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Restaurants & Bars


Santa Barbara report & updates


Restaurants & Bars 13

Santa Barbara report & updates

PolarBear | Jul 26, 2006 01:52 AM

Dining notes for:

Endless Summer
Tupelo Junction


Mousse Odile - closed, sidewalk entry concrete removed
L'Ombretta - wine bar/restaurant closed
Seattle's Best Coffee - in Borders Books, 900 block of State (not 808 as reported previously), also the little corner place below the hotel a block up State from Cabrillo (the beach) has SBC and makes a much better iced latte (reg or decaf) than the one in Borders
Shoreline Beach Cafe - no orange laced pancakes until 10am weekdays, 8:30 on weekends.

Question: Anyone tried the huevos rancheros at the Minnow Cafe (around the corner from Brophy Bros.)?

In town a week ago Sun-Wed, had a late lunch at Endless Summer above the Waterfront Grill at the harbor. Each ordered the poke salad w/ahi and calamari and shared the popcorn shrimp. Salads were as good as we remembered and the shrimp's thin spicy coating was perfect.

Looking for something on the lighter side we ended up at Cuzcatlan on de la Vina for a couple of pupusas, the revuelta (pork, beans & cheese) and the cheese w/loroco (1.99 ea). Probably the best pupusa's we've ever had, big bowl of curtido in the iced-down salad bar alongside a terrific salsa. Were told by the owner that everything is made in house. Spying Hot Dogs Salvadorenos on the menu, had to give them a try. Two dogs charbroiled over open flame, topped with a "Creamy Salvadorean cabbage salad" with a side of fries (soggy) (5.95). The buns were toasted and the dogs quite tasty, next time I would ask that they not put the little swizzle of catsup on the top, but found that liberally applying their hot salsa kicked it up perfectly. Sidenote: I'd mentioned this place to a local gal at the workshop I attended and asked about their specials (couple of fish dishes that sounded good) and other menu items. Her opinion was to stick with pupusas. All in all, a great meal for around $20.

Cuzcatlan, 2911 de la Vina, 805-682-5529

Monday evening was Lady PB's choice, Tupelo Junction. We'd only been for breakfast and lunch at their old location (Chapala?) years ago. Started with the shrimp fitters w/ tomato-roast corn salsa and spicy sauce. We thought they were too heavily battered, even though spiced nicely. The shrimp were fresh tasting and cooked perfectly. She ordered the fried chicken w/ sauteed greens, mashed potato and gravy, and was very pleased. I had the shrimp and scallops (six of each) w/ white cheddar grits and sauteed greens. Again, perfectly cooked and the scallops tasting of the sea. Washed it all down with a couple of glasses of Gainey Riesling that matched well. Total pre-t/t was about $70.

Tupelo Junction, 1218 State

Tuesday I managed to slip away from my workshop and take my lovely wife out to lunch for her other craving, Mexican. We noticed El Bajio was quite busy around 11:30, and figured Super Rica would probably be the same, so decided to check out Altamirano's that I'd seen mentioned on this board. We both loved it. She had a pork chop taco (sorry, can't recall the actual name), the meat was diced up and mixed with some cheese and served open face on a couple of homemade corn tortillas. I went with the Tacos Altamirano's, a roasted chile (pasilla or poblano?) stuffed with cheese, then chopped with al pastor, and served open face on three corn tortillas, outrageously good. I also got a fish taco that was quite large, generous amount of fish, and again very tasty.

Altamirano's, 422 Milpas, 805-882-1390

Dinner that night was my choice, having heard that Jade had retained some of the dishes from its former Aja menu, I had to go, since I never managed to make it to Aja. We started with the Indonesian Corn Fritters w/ sweet thai chili sauce (7), tasty and quite filling. We shared our entrees, Grilled Sea Scallops lemon grass and black pepper rubbed w/ a soy-cabernet reduction (15), and the Orange-Chipotle Linguini w/Shrimp, fresh vegetables and shiso leafs (sic) tossed w/ orange chipotle sauce. (11, add chicken or shrimp 15). Excellent scallops (six), not overpowered by the spicing or reduction sauce. The flavors in the linguini, though different, worked well. The wine list is mostly central coast (SLO south to Santa Ynez), about 20 whites and 20 reds, all availble by the glass (excl. two whites by the half-bottle). I had the Garretson "G-White" blend (6.50) to go with the scallops and a glass of the Brophy-Clark "Ashley's" Pinot Noir (8.75) with the pasta. IIRC, total pre-t/t was around $55.

Chef Dustin Green came out and introduced himself and related that he had bought out the owner of Aja, his former employer. Definately will return here.

Jade, 3132 State, 805-563-2007

The topper for the trip was at Chef Rick's in Orcutt for lunch on Wed. She ordered the Crab Cake Salad and was quite pleased. I went with the Prawn Quesadilla w/ tomato, mango, and red onion salsa. I immediately regretted my foolish agreement to share. It was simply one of the taste treats ever, don't recall tasting the crab cake salad, just hating having to give up a third of that wonderful creation. I ordered a glass of the house red on the waitress' suggestion, and was surprised at the generous pour. My first sip told me it had been opened for awhile, which she confirmed and graciously brought a fresh bottle. This time it was a standard pour, but displaying the fruit that was missing and none of the pruney notes from the bottle that had been opened for some time. It's called Baile Sabados y Domingos (Pinot Noir, iirc), made for Rick by Costa de Oro winemaker, Gary Burk, whose motto is “Everthing I do gohn be funky (from now on)!" You can check out his distinctive label at:

Also discovered that you lucky folks living on the central coast can see Chef Rick every Wednesday on “Thirty minute Meals with Chef Rick,” on KCOY-TV Santa Maria.

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