1305 STATE STREET
SANTA BARBARA, CA 93101
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. “In the early days, there were only a few farmers and not a great variety, but now you can get practically anything grown in the universe,” he says. With fall approaching, the British chef, who has cooked for Queen Elizabeth and was mentored by James Beard, will be turning those unparalleled ingredients into fantastically comforting food prepared with care, precision and enthusiasm. Lobster ragout, available only for a few weeks in winter, features fresh-lobster stock, chunks of lobster, chanterelle mushrooms, smoked bacon, flageolets or other beans, tomatoes, leeks and white sea bass or other fish. Another cool-weather favorite, duck with cabernet sauce that’s a take on the French classic cassoulet, features tender duck with shakamaxon beans, caramelized onions and tomatoes. And Downey’s take on apple pie à la mode - warm pippin apples with butterscotch served between layers of puff pastry with homemade vanilla ice cream - is a modern classic.
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