PETRA CAFE OPENS

Last July I broke the news that Foxtail Kitchen at 14 East Cota Street was planning to close and the owner, Falah Maayah, would replace it with a new concept. His new creation, Petra Cafe which serves Jordanian cuisine, is now open. The eatery offers dine-in, take-out, and a hookah patio. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Visit foxtailsb.com

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OYSTER BAR COMING TO MOBY DICK

Reader Franco, owner of Santa Barbara Signs, just installed a new sign at Moby Dick restaurant on Stearns Wharf that highlights a future oyster bar option. I am told that part of the restaurant is currently being remodeled to accommodate the new offering and that the oyster bar is scheduled to open on May 23, 2024.


Photo by reader Franco

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POKE HOUSE COMING TO PASEO NUEVO

Reader Franco let me know that Poke House is coming to 811 State Street, Suite D, which is in Paseo Nuevo mall next to Pickles and Swiss. From the look of the photo I received they appear to be in the early stage of construction.


Photo by reader Franco

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ISLA VISTA GIOVANNI’S UPDATE

Reader Henrietta recently told us that she heard that Giovanni’s Pizza is trying to reopen in Isla Vista. Rincon Brewery replaced Giovanni’s at 6583 Pardall Road in Isla Vista in May 2017 and then Rockfire Grill took over that address for a few years. After some digging I discovered that there is a grain of truth to this story. A pizzeria is going to open at 6583 Pardall Road, and they tried to open under the Giovanni’s brand with the Giovanni’s menu, but were not able to get the rights to use the locally-legendary name. I am told that the young entrepreneur behind the operation will create a different brand and open there in the near future.

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SANTA BARBARA RESTAURANT WEEK

The sixth annual Santa Barbara Restaurant Week (April 26th – May 5th) is your chance to experience the  Santa Barbara’s food scene at a fraction of the normal cost. Presented by Santa Barbara Uncorked, LLC and sponsored by Jordano’s Foodservice and Pacific Beverage Company, Restaurant Week 2024 is a 10-day event designed to showcase the culinary options Santa Barbara.

For more than 20 years, Restaurant Week founders Tim Zagat and Joe Baum orchestrated a 4-week celebration of New York’s finest food. Their focus was making the area’s best dining experiences accessible to all, and the event became such a hit that cities around the globe soon followed suit. In spring of 2018, the SB Restaurant Week founders brought the foodie phenomenon to the South Coast, showcasing Santa Barbara’s more than 50 restaurants, wineries and hotels.

From April 26th – May 5th, 2024, each participating restaurant will offer a prix-fixe menu that includes a $45 2-course lunch and $55 and $75 3-course dinner option. Throughout the week, tasting rooms will also offer special wine tasting experiences.

The fifth annual Restaurant Week is an opportunity for locals and visitors alike to taste the best of Santa Barbara. Visit www.SBRestaurantWeeks.com for more details, including a full list of participating restaurants, tasting rooms and hotels, helpful tools to plan your visit, and options for business owners interested in sponsoring or participating in the event.

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SNEAK PEEK: THE ELLWOOD

The Ellwood is coming to 5905 Sandspit Road Goleta, formerly Beachside Bar-Café. In late 2022 construction had just started when winter storms battered the facility, leaving it full of sea water which was obviously a big setback. I stopped by recently and noticed that a tremendous amount of work has been completed but they still have a way to go. I estimate a fall opening at the earliest.

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EASTER AT RENAUD’S

Here is a press release about Easter options at Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro:

This Easter, Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro, Southern California’s gem for authentic French patisserie and bistro dining, is delighted to present a sumptuous Easter chocolate collection that promises to enchant chocolate connoisseurs and sweet lovers alike. In an exclusive partnership, Renaud’s is proud to feature the world-renowned Felchlin Swiss Chocolate, a luxury chocolate known for its unmatched quality and exquisite flavor profiles. There are only a few purveyors of Felchlin Swiss Chocolate in the region, and cannot be found in other grocery stores. Renaud’s is proud to offer a unique chocolate experience.

Renaud’s Easter collection is inspired by the joyous spirit of spring and the rich traditions of Swiss chocolate mastery. Each creation is a testament to Renaud’s commitment to excellence and innovation, from decadent chocolate pink and purple eggs filled with crisp chocolate bars to whimsical chocolate bunnies that are as delightful to admire as they are to devour. Our skilled artisans have meticulously crafted an array of chocolate masterpieces that embody the essence of Easter, using only the finest Felchlin Swiss Chocolate.

Highlight of the Collection:

Easter Chocolate Eggs: These are not just any chocolate eggs. Encased in the smooth, rich Felchlin chocolate, each egg is a treasure trove of flavors, waiting to surprise and delight with crispy crunchy chocolate pieces inside. Milk chocolate eggs are pink and dark chocolate eggs are purple.
Chocolate Bunnies and Figures: Renaud’s chocolate bunnies are a playful nod to Easter traditions, handcrafted with precision and care. Each bunny is made from the finest Felchlin chocolate, promising a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth experience.

Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro invites everyone to celebrate Easter in style with these extraordinary chocolate offerings. “We are thrilled to offer our customers something truly special this Easter. Our exclusive use of Felchlin Swiss Chocolate sets our Easter collection apart, offering a taste experience that’s as luxurious as it is unique,” says Renaud Gonthier, CEO and president of Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro.

Indulge in the art of fine chocolate this Easter with Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro. Visit Renaud’s locations in Santa Barbara, Montecito, Long Beach, and La Cañada-Flintridge to discover the full Easter collection. Each piece is a work of art, promising to bring joy and a touch of Swiss excellence to your Easter celebrations.

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NEW MURAL AT LUCKY PENNY

I am told that a new mural has been added to Lucky Penny restaurant at 127 Anacapa Street. Here is a press release I received about it:

Lucky Penny, and Artist DJ Javier, in partnership with the Santa Barbara High School VADA Program (Visual Arts and Design), Santa Barbara

Lucky Penny, Santa Barbara’s most talked about landmark with an exterior tiled in real pennies, has recently unveiled a new large-scale mural in the restaurant’s outdoor patio by local artist DJ Javier. Javier, born and raised in Santa Barbara, received a degree in graphic arts from Azusa Pacific University.

DJ Javier is a first-generation Filipino-American artist and designer known for his creative explorations of his Filipino heritage and SoCal culture. He has established himself as a prominent figure in the art scene, creating murals, posters, apparel, and fine art pieces through his studio, Bayan Surf Club. Javier’s work extends beyond Santa Barbara, collaborating with major brands and institutions like Amazon and the Los Angeles Rams. Embracing his cultural identity, Javier has overcome feelings of alienation to incorporate his rich Filipino heritage into his artistic endeavors. He is dedicated to community impact, supporting local businesses and nonprofits while embodying the spirit of “bayanihan,” a Filipino communal practice. Additionally, Javier is an avid surfer who supports programs introducing youth of color to ocean sports. His work reflects a blend of cultural pride, creativity, and community engagement.

Javier is thrilled about the opportunity to partner with Lucky Penny. He states, “This partnership allowed me to not only mentor the art students from VADA on the process of mural painting but also educate them on the business side of being an artist, including the pitch and design process before painting begins. The students can feel ownership in something they created that will be enjoyed by our locals and travelers visiting Lucky Penny and the Funk Zone for years to come.”

VADA is also pleased with the results. VADA Program Director Dan Barnett says, “Since the VADA mission centers on preparing creative youth for their future, our work with DJ Javier was a perfect collaboration.” Barnett continues, stating, “DJ presented to VADA seniors on both design and business processes that he’s learned through hard work and perseverance. Then, students stepped out of the talk and utilized their art skills by executing the mural with DJ. The learning couldn’t have been more tangible. The path is not always easy, but we want to inspire our students to believe that a creative future is viable and that their skills are in demand in the marketplace. “

The Visual Arts & Design Academy is a program offered at Santa Barbara High School to engage creative students in the process of preparing for college and careers while integrating art and design into core academic classes. A smaller, family-like environment, field trips, intern and mentorship opportunities, access to supplies and technology, and a supportive team of teachers are distinctive features of the VADA program.

An ideal way to experience the mural is to visit the new SB Funk Zone Live, a series of bimonthly “arts, wine, dine and shop events” launching on March 29, 2024. Like the popular Downtown Santa Barbara 1st Thursday monthly events, Funk Zone venues will open their doors late from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on the last Fridays of every other month (November will be swapped for Dec due to the holiday). In addition to Lucky Penny, 18 other local businesses are on board for the first event.

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MUNCHIEZ ADDS MEXICAN

Reader Suzette asked me a question about Munchiez:

Looks like Munchiez at the corner of Nogal and Hollister is gone. The green awning now says Mexican Food Restaurant. Anyone have information? Thanks!

I stopped by that address a few weeks ago when the first inquiry about this hit my inbox. For some odd reason, the Munchiez awning has indeed being replaced my one that says “Mexican Food Restaurant,” but the popular Munchiez delivery service is still there. I asked employees about it and they said that Mexican food has recently been added to their extensive menu but, other than that, nothing has changed – except for the awning.

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WEXLER’S DELI UPDATE

Last July I broke the news that Wexler’s Deli is coming to the Santa Barbara Public Market. Reader IMissRexofSB tells me that the eatery will open on April 8th.

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GOLETA FINNEY’S UPDATE

Last December I broke the news that Santa Barbara’s wildly popular Finney’s Crafthouse & Kitchen at 35 State Street is coming to Goleta’s Camino Real Marketplace where Hollister Brewing Company used to be at 6980 Market Place Drive. Reader David sent an unexpected update:

Noticed the Finney’s “coming soon” sign is missing from Hollister Brewing today. Have you heard anything? Hopefully it’s still in the works.
– David

Update: The temporary “coming soon” sign came down to make way for the permanent Finney’s Crafthouse sign.

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EASTER AT SAN YSIDRO RANCH

With Easter just around the corner, I want to ensure that San Ysidro Ranch’s Easter Champagne Brunch is on your radar. It will be hosted on March 31st at the Stonehouse Restaurant.

The menu was created by Executive Chef Matt Johnson and his team.The experience begins with a basket of house-made baked goods, along with the option for a glass of Champagne, mimosa, Ty Bellini, or fresh juice. Starters include Grilled Carpinteria Avocado, Pan Seared Diver Scallops, Chilled Spring Pea Soup, and Chanterelle Mushroom & Black Truffle Tart. Entrée selections include Butter Braised Maine Lobster Benedict, Prime Filet of Beef Wellington, Alaskan Halibut, and Braised Petite Lamb Shank. The meal concludes with an Easter dessert buffet featuring SYR signature sweets and the Flambéed Harrys Berry’s Strawberry Shortcake.

Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Cost: $205/per adult, $85 per child (12 & under). Weather permitting, two Easter Egg hunts will take place at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM. Reservations: Call (805) 565-1720.

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NEW SIGN FOR SUNSHINE

Goleta Signs has just finished installing a brand-new sign for Santa Barbara Sunshine Cafe at 5711 Calle Real in Goleta which replaces the tarpaulin banner they have been using since the eatery opened last December. The upper State Street location of Santa Barbara Sunshine Cafe has closed.


Goleta Signs installs a new sign on Calle Real for Santa Barbara Sunshine Cafe

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LOWER STATE STARBUCKS OPENS

Reader Primetime tells me that the new Starbucks has opened at 120 State Street near the waterfront, next to McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams and Melville Winery.


Photos by Primetime

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EASTER ROUNDUP

Jellybeans and chocolate bunnies might be delicious, but they don’t exactly fill you up. So, if those egg hunts leave you with an appetite for something more, hop over to one of the many South Coast restaurants offering an Easter brunch, buffet or dinner. It’s supposed to rain this Sunday so I don’t know if the various egg hunts will still be happening.

ROSEWOOD MIRAMAR BEACH: Alongside its annual Great Easter Egg Hunt at Miramar, guests can enjoy the following special dining experiences on Easter Sunday: Elevated Prix-Fixe Brunch at Caruso’s (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.): Easter brunch at Caruso’s includes an elevated prix-fixe dining experience highlighting the local landscape of the central coast. Think dishes like oysters, hand-pulled burrata, eggs benedict, filet, and a dessert buffet. $195 per adult, $85 per child 4–12, complimentary for ages 4 and younger. Brunch Buffet at The Revere Room (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.) includes dishes like lemon ricotta pancakes, a salami & cheese station, salads, a raw bar, sushi, a carving station, a kid’s menu, assorted dessert stations, and more. $165 per adult, $65 per child 4–12, complimentary for ages 4 and younger.

ACME: Acme, which operates a variety of popular food and drink destinations in town, is gearing up for Easter. The Lark will be serving up decadent Easter brunch favorites by Chef Jason Paluska and offer a dinner special of Spring Lamb Pappardelle for those celebrating during the evening. Call (805) 284-0370 or visit thelarksb.com. Lucky Penny features a Roasted Carrot Pizza from March 29-31 along with a Tie-Dye experience for kids on March 30 and Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday. For tickets visit acmehospitality.ticketsauce.com. La Paloma Café presents an Easter Brunch Buffet featuring a carving station, kids’ station, savory station and the essential dessert station. $70 per guest for menu only; $85 to include bottomless mimosas and $25 for kids 12 and under. Loquita offers holiday specials on Saturday, March 30 and Easter Sunday, March 31, in addition to their à la carte menu.

BRASS BEAR UPTOWN: Brass Bear’s uptown location at 3302 McCaw Avenue is doing an Easter Brunch Buffet again this year on Sunday March 31st from 10-2 p.m. The buffet will have Chef Martin’s quiches & cured salmon station as well as the classic accompaniments of maple glazed bacon, French toast, salad pastries and more. Pricing is $45 for adults and $15 for kids 12 and under. They also will have some special kid activities going like a jumpy house and Easter eggs hid throughout the space. Make reservations at tinyurl.com/bb-easter or call 805-869-4014.

THE STEWARD: Guests and visitors are invited to celebrate Easter at The Steward by joining their Easter Brunch Buffet at Terra from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Guests can indulge in a festive, garden-inspired buffet featuring Harvest Quiche, Sweet Corn Olive Oil Pancakes, Overnight Oats, and an Easter egg hunt throughout the hidden gardens. $40 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under. Make reservations at tinyurl.com/easterterra

HILTON: Easter Brunch at Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort offers favorites, including the prime rib, the refreshing rosemary roasted beets, and a rich lemon curd crumble for dessert. Enjoy brunch with live music by David Segall from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and two Easter Egg Hunts starting at 10:30 a.m. and noon. The Easter Bunny will be making special appearances. Adults: $140 per person, Children (12 & under): $45 per person, children under 3 are free. 18% gratuity will be automatically added to all parties. The brunch buffet will be served indoors at The Set, with the Easter Egg Hunt taking place on the lawn. Dress comfortably for outdoor activities, and don’t forget to bring your Easter basket. Make reservations at tinyurl.com/easterhsbbr

RITZ-CARLTON BACARA: Easter brunch specials feature an extensive seafood display and will be held from 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Ballroom and Ballroom Terrace. Price: $158 adult / $55 kids. Make reservations at tinyurl.com/easterbacara

FINCH & FORK: Easter dining will be available at Finch & Fork located within The Kimpton Canary Hotel, 31 West Carrillo Street. Guests can choose one entrée from a selection of dishes including Bacon and Spring Onion Quiche with Watercress Salad, Kimchi Benedict with Crisp Pork Belly, Potato Gnocchi with Ridgeback Shrimp, Charred Ramp and New Potato Cream, and more. In addition to their main entrée, guests will enjoy buffet-style starters, salads and desserts. Options available at the buffet include Coastal White Fish Ceviche, Finch and Fork Deviled Eggs, Black Garlic Caesar Salad and Latte Crème Brulee, to name a few. Price is $89 for adults and $45 for children under 12. Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Reservations are available via OpenTable.

CARP KITCHEN: Carp Kitchen at at 4945A Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria is offering an Easter dinner menu, which includes appetizers, soups and salads, main courses, sides, and desserts. Orders should be placed by noon on Wednesday, March 27 for pick up on Saturday, March 30. The location will be closed for Easter on March 31. Further contact details are (805)318-9400 and carpkitchen.com.


EASTER EATS: Enjoy Easter brunch at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara and a variety of other locations across the South Coast. Photo courtesy Ritz-Carlton Bacara.

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VIA VAI STOPPING LUNCH APRIL 1

Reader Robert sends an update on the Via Vai story:

Hello Restaurant Guy.

Re: Via Vai Trattoria Pizzeria on East Valley Road, Santa Barbara/Montecito – “Upper Village”.  A 20-year-old favorite is stopping lunch April First – the sign says on the door. Sending customers across the street to its sister restaurant – Pane E Vino. Don’t know how long dinners will continue but it will end. Famous for its patio and pizza and great menu. Frequented by Ellen, Richard Dreyfus, Dennis Miller, and more…

– Robert

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FORMER HOME OF TAZA UPDATE

A prolific tipster shares some news:

Ciao John,

The owners of Apertivo are taking over the former space of Taza Mediterranean at 413 State Street. It will be a food/wine/beer restaurant. They have a name for it, but wouldn’t reveal it to me.

Steve H.

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DRY AT CODY’S

This just in from reader Elvis about Cody’s Cafe at 4898 Hollister Avenue in Noleta:

March 2024, re Cody’s liquor license: About three weeks ago, we were having our usual lunch with a Margarita, and server told us that this was the last time he’d be bringing us an alcoholic beverage of any kind, because of a problem with the liquor license.

We like Cody’s a lot, and have since continued to eat there regularly, but as of March 18, there was NO alcohol of any type available, not even bottled beer or wine. This is discouraging, because there are times when these beverages are very nice to have.

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

Hi! I am trying to find a restaurant I used to go to in the late 90s to early 2000s. The location is 12 W. De la Guerra Street, Santa Barbara. The website lists a restaurant located there closed at 2005, but that was a Mexican restaurant, there should be an Italian restaurant there prior to 2005. Is there any information of restaurant located there before 2005? Thank you very much.
– Cedric

I took this photo March 29, 2005 and it was indeed a Mexican restaurant by then, named “Los Arcos.” This was the days when that address had a recessed patio. The mural, however, looks more Italian than Mexican so it might be a remnant from the eatery you are looking for. By November 2005 Los Arcos had closed and was replaced by an Italian restaurant named “Tiramisu” which itself closed in September 2007 and was replaced by a burger placed named “Kahuna Grill” (the business that enclosed the formerly-recessed patio) which itself closed in November 2014, and so on…
– The Restaurant Guy

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THE NUGGET IS COMING TO CARPINTERIA

The original Nugget in Summerland opened in 1970 and continues going strong as is the Nugget at 5687 Calle Real in Goleta which opened in 2009. Some “experimental” Nuggets came and went at 21 West Victoria Street (2015-2018) and 5096 Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria (2016-2017).

Reader Foodie Dan, who has been sending me tips since the early-1990s (before this column was born, during the days when I operated the very first online Santa Barbara restaurant guide), tells me that The Nugget is returning to Carpinteria at 892 Linden Avenue, the former home of Senor Frogs and the almost-home of Linden Hall. I called the Summerland location which confirmed the news and also said that the Carpinteria restaurant is still in the planning stages. It might have a limited menu (or maybe a full menu) and might be called “Nuggies” (or maybe The Nugget). They hope to open sometime this summer and are actively working on getting a liquor license.


The Nugget is coming to the former home of Senor Frogs in Carpinteria. Photo by The Restaurant Guy from 2006.

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INDIAN TANDOORI KINGDOM OPENS

Reader Brendan says he walked by 1026 State Street today (former Oppi’z and Palazzio) and said that it looks like Indian Tandoori Kingdom has opened there. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Call (805) 284-2603 or visit indiantandoorikingdom.com

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MCCONNELL’S LAUNCHES NEW FLAVOR WITH HOOK & PRESS

On March 22, two beloved Santa Barbara institutions – McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams and Hook & Press Donuts – are joining forces to launch a collaborative offering that merges McConnell’s artisanal ice cream with Hook + Press’ gourmet donuts. The result is a new Blueberries & Lemon Glazed Donuts Ice Cream flavor. This brand-new custom confection blends old-fashioned, lemon-glazed donuts baked from scratch at Hook & Press, paired with blueberry-infused Central Coast milk & cream and swirls of tartly sweet lemon glaze for the perfect McConnell’s pint. This limited-run offering will be available online and in McConnell’s scoop shops until it runs out.


Courtesy

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SHALHOOB’S TO CLOSE IN THE PUBLIC MARKET

Reader Steve C. says that Shalhoob’s, which opened in the Santa Barbara Public Market in March 2022, is planning to close at the end of March 2024, just after their two-year anniversary. The company is still on track to open a location at 5112 Hollister Avenue in Noleta, the former home of Woody’s BBQ.

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WYLDE WORKS LAUNCHES COFFEE HOUSE

This just in from Wylde Works at 609 State Street:

Wylde Works is a fine meadery that serves as a community hub of creativity. We recently celebrated our two year anniversary and are excited to announce we are expanding operations as a coffeehouse and meadery! Our Coffee hours are now from 8 AM until 8 PM. (Monday until 2:00 PM). We are serving Unity Coffee, fine teas, Deux Bakery pastries and sandwiches, as well as Buena Onda empanadas. We regularly host an array of local music, arts, and cultural events.

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AUGIE’S REOPENS

Reader Steve M. tells me that Augie’s has reopened at 700 State Street, and address once occupied by Panera Bread, Left At Albuquerque, and Ma Dolce Vita. Hours are Friday-Saturday 4-10 p.m and Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Call (805) 664-0516 or visit augiessb.com


Photo by reader Steve M.

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EASTER AT ROSEWOOD MIRAMAR BEACH

Here is a message from our friendly neighborhood world-class beach resort:

Hi John,

We wanted to keep you in the loop on some spring culinary happenings at Rosewood Miramar Beach, from Easter festivities and a Friends of James Beard Benefit, to an exclusive wine dinner with Oliver Krug of Krug Champagne, and exciting guest talent at The Manor Bar.

ROSEWOOD MIRAMAR BEACH INTRODUCES NEW CULINARY EXPERIENCES THIS SPRING

With the change of seasons upon us, Rosewood Miramar Beach has curated a dynamic list of experiences and activities this spring that will entice the whole family to the Forbes Triple Five-Star resort situated on an exclusive stretch of beach in Montecito.

“From Easter festivities to the arrival of warmer temperatures, spring is a time to celebrate new beginnings and loved ones here in beautiful Montecito,” says Managing Director Rick Fidel, “Be it spring break with the family or a couples getaway, the extended hours of sunlight allow for even more memories to be made on property, whether by the pool, at Miramar Beach Bar or watching the sun set at Caruso’s.”

Easter at Miramar – March 31

Alongside its annual Great Easter Egg Hunt at Miramar, guests can enjoy the following special dining experiences on Easter Sunday:

Elevated Prix-Fixe Brunch at Caruso’s (11
a.m. – 3 p.m.): Easter brunch at Caruso’s includes an elevated prix-fixe dining experience highlighting the local landscape of the central coast. Think dishes like oysters, hand-pulled burrata, eggs benedict, filet, and a dessert buffet. USD195 per adult,
USD85 per child 4–12, complimentary for ages 4 and younger

Sumptuous Brunch Buffet at The Revere Room (11
a.m. – 3 p.m.): Savor traditions with an Easter Sunday Brunch Buffet at The Revere Room in a relaxing, fun, and family-friendly environment with locally sourced, California-inspired fare. Look for dishes like lemon ricotta pancakes, a salami & cheese station, salads, a raw bar, sushi, a carving station, a kid’s menu, assorted dessert stations, and more. USD165 per adult, USD65 per child 4–12, complimentary for ages 4 and younger

10 Days of Chocolate at The Revere Room

In honor of Chocolate Month, from March 17-26th, Experience 10 Days of Chocolate bliss at The Revere Room, where each day brings a new celebration of this beloved indulgence. From rich dark cocoa to creamy milk chocolate, embark on a delectable journey through a variety of chocolate delights with inspired menu specials including Lemon White Chocolate Blueberry Tarts, Chocolate Budinos and more.

Krug Wine Winner at Caruso’s – March 22

Join Oliver Krug, the sixth-generation director of Krug Champagne, for a one-night-only dinner event alongside Executive Chef Massimo Falsini. The five-course dinner paired with various Krug vintages begins with welcome bites on the beach and a demonstration from local fisher, Stephanie Mutz of Sea Stephanie Fish, culminating in an optional post-dinner fireside chat with Oliver Krug himself. Enjoy the finest wines, exquisite flavors and captivating discussions set against the backdrop of the Pacific coastline. To learn more or make a reservation, visit: https://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/miramar-beach-montecito/experiences/calendar/krug-wine-dinner-at-carusos

The Manor Bar Co-Author Series Edition III

Featuring top bar talent from afar, The Manor Bar is pleased to showcase the most esteemed spirits professionals in the world who will be making exclusive appearances behind the bar, allowing the bar’s global guests and local fans an opportunity to experience diverse cocktail talents year-round. Edition III will showcase talent from all over the world including iconic Rosewood Bars. Past guest talent has included industry stalwarts like Alba Huerta of Julep, Speedrack founder Lynette Marrero, Mary Allison Wright + McLain Hedges of Yacht Club, Ryan Fitzgerald of ABV, and Chris Hannah of Jewel of the South in a creative exchange. Next up, look for Jason Asher of Phoenix’s acclaimed Century Grand on March 22-23, named Best Cocktail Bar in the U.S. by the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards and one of North America’s 50 Best Bars.

The Manor Bar on the Road

In 2024, The Manor Bar is hitting the road all over the globe. The Manor Bar team and Director of Bars, Sam Penton will be traveling to iconic bars across the world to bring its flair and signature literary-inspired, California cocktail experience across the country and beyond, and glean dynamic tips, tricks and flavors for its guests back at home.

Friends of James Beard Benefit at Caruso’s – April 24

The Michelin Green Star Caruso’s will honor Earth Month with an intimate dinner at Caruso’s restaurant benefiting the James Beard Foundation. Part of the Friends of James Beard Benefit series, a communal patio table overlooking the ocean will feature a five-course menu highlighting seasonal ingredients and celebrating the restaurant’s esteemed network of local purveyors and guest chefs. Throughout the evening, said purveyors will offer insights into their process and sustainable sourcing, enriching the culinary experience. This event promises to blend gourmet excellence with environmental advocacy. $325 per adult | Price excludes beverages, tax, and gratuity.

To learn more or make a reservation, visit: https://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/miramar-beach-montecito


Courtesy

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WINEMAKER DINNER SERIES AT THE BACARA

Here is a press-release from the Ritz-Carlton Bacara:

The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara–the premier oceanfront resort along the Gaviota Coast–welcomes premier central coast winemakers for monthly wine pairing dinners – Paul Lato Wines in March, The Hilt Estate in April, and Grassini Family Vineyards in May. Each special evening will be in the intimate and private Angel Oak Wine Cellar below Angel Oak–The Ritz-Carlton Bacara’s fine dining restaurant. The carefully curated four-course pairing menu will bring forth the tasting notes of the celebrated wines in the company of the winemakers. The pairing menu will be created in collaboration with Chef de Cuisine of Angel Oak, Susanto Bhattacharya. Guests will enjoy a warm welcome at The Bacara Wine Tasting Room, before heading to Angel Oak for dinner and concluding at the private wine cellar room with a crafted dessert by Pastry Chef Christine Rosell.

The scheduled dinners are as follows, and reservations can be made now.
– March 28th, 2024 – Pairing Dinner with Paul Lato Wines
– April 26th, 2024 – The Hilt Estate
– May 16th, 2024 – Grassini Family Vineyards

The first dinner in the series on March 28th is the Angel Oak x Paul Lato Dinner, which starts at 6:00 p.m. Winemaker Paul Lato develops his wine with the philosophy that “all the greatest wines possess authenticity, harmony, and elegance. These are the qualities I constantly try to capture in my wines. The ultimate goal is to create wines that are seamless and textural with enough structure and balance to complement fine cuisine.”

The menu for Thursday March 28th evening will begin with Tuna Crudo, then onto the First Course of Coquilles Saint-Jacques paired with 2021 “Le Souvenir” Chardonnay, followed by the Second Course of Bone Marrow Tartare paired with 2021 “Stand By Me” Pinot Noir, and the Third Course is a Veal Ossobuco paired with 2021 Syrah “II Padrino”, and wrapping up the Four Course dinner with Ricotta and Chocolate Tart.

Seats are $195 per guest, excluding tax and gratuity charges. Reservations can be made online HERE. For more information about Paul Lato Wines, visit www.paullatowines.com.

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SEATTLE BAKERY POP-UP

Here is a message from Piroshky bakery in Seattle which is doing a local pop-up on April 19. I have not confirmed the exact location.

Hello Restaurant Guy,

Piroshky, a unique, one-of-a-kind, Eastern European-inspired bakery with our flagship location nested for over three decades in historic Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA, that served over 10 million tourists and locals.

As a proud woman-owned small business, our passion for crafting delectable Piroshky has taken us on an incredible journey, spreading joy to thousands across multiple states.

We’re excited to share the news that Piroshky is coming to San Diego on 04/17, Anaheim on 04/18, Santa Barbra on 04/19, Redlands on 04/21, and Inglewood on 04/22 hosted by local breweries. Watch our video on Fox 40 Sacramento! I believe this would be great for your audience.

How it Works:

1) Select your favorite pies online at piroshkybakery.com before our visit.
2) We’ll hand-make and customize your Piroshky to order.
3) Your delectable treats will be flash-frozen and ready for pickup on the event day.

Through the years, our bakery has received recognition far and wide, graced by the spotlight on Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” and the “Zimmern List” on the Travel Channel. By recognizing the immigrant journey embedded in our creations, Smithsonian Magazine honored us as one of “The 20 Most Iconic Food Destinations Across America.” Each accolade is a testament to the flavors woven into our story’s fabric.

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SPRING AT MATTEI’S TAVERN

This just in from Mattei’s Tavern at 2350 Railway Avenue in Los Olivos:

Embracing togetherness and connection is built into the ethos of The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern, Auberge Resorts Collection, rich with history and new discoveries. This spring, Mattei’s will offer guests and locals alike the opportunity to explore the property’s expansive grounds at Easter, celebrate Mom with an exclusive Mother’s Day flora event and delight in immersive experiences such as the art of flower pressing and immersive Sake and Wine pairings.

– An Easter Egg Hunt set against the backdrop of the historic and picturesque inn welcomes families on March 31. Guests are invited to immerse themselves in the thrill of the search as they explore beautifully manicured gardens while discovering vibrant eggs, filled not only with delectable candies, but also with extraordinary surprises, from spa and dining gift cards to a complimentary one-night stay at the hotel. Complimentary for resorts guests only.
– Experience the art of crafting pressed flower plates with fresh local blooms with a skilled team from Community Clayworks on April 11 at Mattei’s Springtime Blooms event. Price: $195 per guest.
– This Mother’s Day, celebrate Mom with a floral workshop in partnership with Glenna Joy Flowers and Amanda Lauren Co. on May 11. Whether guests are floral enthusiasts or beginners, this hands-on experience promises the opportunity to discover the secrets of arranging seasonal flowers, explore locally grown blooms and receive personalized styling tips from Amanda Lauren. Price: $135 per guest.
– On April 25, Mattei’s invites guests to Journey Through Sake with an exclusive six-course Sake dinner, immersing them in the rich tapestry of Japanese culinary heritage. Evenings celebrating authenticity and responsibility in wine making will take place on March 28, with Pax Mahle, and May 30, with Matthiasson Wines, inviting wine-lovers to sip and taste their way through excellent selections provided by the wineries. Price: ranges from $135-$145 per guest.


Courtesy Auberge Resorts Collection.

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EASTER WITH ACME

Acme, which operates a variety of popular food and drink destinations in town, is gearing up for Easter.

– The Lark will be serving up decadent Easter brunch favorites by Chef Jason Paluska and offer a dinner special of Spring Lamb Pappardelle for those celebrating during the evening. Specials include two farm-to-bar Easter cocktails. For more information, visit: thelarksb.com or call 805-284-0370.

– Lucky Penny features a Roasted Carrot Pizza from March 29-31 along with a Tie-Dye experience for kids on March 30 (tickets HERE ) and Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday.

– Pre-order Helena’s Spiced Carrot Cake all month long along with the bakeries signature quiche – Ham & Gruyere or Spring Onion with Potato & Aged White Cheddar. Pre-order in person or online HERE until March 28, 2024.

– La Paloma Café presents an Easter Brunch Buffet featuring a carving station, kids’ station, savory station and the essential dessert station. $70 per guest for menu only; $85 to include bottomless mimosas and $25 for kids 12 and under.

– Loquita offers holiday specials on Saturday, March 30 and Easter Sunday, March 31, 2024, in addition to their à la carte menu – Sopa de Ajo, a traditional Spanish creamy garlic soup; Lubina a la Donostiarra, a pan-seared branzino;and a dessert of Torrijas, a Spanish french toast.

– Santa Barbara Wine Collective offers a holiday Mimosa flight at the bar or will recommend some Santa Barbara County Wines for Easter available for purchase – Land of Saints Rosé, Ojai Vineyard Dry Riesling and Notary Public Carbonic Cabernet Franc.

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GIOVANNI’S RETURNING TO IV?

Reader Henrietta says she heard that Giovanni’s Pizza is trying to reopen in Isla Vista. Rincon Brewery replaced Giovanni’s at 6583 Pardall Road in Isla Vista in May 2017. Rincon Brewery then closed in June 2018. Rockfire Grill subsequently opened at that address in December 2018 and closed in January 2024. So if Gio’s wishes to return to their old stomping grounds, it is available!

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

Hi John,
Any update on the old Mackenzie Market site on Upper State? I heard a rumor that the owners of Brass Bird in Carpinteria were trying to open up a coffee shop there. We just visited the location in Carp and we really liked it and think it would be a great addition to Upper State.
– Paul

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LIGHTHOUSE COFFEE OPENS ON CALLE REAL

Chris Chiarappa, owner and CEO of the Santa Barbara Restaurant Collective, tells me that he has opened a new location for Lighthouse Coffee at 5690 Calle Real in Goleta, the former home of Outback Steakhouse which closed their doors in November 2017. “After a warm reception from the Goleta community on our Turnpike location, we are honored to open our second Goleta location on Calle Real,” says Chiarappa. “Huge thanks to the Goleta community for all their continued support!” Hours are 6 a.m.- 4 p.m. daily. The new Calle Real java joint adds to a growing list of Lighthouse Coffee locations that includes 1819 Cliff Drive, 711 Chapala Street, 401 East Haley Street, and 199 South Turnpike Road. Visit lighthousecoffeesb.com

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SPEAKING OF CALLE REAL

The Nugget Bar and Grill at 5687 Calle Real in Goleta now offers brunch from 11 a.m-2 p.m. every Sunday. The flagship Summerland location at 2318 Lillie Avenue offers a weekend brunch from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

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NEW NIGHT LIZARD OFFERINGS

Reader Franco tells me that Night Lizard Brewing Company at 607 State Street now offers food options from several nearby restaurants including St. Bibiana Pizza, Yona Redz, and Soul Bites. When you order at your table the meal is then prepared down the street at the restaurant you chose and delivered right to you at Night Lizard.

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ANCHOR ROSE AVAILABLE FOR NON-PROFITS

Erik Hoegh-Guldberg, manager of The Anchor Rose at 113 Harbor Way, tells me that the popular restaurant is now available as an event location for nonprofit organizations. “As a pledge to support the many area Non-Profits and all of the great work you do The Anchor Rose would like to offer any area non-profits the use of our venue in the beautiful Santa Barbara Harbor free of charge,” says Hoegh-Guldberg. “We offer 3 unique covered, heated and private patios overlooking the beautiful Santa Barbara Harbor along with two full bars both upstairs and downstairs with a total capacity of 300 with ample accessible parking for your guests. If you are interested in planning a fundraiser, charity auction, a donor “thank you” reception, or a team meeting spot with upgraded A/V capabilities, contact Hoegh-Guldberg at The Anchor Rose for a tour with details and available dates. He will customize a menu tailored specifically for any event. Call (805) 963-5511 or visit theanchorrose.com.

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ST. PATRICK’S DAY WITH CARP KITCHEN

Carp Kitchen Grocery Store, which opened at 4945 #A Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria in 2021, is offering a St. Patrick’s Day Dinner Special to-go on Sunday, March 17. The meal includes a slow-cooked Corned Beef, Colcannon Potatoes (mashed potatoes, sauteed onions, cabbage & bacon), and Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Heirloom Carrots. Two Servings cost $40 and dessert options include Shamrock Sugar Cookie ($5 each) and Bailey’s Cheesecake ($10.50 per slice). Pre-order with their kitchen by 6 p.m. Thursday, March 14 for pickup on March 17 between 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Call (805) 318-9400 or visit carpkitchen.com.

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SECOND DAVE’S DOGS COMING TO SANTA MARIA

Last week I wrote that the popular Dave’s Dogs Grill, at 900 North Milpas Street and 149 South Turnpike Road in Goleta, has opened a third location at 232 Betteravia Road in Santa Maria. Apparently a second location in Santa Maria is in the works. “By now, you might be aware that Dave’s Dogs and Dave’s Drip House are gearing up to launch their second establishment in Santa Maria,” says owner Dave Reynoso. “Excitingly, we are set to join the vibrant community at The Collective, an indoor marketplace situated at 3546 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria.” In November 2014, Reynoso took his first step by setting up a hot dog cart on Milpas Street in Santa Barbara, utilizing an empty parking lot in his father’s auto shop. By September 2017, he transformed his creativity and love for food into his first brick-and-mortar establishment in Noleta. Visit davesdogs805.com

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EASTER WITH BRASS BEAR

This just in from Brass Bear owner Seth Anderson:

Hey John!

Our uptown location at 3302 McCaw Avenue is doing an Easter Brunch Buffet again this year Sunday March 31st from 10-2 p.m. The buffet will have Chef Martin’s famous quiches & cured salmon station as well as the classic accompaniments of maple glazed bacon, french toast, salad pastries and much much more! Pricing is $45 for adults and $15 for kids 12 and under. We’ll also have some special kid activities going like a jumpy house and Easter eggs hid throughout the space.

Reservations are easiest made online at tinyurl.com/bb-easter or call 805-869-4014.

Cheers,
Seth

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RESTAURANT CLOSINGS

Here is a list of area eateries that have closed in the last year:

  • February 2024: Taza Mediterranean Street Kitchen, 413 State St. (changing to an Italian restaurant)
  • January 2024: Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, 5745 Calle Real, Goleta; Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Santa Barbara Airport (now Santa Barbara Roasting Company); Metropulos Fine Foods Merchant, 216 East Yanonali St.; Pea Soup Andersen’s, 376 Ave of Flags, Buellton (under new ownership, plans to reopen after renovation); Rockfire Grill, 6583 Pardall Rd., Isla Vista
  • December 2023: Santa Barbara Sunshine Café, 3514 State St. (moved to 5711 Calle Real, Goleta); Sushi Go Go, Santa Barbara Harbor (possibly changing to a clam bar run by Brophy Bros.)
  • November 2023: Juniper on Fourth, 478 4th Place, Solvang
  • October 2023: Elena’s Kitchen, 738 State St.
  • September 2023: Mokutan, 716 State St. (now Best BBQ); Hollister Brewing Co., 6980 Marketplace Dr., Goleta (changing to Finney’s Crafthouse & Kitchen); Uptown Lounge, 3126 State St.
  • August 2023: Oppi’z Bistro and Natural Pizza, 1026 State St. (changing to Indian Tandoori Kingdom); Pueblo Pollo, 2984 State St. (moved to 6578 Trigo Road, Isla Vista)
  • July 2023: Courthouse Tavern, 129 East Anapamu St. (now Cafe La Fonda); Mr B Restaurant & Café, 140 S. Hope Ave.
  • May 2023: California Tacos and Taproom, 956 Embarcadero Del Norte, Isla Vista; Fresco Café, 23 E. Canon Perdido St. (changing to Santa Barbara County wineries, Lieu Dit and Tyler)
  • April 2023: Creamistry, 935 State St. (now Mister Softee); Pizza Online Company, 5756 Calle Real, Goleta
  • March 2023: Natural Café, 508 State St. (changing to Nick the Greek)


NATURAL SELECTION: Natural Café at 508 State Street, which closed one year ago this month after decades in business, will be replaced by Nick the Greek restaurant.

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