouillabaisse during those frigid months and comfort foods that people may have enjoyed when they were growing up including fried Ipswich clams from Cape Cod, softshell crabs from Maryland, Petrale sole from the San Francisco bay area, Dungeness crab from the pacific northwest, sand dabs from Southern California and of course things like harpoon swordfish that people have grown up with here.” Visit bluewatergrill.com.

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WORLD FOOD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Goleta’s George Levinthal and “Team Santa Barbara” headed to Orange Beach, Alabama last week to compete at the World Food Championships and returned to report a successful trip was had by all. Competing in the Burger category, George finished the first round in the top 10, and 11th overall after the final round. A great accomplishment considering he competed against not only other home cooks like himself but professional chefs, and restaurant operators. A total of 45 competitors in all battled it out for prize money and bragging rights as the best burger chef around.

Team Santa Barbara consists of L.J. Washington and Anne Peyrat as well as Jennifer Hernandez and Jill Monthei who flew in at the last minute to support George and assist him. Team Santa Barbara was one of the 430 teams from 40 states and 14 countries who competed at the World Food Championships to try to bring home the top prize of $100,000.00. Even though he didn’t win the big prize, George was thrilled to get as far as he did. “My goal going to Alabama was to finish in the top 15 or 20 considering the competition,” said Levinthal. “It was so awesome to hear my name called for 10th place and see my name in lights. I don’t think I’ve smiled that much in a long time.”

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SORRISO ITALIANO HOLIDAY CATERING

Owners Antonio and Elisabetta Gerli tell me that their restaurant Sorriso Italiano at 901 Embarcadero del Mar in Isla Vista is currently having a promotion for catering. “The Holiday Party Season is here, why not have your party catered by Sorriso Italiano?” says Antonio Gerli. “We can create great meals for your office meetings, team parties, birthday parties and family gatherings. Use promotion code: AUGURI15 to get 15% off until December 11th. 2016.” Visit  sorriso-italiano.com/catering

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HOLIDAY TAMALES

This just in from Santa Barbara Tamales-To-Go:

Hi John,

For your tamale fan readers, our holiday online order desk is now open at tinyurl.com/sbtamales
We offer five flavors: chicken verde, chipotle pork, chile and cheese, vegetable, and spicy black bean. We also deliver free between Carpinteria and Goleta. Happy holidays!

Saludos,
Richard Lambert

There is a minimum order of 24 tamales.

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AHI SUSHI UPDATE

Reader Patrick says a new sign has been posted in the window at Ahi Sushi, 3631 State Street. The sign reads “Dear Patrons, Ahi will close its doors on November 6, 2016 and reopen under new ownership after a minor remodel. Thank you for your continuous patronage. Sincerely Henson & Ken”

IMG_7716Photo by reader Patrick

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LIGHTHOUSE UPDATE

Readers Wade and Bruce tell me that the former Rusty’s Pizza Lighthouse building at 15 East Cabrillo Boulevard, that is currently under construction, has signage on the property that indicates that the space has been leased. “It will be truly interesting to learn who the new tenant will be and what concept they will have for the newly re-designed, two-story restaurant space overlooking the ocean!” says reader Wade.

IMG_1833Photo by reader Bruce

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ALCHEMY SPA AND CAFE CLOSES

Reader Steve H. let me know that Alchemy Spa and Café at 430 Chapala Street closed last September. “It is with deep sadness that  Alchemy Spa and Café is now closed,” said owner Emma Narachi. “I would sincerely like to thank Alchemy’s clients for their kind support over the last five years.” Alchemy opened March 2011.

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SCRATCH TO REPLACE MONTECITO CAFE

The restaurant and bar space at the Montecito Inn, that used to be the home of Montecito Cafe, has been leased by the husband-and-wife duo behind Scratch Bar & Kitchen in Los Angeles. The hotel’s owners teamed up with broker Liam Murphy of Hayes Commercial Group earlier this year in search of a tenant to bring a new concept to the 2,513 SF space at 1295 Coast Village Road.

“Due to the iconic nature of the property and the unique location within the hotel, we were tasked with identifying a restaurateur that would bring excitement to the eastern end of Coast Village Road,” Murphy said. “Not only did we find a qualified tenant, but we are excited that they will be providing several different offerings to serve both the local community and hotel guests.”

Scratch Bar & Kitchen is the creation of executive chef Phillip Frankland Lee and pastry chef Margarita Kallas-Lee, both of whom have garnered awards and appeared on cooking shows such as Top Chef. Their plans for the Montecito Inn space are still under development, but they are planning to have more than one concept within the space, in order to offer both their popular Scratch bar dinner experience while still providing more casual restaurant service for hotel guests and locals seeking breakfast, lunch or dinner. As the name suggests, everything in the kitchen is prepared from scratch.

The Lees are hoping to open the new restaurant in the summer of 2017.

scratch - CopyChef Phillip Frankland Lee and his wife, pastry chef Margarita Kallas-Lee (both front center) at Scratch Bar & Kitchen in Los Angeles.

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VEGAN THANKSGIVING?

Question from reader Lisa:

Hey, J.D.
Are there no vegetarian/vegan restaurants serving dinner on Thanksgiving? I’m sure I’m not the only vegetarian/vegan who would like to know.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
Sincerely,
Lisa

Answer from The Restaurant Guy:

Lisa,
Adama on Chapala Street used to offer Thanksgiving (minus the turkey), and they were on my Thanksgiving list but unfortunately they are closed now. I don’t know of any  restaurants that are offering a vegetarian/vegan version of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. There might be some that are offering a regular menu on Thanksgiving but I don’t track those restaurants.
John

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HOLIDAY GIFT CARD DEALS

The Black Sheep and Oveja Blanca at 30 East Ortega Street will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Holiday gift certificates at both restaurants are available: $50 dollars gets a $65 gift card and $75 dollars gets $100 gift card. Sales end Christmas day.

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OMAKASE MENU

The Black Sheep at 26 East Ortega Street will be doing a special Omakase eight-course menu on Tuesday December 6th. Chef, Robert Perez, and Chef, Juan Agustin will be creating a variety of raw seafood and cooked with hot protein items. The menu will be on there website theblacksheepsb.com by November 23. $50 per person, 5 -9 p.m. Reservations are suggested. Call 965-1113

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THANKSGIVING WITH D’ANGELO BREAD

This just in from D’Angelo Bread, 25 W. Gutierrez St:

Good Morning John,

I think your Readers would like to know about our new offers for Thanksgiving:

As always D’Angelo Bread will be open on Thanksgiving Day, but for the first time we will be opening our doors at 6am for Order pick up  ( Full Table Service will be available, as always from 7 am to noon ) for our Customers who are traveling out of town and wish to bring some of our delicious baked goods to their Families and Friends.

Do you want to bring a fresh loaf of one of our classic handmade Breads that you just can’t get anywhere else? A loaf of Sourdough, Kalamata Olive or Sourdough Multigrain perhaps?
Or for those of you who enjoy life on the dark side…maybe a French Rye, a Pumpernickel, a Rudolf Steiner or even or 100% Whole Grain Sunflower Rye Bread.( We slice all Breads upon request)

Our Tarts are available in individual and large size ( serves 4-6 ) and the flavors are Pumpkin, Pear Almond, Lemon, Wild Blueberry and Sour Cherry! We always have extra Tarts available, but if you want to make sure that you get exactly what you want please pre-order!

If you love Pumpkin Bread and Chocolate you should try our Chocolate Pumpkin Bread, a Customer Favorite for Years!

Also, not to forget our full line of Pastries… everything from our Apple Turnover, Chocolate Croissant, Cinnamon Bun, Cream Cheese Danish to my absolute Favorite, the  Raisin Snail. Try them out, you won’t be disappointed !

So come in and pick up something for your Thanksgiving Feast or enjoy a Breakfast in our cozy little bakery before the rest of the Family wakes up and Friends arrive….

Find our full Breakfast and Lunch Menu at dangelobread.com
For Order please call 805-962-5466 7am-2 pm daily

Thank you and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Dietmar Eilbacher
D’Angelo Bread

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THANKSGIVING AT FINCH & FORK

This just in from Finch & Fork restaurant at 31 West Carrillo Street:

This Thanksgiving, Gather Around Finch & Fork’s Table

Holiday classics and Finch & Fork favorites come together in a three-course menu. Starters and entrees feature seasonal selections from Chef Siao, like Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Herb Turkey Breast with butter whipped potatoes, crispy walnut stuffing, country pepper gravy, roasted baby carrots and cranberry compote, and Pan Seared Skuna Bay Salmon with roasted grapes, parsnip puree, charred broccolini, salsa verde, and roasted acorn squash. Seasonally themed desserts, like Pumpkin Mousse and Pecan Pie round out the meal. Dinner is $80 per person. Reservations: 805-879-9100

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CHOI’S UPDATE

Reader Valerie reminded me that I never added a new Korean restaurant to the SantaBarbara.com Dining Guide. I wrote about it in January and added it to the guide today.

Hi John,

Did you hear about the new Korean Restaurant/Diner that opened?  Choi’s Market on Patterson and Hollister has now converted half their store into a diner. When you walk in, there are about 6 tables and a wall separating their store from the diner.  The menu consists of 15 different dishes to choose from less than $13.  In the past they offered maybe a couple dishes.

Valerie

 

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MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

Reader Steve tells me that McConnell’s Ice Cream at 201 West Mission Street has completed a name change. It is now known as Mission Ice Cream, featuring McConnell’s Ice Cream.

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GLOBE UPDATE

Partner Laura Knight sent me an update about Globe at 18 East Cota Street:

We opened Globe about 1-1/2 years ago, and are going to be making some changes in the next week. We will close for 1 week to do some light remodeling, have new banquets installed, and move some of the couches upstairs to make it more lounge-y, adding more bar stools & high-tops, and busting out a new menu! The new menu will be small but yummy, including Homemade pot pies (smoked chicken or vegetarian), unique salads, and more. We’ve had General Manager and master mixologist, Andy Davis at the helm since April, and will be staying open later, and anticipate re-opening Tuesday November 29th. Hope to see you soon at 18 East!

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CHICKEN IN A BARREL BBQ COMING TO OLD TOWN GOLETA

Reader Nancy spotted a sign for Chicken In A Barrel BBQ, coming to 310 South Fairview Avenue which is a few doors down from Hollister on the ocean side, next to Orient Laundry. It’s an unusual place to have a restaurant to say the least but their other locations seem to have a funky flair and are very popular. If you build it, they will come.

With about 35 years experience in this cooking style, owner and founder of Chicken In A Barrel BBQ, Mike Pierce, started this establishment in 2010 on the island of Kauai where he has 2 locations (in Hanalei and Kapaa). “The main thing that makes it unique is the way we barbeque our meat,” says Pierce. “It’s not grilled. It’s not smoked. It’s done in a 55-gallon drum. We call it hook’em & hang’em. We cook our chicken, roasts, beef, pork, buffalo, and our ribs while hanging them at the top of the barrel so that the heat is about 3 feet away from the meat. When those juices from the beef, and the pork, and the buffalo hit those coals it comes up in a steam and it literally steams the meat in its own juices. We have our own very unique rubs we make out of all our own herbs and spices. The main thing that makes us more unique than anything else is the love that we put in to it.”

The main menu includes Chicken In A Barrel Plate (1/4 piece chicken), Sampler Plate (a taste of chicken, beef, pork and babyback rib), Babyback Ribs Plate, Chicken & Rib Plate (1/4 piece chicken and 2 babyback ribs), Pork Plate, Hoagie (with choice of shredded pork, chicken or beef), and Chicken For Two (1/2 chicken, 2 scoops of rice, 1 side of chili). Also available is an ala carte menu, a hamburger menu, tacos, burritos, salads and a kids menu. Visit chickeninabarrel.com.

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TURNPIKE RUSTY’S PIZZA UPDATE

For more than a year Rusty’s Pizza at 149 South Turnpike Road in Goleta has been planning to move from their hole-in-the-wall to a full-sized restaurant across the parking lot. They finally got a permit, construction has begun, and the new Rusty’s Pizza will be completed April or May of 2017. “The store will feature party / meeting rooms, our ever-popular expanded salad bar, TVs and video games,” says owner Tyler Duncan. “We’re excited to expand from our current offering and move into this great new space.”

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OUT ON THE TOWN

The Restaurant Kid (food news columnist in training), his mom and I enjoyed dinner recently at Nectar Eatery & Lounge, 20 East Cota Street, the former home of Blue Agave. Nectar, which opened in October 2015, is brought to you by Brad and Aparna Sherman. Nectar offers a menu of globally-inspired ethnic dishes along with local wines and craft cocktails, plus a large tequila list. The focus of Nectar’s menu is small and shareable plates using fresh ingredients and international flavors. We ordered the Onion Pakoras (with date tamarind chutney), Curried Fish Tacos (crispy wonton, thinly sliced jalapeno), Organic Kale Salad (tomatoes, parmesan cheese, almonds with evo and lemon), Filet Mignon (fingerling mash, kashmiri almond sauce, asparagus, crimini mushrooms), Pistachio Gelato (upside down waffle cone, chocolate boat), Chocolate Citrus Torte (guava coulis, fresh whip). All in all it was a great experience.

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