FLIGHTLINE PHOTOS

Santa Barbara Airport aviation electronics maintenance guru Tom Smothermon sent me photos of the original Flightline restaurant that was located on the airport property next to where the new Flightline will open later this year in the former home of Elephant Bar and current home of High Sierra Grill.

Flightline photo taken on the south side of the building

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BIBI JI WINE BAR, BOTTLE SHOP AND RESTAURANT OPENS DOWNTOWN

Bibi Ji, a new wine bar, bottle shop and all-day restaurant from Rajat Parr and acclaimed chef Jessi Singh, opened on February 1st at 734 State Street, the former home of Relais de Paris. Singh, who’s been lauded for his Indian cooking at the popular Babu Ji restaurant in San Francisco, New York City and Melbourne, will serve a locally inspired seafood-focused menu with Australian and Indian influences, while the wine selection from James Beard Award-winning sommelier Rajat Parr features a dynamic and eccentric variety of uniquely affordable bottles designed to pair well with the food. The name Bibi Ji – an Indian term of endearment for women in the family – pays tribute to the formative women in both Jessi and Rajat’s lives who cultivated their love for food and hospitality. Both Jessi and Rajat are now living in Santa Barbara, and will be donating a portion of proceeds from Bibi Ji to support the Santa Barbara Firefighters Alliance.

Drawing from his Australian and Indian roots, chef Jessi’s menu features his inauthentic take on many traditional American seafood dishes, with a strong focus on using local Santa Barbara purveyors. With the Santa Barbara Farmers Market just steps away from Bibi Ji, Jessi is sourcing nearly all of his ingredients there, and will be changing his menu regularly depending on what’s available in the market that week. The restaurant is partnering with fish monger Stephanie Mutz to source local oysters (served on the menu with green mango pickle butter) and sea urchin, which appears in the SB UNI biryani dish, served with fried rice. Additional dish highlights include Hope Ranch black mussels in a curry broth, Tandoori style octopus with a fennel slaw and Jumbo prawn with pineapple and jalapeño jam, as well as “Inauthentic Curries” such as Bibi Ji daal (ginger, garlic and tomatoes) and Coconut curry with turmeric and mustard seeds, served with the option of pink shrimp or vegetable, among others. The menu also features dishes that Babu Ji became known for at its locations in NYC and San Francisco such as the famed Colonel Tso’s cauliflower, Indo-Chinese style cauliflower in a tomato & chili sauce, and Gol gappa, tangy crispy stuffed shells. California cheesemaker Soyoung Scanlan of Andante Dairy is creating a rotating cheese plate that will be on the menu all day.

Bibi Ji is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, Bibi Ji will serve a happy hour menu with wines offered for $6 a glass and a special food menu, before transitioning to dinner service starting at 5pm. For more information, visit bibijisb.com and follow them on instagram @bibijisb.

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MONTECITO UPDATE 2/5

It is my understanding that all Montecito restaurants, coffee shops and markets are now open for business, not including those at San Ysidro Ranch and the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore. Bella Vista at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore reopens April 2 while Stone House and Plow & Angel are closed indefinitely due to the catastrophic flood that went through San Ysidro Ranch.

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212 HOT POT COMING TO ISLA VISTA

Reader Brendan says the Isla Vista space that formerly housed Kol’s Cafe, and before that, Crushcakes, has a sign indicating “212 Hot Pot” will be moving in. I stopped by the address at 6533 Trigo Road and was told by a worker that it will be a Chinese restaurant.

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FLIGHTLINE UPDATE

This just in from co-owner Warren Butler:

Hello John,

Thank you for your support for the hospitality industry during these trying times. I just wanted to give you an update:

The transformation is happening.  The High Sierra Grill & Bar at 521 Firestone Road in Goleta (formerly The Elephant Bar) is being transformed into the Flightline Restaurant & Bar.  Please let everyone know to come and as we are still open during the changeover and see all the great memorabilia going up room by room.  We have a great steak and eggs special and Rack of Ribs special and a 2 for $25 special to give everyone a preview as to what is to come!

I want to thank you for putting the word out that I was collecting some aviation memorabilia for the new concept.  I was contacted by many people including John Blankenship who has a  priceless aviation collection that he is more than excited to share with the community.  |

The end result is the FlightLine will be surpassing my original vision and I know it will be appreciated by the entire community.  So many people have told me how much they appreciate what we are doing in showcasing the history of aviation and the airport which Santa Barbara is so proud of..  So many people have a story and so many memories!!

Warren

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THE LITTLE DOOR UPDATE

This just in from reader Meg:

“I walked by The Little Door (129 E Anapamu Street) last week and learned that they would be reopening in a couple of weeks.”

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EAST BEACH GRILL CLOSES

Growing up in Montecito, one of my favorite hangouts was East Beach, which meant I spent a lot of time at East Beach Grill, the seaside restaurant on the first floor of the Cabrillo Pavilion Bathhouse. At the end of December, owner Francisco Aguilera’s lease ended, and the city closed the building for a $15 million renovation. In September 2016 the Santa Barbara City Council voted to allow Aguilera first chance at re-leasing the space after renovations are complete but they could not come to an agreement. Aguilera continues to own and operate Great Pacific Ice Cream Company and Char West on Stearns Wharf.

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805 KABOB CLOSES

805 Kabob Mediterranean Bakery & Cafe has closed at 6578 Trigo Road in Isla Vista. The business, which opened in March 2016, is being replaced by Mojo Teahouse.

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MONTECITO UPDATE 2/4

Additional food and drink destinations that have reopened in Montecito:

Coffee Bean, 1209 Coast Village Rd – open
Montecito Wine Bistro, 516 San Ysidro Rd – open
Panino,  1024 Coast Village Rd – open
Sakana, 1046 Coast Village Rd – open
Starbucks,  1046A Coast Village Rd – open

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LOS ARROYOS REOPENS

After closing due to the Montecito mudslides, Los Arroyos has reopened at 1280 Coast Village Road.

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YEN CHING CLOSES, TO BECOME NEW CHINESE RESTAURANT

Reader Patrick sent a tip that Yen Ching restaurant at 2840 De la Vina Street closed on January 29th. I stopped by and a representative told me that the business was sold and that in April it will reopen as a Chinese restaurant named New Szechuan Garden or perhaps New Szechwan Garden. The exact spelling eludes me.

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RUMOR MILL

As you probably know, last year Amazon.com bought Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion and quickly slashed prices on many popular items. Word on the street is that the store at 3761 State Street (where, in October 2009, I camped all night to successfully become Customer #1) will be doing a store-wide remodel. I’m told that, as part of the remodel, an Amazon return locker will be installed. Right now you need to go to Isla Vista for that which is not convenient if you happen to live in Santa Barbara. Lastly, I’m hearing that one will one day be able to order anything in the store for same-day home delivery. As always, this rumor might be completely false or a brilliant forecast of future events. Your call.

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CA’ DARIO CUCINA ITALIANA OPENS IN GOLETA

Readers Meredith and Annie passed me some good news from the Goodland.  Ca’ Dario Cucina Italiana has opened at 250 Storke Road in Goleta next to The French Press at the Kmart Shopping Center in the former home of Bicycle Bob’s and Sams To Go. General Manager Danny Chisholm gave me a tour of the impressive and spacious new location. “When you walk in, the bar area looks like the pizzeria in the downtown location,” said Chisholm. “In the back you have white table cloths dimly lit with candle lights. It will look a lot like the dining room at the main location. The fun new part is that we have a big open kitchen where we can watch the chefs make dinner magic while we’re eating.” The new Ca’ Dario also has a private conference/dining room with 8-10 chairs where you can hook up a computer to a large TV set. They have plans for a large 40-seat patio on the mountain side of the property that is currently a work in progress. The bar near the entrance has its own appetizer menu and also serves the full menu. “We’ve got an awesome appetizer dish frittura mista, said Chisholm. “We don’t have a deep fryer downtown so this is our first opportunity in a long time to have a fried calamari seafood appetizer.” Ca’ Dario Cucina Italiana is open daily 11:30 a.m.- 9 p.m. Call 884-9419 or visit cadario.net.

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MONTECITO UPDATE 1/28

I made a round of calls to all Montecito food and drink establishments. If a business is not listed here that means they did not answer the phone and that I don’t know their status.

Bella Vista at the Biltmore, 1260 Channel Dr – opening 4/2
Blenders in the Grass
, 1046 Coast Village Rd – open
Bottle Shop, 1200 Coast Village Rd – open
Bree’osh Cafe & Bakery, 1150 Coast Village Rd – open
Cava Restaurant & Bar, 1212 Coast Village Rd – open
China Palace, 1070 Coast Village Rd – open
Giovanni’s, 1187 Coast Village Rd – open
Here’s the Scoop, 1187 Coast Village Rd – open
Jeannine’s Bakery, 1253 Coast Village Rd – open
Lucky’s, 1270 Coast Village Rd – open
Montecito Coffee Shop, 1498 East Valley Rd – open
Montecito Village Grocery, 1482 East Valley Rd – open
Oliver’s, 1198 Coast Village Rd – open
Pane e Vino, 1482 East Valley Rd – open
Panino, 1024 Coast Village Rd – open
Pierre Lafond, 516 San Ysidro Rd – open
Rori’s Artisanal Creamery, 1024 Coast Village Rd – open
Stella Mare’s, 50 Los Patos Way – open
The Honor Bar, 1255 Coast Village Rd – open
The Honor Market, 1255 Coast Village Rd – open
The Liquor & Wine Grotto, 1271 Coast Village Rd – open
Tre Lune
, 1151 Coast Village Rd – open
Via Vai Trattoria & Pizzeria, 1483 East Valley Rd – open
Village Cheese & Wine, 1485 East Valley Rd – open
Vons, 1040 Coast Village Rd – open

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MONTECITO UPDATE 1/26

I made a round of calls to all Montecito food and drink establishments. If a business is not listed here that means they did not answer the phone and that I don’t know their status.

Bella Vista at the Biltmore, 1260 Channel Dr – opening 4/2
Blenders in the Grass
, 1046 Coast Village Rd – open
Bottle Shop, 1200 Coast Village Rd – open
Bree’osh Cafe & Bakery, 1150 Coast Village Rd – opening ~1/31
Cava Restaurant & Bar, 1212 Coast Village Rd – opening 2/1
Here’s the Scoop, 1187 Coast Village Rd – open
Giovanni’s
, 1187 Coast Village Rd – open
Lucky’s, 1270 Coast Village Rd – opening ~1/31
Montecito Coffee Shop, 1498 East Valley Rd – opening ~1/31
Oliver’s, 1198 Coast Village Rd – opening ~1/31
Pane e Vino, 1482 East Valley Rd – open
Panino, 1024 Coast Village Rd – early February
Rori’s Artisanal Creamery, 1024 Coast Village Rd – open (serving pints, not scoops)
Stella Mare’s, 50 Los Patos Way – open
The Honor Bar, 1255 Coast Village Rd – open
The Honor Market, 1255 Coast Village Rd – open
The Liquor & Wine Grotto, 1271 Coast Village Rd – open
Tre Lune
, 1151 Coast Village Rd – opening ~1/31
Via Vai Trattoria & Pizzeria, 1483 East Valley Rd – open
Village Cheese & Wine, 1485 East Valley Rd – open
Vons, 1040 Coast Village Rd – open

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MONTECITO UPDATE 1/25

Blenders in the Grass, 1046 Coast Village Rd – open
Bottle Shop, 1200 Coast Village Rd – open
Bree’osh Cafe & Bakery, 1150 Coast Village Rd – opening ~1/31
Cava Restaurant & Bar, 1212 Coast Village Rd – opening 2/1
Lucky’s, 1270 Coast Village Rd – opening ~1/31
Oliver’s, 1198 Coast Village Rd – opening ~1/31
Rori’s Artisanal Creamery, 1024 Coast Village Rd – open (serving pints, not scoops)
Stella Mare’s, 50 Los Patos Way – open
The Honor Bar, 1255 Coast Village Rd – open
The Honor Market, 1255 Coast Village Rd – open
The Liquor & Wine Grotto, 1271 Coast Village Rd – open
Tre Lune
, 1151 Coast Village Rd – opening ~1/31
Vons, 1040 Coast Village Rd – open

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CAVA TO REOPEN FEBRUARY 1ST

This just in from Cava Restaurant & Bar at 1212 Coast Village Road:

Cava Restaurant & Bar is happy to announce we will be reopening our doors on THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 1st!

Thank you for the outpouring of love and support from our loyal customers. We sincerely appreciate your inquiries. All of us on Coast Village Road are eagerly awaiting the Boil Water Notice to be lifted. Once the water is safe we can begin the detailed process of getting all systems back into place. Thank you for you patience. We are thrilled to report we have been able to retain 100% of our employees through this difficult period– the same friendly faces you’ve come to expect for the past 20 years will be here to greet you upon your next visit. We cannot wait to see you again!
Sending love to our wonderful community,

The Cava Team

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

“Which restaurants serve local lobster? – Julie”

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CRUSHCAKES CELEBRATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY

This just in from Crushcakes & Cafe at 1315 Anacapa Street:

“It has been a very difficult past few weeks for everyone in our community.  We are so grateful that we are here and helping to provide delicious food and a safe, comfortable environment for our customers.  February 2 marks Crushcakes Cafe 10 year anniversary and we will be celebrating it at all of our locations that day with special treats, giveaways and more!  We are so thankful to everyone in Santa Barbara, Carpinteria and Goleta who continue to come in and support our small business and we hope for many more years to come!  Please join our celebration February 2nd and get some delicious food and treats!  See you then!  -Shannon & the Crushcakes Family”

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MONTECITO UPDATE 1/24

Blenders in the Grass, 1046 Coast Village Rd – open
Bottle Shop, 1200 Coast Village Rd – open
Bree’osh Cafe & Bakery, 1150 Coast Village Rd – opening ~1/31
Lucky’s, 1270 Coast Village Rd – opening ~1/31
Oliver’s, 1198 Coast Village Rd – opening ~1/31
Rori’s Artisanal Creamery, 1024 Coast Village Rd – open (serving pints, not scoops)
Stella Mare’s, 50 Los Patos Way – opening ~1/25
The Honor Bar, 1255 Coast Village Rd – open
The Honor Market, 1255 Coast Village Rd – open
The Liquor & Wine Grotto, 1271 Coast Village Rd – open
Tre Lune
, 1151 Coast Village Rd – opening ~1/31
Vons, 1040 Coast Village Rd – open

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THE NUGGET REOPENS IN SUMMERLAND

This just in from Bob Montgomery, owner of The Nugget restaurant at 2318 Lillie Avenue in Summerland:

John,

Thought your and our customers should know that we partially opened last Tuesday, January 16 as we couldn’t round up a full  crew and had some problems with deliveries. But now were really bucking along at a full gallop. Only thing we might be missing is our Friday/Saturday Prime Rib $25.95 Special this week. Anyway we sure would like to see all our regulars and any new customers looking for a great roundup, hardy drinks, great food and friendly old fashion service.

Thanks,
Bob

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MONTECITO UPDATE 1/23

Bottle Shop, 1200 Coast Village Rd – open
The Honor Bar, 1255 Coast Village Rd – open
The Honor Market, 1255 Coast Village Rd – open
Vons, 1040 Coast Village Rd – open

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PATRONIZE YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANTS

Reader SantaBarbarian shares some thoughts:

The best way to help –by FAR– is simply patronize your favorite restaurants, especially the local independent ones that don’t have the ability to tap other resources have during these incredibly challenging times.

Have your board members authorize gift card purchases and distribute to evacuees/first responders. I’m sure they’d love to just go out for a bite with friends/family, order what they’d like, go at the time they want and not worry about the cost.

By dining out you are helping keep our locals employed. Meeting payroll is the biggest challenge (for a restaurant not otherwise harmed by our recent catastrophes, obviously). Of course those that do routinely provide large ‘to-go’ orders would love it if you were to purchase, pick-up and deliver their food to a charitable event

For those that don’t, though, dining in their restaurant allows them to ‘do what they normally do’ (rather try to orchestrate a large to-go/buffet/catering event they may not be equipped to do). Plus, you’ll also be providing the added emotional benefit for restaurant staff to see people coming into their restaurant– after so many days of closed/empty seats– and provide hospitality once again. A welcome sense of normalcy returning.

Lastly, dining out will put sales tax revenue back in play (as opposed to the write-off of a donation) which, frankly, the City of SB is going to be desperate for once the accounting for lost retail, sales and ‘bed tax’ revenues during this unprecedented event is completed.

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THAT’S THE SPIRIT

This just in from reader Tony: “Interesting development. Alcohol license notice at the Metro theaters at the Camino Real Marketplace in Goleta!”

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VEGAN RESTAURANT COMING TO UPPER STATE

Here is a tip from reader Lindsey: “Hi John, I love your blog and have been following it for the past 3 yrs we’ve lived here. There’s a sign out for a ‘Vegan Green’ restaurant at 3613 State Street in the old location of Miso Hungry.”

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HARRY’S PLAZA CAFÉ 50TH ANNIVERSARY

Reader Brendan let me know that Harry’s Plaza Café at 3313 State Street is having an eye-popping deal as a 50th anniversary special all through the month of January. Any day Sunday through Thursday, you can get a plate of Omaha slow-roasted tri-tip with fries and salad for $8. No substitutions or take-outs.

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MUNDOS UPDATE

Reader Brendan also says that Mundos (at Canon Perdido and Milpas, the building with the cow), has a sign on the door that says: “Under the tragedy of the Thomas fire in December that caused us a financial set back, we had to take the difficult decision to close temporarily our lunch starting Monday, January 15th.” The sign says they will still be open for dinner Monday-Saturday 5-9pm.

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COAST VILLAGE ROAD REOPENS

With the opening of Coast Village Road for the first time since January 9th, we should see a return of many restaurants and coffee shops. I’ll post names of businesses that have reopened as I hear about them.

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HELPING LOCAL RESTAURANTS

This just in from reader Jessica:

Hi John,

A couple nonprofits I’m on the board of would love to help local restaurants. I figure you’re the guy to ask: do you know of any local restaurants that have been particularly hard hit by the fire/mudslides for which we could provide funds to host a buffet-style meal for evacuees and first responders? Just trying to do the most good!

Jessica

Feel free to send a private email to info@santabarbara.com and I will forward it to Jessica.

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FIRE AT ALPHIE’S

Edhat.com reports that firefighters put out a kitchen fire in Alphie’s Restaurant in Old Town Goleta on January 14th. I’m told that crews arrived to 5725 Hollister Ave at 4:35 p.m. after a report of a commercial building fire and discovered smoke and flames in the front of the restaurant, originating in the kitchen. The fire was quickly knocked down, said Santa Barbara County Fire Department Public Information Officer Mike Eliason. No injuries were reported and an investigator is looking into the cause of the fire.

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