First, thanks to all who made recommendations for places to stop and eat around Santa Barbara given the criteria that La Super Rica was out, and nothing too fancy. We stopped at Cold Spring Tavern on the way up to Los Olivos and Brophy Brothers at the harbor on our way down. Both places worked out wonderfully.
Cold Spring Tavern was especially great on a cool overcast day, as the surrounding greenery and the fireplaces inside made for a nice warm place to fill ourselves. Our only mistake was ordering too much chili. I had the wild game black bean chili with venison, rabbit and buffalo, and the venison sausage burger. Other orders at the table included a cup of the regular Texas chili, chili fries (for someone who's never heard of chili fries), BBQ beef sandwich, and a couple of burgers, and a couple of cups of the soup de jour which was a creamy potato soup. Looking at this array of orders, it doesn't seem like a good matchup of items, but we were all pleased. While the chilis were good, they weren't earthshattering, but better than most of the stuff you get in LA, and for the NYers, it was something they'd never really had much of. The burgers were huge, and that homestyle bun they use might be an Atkins nightmare, kind of overwhelmed the patty, but that's just a slight nitpick. The beef sandwich was good, except I wish it had less sauce, as you taste more sauce than beef. Same with the venison sausage burger. I think the next time, especially before going wine-tasting, we'll opt for items that won't "stay" with us so much (if you know what I mean).
Cold Spring Tavern
5995 Stagecoach Road
Santa Barbara, California 93105
(805) 967 0066
Getting to Brophy Brothers was a snap, and around 2pm after the lunch rush is over, it's a nice leisurely place for lingering with a drink. Unfortunately it was a little too cold to sit on the outdoor deck. For appetizers, we ordered clam chowder, raw oysters, raw clams, and for mains, we ordered fish & chips, cajun rub seafood kabab, shrimp & avocado salad, and one broiled steak-y fish (swordfish?) that I didn't try. The oysters weren't very sweet and were probably the worst thing on the table. Clams were very good, meaty and flavorful. The clam chowder was also quite good. Craving something light, the salad with shrimp and avocado was perfect, with nice plump shrimp and a half of an avocado at the perfect stage of ripeness, and the salad was dressed with the slightest coat of oil/vinegar (as it should be) without draining on the plate. The kabab and the grilled fish came off the dinner menu and were also very well executed dishes. I'll definitely return, especially during the warmer months.
119 Harbor Way (at the Breakwater)
Santa Barbara , CA, 93109