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Santa Barbara Report

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Santa Barbara Report

JudiAU | Oct 20, 2003 06:10 PM

Meals at San Ysidro Ranch

Our first meal was at the casual Plow and Angel restaurant. They do not take reservations. Bartender was somewhat amateurish and had to be gently corrected about the proper proportions for a Manhattan.

My husband enjoyed his simple meal of shrimp cocktail and burger. Most of the people eating seemed to be locals.

My meal was pretty awful. The $14 "warm lobster cocktail" was a hot soupy mess of chopped lobster in a creamy sauce served over mashed potato. Vaguely seafood-y flavor. No discernable lobster favor. I followed with clam sauced linguine. Clams were served in the shell swimming in cups of cream sauce. Clams were gritty, my requests for extra lemon (to try and correct the flavor) was forgotten. We were offered bottled flat or sparkling water. Annoying. Dessert was underripe poached peaches served with so-called "blancmange" that tasted like cream whipped with with too many chopped almonds. Dinner for 2 $130.

This meal was really disappointing. We ate here a few years ago and the experience was terrific. We have similar great memories of the Stonehouse restaurant but decided not to chance it. We really wondered if there was a shakeup with the chef or some other reason.

On the other had, our room service breakfast was excellent, hot, and satisfying. Nice patio service with real linens. Good coffee and excellent orange juice. Classic well-prepared Eggs Benedict $14 and good smoked salmon and bagel platter $14. Prices were surprisingly reasonable for a high end hotel.

We had several drinks on the "cigar patio." Unfortunately it was overrun with loud wedding guests who were passing around a bottle of Gran Marnier mouth-to-mouth. Occasionally people would sneak out beer from a case in an adjoining cabin. Luckily, they eventually left to chase down the bride and groom so they could give them the remainder of the cigars and Gran Marnier to aid their nuptial bliss.

[We seriously considered having our wedding here last year. I still love this place but this wedding party certainly killed any remaining romantic "what if" sentiment I felt after walking around the dreamy garden earlier that day.]

Brunch at Tutti's in Montecito

We were looking forward to it because we have good memories of previous breakfasts. Tutti's has been around for almost 20 years and is moving to Ventura next month. Good riddance. The most interesting part of the meal was deciding if our waiter was currently stoned or just used so frequently it had ruined his mind. Awful service.

Outstanding in the Field Meal (Terrific. Report posted on Los Angeles Board.)

Santa Maria Style Barbecue in the Parking Lot of the Los Olivios Market (one more weekend before they close for the season)

Outside barbecue over oak. Standouts: trip tip, Linguica, and cool crunchy coleslaw. Not a fan of the beans. Amusing to see two limos pull with drunk, wine-tasting groups spill out like lemmings.

La Super Rica

Quick meal of pozole and tacos. Good horchata. It did not escape our notice that 90% of the patrons were Caucasian, including us. Tasty but probably not worth the wait. The next time we are in Santa Barbara we will try the other recommended places.

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