DELI EXPRESS

Reader Glenn tells me that a restaurant named Deli Express has opened in the Winchester Canyon area next to El Sitio, 7398 Calle Real in Goleta.

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SMOKE N BARREL CLOSES

Readers “Mister P” and “Black CA Guy” tell me that Smoke N Barrel BBQ Shack at 6920 Marketplace Drive in Goleta has closed after 7 months in business. I stopped by and saw a sign on the door that read “Closed for business. Thank you to our customers that supported us.”

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A FRESH TAKE ON A CLASSIC DINER

Santa Barbara’s Bennett Family recently purchased local icon Farmer Boy restaurant, 3427 State Street, and will close the eatery for several months of renovation, starting tomorrow (Thursday). If you want their popular giant cinnamon roll you better run over there today and get one while you can.

The diner, which arrived on the scene in 1958, will reopen in the fall. I am told it will be a family friendly environment with a diner platform. “The footprint will remain the same but everything needs to be brought up to date,” said new owner John Bennett. “Health and building codes require a complete overhaul. There may be some subtle rebranding but we are committed to the history of the location and honoring Ralph Karleskint’s lifetime of commitment to the community and the business.”

The Restaurant Gal and I stopped by today for a visit and was told that, when they reopen, Farmer Boy will start serving dinner and the hours will be expanded to 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. Thanks to reader Tim for the tip.

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MAGIC PITA CAFÉ CLOSES

Magic Pita Café at 5 W. Haley Street replaced Greek House Café last November. Several readers tell me that there is now a sign on the front window that reads “closed until further notice.” I tried calling the restaurant and the phone number was out of service.

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LOVE IS IN THE AIR

Readers tell me that Lovin’ Oven Mediterranean Bakery & Café has opened at 6578 Trigo Road in Isla Vista, the former home of Cafe Int’l and Fresh Wok.

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OH THANK HEAVEN

The Santa Barbara News-Press reports that a new commercial building, to be occupied by 7-Eleven and Subway, is coming to 1936 State Street, directly across the street from an AM/PM mini-mart and gas station.

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IGRILL UPDATE

Reader Brendan let me know that iGrill Korean BBQ at 3132 State Street has been closed for a couple of weeks. I stopped by and spoke with an associate who told me that they are in the process of changing the menu and some of the staff, and hope to reopen in another week.

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THE BLACK SHEEP OPENS SUNDAY

A new restaurant named The Black Sheep is opening Sunday, May 4th at 26 E. Ortega Street. Here is a message to you from the owners:

Hello John,

Just wanted to pass along to your readers about a new restaurant named The Black Sheep opening this weekend on May 4th. This restaurant concept was born on being a neighborhood place with family-style sharing, an amazing craft beer list, and a great happy hour. You can check out our website at www.theblacksheepsb.com

Cheers
The Black Sheep

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CONTEST CANCELED

In February I wrote that Pace restaurant, at 413 State Street, announced that they were giving away their restaurant and even produced a video about it. News of this contest spread far and wide, and was picked up by New York Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. There was $500 entry fee for a chance to win the restaurant and have the lease paid for a year.

Reader DR let me know that new information about this contest has just appeared on their web site:

Regretfully we are canceling the contest at this time due to unforeseen circumstances. Our plan is to relaunch the contest in the near future.

If you are still interested in the contest, and/or have begun working on your submission, please send your contact information to pacefoodanddrink@gmail.com and we will send you an email alerting you to the new dates once they are firmed up.

Thanks for your understanding,

The Snyders

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CHILI COOKOFF

Local competitive cooks will simmer up Southwest flavors for the Carpinteria Chili Cookoff on Saturday, May 3, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Carpinteria Woman’s Club, 1050 Vallecito Road.  The Restaurant Guy will be one of several participating judges. The event, a fundraiser auction for Kinderkirk Preschool and Daycare, pairs competitive cooking and an All-American theme. Attendees can vote for their favorite chili, bid for bargain auction items and enjoy food, drinks and music. Tickets can be purchased for $25 by calling 684-4070 or at the door. Anyone who wants to enter the cookoff should call Peter at 453-4878.

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CHOCOLATE DE VINE

The Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center’s Annual Chocolate de Vine fundraiser will be held on Saturday, May 3 at The Greek Orthodox Church Salon, 1206 San Antonio Creek Road, from 5:00pm to 7:30pm. Tickets are $65 in advance and $75 at the door. For more information and to purchase tickets call 963-6832 or visit sbrapecrisiscenter.org.

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BOUCHON REOPENS PATIO

The difference between bad and good is the same as the difference between good and great. Last week my wife and I dined at a great restaurant named bouchon, 9 W. Victoria Street and enjoyed the duck, black cod, beet salad, and lava cake – all amazing. We were lucky enough to get a table in bouchon’s fabulous new patio which proprietor Mitchell Sjerven describes below:

We all know change can be hard but, sometimes, it can be good.

I was initially very skeptical that the ficus trees in front of bouchon truly had to be removed.  I fought to keep them knowing mature trees are increasingly rare in downtown Santa Barbara’s commercial district and their beauty was a huge part of my decision originally to lease the space.  But once they were out there was no doubt whatsoever that their root systems were wreaking havoc on the underground utilities.  Gas, electric and water have all been rerouted now, much to my relief, and no longer run under my patio.  Further, my sadness over the loss of our beautiful urban greenscape is slowly being replaced both by new plantings as well as the optimism that our guests will enjoy the new environment just as much, if not more, that the previous one.

Locals, locals, locals.

It was great to work with so many local vendors getting it back up and running in just two months—especially with the wonderful weather we’ve had.  My architect Amy Taylor and contractors Libby & Phil Easterday did a fantastic job understanding that whatever we did had to be spectacular, as the garden setting has always been the hallmark of bouchon’s dining ambience.  I particularly enjoyed the running commentary from daily passers-by, naturally curious as to the final outcome, and am especially grateful for our fabulous locals who were so kind with their encouraging words as the new structure slowly sprouted up from the flagstone. This July will mark 17 years for bouchon and I am happy to have reinvested in a promising future.

Timing, as they say, is everything.

Looking back to 1998, when I founded bouchon, Victoria Court was badly in need of a facelift, the Granada was shuttered, the Von’s across the street was in obvious decline making our claim of being ‘in the Historic Arts District’ tenuous as best.  Though at times maddening from a construction noise and traffic impact perspective, in the end we essentially enjoy an entirely new block on West Victoria Street.  In the past year alone we’ve witnessed two major projects— the beautifully renovated New Vic springing into life as the Ensemble Theatre Company’s new home and Marge Cafarelli’s amazing Santa Barbara Public Market opening this week— anchor our West End.  We’ve also enjoyed seeing the success of our next door neighbor Olio e Limone, recently opening its Olio Crudo Bar, and Arlington Tavern adding sidewalk seating next to the New Vic.  What a difference 16 years can make!

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FOOD NETWORK AT WEST BEACH ON FRIDAY

This just in from reader Garrett:

John,

Not sure if you were aware, but there are signs blocking parking all-day Friday at West Beach listing “The Great Food Truck Race” under the reservation. Believe its a Food Network reality show and might be interesting to your readers. Sorry I couldn’t provide any details and forgot to snap a pic.

G

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BLOCK PARTY

Noozhawk has a great write-up about yesterday’s block party on Victoria Street, celebrating local businesses.

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D’VINE CAFÉ CLOSES

dvine-1D’Vine Café at 205 W. Canon Perdido Street closes today after 10 years in business. Owner David Faiia, who is getting married soon, put the business up for sale and it sold much sooner than he anticipated.

“I would like to thank all of our long time loyal customers. It’s been rewarding to connect with all of the people who passed through our doors,” said Faiia. “It’s bitter sweet – I’m sad to leave and excited to move on to something new. We are very grateful to have been on this corner for the last 10 years and I am going to miss all of our customers and of course we wish success to the new owners.”

Faiia tells me that the address will be occupied by a new restaurant with a new name.

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YELLOW BELLY COMING TO DE LA VINA

A new restaurant and craft beer tap room named Yellow Belly is coming to 2611 De la Vina street, the former home of TAP Thai cuisine (which moved to upper State). I spoke with restaurant owners Alex Noormand and Tracy Clark and was told that they hope to open in June. Noormand has been running Crushcakes Café on Anacapa street for the last 5 years. I’m told the eatery will also offer soups, salads and sandwiches. Part of the De la Vina street building will be used by Alex’s sister Shannon Gaston who will share the kitchen and open a Crushcakes wedding cake tasting room.

The official name of the business will be “Yellow Belly Tap Sucker Bar And Restaurant.” This is word play on a real bird named “Yellow Belly Sap Sucker.”

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SPUDNUTS COMING TO ISLA VISTA

Reader Glenn tells me that a “coming soon” banner for SpudNuts donut shop has appeared next door to Firehouse Subs, 6530 Seville Road in Isla Vista, which opened in March.

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SAMA SAMA UPDATE

Reader Ernest tells me that he noticed that Sama Sama Kitchen at 1208 State Street was closed, the sign was down, and that there was a construction crew busy at work. I called the restaurant and their phone message says that the business is closed for renovations.

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YOU CAN CALL ME AL

A well known politician and activist (who also won an Oscar and Nobel Peace Prize) dined at Crushcakes Café at 4945 Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria last Friday. Here is a message about the visit from Crushcakes owner Shannon Gaston:

“Hello, We were so excited today when Vice President Al Gore came to Crushcakes in Carpinteria to celebrate his daughter’s wedding!  They had delicious Crushcakes cupcakes, cakes, breakfast and coffee.  Al Gore was wonderful and sweet to me and all of our staff!  What an amazing celebration, we are honored to be a part of it!!!”

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Al Gore in Crushcakes 4-14

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WHERE TO EAT ON EASTER?

Share your Easter restaurant suggestions by leaving a comment in the blog here.

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

If you can help reader Jenneil, please leave a message in the blog.

Hi there,

I’m in a bit of a conundrum.  I love my Sunday Bloody Mary’s, especially with a pickled green bean garnish. Normally I buy SB Olive Co. version, but I recently found out they are looking for a new source for their green beans.  Do you or any of your readers know where else I can locally find some of my favorite drink garnish?

Thanks
Jenneil

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

If you can help reader John please leave a message in the blog.

John,

Do you have any leads on a part time personal chef? My wife and I have vastly different diets (I am vegan and she is Paleo) which makes cooking a chore.

You help is greatly appreciated.

John

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NEW PATIO

The sun is shining and the days are longer which means this is patio season. Just in time for guests to enjoy the great outdoors, Arlington Tavern at 21 W. Victoria Street has opened their new front patio (on the sidewalk) for dining. You can dine, enjoy drinks during happy hour or simply watch people checking out the new Santa Barbara Public Market. I walked by recently and the patio was packed. It appears to be an instant hit.

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COOKBOOK LAUNCH PARTY

The nonprofit Santa Barbara Culinary Arts (SBCA) has announced a fund-raising cookbook launch party on Saturday, May 3rd from 1-3 p.m. at the Gourmet Dining Room, School of Culinary Arts & Hotel Management at Santa Barbara City College. Taste the Happy Canyon wines of Westerly Winery and of Santa Ynez’s Refugio Ranch. Sample appetizers prepared by the faculty and students of the School of Culinary Arts, plus selected chefs featured in the SBCA cookbook. Recipes featured in the cookbook that can be sampled at the launch party include Lobster Terrine, Salmon en Croute, Pan-Seared Duck Breast, Mini-French Toast and many others.

The first edition of the cookbook will be on sale at the event for $25 and many of the chefs featured in the book will be on hand to sign them, including Michael Blackwell (Montecito Country Club), James Sly (Sly’s), Greg Murphy (Bouchon), Alessandro Cartumini (Bella Vista at the Biltmore), Pete Clements (Natural Cafe), Denisse Salinas (Le Petit Chef), Leonard Schwarz (Lucky’s), Johan Denizot (Miro at the Bacara), Nimita Dhirajlal (Nimita’s Cuisine), Mossin Sugich (Santa Barbara Yacht Club), Elisabetta Gerli (Sorriso Italiano), Julia San Bartolome (Sweet Arleen’s), the faculty chefs of the School of Culinary Arts: Randy Bublitz (head of the School of Culinary Arts), Stephane Rapp, Sandra Allain, and Roberto Lopez Carrillo, plus others to be added.

The launch party admission price of $25 includes food samples, wine tasting and access to chefs for questions and cookbook signing. To purchase tickets visit tinyurl.com/l9ne8c5

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ANNIVERSARY

Georgia’s Smokehouse food truck has introduced bottled sauces and rubs to celebrate their first anniversary. The new offerings include Sweet BBQ, Spicy BBQ and Dry Rub. Chef Brian and Alissa Parks introduced their gourmet BBQ food truck to the central coast area in March of 2013.  In addition to numerous regular lunch and dinner stops around the area, Georgia’s also does catering, family style dinners delivered and special events.  They opened up a second truck after six months and increased their staff to seven employees. For more information visit georgias-smokehouse.com.

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BEACH BOWL OPENS IN CARPINTERIA

Beach Bowl, the much anticipated eatery at 901 Linden Avenue in Carpinteria, announced an April 15th opening, according to Dylan Chappell, the local architect behind the business’s design and floor plan. Beach Bowl serves a variety of acai berry and pittaya bowls, smoothies, and cold pressed juices made on-site from locally grown ingredients. The frozen yogurt is 100 percent certified organic and gluten free and non-dairy options are available. The Santa Barbara Roasting Company is the coffee purveyor.

This is the first retail venture for co-owners Alex Hamadi and Kamel Mehai, who is a nutritionist for the film industry. Nine employees, all Carpinteria residents, have been hired to serve customers. Contractors George Manuras and Gregg Carty built out Beach Bowl, and the Maple Avenue-based Brothers of Industry manufactured the reclaimed and repurposed light fixtures. Chappell showcases reclaimed barn wood throughout the interior and exterior. “We wanted a local beachy vibe,” said Hamadi, describing the refurbished concrete with blue epoxy floor “like walking on water.”

Outdoor seating on Linden Avenue includes five tables and 10 chairs. Indoor seating is for 28. The “shop within a shop” features locally made items such as Beach Bowl’s own chocolate brand handcrafted by Chocolats du CaliBressan. Everything is served in bowls, (no plates) and the bowls are made of bamboo.

Beach Bowls opens at 5:30 a.m. Closing time is 10 p.m. on week nights and midnight on weekends. For more information call 684-6844 or visit thebeachbowl.com.

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IN SEARCH OF A SOUS CHEF

This just in from Wine Cask restaurant, 813 Anacapa Street:

“Rare opportunity to join Wine Cask management team as Sous-Chef and work under Chef Brandon Hughes.  Stoke your creative side, too, with the qualified candidate having the opportunity to design and create the Intermezzo menu.  Interested and qualified candidates should email resume to Manager@WineCask.com.”

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SANTA BARBARA PUBLIC MARKET OPENS DOWNTOWN

sb-public-market-bigAs luck would have it, the biggest local food news story of the year happened while The Restaurant Guy is out of town in San Diego.

I’m told Santa Barbara Public Market has opened to big crowds at the corner of Chapala and Victoria streets in downtown Santa Barbara.

Offering handcrafted, regionally sourced and sustainably-made foods, the Public Market is part of the Alma del Pueblo mixed-use development located in the heart of Santa Barbara’s downtown. With an a focus on local farms and artisanal ingredients, the LEED certified Market offers a collection of purveyors, each with a unique perspective. “The inspiration for this market was the public market in Madrid,” said Marge Cafarelli, the developer of the public market and neighboring Alma del Pueblo.

Vendors include Belcampo Meat Co., Crazy Good Bread Co., Culture Counter, Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar, Enjoy Cupcakes, Foragers Pantry, Flagstone Pantry, Green Star Coffee, il Fustino Oils and Vinegars, JuiceWell, Rori’s Artisanal Creamery, The Pasta Shoppe, and Santa Monica Seafood.

The market includes “The Kitchen,” which is a commissary kitchen that will feature specialty cooking classes and winemaker dinners. The Santa Barbara Public Market doors open at 7 a.m. daily, though hours may differ for each shop. For more information visit sbpublicmarket.com.

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OFF TOPIC

The Restaurant Gal and I have been in San Diego since the end of March which has slowed the flow of news a bit the last couple of weeks. I will be back at the end of the week.

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FIRE & ICE MUSEUM CAFE OPENS DOWNTOWN

museum-blog2The Santa Barbara Museum of Art at 1130 State Street has announced that Fire & Ice Events is the new operator for the Museum Café, with a vision that is a celebration of the “Art of Food.” The new eatery is now open with regular hours of Tuesday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and 1st Thursdays 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. The café at the Museum had been closed for about two months after the previous operator, Brenda Simon, decided to focus more effort on her catering business.

Examples of the Fire & Ice Museum Café menu include salads, soups, sandwiches, (including chicken banh mi, croquet-monseiur panini, and grilled market vegetable), tasting platters that include cheese, hummus, fruits, olives and flatbread, and both savory and sweet pastries. The eatery also offers exclusive single source coffee from the El Imposible region of El Salvador. A full menu is posted on the Museum website at sbma.net/cafe.

Peter Sonderegger, Fire & Ice’s Creative Director, comments, “We are so pleased to bring our philosophy of recreating, reinventing, and reimagining artful and flavorful cuisine to the Santa Barbara community, especially via the prestige of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.”

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