August will mark the five-year anniversary of Casa Blanca Restaurant & Cantina and its unique mix of fresh Mexican food, cool décor, expansive patios, big-screen TVs, and good-time vibe. And with 140 brands of tequila in stock, the sipping’s outstanding, too, whether it’s a classic Margarita, an inventive specialty cocktail or a connoisseur’s super-premium añejo.
Santa Barbara is known for palm-lined boulevards, lush landscapes and flowing tiered fountains, but after a few years of drought, the succulent is finally getting its time in the sun. The word “succulent” comes from the Latin word sucus, meaning juice, or sap. These juicy plants store water in various structures, such as leaves and stems, making them the ideal for dry times.
We asked Ayda Robana of Om Sweet Mama to share a few of her favorite recipes for summer entertaining. Here, her bright, fresh dishes make the most of the season’s offerings. “This menu, along with a cold bottle of sparkling rose, is what I would serve for a light summer lunch in my garden, after a day at the beach”, says Ayda.
The world needs more places like The Black Sheep, the colorful, friendly, innovative restaurant that opened in spring 2015. Convivial owner, Ruben Perez, loves to share and talk about good food and wine, and in the kitchen, his father, Chef Robert, brings passion and decades of haute cuisine experience to a menu of shareable plates featuring Latin and Asian accents.
Up for a little day-tripping or an over-night stay at a world-class spa and resort? Then check out the sun-kissed town of Ojai. Well-known as a mecca for metaphysical wisdom seekers, full moon meditations and artistic inspiration, this little burg, nestled beneath the Topatopa Mountains, is now gaining a reputation as a hot spot for contemporary tastemakers, winemakers (Ojai Vineyard shown above) and sustainable chefs.
In many parts of the country, fall is the time to run indoors. But in Santa Barbara, it’s Indian summer. That means warm days and balmy nights perfect for gathering with friends for great food and drinks - and Blush Restaurant + Lounge is the ideal place to do it.
Shortly after the first Los Agaves opened on Milpas Street in 2008, customers began lining up out the front door of the casual, comfortable, family-friendly restaurant, hungry for its terrific, beautifully presented regional Mexican food made with super-fresh, high-quality ingredients and no compromises. Think New York Prime beef and organic free-range chicken.
It's not unusual for a restaurant owner to visit Europe in search of food, wine and inspiration. But once there, not many people travel like Tom Dolan does - that is, entirely by foot, logging up to 20 miles a day for a couple of weeks.
Claire describes herself as something of a traditionalist, so when she and her husband, Mark, thought about sprucing up their kitchen, which Claire describes as “needing some TLC,” she wasn’t envisioning the gleaming, highly functioning modern marvel of a kitchen they have now.
We asked Jeremy Bohrer, mixologist, self-proclaimed bar geek and owner of Still, the retail space for elevating your ethanol, to offer up the perfect fall cocktail. The result is an artisanal play on one of his favorite drinks, The Boulevardier, created in 1927 by Harry McElhone, the founder and proprietor of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris.
Whether you want to dance the night away, watch your favorite sports teams, have some food and drinks, sit back and relax, or catch some live music, Blind Tiger has what you’re looking for. Occupying a historic building on State Street that dates back to 1889
Leave the busy world behind and step into a realm of tranquility. Located on State Street in beautiful downtown Santa Barbara, Salt Cave Santa Barbara, is a one-of-a-kind, Himalayan hideaway. Since 2012, in excess of 30,000 visitors to the caves have enjoyed the natural beauty of the 250 million-year-old Himalayan salt rocks and its health-enhancing qualities.
This classic San Roque diner reopened under new ownership. Local boy John Bennett of Genuine Restaurant Concepts is partnering with the Borgatello and Boeddeker families to update this local eatery, yet still continue to honor their fond childhood memories of dining at Farmer Boy. Check out the feature we did on them for our Fall/Winter issue.
Occhiali is the kind of place that gets you excited about selecting new eyewear. Now in its 28th year, the renowned optical boutique with locations in Montecito and downtown Santa Barbara offers the best in distinctive eyewear and sunglasses - from the ever-popular Chanel and Oliver Peoples lines to those from small independent French makers Thierry Lasry, Anne et Valentin, J.F. Rey and Francis Klein.
20 years is a long time in the restaurant business, and during the two decades that Bucatini has occupied the busy corner at State and Haley Streets in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, the popular trattoria/pizzeria with the intimate dining room and the big covered patio has become a “stand-by” in the best sense of the word.
With over twenty-five years of experience in the fashion industry and two previous stores under her belt, Lisa Stern knows her way around retail fashion and her third store, Chasen is definitely a charm. The Montecito boutique, just shy of its one year anniversary, already has a devoted following. One step inside and it’s easy to see why.
Globe, one of the newest additions to the Santa Barbara restaurant scene, is a heck of a lot of fun. And that’s just walking in. Here you are greeted not by the usual rows of restaurant tables, but rather a collection of highly idiosyncratic furniture: a scarlet Louis XIV sofa with (nearly) matching tufted ottoman, rococo mirrors, midnight-blue velvet arm chairs, low tables and vaguely Asian red-and-gold wallpaper.
When Amy Cooper, Plum Goods owner and curator extraordinaire, opened in 2010 her mission was clear--to create an exceptional gift store that was a joy to be in and offer products that are better for people and the planet. Mission accomplished, and then some.
In Santa Barbara, the origins of the burgeoning farm-to-table movement date back not five or ten years, but more than thirty, to 1982, when John Downey opened his eponymous State Street restaurant. He soon became the first local chef to put the name of a farm - that of organic pioneer Tom Shepherd - on his menu, and Downey still scours the farmers markets seeking produce and inspiration for his daily-changing carte.
Maybe the surprise here is that there are not many surprises,” says Soemi Caramel, general manager of Tre Lune in Montecito. “We have a lot of regulars, and they come because they like what we have.”For more than a decade now, carefully prepared genuine Italian cuisine has been the stock in trade at “Three Moons,” a charming, casual dining room with hardwood floors, white table cloths, and framed black-and-white paparazzi photos of celebrities adorning the walls.
Q/A with Karen English, owner of !Romp - fine Italian shoes, boots, bags and accessories for Women. You obviously have a passion for fine European footwear, especially boots. Was this your primary motivation for opening Romp? Absolutely! I knew the Central Coast was in need of a fine shoe store. My desire was to bring in beautiful footwear that could not be found in other boutiques around the country.
After 40 years of success in Santa Barbara, Andersens’ Danish Bakery and Restaurant can hardly be called a “find.” Everyone knows it’s there at the front of La Arcada, and everyone knows how good its wholly homemade pastries are, even if they don’t know what it takes to maintain that standard.
Walking into ARA feels a bit like entering an intimate museum, filled with beautifully crafted jewelry that has a somewhat ancient vibe. Of course, the major difference between the lovely Coast Village Road flagship boutique and an actual museum is that you don’t have to fog up the glass cases swooning over these treasures.