Chef Jason Paluska and the team at The Lark, 131 Anacapa Street, will present four nights of Valentine’s Day dining with dishes created for the a romantic dining experience. The holiday will be celebrated on February 10th, 11th, 12th and Tuesday, February 14th. Each night guests may begin with Chef Paluska’s Beer Battered Local Spot Prawns with Celery Root & Anaheim Chile Remoulade, Grilled Meyer Lemon & Lovage and share Dungeness Crab Risotto with Preserved Lemon, Calabrian Chile, Pinenuts, Santa Barbara Sea Urchin & Fennel Pollen. The Lark’s Valentine’s Day dessert is an Affogato with Roasted Vanilla Bean Soufflé, Handlebar Coffee Caramel, Candied Espresso Bean, Dark Chocolate & Pixie Tangerine.

The Lark also offers the complete market-driven dinner menu, with signature dishes of Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Medjool Dates; Prime Hanger Steak Tartare; Spanish Octopus ‘Carpaccio’ with Cara Cara Orange,Yellowtail Hamachi Crudo; The Lark Charcuterie Platter; Grilled Lamb Belly; Crispy Duck Confit; Cast Iron Roasted Diver Scallops; Harissa & Honey Glazed California Chicken; and 72 Hour Marinated Wagyu Flat Iron Steak.

Dinner may be paired with a selection from The Lark’s wine list, menu of craft ales or lagers, one of their craft cocktails – JP’s Paloma, Oaxacan Negroni, Salty Surfer, Old Aztec or Aperitivo Americano. Pricing is à la carte and ranges from $10 to $42 for the menu of small plates and large platters designed for sharing.

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Kanaloa Seafood has announced that they recently achieved their Marine Stewardship Council Certification, a globally renowned recognition in the sustainable seafood industry. The Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) science-based standard is the standard for environmentally sustainable wild-caught seafood. The MSC has developed standards both for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability. They meet the world’s best practice criteria and are helping to transform global seafood markets. Kanaloa’s detailed sustainability assessment included extensive review by science experts, peer review, and stakeholder consultation.

“Since we began our business over thirty years ago, we have felt a deep responsibility to promote and support environmentally responsible fisheries,” shared Randee and Don Disraeli, owners of Kanaloa Seafood. “We approached the business of fish with a rigorous scientific perspective, and understood early on that development, support, and promotion of sustainable, environmentally sound fishing practices are necessary to reverse the dangerous depletion of world fish stocks, and bring an end to destructive fishing practices. Clearly the stakes are huge, and when it comes the health of the oceans, we are all stakeholders.”

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Angel Oak at Bacara Resort & Spa has received one of the top national honors for restaurant development + design magazine’s inaugural “rd+d” awards. Only five restaurants across six categories were selected, each representing the best of the best in both restaurant development and design. Taking home the Form + Function Innovation Award, Angel Oak was chosen for its use of space and creation of more intimate zones within a larger footprint. The judges praised the restaurant for “its striking modern approach” to a seafood and steakhouse concept.

Other design highlights of Angel Oak include an exterior mosaic wall mural that reflects the “angelic” face of a young woman, a host podium made from a hand-carved slab of black marble, a linear bar featuring a top made from “Amazonite” stone, a decorative chandelier made from hand-blown glass globes and a dimensional black brick feature wall.

“Our goal was to create an upscale and sophisticated modern steak and seafood dining experience, without the stuffy exclusivity of a traditional ‘fine dining,’ ‘hotel’ restaurant,” said Nate Tanner, vice president of food & beverage, Pacific Hospitality Group – Angel Oak’s parent company. “We wanted to build a beautiful and functional space that would stand the test of time; we are honored these efforts have been recognized by such an esteemed group.”

For a list of the other categories and corresponding award recipients, visit

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S.Y. Kitchen at 1110 Faraday Street in Santa Ynez now serves lunch Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. They have discontinued Italian breakfast on Sundays and replaced it with their new lunch menu.

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Lucky Penny at 137 Anacapa Street no longer serves breakfast and has updated hours to be Sun-Thur 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri-Sat 11am-10 p.m.

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Readers Hog, Maureen and Annie tell me there is an “Under New Management” sign posted at High Sierra Grill & Bar which replaced The Elephant Bar at 521 Firestone Road in Goleta in December 2015.



This just in from reader Steve H.:

“Hana Kitchen just opened in their new location at 503 State less than an hour ago. Not even a sign yet. And the Mac’s Fish and Chips menu is still posted outside. Ha!”

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Reader Susan says that the managers at the former Cafe del Sol are still part of the local restaurant scene:

“Hi John, Here’s some fun news for those of us agonizing every time a popular local restaurant goes under, a scene happening too frequently the past couple of years. One of our biggest losses was Cafe del Sol, the kind of place that was loaded with residents and friends. Part of that was thanks to Alfredo and Manny, Manager and Assistant, who always made us feel welcomed. Where are they now? I just found out that they’ve taken over the Crocodile restaurant at the Lemon Tree Inn! They have a new menu and that same wonderful service. Count on us being ongoing customers.”



The New Year brings a new menu to Outpost at 5650 Calle Real in Goleta, where chef Nick Bajal has added seasonal dishes including the Plantain Empanada (pork carnitas, tomatillo broth, and queso fresco), Crispy Chicken Thighs (miso potato salad, Korean chili cucumber and grilled lime), Acorn Squash (red quinoa, shaved heirloom carrot, ginger vinaigrette, crispy lotus root and pickled fresno chili), Confit Duck Leg (coriander vinaigrette, greens, mirin roasted apples and parsnip) and Lamb (braised red cabbage, nori butter peas and crispy white sweet potato). Bajal has updated the Pick Three section too, offering a variety of street tacos and bao-buns, like the Mushroom Bao-Bun (hoisin leeks, scallions and sesame seeds) and Seafood Scrapple Bao-Bun (uni aioli and green onion). New to the menu is a Mexican Spiced Chocolate Pudding with salted caramel whipped cream and crispy sugar cookie.



With sweeping water views and sustainability on the menu, The Club & Guest House at UCSB is officially open for business. The former Faculty Club has been under renovation since late 2015. The reborn building features boutique lodging, state-of-the-art meeting spaces and a first-class dining room overlooking the campus lagoon and the ocean beyond.

“I am thrilled about the new Club & Guest House,” said Willie Brown, UCSB’s associate vice chancellor for housing, dining and auxiliary enterprises. “It is a very unique space that captures the history of the old building while looking towards the future aspirations of one of the world’s great public institutions. As a gathering, meeting and special events venue, UCSB now has a living room where staff and faculty colleagues can continue their natural exchange of ideas while dining from a quality menu that focuses on local, sustainable and organic offerings.”

Done in partnership with UCSB Housing & Residential Services, the renovation
also came with an expansion: The Club & Guest House is twice its former size, with
increased dining and meeting space, 34 guest rooms and an outdoor terrace. UCSB Foundation trustee, real estate investor and philanthropist Betty Elings Wells
helped fund the project with a significant leadership gift to name the west terrace and a
pavilion at the new club. The building also boasts a members’ lounge, a bar, a private, ocean-view dining room adjacent to the main dining area and modernized restrooms. An entrance has been added at the restaurant level, as have a larger lobby and enclosed entry upstairs.

The dining room offers breakfast daily for hotel guests and is open for lunch to the broader campus community from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each weekday. “Our beautifully remodeled modern facility now includes state-of-the-art conference rooms together with a new seasonal menu incorporating sustainable, fresh and locally sourced items coupled with exceptional service delivered by our very own UCSB students,” says Indras Govender, food and beverage manager for The Club and former owner of Fresco Cafe North. Call  893-7720 or visit

170202-theclub - Copy

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Reader Miranda says that Somerset restaurant has reopened after a brief closure from a kitchen fire and water sprinkler-related cleanup.

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This just in from 18East at 18 E. Cota Street:

image1“18East Santa Barbara’s POP-UP venue and home of the 2nd strongest tasty drinks is proud to present Drews Brews BBQ and Smoke-Haus this weekend 01/27 and 01/28. This will be the fourth POP-UP and 18East formerly GLOBE , there have been 2 tasty and successful showing by newly local chef Mark Nargi and Fried chicken so good it make you throw rocks at your momma presented by local pop-up artist the Beefhearts kitchen, 18East is anxiously awaited both their returns next month. If you weren’t aware 18East is also providing entertainment weekly, Thursday’s are for open mics and acoustic music, Friday’s are for Funky DJs, and Saturday’s are good for Jazz combos. For scheduling and information keep informed with 18EastCota on instagram and Facebook or just stop for a drink.”

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Readers Laura and Hollis tell me that is appears Caffe Primo at 516 State Street (the former home of Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro) has closed. Google search results say “closed permanently” and Open Table lists Caffe Primo as “offline.” But Yelp and Caffe Primo’s own web site don’t yet mention any changes in status. Caffe Primo opened in October, 2015.

150903-2Photo taken of Caffe Primo before it opened in 2015.



aldos-1Reader Ray says that there is a sign at Aldo’s Italian Restaurant at 1031 State Street saying it is being remodeled and that the for-lease sign, mentioned by other readers, refers to the office upstairs that is available for sublet. Aldo’s web site doesn’t indicate that anything has changed. Previously multiple readers told me that the business was closed which of course is true under the remodel scenario. I have confirmed that the main phone number has been disconnected. It is unusual for a business to disconnect their main phone number because of a remodel. Usually restaurants create a voice message telling customers that the business is temporarily closed, like what Somerset restaurant recently did. I emailed the owners of Aldo’s on January 18th and have received no response.

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HiWi Tropical Fusion has opened at 6555 Pardall Road in Isla Vista. The founders of HiWi, along with their culinary chef, have over 30 years of experience in the food industry and all share a love of travel. Their menu is thus composed of a fusion of tropical flavors inspired by a number of countries and cultures. The lush, outdoor-only dining restaurant was built from the ground-up and has one of the largest dining patios in Isla Vista.

Their mission statement reads: “At HiWi Tropical Fusion, we strive to deliver delicious and healthier quick-serve food options to our customers in a relaxed and modern dining setting.  We aim to keep our food clean using primarily preservative-free and locally sourced ingredients, including organic beef, organic poultry, and wild-caught fish whenever possible. All our sauces are made in-house.”

HiWi tries to be a sustainable business and uses only compostable plates and utensils. They are also the first business in Isla Vista to partner with the City of Santa Barbara Environmental Services Composting Program. Hours are 9 a.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. Call 845-1717 or visit


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Reader Annie says that recently opened Somerset on Anapamu is now closed due to a kitchen fire that occurred early morning January 23 when food was left cooking on the the stove. The sprinkler system activated and left two inches of water in the restaurant. There is currently no proposed reopening date.



Several readers told me that Night Lizard Brewing Company will be opening its doors soon at 607 State Street (next to Radio Shack). Their mission statement reads: “Night Lizard Brewing Company is committed to producing the highest quality craft beers using the freshest local ingredients, while inspiring and educating the public on current environmental challenges facing the central coast.” Call 335-1909 or visit


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Reader Jonathan says that Bar 29 has opened at 1134 Chapala Street, the former home of The Hungry Cat. A reader tells me that the business name comes from the fact that the bar is made of copper and that copper is atomic number 29 on the element table. According to their Facebook page, Bar 29 is a “Craft cocktail bar with elevated bar food and a friendly, sophisticated atmosphere”. The menu includes Wagyu sliders with bacon jam, glazed pork belly pops, lamb meatballs, and more. Call 284-4997 or visit



Reader Annie says that Aldo’s Italian Restaurant at 1031 State Street closed its doors and that the phone number is no longer in service.



Last Thursday Mesa Burger at 315 Meigs Road hosted a private premier party for “My Kitchen Rules,” local resident and Iron Chef Cat Cora’s new show on Fox on Thursdays at 9 p.m. It was a fun evening and the sliders were amazing!




The Mex Authentic at 413 State Street has reduced their hours. Instead of offering daily service the restaurant in now only open Thursday – Sunday.



While driving home last week I noticed that an error was recently introduced to a northbound freeway sign in Goleta. The Los Carneros signs on both sides of the 101 freeway were recently upgraded to include “EXIT 107” on the upper-right corner. Caltrans used identical new Los Carneros freeway exit signs for both northbound and southbound, but they should not have.

The two lane southbound 101 in western Goleta is briefly three lanes (just between Storke and Los Carneros) and the right lane terminates at Los Carneros, so there is a large, yellow “EXIT ONLY” marker included on the southbound sign. For some reason Caltrans added the same yellow “EXIT ONLY” marker to the northbound sign where there should not be one, because there are only two freeway lanes when approaching Los Carneros on the northbound side and the right-hand lane does not end.

If, on the northbound side, Caltrans is planning to some day extend the 3rd freeway lane all the way from Fairview to Los Carneros, this new sign would make sense, but only after that work was done. Currently this brand-new northbound Los Carneros exit sign is misleading because it implies that the northbound 101 freeway reduces to a single lane at Los Carneros, which it does not.




Jean Yamamura at The Santa Barbara Independent reports that the family that owns Rose Cafe at 424 East Haley Street has decided to close the restaurant in 2021 which will be the eatery’s 85th year in business. Agnes Guevara, the family matriarch who ran the restaurant for decades, died in 2014 and her daughter Anna Olvera manages daily operations.

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The Santa Ynez Valley is known as much for its culinary creations as its world-class wines. The Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Week returns for a seventh consecutive year, Jan. 22-28, offering foodies an opportunity to enjoy three-course tasting menus for $20.17. Representing each of the Santa Ynez Valley’s six distinct communities, two dozen restaurants — from the region’s emerging establishments to long-time favorites — will participate in Restaurant Week this year. In addition to the offerings of the Valley’s restaurants, select Santa Ynez Valley wineries will offer wine and small bite pairings in their tasting rooms for $20.17. And special lodging deals are available at numerous hoteliers throughout the Valley. Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Week menus do not include tax, tip or beverages, and reservations are encouraged. For the latest updates on Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Week, including menus and dining hours, visit

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Ahi Sushi at 3631 State Street closed its doors on November 6 with plans to reopen under new ownership after a remodel. Reader Foodie Dan tells me that the new restaurant will be named Sun Sushi.

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I visited a few local restaurants that are coming to the South Coast including Luna Grill (3925 State Street), Cajun Kitchen (6025 Calle Real, Goleta), Kyle’s Kitchen (7060 Hollister Avenue, Goleta) and Sharkey’s Woodfired Mexican Grill (7000 Hollister Avenue, Goleta). Of the four only Cajun Kitchen appears to have started construction and it appears that they have a long way to go.

under construction



Reader Annie says that The Food Liaison at 1033 Casitas Pass Road in Carpinteria is temporarily closed for an expansion/remodel. They are expanding into the space next door. I am told that the tentative reopening date is January 30th.

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I recently wandered into Isla Vista and discovered a few things:

  • HiWi Tropical Fusion restaurant at 6555 Pardall Road in Isla Vista had a one-day trial opening recently with free samples but the restaurant is not open full time yet and should be soon, perhaps this weekend or next week. Unlike your typical I.V. hole-in-the-wall, HiWi is a professional operation, with seasoned management and a brand-new building that was constructed from the ground up. HiWi has one of the largest dining patios in Isla Vista.
  • OTaco, which opened at 6530 Pardall Road in Isla Vista in April 2015, has closed and another restaurant, which I know nothing about, is preparing to take its place. Since I started this column 6530 Pardall Road has been the home of Otaco, Angry Wings, Chino’s Rock & Tacos, Eclectic I.V., China Garden and Kung Pao Kitchen.
  • Sources tell me that an unnamed Poke restaurant is coming to 901 Embarcadero del Mar, the former home of Jimmy Johns.


Readers Laura and Annie let me know that American Ale, which opened in May 2013 at 14 East Cota Street, has closed and the owners will soon replace it with a new eatery named Foxtail Restaurant. American Ale 02 is still open at 214 State Street (formerly Union Ale).



Join the folks at Phoevermore Vietnamese restaurant, 1017 Casitas Pass Road in Carpinteria, for foods and drinks at a ribbon cutting and grand opening event on Thursday January 26 from  3:30-5:30 p.m.

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