If you can help reader Mark please leave a message in the blog.
The restaurant Cafe Stella at 3302 McCaw Avenue was originally Harry’s Townhouse. What was it after Harry’s Townhouse?
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If you can help reader Mark please leave a message in the blog.
The restaurant Cafe Stella at 3302 McCaw Avenue was originally Harry’s Townhouse. What was it after Harry’s Townhouse?
Reader Megan let me know that on December 1st, 2013 a new job listing for Restaurant Manager in Santa Barbara appeared on the Elephant Bar’s web site. The Elephant Bar restaurant closed on August 18th after 30 years in business at 521 Firestone Road.
After intense concentration and a wave of my hand over the all-knowing crystal ball, my eatery oracle has revealed a list of locations appearing in your future:
Readers Primetime, Cris and anonymous let me know that the new Lilly’s Taqueria has tweeted that they are opening at 290 Storke Road, Goleta (formerly La Carreta) this Friday, December 6th. As a huge taco fan who lives just a block away, I plan to stop by on opening day then head for the Christmas parade downtown.
Here are some other venues that will soon be calling Santa Barbara home.
Now heading in to its third year, Prohibition Repeal Day returns to Santa Barbara to celebrate the end of Prohibition in 1933, 80 years ago. Joe Andrieu and Ted Mills, two Santa Barbarians who both love cocktails and Constitutional history, decided to turn this unsung moment in history into a gathering of history buffs and cocktail aficionados last year. This year, on Thursday, December 5, 2013, Repeal Day Santa Barbara hosts a stroll through downtown Santa Barbara from 5:00PM to late. The event travels to several cocktail bars, each of which will offer classic cocktails plus discounts and special deals for revelers in vintage garb.
Repeal Day Santa Barbara is organized as a self-guided tour, with maps provided at each of the featured bars: Marquee (1212 State St.), Milk & Honey (30 W. Anapamu), Cielito (1114 State St.), Roy (7 W. Carrillo), Cadiz (509 State St.) , Pickle Room (126 E. Canon Perdido), Blue Agave (20 E. Cota) and Wildcat Lounge (15 W. Ortega St.). Each bar will offer deals for those in vintage costume, specialty cocktails, and more. Mills and Andrieu designed the event so anyone can join in at any time with real-time updates and special deals through Twitter and Facebook.
The 8th-annual SantaBarbara.com Restaurant Survey of your favorite places for food & drink has begun. The online survey runs each year throughout December and the results will be published in January. The survey results, which cover 99 categories, will be displayed on the SantaBarbara.com Restaurant Guide Best Of page throughout 2014. New categories this year include Best Mac & Cheese and Best Funk Zone Destination.
To vote for your favorite restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries & more visit:
More than half of all the food news-related press releases I receive end up being discarded because they are written as advertisements instead of as news. To help solve this problem I have created a new press release submission form that includes a tip sheet on how to create a press release that has a higher likelihood of being accepted.
Jimmy John’s gourmet sandwiches has publicly announced that they are coming to “Santa Barbara.” Reader Chris contacted them on Facebook and was told that the address is 909 Embarcadero del Mar in Isla Vista. I guess from corporate headquarters in far away Champaign, Illinois, Santa Barbara and Isla Vista seem to be one and the same.
Wishing you a happy and blessed Thanksgiving. I’m spending the holiday at my parents’ home in Montecito enjoying our annual feast. We have a 24-pound bird this year. The Restaurant Gal and my mom spent the last 2 days preparing all the trimmings. My mom’s childhood friend Dawn Wells (a.k.a. Mary Ann on the sitcom Gilligan’s Island) gave them a tip on how to easily peel potatoes via a boiling trick.
I instead spent the last 2 days digging big holes in the backyard. I am replacing old landscaping with 14 fruit trees including Fuji apple, Gala apple, Kadota fig, 2 types of blueberry, tangerine, peach, plum, Meyer lemon, persimmon, pomegranate, pear, passion fruit and Goji berries.
This just in from Mac’s Fish & Chip Shop, 503 State Street:
Hope all is well. I was hoping you would kindly pass along the details of our HOLIDAY PIE APPEAL to your very attractive/handsome readers.
We aren’t going to be open on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day as that’s family time for our staff but we are offering a slice of Thanksgiving (and Christmas for our British customers) every other day until the end of the year with our new HOLIDAY PIE.
It consists of layers of…
- Roast Turkey Breast in Turkey Gravy
- Buttered Carrots and Peas
- Sage & Onion Stuffing
- Topped with Puréed Parsnip & Mashed Potatoes
- Side of Cranberry Sauce
They cost $7.50 each and $5 from each pie sold is going directly to the awesome people at ANGELS FOSTER CARE of Santa Barbara who do incredible work finding homes for kids who have had a distinctly crappy start in life. Check out www.angelssb.com for more information and a video that WILL make you cry. Like all of our menu, they are available to go and enjoy at home.
We’ve had these on offer for a couple of weeks already with great feedback so hopefully your readers can help us raise even more money for this very worthy cause.
Mac’s Fish & Chip Shop
503 State St
(805) 897 1160
If you can help reader Millie please leave a message in the blog.
Does anybody know where you can find good, hot broth (not cream) based soups in town? I know Little Alex’s carries a great and hot Chicken Soup but interested in knowing if there are other restaurants that make good soups that are served at a hot temperature.
Readers Cris and Sygyzy let me know that gourmet sandwich shop Jimmy John’s, founded by Jimmy John Liautaud in 1983 in Charleston, Illinois, has sent out a tweet that they are in the process of opening in Santa Barbara. Though the exact location is unknown I have received a tip about a new deli sign that has appeared downtown that I will check out later today to see if there is a connection. The eatery has 1600 locations across 40 states and has opened 200 new locations per year over the last 3 years. 98% of the locations are franchise-owned. For more information visit jimmyjohns.com.
Update: Jimmy John’s is coming to 909 Embarcadero del Mar in Isla Vista, not Santa Barbara.
Reade PrimeTime let me know that a web site called ListChallenges.com includes Freebirds and The Habit (which both started on the South Coast) in their list of “The 25 Greatest Cult Fast Food Chains in America.”
Good Karma Market & Deli at 207 W. Anapamu Street, which stopped being a deli more than a year ago, was taken over by the owners of Presidio Market (1236 Santa Barbara Street) earlier this year. Reader Brendan tells me that the business has now been relaunched as Red Sands Market and Deli. I’m told that the deli is open, with a menu offering sandwiches, salads, burgers and more. The owners of Presidio Market also bought 805 Deli at 135 E. Carrillo Street last June.
Matt and Jeff Nichols, the brothers behind Sides Hardware & Shoes in Los Olivos and until just last year, Brothers at Mattei’s Tavern, have opened Brothers Restaurant at Red Barn. The new eatery is located at 3539 Sagunto Street in Santa Ynez and is open for lunch and dinner. For more information call 688-4142 or visit brothersredbarn.com. Thanks to reader Gabrielle for the tip.
Word on the street is that the Bravo channel was filming at the Chase restaurant (1012 State Street) on Friday, November 22nd. This is not confirmed and I don’t know why Bravo would be there.
If you can help reader Gary please leave a message in the blog.
While watching football at the Cliff Room (1828 Cliff Drive) yesterday, I noticed a sign that the place has been sold. I heard a rumor that the owner of Brophy’s might be the new owner…any truth to that? Will they try to change it into a restaurant?
View a list of local restaurants serving a traditional turkey meal on Thanksgiving Day.
Chef Ricardo Zarate and business partner Stephane Bombet, of Chef Zarate Restaurant Group, have opened a Californian-Peruvian restaurant named the Blue Tavern at 119 State Street, the former home of Anchor Woodfire Kitchen which closed in September.
Blue Tavern is the group’s fourth restaurant, following the success of Los Angeles eateries Mo-chica, Picca, and Paichẽ. “Launching our first restaurant outside of Los Angeles, and to be opening our doors along the most vibrant street in the city, is truly the realization of a dream for Ricardo and me,” Bombet says. “By utilizing local Santa Barbara seafood and produce on our menu, Blue Tavern will offer our guests a new way to experience Peruvian culture in a relaxed environment.”
Zarate, a 2011 Food & Wine Best New Chef and two-time James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist for Best Chef: West, infuses Californian techniques and Peruvian ingredients throughout the menu. “I always try to blend inspiration from my past and present when I create a menu,” Zarate says. “To update classic Californian dishes with ingredients from my country, along with produce from local farmers’ markets, is a culmination of decades of cooking which I am looking forward to introducing to Santa Barbara.”
Blue Tavern, which seats 60 inside and 30 on the patio, is open daily beginning at 7 a.m. for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For more information call 845-0989 or visit bluetavernsb.com.
This just in from the prospective new owner of the Mesa Cafe:
Thank you for your always awesome restaurant notes, I really enjoy reading all the food related news.
The Mesa Cafe is going to continue to operate the same way it has for the past 29 years. Serving great American comfort food, offering breakfast, lunch, dinner banquet facilities and full bar not to forget the famous bloody Marie’s and margaritas. Most importantly our current wonderful team is going to continue to operate with us.
I’ve run the Mesa Cafe for the past 20 years and I don’t see any reasons to change any of our business structure. There may be some small changes it the future, but nothing mayor.
Sources tell me that recently-sold Wahoo’s Fish Taco at 511 State Street is going to close and become a late-night pizza place. I am told that Bill Clayton, owner of nearby Whiskey Richards, is the buyer.
A sign has appeared at the Mesa Cafe & Bar (1972 Cliff Drive) indicating that the business is in the process of being sold. The sign says that the current manager of Mesa Cafe, Ramiro Elizalde, is the prospective new owner. Sources tell me that the deal may close on or around February 1, 2014 and that the liquor license, kitchen equipment and everything wall-to-wall is in the deal. Sources say that the new ownership might switch the restaurant to Mexican cuisine.
Update: the cuisine will not change
Reader Brian tells me that Altamirano’s Mexican restaurant at 422 N. Milpas Street has closed. I stopped by and the place was indeed closed and locked during regular business hours. The fact that business no longer answers the phone is another sign of their demise.
KEYT is reporting that a 7-Eleven is coming to 402 N. Milpas Street, next door to Fresh & Easy Market. The address use to be the home of Fast Lane Oil Change. A 7-Eleven recently opened in Isla Vista.
Reader Harriet tells me that a business named “The Lovin’ Spoonful” is coming in the Mesa Shopping Center, next to Super Cuca’s. Reader Preston says “Lovin’ Oven Mediterranean Bakery & Café” may be opening at 6578 Trigo Road, Isla Vista, in the former home of Café Int’l which closed last month.
Earlier this year at the Taste of the Nation culinary event in Montecito I spoke with Elaine Morello, co-owner of Olio e Limone Ristorante and Olio Pizzeria at 11 W. Victoria Street. She told me that Olio was planning to open a bar next door to their existing eateries. Reader Harriet says there is now a sign for “Olio Crudo Bar” at 11 W. Victoria #18 (in the old Herbal Spirit storefront) with a message that indicates the business will open this winter. For more information (there’s not much info right now) visit oliocrudobar.com.
Local television talk show host Ken Boxer published his interview with The Restaurant Guy today. We discuss this food news column, SantaBarbara.com, Accidental Santa and the Five Year Photo guys.
This just in from reader Barbara:
Following up on the rumor about the sale of Carpinteria’s Foster’s Freeze to Hamburger Habit, turns out it was just a rumor. Heard through the grapevine that it was recently inherited within the family who has owned it for many years, and it was confirmed that it’s not going anywhere.
Here is a list of local restaurants that have closed in the last year:
Reader Gabrielle tells me that brothers Matt and Jeff Nichols will be opening their Brothers Restaurant at Red Barn (3539 Sagunto Street, Santa Ynez) for lunch and dinner this Friday, November 22. For more information call 688-4142.
I added Santa Barbara Brewing Company to the list of restaurants serving a traditional turkey meal on Thanksgiving day.
Owner Clay Holdren sent me an update about Holdren’s Grill at Camino Real Marketplace in Goleta:
I hope all is well with you. I just wanted to let you know that Craig Baldi has taken over as the chef for Holdren’s Grill in Goleta. He is the original chef that we had when we opened our downtown location 10 years ago and came up with a lot of our original recipes. We are very excited to have him back and expect great things out of the kitchen at Holdren’s Grill!
Holdren’s Steaks & Seafood
A new service called Savor Santa Barbara Food Tours is offering a 2-mile, 3 1/2 hour walking adventure while tasting food, beer and wine, and also exploring some of the local architecture, history and sights of Santa Barbara. All food and drink tastings, enough for lunch, are included in the ticket price of $79. For more information call 800-979-3370 or visit savorsantabarbarafoodtours.com.
Local television talk show host Ken Boxer, who also owns and operates Palazzio (1026 State St.), will be interviewing The Restaurant Guy on Thursday, November 21, 10 p.m. on channel TVSB-17. I am told the interview will also be available online soon thereafter. For more information visit kenboxerlive.com.
Local media including the News-Press and Santa Barbara Independent have reported that the Design Review Board of Goleta have been listening to a proposal from Taco Bell to open a restaurant in the University Plaza shopping center, at the corner of Hollister Avenue and Pacific Oaks Road. The eatery would include indoor and outdoor seating, and a drive-through. Thanks to reader Cris for the tip.
This just in from Fresh Market, coming to 222 N. Milpas Street, the former home of Scolari’s:
THE FRESH MARKET TO OPEN SANTA BARBARA STORE DECEMBER 11
Santa Barbara, Calif. (November 15, 2013) – The Fresh Market, Inc. (NASDAQ: TFM) will expand its presence next month with a new store in Santa Barbara, marking the company’s fifth store in the state of California.
At its newest location at 222 North Milpas Street, the specialty grocer’s full-service philosophy will incorporate unparalleled product selection and expert customer service in an inviting atmosphere. The Fresh Market employs a team of friendly, well-trained professionals who pride themselves on providing the highest level of customer service to shoppers. Employees can often be found offering cooking advice or sharing their favorite tips to help customers create the perfect meal.
“We are excited to open our new store in Santa Barbara and to expand our reach in California,” said Craig Carlock, the company’s president and chief executive officer. “We look forward to introducing The Fresh Market’s concept of quality perishables, excellent customer service and a unique atmosphere to an expanded customer base, and we look forward to offering neighboring communities a rewarding new food shopping experience.”
Doors will open at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 11, and grand opening activities will include chef demonstrations, food sampling throughout the store, and drawings for The Fresh Market gift cards. A sample-sized bag of the company’s gourmet coffee and a reusable shopping bag will be free to the first 1,000 customers.
The new store will house over 22,700 square feet of culinary delights, including a bakery that produces 30 freshly baked breads and 14 different pie varieties daily, a full service meat counter with freshly ground beef, a wide selection of ready-to-serve entrées, fresh seafood delivered to the store several times per week, and more than 200 imported and domestic cheeses, as well as a bountiful produce department with more than 400 items and a large organic selection.
“The Fresh Market’s inviting atmosphere is reminiscent of European markets,” says Carlock. “Our customers enjoy shopping in an environment that appeals to all the senses. The smell of freshly brewed coffee and bread right out of the oven, the sound of classical music, and soft lighting in an intimate setting, and the ability to select and taste fresh, high-quality products all work together to create surroundings where customers are encouraged to experience the food.”
The Fresh Market is excited to be an active member of the Santa Barbara community. The company has made a significant investment in the market and the new store is bringing approximately 90 new jobs to the area, most of which are being filled locally.
The Fresh Market is committed to the communities where it does business, and its employees enthusiastically support local organizations that are important to the stores’ communities and customers. The new store will proudly partner with the Santa Barbara Food Bank by providing regular donations of food. In addition, The Fresh Market will donate at least five percent of grand opening day sales to its national charitable partner, Share Our Strength®, in support of its No Kid Hungry campaign.
On Wednesday, November 20th, from 5-9 p.m., John Palminteri (ubiquitous), John Dixon (Tri-County Produce) and The Restaurant Guy, A.K.A “The Three Johns,” will be bartending at Pascucci restaurant, 729 State Street, to help raise money for the Solstice Parade. Take a break, have your favorite beverage and enjoy some of Pascucci’s Italian delights. All proceeds from the bar, and tables surrounding the bar area, will go to Summer Solstice. FYI, Pascucci now has a happy hour every weekday from 5 pm – 7 pm.
If you think you can help reader John please leave a message in the blog.
Hey Restaurant Guy–
Mincemeat pie for Thanksgiving seems to have fallen out of favor with folks, at least that is my impression having surveyed various bakeries in Santa Barbara. But, maybe I’ve missed the one that does bake it. Do you know of any bakery that bakes mincemeat pie? If not, I guess I’ll have to do it myself.
Reader Brendan sent me a message about Las Palmeras restaurant at 432 East Haley Street:
I walked by Las Palmeras on East Haley the other day and it appears to be closed. Construction going on inside and furniture being sold out front.
Rudy’s Restaurant at 5764 Calle Real, Goleta has completed the transformation to “Paloma Restaurant and Tequila Bar.” Rudy Alvaro, owner of Rudy’s, is also the owner of Paloma. The eatery has a new chef, a new menu serving authentic Mexican cuisine and a new, large front dining patio. Paloma offers sit-down table service in the evenings and walk-up ordering during the lunch hour.
Taco Tuesdays: Every Tuesday from 11am – 10pm Paloma offers $2 crispy and soft tacos along with drink specials. Happy Hour: Weekdays 4:00-6:30 $5 fresh hand-squeezed margaritas, $5 well drinks, $3.50 premium draft beer, and appetizer specials.
Hours are Mon-Fri: 10:00am – 9:00pm, Sat & Sun: 8:00am – 9:00pm. For more information call 681-0766 or visit palomagoleta.com.
The James Beard Foundation put up $10,000 as prize money in their “Taste America Challenge” that ran from September 1, 2013 to October 31, 2013. Participating restaurants throughout the country were asked to come up with a dish that best reflects their local food scene as well as select a local charity to compete for. Julienne restaurant at 138 E. Canon Perdido Street represented Santa Barbara and won first place, securing $10,000 for the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County.
Run entirely through Instagram, this contest asked diners to show their support by dining at participating restaurants taking pictures of their meals and uploading them with the hash tags #JBFTasteAmerica followed by a hash tag of their city. At the end of the two months the city with the most uploads and hash tags wins.
Julienne was Santa Barbara’s only participating restaurant and held a second place spot on the vote sheet for the most of the 8 weeks, trailing only to Chicago (who had 11 restaurants competing for #Chicago). At times Julienne trailed by as little as 7 votes and at other times by as many as 32 votes. With three days to go in the competition Julienne needed 15 votes to over take Chicago. They got 40 and finished in first place securing a $10,000 donation for the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County. $1 from every Bouillabaisse sold during this competition was also donated to the James Beard Foundation to fun their educational programs.
“When the competition first started we didn’t think that there was any chance we would be able to compete with the restaurants in the big city markets”, says Chef West, “we only have 40 seats and Santa Barbara doesn’t have the diner volume that a big city has. There was nights that we only served 5 Bouillabaisse. We just made sure we got them all to vote. That was the goal every night… get a vote from every Bouillabaisse that goes out.”
Arch Rock Fish restaurant at 608 Anacapa Street has started a new promotion. Several lucky recipients each week will find a Golden Ticket tucked inside the napkin at their place setting. This Golden Ticket is redeemable for two free entrees and is valued at up to $100.
This just in from restaurant Julienne at 138 E. Canon Perdido Street:
This is Justin over at Julienne. I thought you and your readers would be interested to know that Julienne claimed first place in the James Beard Foundation’s “Taste America Local Dish Challenge”!! As you may recall the first place winner won a $10,000 donation to a local charity, in this case the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County.
Big thanks to our staff for their motivation and drive to help us win, and of course to all the diners who came out and ate Bouillabaisse in support of this great cause. We are so stoked to bring home the win for Santa Barbara and our local Food Bank!!
Chef / Owner
Reader Dustin stopped by the Mesa Verde, a new cafe coming to 1919 Cliff Drive (formerly Cliff’s & Co.) He spoke with a contractor and was told that the new eatery will be a vegan restaurant.
The Gobble Song is a Thanksgiving tradition from Santa Barbara’s popular band Spencer the Gardener. As it turns out The Restaurant Guy also has a Thanksgiving tradition. Each November my email inbox is swamped with the same question: Which restaurants serve a traditional turkey meal on Thanksgiving Day?
Last week The Restaurant Gal and I made a hundred phone calls to find the answer for you. Make reservations early because many places will be sold out weeks in advance. For the 7th year in a row I present to you a list of local restaurants offering Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 28, 2013:
“Each day word of mouth is carrying the message of Mediterranean – Middle Eastern – fast – gourmet – take-out food being served from a sparkling, clean, upscale hole-in-the-wall,” says representative Sharon Brasil.
The menu offers fresh rotisserie meat wraps and vegetarian dishes including Shawarma Wrap (beef/lamb/chicken), Beirut Kafta Burger Wrap, Falafel, Tabouli, Hummus, Rolled Grape Leaves, Tzatziki and Baklava.
Hours are Monday – Saturday 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sunday noon – 5 p.m., Friday – Saturday late nights 10:30 p.m. – 2:30 a.m., closed Monday. For more information call 560-0809 or visit magicpitacafe.com.
Both Cal Taco at 7320 Hollister Avenue in Goleta and The French Table at 129 E. Anapamu Street recently changed ownership. I am told that Cal Taco was purchased by the liquor store next door. Thanks to readers Joe, Michelle and Anonymous for the tips.
Brothers Matt and Jeff Nichols served their last dinner at Brothers Restaurant inside Mattei’s Tavern in March, 2012. In mid-November they will fire up the kitchen again, this time as “Brothers Restaurant at Red Barn” located at 3539 Sagunto Street in Santa Ynez. If all goes according to plan I am told they will also be open on Thanksgiving, serving a traditional turkey meal. In April 2012 the Nichols brothers opened another Santa Ynez Valley eatery, “Sides Hardware and Shoes,” at 2375 Alamo Pintado in Los Olivos. For more information on Brothers Restaurant call 688-4142.
Reader Dustin tells me that a temporary construction fence has appeared in front of Mesa Verde, a new eatery coming to 1919 Cliff Drive (formerly Cliff’s & Co.) A permit application for Mesa Verde was first spotted by Dustin last July.
Last month Dunkin’ Donuts announced that they are searching for franchisees in Fresno, Bakersfield, Sacramento and Santa Barbara. In 1950, entrepreneur Bill Rosenberg opened the first Dunkin’ Donuts shop in Quincy, Massachusetts. Dunkin’ Donuts licensed the first of many franchises in 1955. Dunkin’ Donuts is the world’s leading baked goods and coffee chain, serving more than 3 million customers per day from more than 10,000 stores in 32 countries. Thanks to readers Cris and Migt for the tip.
Georgia’s Smokehouse food truck debuted in Santa Barbara in March of this year, serving up gourmet BBQ between Solvang and Carpinteria. This week they announced the addition of a second vehicle which will be a twin to their first. For more information visit georgias-smokehouse.com.
Reader Mike says he went to Javan’s at 938 Embarcadero Del Norte in Isla Vista for lunch and discovered they were gone. He says there’s a “thank you for 25 years of
support” sign on the door.
Northern Indian restaurant Tamira has opened at 1027 State Street in the former home of Spice Avenue. General Manager Remmie Menezes tells me that the staff and menu are unchanged from Spice Avenue but prices have been reduced significantly. “The lunch buffet price is really low now, $9.95 all you can eat,” says Menezes. “Dinner menu prices are way down now. Entrées start from $8 – $9. Before entrées were around $15.95 and we are half of that. The restaurant has the same food, same concept, and same food quality as Spice Avenue. The staff is the same and there is a new owner.” Menezes says that the Chef’s Specials, including Chicken Tikka Masala and Chicken Pepper Masala, are some of the most popular items on the menu. Tamira is open for lunch 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and dinner 5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. For more information call 805-965-7555.
Here is a list of restaurants that have opened in the last year:
This just in from the up-and-coming Blue Tavern at 119 State Street, the former home of Anchor Woodfire Kitchen:
Next month, Chef Ricardo Zarate and business partner Stephane Bombet of Chef Zarate Restaurant Group will open Blue Tavern, a restaurant situated just two blocks from the ocean amid Santa Barbara’s most coveted real estate on State Street. Showcasing a natural progression of Zarate’s proficiency for blending cultures, Blue Tavern will feature quintessential Californian fare, such as pizza, pasta, and grilled meats, envisioned through the culinary lens of a native Peruvian.
The group’s fourth restaurant—following the success of Los Angeles concepts Mo-chica, Picca, and Paichẽ—takes its inspiration from Zarate’s heritage and the relaxed ethos of its guests, resulting in a location that is at once international and local, inspired and approachable. “Launching our first restaurant outside of Los Angeles, and to be opening our doors along the most vibrant street in the city, is truly the realization of a dream for Ricardo and me,” Bombet says. “By utilizing local Santa Barbara seafood and produce on our menu, Blue Tavern will offer our guests a new way to experience Peruvian culture in a relaxed environment.”
Zarate, a 2011 Food & Wine Best New Chef and two-time James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist for Best Chef: West, fully realizes the symbiosis of Californian techniques and Peruvian ingredients throughout the menu. The quintessential beet, tomato, and burrata salad is reimagined when tossed in a huacatay-pesto dressing; seafood medley risotto receives a Peruvian makeover with a tomato-aji panca base and salsa verde; and the traditional dish lomo saltado is recast as housemade tagliatelle with filet of beef, tomato-onion stew, and pecorino. The modern space is anchored by a wood-burning oven, which produces hand-tossed pizzas (prosciutto, goat cheese, and burrata, will be topped with huacatay pesto); seafood (steamed mussels and chorizo are given a Lima accent with aji amarillo butter and lime juice); and meat (anticucho-marinated grilled rib eye meets a potato tarte tatin).
“I always try to blend inspiration from my past and present when I create a menu,” Zarate says. “To update classic Californian dishes with ingredients from my country, along with produce from local farmers’ markets, is a culmination of decades of cooking which I am looking forward to introducing to Santa Barbara.”
Acclaimed mixologist Deysi Alvarez also utilizes this unique blend of cultures as inspiration for her cocktail menu, which features classic drinks made with housemade tinctures and small-batch spirits. The Margarita features Espolón tequila, house orange reduction, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, and Gusano salt; the Mojito de Martinique showcases Clement Rhum VSOP and clement cane sirop; and the Old Fashioned takes a trip to South America with the replacement of bourbon with mezcal. Blue Tavern’s wine list will focus on local vintners, many of whom have tasting rooms just blocks from the restaurant.
Blue Tavern’s intimate space, with seating for 60 inside and 30 on the patio, is at the base of the sophisticated Hotel Indigo, which will feature room service from the restaurant. Blue Tavern will be open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner beginning at 7 a.m. The restaurant is located at 121 State St. in Santa Barbara. For updates, images, and opening details, please visit Blue Tavern’s Facebook and Twitter profiles in the coming weeks.
Chuck’s Waterfront Grill took home top honors at the 4rd Annual Santa Barbara Chowder Fest held at the Montecito Country Club. Competing against 17 other restaurants in a blind tasting, Chuck’s received a unanimous vote of confidence from the three judges: Chef Michael Hutchings, Chef Jamie West, and George Yatchisin.
Winners of the Clam Chowder Category are: first place, Chuck’s Waterfront Grill; second place, Museum Café; and third place, Three Pickles. Lazy Acres is the first place winner in the Creative Category, followed by Montecito County Club; and in third place, Hungry Cat. La Cumbre County Club won the People’s Choice award.
Net proceeds were over $40,000, doubling proceeds from prior years. The fundraiser benefits Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County providing free help to those who have nowhere else to turn for legal protection against family violence, guardianships for minor children, housing discrimination, mortgage foreclosure assistance, consumer fraud, financial abuse against elders or other vulnerable residents of Santa Barbara County.
Santa Barbara-based Outer Aisle Gourmet has introduced a new product line of Veggie Pizza Crust, Veggie Pasta, Veggie Rice and Veggie Bread. I am told that the products are made with fresh vegetables and are naturally gluten-free and low in carbs, calories and fat. “For the millions of Americans affected by gluten intolerant diseases, a gluten-free diet is a necessity,” said Jeanne David, Outer Aisle Gourmet’s President and Head of Product Development. “Many products are advertised as gluten-free, but if you read the label they are also loaded with carbohydrates and sugar. Our products are made with fresh vegetables, and so are naturally gluten-free and low carb.” To inquire about placing future distributor, restaurant and retail outlet orders call (805) 682-1990 or visit outeraislegourmet.com.