MOTHER’S DAY AT KHAO KAENG

Khao Kaeng By Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar founder Jerry Lee tells me that he is offering a 3 Course pre fix menu for Mother’s Day Brunch from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The cost is $45 per person and the meal includes Bottomless Mimosas and Thai Mandarin Spritz. Reservation recommended. 1187 Coast Village Road suite 9. Free parking in back.

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ALITO’S OPENS ON STATE STREET

Alito’s restaurant, founded by Ali Ahlstrand, co-owner of Mollie’s restaurant near the Granada, has opened at 509 State Street, the former home of Cadiz. Alito’s offers authentic Mexican food made from scratch with the freshest ingredients. In addition to their delicious foods, Alito’s serves various local beers and wines, assorted international wines, and mixed drinks. The menu lists appetizers  (Guacamole, Alito’s Flautas, Quesadillas, Cevichito, and Cocktail de Camaron) ranging in price from $8.95-$14.95. Salads include Cesar, Kale, Spinach, and Fajita salads for $10.95-$14. Specialties include Nachos, Veggie Tacos, Enchiladas Verdes, tacos al Carbon, Crispy Tacos, Huarache, and Chicken Breast available for $9.95-$15.95. Alito’s is open Tuesday-Sunday 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m.

Photos by Reader Steve H.

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

“Here is a question that I couldn’t find the answer to, and I knew you were my only hope. When did the In-N-Out off Turnpike open?  I guessed 1995.” – Josh

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IKE’S CLOSES IN ISLA VISTA

Reader Eric let me know that there is a Sheriff’s eviction notice posted at 6530 Seville Road in Isla Vista, the home of Ike’s Love & Sandwiches. I stopped by and confirmed that the notice was there and that the building space now appears to be unoccupied. Ike’s has many locations around CA and opened the Isla Vista spot in April 2016. Reader Gina said she was driving by the former Subway location at the corner of Mission & State Streets, next to by 7-Eleven, and noticed that work is going on and that a sign for Ike’s Love & Sandwiches has been posted. I am told that it will open soon.

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

“John – a few of us at work were talking about the best Key Lime Pie Santa Barbara has to offer.  Can you submit an inquiry to the masses asking for recommendations on which stores and/or restaurants may have the one?  We know of Lure, Farmer Boy, CPK to name a few.  Our work group is eager to compare them all against each other!”
– Chris

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THE LITTLE DOOR ADDING SUNDAYS

Reader Xavier says that The Little Door at 129 East Anapamu Street will be finally opening its doors on Sundays, starting April 14th. I’m told that they will be featuring a different chef (Clark Staub from Full of Life Flatbread, Los Alamos) and by extension, they will be featuring an entirely different menu.

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RAMEN KOTORI OPENS IN SOLVANG

Reader Steve H. passed the word that Ramen Kotori has opened at 1618 Copenhagen Drive in Solvang. Chef Francisco Velazquez and his wife, Ikuko “Erica” Velazquez, have partnered with Budi Kazali of The Ballard Inn to open Ramen Kotori, Solvang’s first ramen noodle restaurant. Francisco started cooking at The Ballard Inn and Restaurant where he first became accustomed to using Asian ingredients under the guidance of chef Kazali. In 2013, Erica and Francisco met in San Diego while working together at the Marine Room, the flagship restaurant of The La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. They learned team work in a high-paced kitchen, under chef de cuisine Ron Oliver and executive chef Bernard Guillas. Together they made their way north to Napa Valley and worked at Michelin starred restaurant La Toque, and at acclaimed Iron Chef Morimoto’s Morimoto Napa. After leaving Napa and moving to Sonoma County, they found an opportunity to work at a small ramen shop in Sebastopol, CA before moving back to the Santa Ynez Valley and hope to share their love for Japanese food and ramen with the community. Call 691- 9672 or visit ramenkotori.com

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FOXTAIL KITCHEN ANNIVERSARY

This just in from Foxtail Kitchen at 14 East Cota Street: “Hi  John, Just wanted to let you know on Friday April 12 it is our two years anniversary. We will have happy hour all day,   $5 and 24 craft beers, special cocktails, free hookah at the patio , live music, and free Lebanese desert. Thanks so much, Falah Maayah”

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THE LITTLE THINGS BAKERY OPENS ON THE MESA

The Little Things Bakery has taken over the Your Cake Baker by Wayne Kjar location at 2018 Cliff Drive on the Mesa. The Little Things Bakery is committed to providing our customers with fantastic cakes and desserts made with fresh, high quality ingredients. The owners Celia Figueroa and Leah Hodson both worked and trained under Wayne Kjar, son of local legend Henning Kjar. “We want our customers to get exactly what they envisioned,” says Hodson. “We know that event planning can be stressful, and we want to help alleviate some of that stress by offering step by step guidance through the ordering process of all our cakes and desserts for any event.” Hours are Tuesday-Friday 9am-6pm, ​​Saturday 9am-4pm, Sunday-Monday closed. Call 845-5519 or visit thelittlethingsbakerysb.com

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IL FUSTINO UPDATE

Reader Shabadoo says that Il Fustino closed up shop in the Santa Barbara Public Market and moved out. They still have a presence on Upper State Street in Loreto Plaza.

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CUBANEO UPDATE

Last week I wrote that Cubaneo has opened at 418 State Street, the former home of India House. Owner Jesse Gaddy sent me an update: “Hi John, We’re doing our soft opening as of now and in a couple of weeks we’ll be opening for lunch and expanding our late night menu as well. For now, we’re really focusing on training our staff and making sure the product is on point every time. It’s been great to open with Brandon and Misty and we’re beyond stoked on the collaboration with Shaker Mill.” Gaddy also owns and operates sister eatery Barbareño at 205 W. Canon Perdido Street.

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IKE’S COMING TO STATE STREET

Reader Gina said she was driving by the former Subway location at the corner of Mission & State Streets, next to by 7-Eleven, and noticed that work is going on and that for Ike’s Love & Sandwiches has been posted. This would be the second South Coast location for the eatery chain which opened at 6530 Seville Road in Isla Vista in April 2016. I met founder Ike Shehadeh Mission, who was in town for the Isla Vista grand opening, and was told that his restaurant is the kind of place where if you’re vegan, or your significant other eats meat, or they’re gluten free, everybody can go to the same spot together and not feel like they’ve compromised. Historically the Ménage à trois and Matt Cain sandwiches are really big sellers. I tried the Ménage à trois sandwich, which was invented by staff members, and it is now officially on my top-ten list of favorite sandwiches across the South Coast. It gets its name because this chicken sandwich has three sauces (honey, honey mustard, and bbq) and three cheeses. Visit loveandsandwiches.com.

(L-R) Jessie Trimm (employee/owner), Ike Shehadeh Mission (owner), and Alex Bermudez Jr. (employee/owner) at Ike’s in Isla Vista.

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THE SPACE FORMERLY KNOWN AS ALDO’S UPDATE

Reader Jennifer says that the building at 1031 State Street, formerly the home of Aldo’s Italian Restaurant, is in the process of getting a facelift. Aldo’s closed in January 2017.

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BORRELLO’S TO CLOSE

Reader Primetime tells me that Borrello’s Pizza and Pastari, which opened in September 2015 at 3807 Santa Claus Lane in Carpinteria, is scheduled to close and new owners will take over the space within a week.

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CUBANEO OPENS ON STATE STREET

Reader Steve H. let me know Cubaneo has opened at 418 State Street, the former home of India House. Last June I reported that this restaurant was on it’s way and is the sister eatery to Barbareño at 205 W. Canon Perdido Street.

Their web site cubaneosb.com tells us a little bit about the venue:

“The term ‘cubaneo’ is used in Cuba to describe the ways the Cuban identity is expressed.  The manner in which Cubans speak.  The passion they display when they dance to salsa music.  The grace they show while playing béisbol.  And the pride they take in their unique style of living.  All of these create an overwhelming sense of cubaneo when one is immersed in the culture.  At Cubaneo, we seek to embody this feeling by serving food that honors the vibrancy of the Cuban culture.  We serve traditional Cuban dishes—from the classic Cubano sandwich, to arroz con pollo, to mojo-marinated chicken, and to Mima’s frijoles negros.  With all of these preparations, we take inspiration from the original Cuban dishes.  However, we seek to update the flavors to suit the ethos of California cuisine.    Using the best ingredients we can find along with recipes we grew up with, we hope to infuse a little bit of cubaneo into the lives of the guests we serve.”

Cubaneo is open daily 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Call (805) 242-9426.

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IMPOSSIBLE BURGER DEBUTS AT ISLANDS RESTAURANT

Islands Restaurants, which opened in La Cumbre Plaza last year,launched its take on the plant-based Impossible Burger. The burger is topped with avocado, white cheddar, lettuce, tomato and roasted garlic aioli and is available through June 16 at all Islands locations. Impossible Burger 2.0 — the next-generation version of the plant-based Impossible Burger  — contains no gluten, animal hormones or antibiotics and is kosher- and halal-certified.

In January, Impossible Foods launched its upgrade at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where Impossible Burger 2.0 took home the show’s highest honors, including “Best of the Best,” “Most Impactful Product,” and “Most Unexpected Product.” Impossible Burger’s first product upgrade since its 2016 public debut was also hailed as the tech show’s “Best Product Launch” and a “Triumph of Food Engineering.”

“We’re excited to be able to add another meatless burger option to our menu,” said Islands’ President Michael Smith. “We’re always searching for ways to add plant-based options for our guests who would like to incorporate plant-based items into their diet and the Impossible Burger 2.0 fits perfectly into our menu. We prioritize flavor first, and the Impossible Burger 2.0 delivers.”

I had read about the Impossible Burger when it first debuted so The Restaurant Guy and Gal decided to stop by and give it a try. It definitely looks like and has many qualities of beef. When you first start eating it is hard to tell the difference. Then you notice a distinct and unusual aftertaste that is hard to describe. The aftertaste is a little alarming because everything else about the burger suggests to your senses that you are eating real beef. We will not order the Impossible Burger again because of the aftertaste.

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

Louie’s in the Upham Hotel has a change of ownership liquor license notice in the window… know what that’s about?” – Annie

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GREEN STAR UPDATE

This just in from reader Shabadoo: “Green Star Coffee in the Santa Barbara Public Market has closed. The espresso machine is gone and the space is being stripped.”

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CELEBRATE EASTER HOLIDAY AT ROSEWOOD MIRAMAR BEACH

Rosewood Miramar Beach, the newest destination for South Coast visitors has announced special guest experiences in celebration of the 2019 Easter holiday including an interactive Easter Egg hunt and bunny petting zoo, and a beach-side brunch.

“On the heels of our exciting opening this season, we’re thrilled to invite guests and locals alike to join us at Rosewood Miramar Beach for the Easter holiday,” said Seán Carney, managing director of Rosewood Miramar Beach. “With our beachfront location and child-friendly programs and amenities, Rosewood Miramar Beach is a memorable and welcoming destination for families. From kids’ menus to engaging activities, the resort will cater to its younger guests so that families can experience a memorable time together this Easter.”

Caruso’s, the resort’s oceanfront restaurant, will offer a Beachside Easter Brunch where executive chef Massimo Falsini has prepared a four-course, prix-fixe menu that combines coastal Californian cuisine with flavors of Southern Italy. Beginning with a reception on the terrace that will feature a vodka and caviar bar, live oyster shucking and sea urchins. The brunch will allow guests to choose from a roster of dishes, including Stracciatella alla Romana, Lemon and Buffalo Ricotta Pancakes, Whole-Roasted Striped Bass for Two and Pan Roasted Sonoma Rack of Lamb. Open from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, the Beachside Easter Brunch will be offered for $225 for adults and $110 for children age 12 and under.

Additionally, a second Miramar Easter Brunch and Celebration will take place on the “Great Lawn,” featuring a buffet that includes Spring Pea, Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche, Carpinteria Avocado Toast with Mancha-Manteles and Poached Eggs, Assorted Sushi and Sashimi, Slow Roasted Prime Rib & Rocky Canyon Chicken and more. Geared towards younger guests, the  Explorers’ Station will offer staunch staples such as Belgian Waffles with Maple Syrup, Penne with Tomato Sauce and Parmigiano Reggiano and The Un-Crustable PB&J. Also open from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Easter, the Great Lawn Brunch will be offered for $160 for adults and $80 for children age 12 and under.

Courtesy photo

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THE CHASE RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE CELEBRATES 40 YEARS

Much has happened on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara since 1979 but one thing remains the same. The Chase Restaurant and Lounge is still going strong as it celebrates it’s 40th year in business during 2019. The Chase has been the go to place for birthdays, graduations, anniversaries and almost every other family special event for three generations.

The current owner, Jack Mathis, a retired Air Force Colonel, says it is common to have all three generations at the same table. “I see grandparents, their grown children and their children together celebrating some special occasion all the time”. Long time Santa Barbara residents love to tell stories about the original owners Tony and Angie Caligurie.

One thing The Chase is known for is the over the top Christmas decorations during the holidays. “We embrace the holidays and try to create family memories just as The Chase has since 1979. So many people tell me that the Chase has been a special place for them their whole life” Jack Mathis says

“Tony and Angie started what has become a Santa Barbara institution and my wife Jayme and I are just trying to live up to the 40 year Chase history and tradition of great Italian food in a warm inviting surrounding,” Jack Mathis said. That is possible because several of the staff have been with the Chase since almost the beginning.

Chef Mario Rodriguez, the Chase Executive Chef has been with the Chase since 1979 so the food is exactly as it was 40 years ago. Chef Mario trained with Tony the original owner and he prepares everything the same way. The Chase Chicken Picatta is said by many to be the best they have ever had and it will stay that way Mathis says.

When asked what is the biggest concern for the future of restaurant, Mathis said, “the landlord keeps raising the rent even though the downtown activity has decreased dramatically and the minimum wage keeps going up. Of course the cost of food ingredients continues to rise as well. Containing costs and having a reasonable rent is the only way to survive these days.”

Santa Barbara can only hope that The Chase is around for another 40 years to serve Classic Italian food like grandma makes and to continue making those unforgettable family memories.

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MANDARIN TOUCH TO CLOSE

Reader Primetime let me know that The Mandarin Touch at 1635 Mission Drive in Solvang  will be closing at the end of the month after 25 years in business.

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LA BELLA ROSA BAKERY IN GOLETA CLOSES

Reader Hugh passed the word that it appears like La Bella Rosa Bakery at 7127 Hollister Avenue in Goleta, near Albertsons, is closed. Hugh and The Restaurant Guy both paid visits multiple times and the place is locked tight. All the cases are empty and there is no signage. The business opened in February 2016. The flagship location on the west side at 1411 San Andres Street continues to be in business as usual.

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EMPRESS PALACE UPDATE

This just in from reader Pam:

“John:  I noticed that the for-lease sign has been taken down from the old Empress Palace location at Las Positas and Modoc.  Since that is my ‘hood’, I wondered if you knew what might be going into that location.  Thanks!”

I believe the American public deserves full transparency with respect to South Coast culinary activity so I will form a Special Counsel and launch an investigation into the matter ASAP.

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CHROME INCOMPATIBLE?

This just came in from reader Annie:

” I can’t get to your website using Chrome browser only Internet Explorer. Chrome says you have an unsafe website. Just FYI. I thought your website was out of business til I tried I.E. “

SantaBarbara seems to works fine with Chrome for me. How about other readers? FYI an entirely new, built-from-scratch SantaBarbara.com is under development which is why I lag so much getting the news out these days.

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

“Hi John– There’s a question on Edhat about what was in the space in La Arcada that was Bogart’s, before Bogart’s?  I know that’s a long time ago, but hope you might know or be able to find out…. Some curious folks would appreciate knowing…. Thanks, Shelley”

The Restaurant Guy had an office in La Arcada in the late 1990’s and it was a video rental place named Bogart’s at that time which then became a restaurant of the same name.

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MANGIONE’S ITALIAN ICE COMING TO STATE

Reader Steve H. says that a sign for Mangione’s Italian Ice Company is now posted in the window at 1222 State Street, the former home of Spoon. I didn’t even know Spoon was closed. When did that happen?

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ENTERPRISE REMODEL

Reader Annie says that Enterprise Fish Co. at 225 State Street has completed a remodel and also updated their menu. You should check out the new digs and eats.

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SATELLITE UPDATE

Reader Jason says that Satellite Wine Bar at 1117 State Street has a patio that recently opened. I’m told that it’s small but is perfect for the weather we are now having.

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DOWNTOWN ACTIVITY

This just in from reader Shabadoo:

“Any idea what’s going into the space adjacent to the main entrance of the public market? It is part of the same development but separate from the public market and originally planned to be occupied by Fullof Life till they pulled out long ago. There recently has been a flurry of activity in the space including the installation of stoves and rotisserie so it appears to be a food business of some sort. Maybe one of your trusty readers can shed some light!”

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SPROUTS COMING TO MILPAS

Reader Primetime says that Sprouts market may be coming to 29 South Milpas Street, the former home of Trader Joe’s which moved to a bigger location up the street. I was at Sprouts on Fairview Avenue and asked the grocery clerk about the rumor and he said that the market is focusing on the launch of a new location in San Luis Obispo that opens April 3rd. I was told that after the launch, the focus will be on Santa Barbara where they hope to open a new location by early next year. He didn’t confirm the address but reader Primetime’s perfect track record leaves little doubt.

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