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Ojai, Santa Barbara and Cambria?


Rosie
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Santa Barbara: La Super Rica  :raz:

Yeah, La Super Rica gets a vote from me, too! Just be careful not to order too much stuff with cheese--everything is really cheesy (and delicious) but you can overload if you're not careful.

Buellton: The Hitching Post - Retro w/ 800 deg grill!

I like the Hitching Post pinot noir very much--it's very full bodied, almost thick, but most of the bottles I've had have been delish.

In Montecito, Pane e Vino is nice for dinner, 1482 E. Valley Rd. (San Ysidro Rd.). A step up from basic Northern Italian--and relaxing, maybe for a night when you want to take it easy. (Sometimes vacations can be so tiring, with all that running around!) Also in Montecito, San Ysidro Ranch is supposed to be a great spot, but I've never been.

IMHO, the main drag in Santa Barbara is just that. Too mall-like and overcrowded. Check it out, but spend more time in Montecito, Ojai, or in the wine country.

What about Solvang? Any good places to eat there?

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If the pea soup place is PEA SOUP ANDERSON'S, note that it is largely a tourist-oriented place. It comes from good roots years ago but now is one of several locations pushing a lot of food and merchandise and often (IMO) something suffers when that happens.

Now, let me add that I feel all of Solvang is mostly a tourist stop. From your point-of-view, visiting from the east coast, I'd say don't miss it all but don't approach it with high expectations.

Bob Sherwood

____________

“When the wolf is at the door, one should invite him in and have him for dinner.”

- M.F.K. Fisher

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101 is plastered with billboards advertising Pea Soup Anderson’s. I think it is a waste of time and caters almost exclusively to tourists who do not know any better. There are several bakeries in Solvang, a town that is like a Danish theme park. I found it Solvang a little cheesy, especially when there are some many interesting and beautiful small towns along the Central coast.

About 30 minutes north of Solvang there is a great place for breakfast---Jacks Restaurant & Bakery. It is in Orcutt, a small, one light town just past Santa Maria. They make everything from scratch in-house and the owner is a character. An engaging former NFL player who is on wife #5 and is passionate about providing great service and quality food.

I think someone mentioned the Hitching Post in Casmalia (sp?) If you go there, they are known for their house Pinot Noir, which is wonderful.

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Now, let me add that I feel all of Solvang is mostly a tourist stop.  From your point-of-view, visiting from the east coast, I'd say don't  miss it all but don't approach it with high expectations.

kind of true. but the last time i was up there i found a great little bookstore that had the most charming hans christian anderson museum upstairs. as a fan of small/oddball museums, this was a treat. also, this being summer, check out the solvang farmer's farmstand between solvang and buellton.

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Also in Montecito, San Ysidro Ranch is supposed to be a great spot, but I've never been.

Had a lovely romantic brunch at the San Ysidro Ranch once. It was a long time ago. FWIW, it's where JFK and Jackie Kennedy honeymooned. :wub:

So long and thanks for all the fish.
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Also in Montecito, San Ysidro Ranch is supposed to be a great spot, but I've never been.

Had a lovely romantic brunch at the San Ysidro Ranch once. It was a long time ago. FWIW, it's where JFK and Jackie Kennedy honeymooned. :wub:

I think that's right but somehow didn't they also honeymoon at the Hotel Hana Maui?

I'm hollywood and I approve this message.

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Also in Montecito, San Ysidro Ranch is supposed to be a great spot, but I've never been.

Had a lovely romantic brunch at the San Ysidro Ranch once. It was a long time ago. FWIW, it's where JFK and Jackie Kennedy honeymooned. :wub:

I think that's right but somehow didn't they also honeymoon at the Hotel Hana Maui?

I've had a few honeymoons so I can relate to this! :biggrin:

Ok-we haven't made hotel reservations yet and now I am thinking that we should stay in Santa Barbara and make that our home base. The other alternative is to go to Ojai for 2 nights and then to Santa Barbara for 3 nights. Any suggestions on how to break up this trip?

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another endorsement of Hearst Castle. We did two tours, 1 and 2—and you get to see the kitchen on the second one, as well as the libraries, which are jaw-dropping.

We had a fine meal at Robin's restaurant in Cambria, including the grilled salmon with cilantro-lime butter and a perfectly cooked steak. Cambria's a sweet little town, filled with artists. There is a glass gallery that is amazing but I can't remember the name. It's unmistakeable, though. Everything downtown is close together.

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  • 2 weeks later...

"in santa barbara, definite yes for wine cask (you can buy the wine at their wine store next door and they charge something like $1 to pour it for you)."

Does the wine store sell the same wine for the same price as Wine Cask? If the prices are higher in the restauant for the same wine why would they charge only $1 corkage? How does this work? Do you buy the wine and tell the waiter you bought it next store?

BTW--NJ is the BYO state with 70-80% of the restaurants being BYO. It's also illegal to charge a corkage fee.

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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"in santa barbara, definite yes for wine cask (you can buy the wine at their wine store next door and they charge something like $1 to pour it for you)."

Does the wine store sell the same wine for the same price as Wine Cask?  If the prices are higher in the restauant for the same wine why would they charge only $1 corkage?  How does this work?  Do you buy the wine and tell the waiter you bought it next store?

BTW--NJ is the BYO state with 70-80% of the restaurants being BYO. It's also illegal to charge a corkage fee.

FWIW, California is not NJ in terms of BYO or corkage. Some places have free corkage--that's generally because they don't have a liqour license. Some won't let you BYO so that you'll only buy their stuff (this is rare--I'm thinking of Bastide in LA). Some will let you bring your own only if it's not on their extensive wine list, which as a practical matter means you can't BYO unless it's cheap wine you don't want to drink with good food. Then they charge $25 (I'm thinking of L'Orangerie in LA). Most allow and some encourage BYO but corkage can vary between $2 (Cafe Bizou, various locations) and $25. $10 is more typical in good places. Some won't charge corkage on multiple bottles, some will. Frequently, waitstaff will "forget" to charge corkage if they feel you've treated them decently and ordered lots of stuff. Occasionally, some that don't charge or that have a low corkage will charge more for Reidel glassware for example (this is rare and I can't recall a specific instance). Usually the higher the corkage, the better the glassware.

Edited by hollywood (log)

I'm hollywood and I approve this message.

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But Wine Cask, I am told charges $1 corkage if you buy the wine in their wine store. Is the wine in the wine store cheaper than it is in the restaurant? Why would someone order wine off of their wine list if they can get it cheaper next door and bring it to the restuarant for $1?

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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But Wine Cask, I am told charges $1 corkage if you buy the wine in their wine store. Is the wine in the wine store cheaper than it is in the restaurant? Why would someone order wine off of their wine list if they can get it cheaper next door and bring it to the restuarant for $1?

the list at the restaurant is large, but not large enough to comprise an entire wine store inventory. it's a seriously good deal, whether you order off the list or from teh store. lots of hard-to-find central coast stuff.

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In March, my husband and I visited Hearst Castle and stayed in Cambria. The owner of the hotel recommended a bistro called Black Cat - we thankfully took his advice and had a wonderful meal there. It's a small, cozy place - probably reservations are a good idea on weekends. I had a beet salad with pea shoots and some sort of goat cheese, followed by perfectly cooked salmon (I can't remember what else came with the salmon). Nothing wildly experimental, just very solid California cuisine.

Great local wines by the glass and very friendly service - we were going to Paso Robles the next day to visit some wineries, and had NO CLUE where to go. Our server brought us a map and sat down next to us (we were one of the last 2 tables there) and chatted about some of the wineries with us.

Hope you have a great trip!

Jules

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Ok-we haven't made hotel reservations yet and now I am thinking that we should stay in Santa Barbara and make that our home base. The other alternative is to go to Ojai for 2 nights and then to Santa Barbara for 3 nights. Any suggestions on how to break up this trip?

Since I'm was a local myself (moved away two years ago), I have a few suggestions and insights:

Ojai - Very hot in the summer, as the town is in a valley and can not catch the ocean breeze. Ojai Valley Inn and Spa is the best hotel. The town has a feel of new age, aging rich ex-hippies and celebrites. Interesting bookstores. Long, windy roads. Lots of trees and trails for long walks and comtemplation. To be honest, I felt claustrophic.

If you only have a few days, Cambria is not worth your time. Solvang is a fun place to send the afternoon but only the afternoon. My personal favorite is the upscale antique store under the town clock. Santa Ynez was comprised of horse ranches but now it more like Napa South with an urban cowboy edge. Wine tasting tours are very popular. If you get bored you can visit the indian casino, lol.

Santa Barbara - State Street is the main drag with upscale boutiques, cafes, and funky college stores. The spanish architecture is outstanding. Great place for rollerblading or walking the dog. Montecito is charming and low key. The mansions in the hills are incredible. Skip Santa Claus lane and Andersen's, not matter how many road signs you see, lol. The Yellow Pancake House is popular. If you dig over-hyped tourist attractions with a red velvet porno set feel, then the Madonna Inn is manna from heaven. Don't forget to visit the men's restroom.

There are a couple campgrounds a few miles north of Santa Barbara El Capitan and Refugio (personal favorite). I used to bring a picnic basket (with Santa Maria style bbq and crusty french bread) and a couple juicy novels and hit the beach for the day. Surrounded by rolling hills and amazing views, it's the locals hangout. Don't be surprised if the water is a little chilly. There's nothing like watching a California sunset with a little buzz and the slightest tinge of a sunburn on your shoulders. And don't forget to bring a sweater. Have a great time!

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I was the wine buyer for the Wine Cask for 13+ years (it was on my watch that the restaurant first earned its Grand Award from the Wine Spectator), and while I haven't been in their employ for nearly 4½ years, I still live in Santa Barbara and am on friendly terms with both principals and staff there. So I think I can clear up a couple of things for Rosie and Russ.

1. Corkage: Rosie, it was never only a buck; even 15 years ago it was, I think, at least $5. Now, I'm virtually certain that it's $25. Furthermore, the wine list prices are $25 above the Wine Cask's retail store price, the idea being that were to you buy a bottle and bring it in to the restaurant, you'd end up paying the same either way.

2. Wine list vs. retail inventory. Russ, the restaurant wine list really is the same as the retail inventory. Oh, there may be a few random bottles in the store that aren't entered on the restaurant wine list for whatever reason, but certainly 98% of what's out on the shelf in the store is also on the restaurant wine list.

In any event, the Wine Cask still runs one of the finest restaurant wine programs anywhere, and the pricing, at only $25 over "suggested retail," is some of the most customer-friendly anywhere, particularly once you move up from the most basic, most inexpensive wines.

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Hi David. I knew you a long time ago when I lived in SB. Like 90 or 91 . Is Bruce still wine maker at SB winery and did they ever expand their beers?

Where are you now? GP with Dan? Anyway if he knew I was typin to you he would say hello for sure so hello from Sam in SM.

D

David West

A.K.A. The Mushroom Man

Founder of http://finepalatefoods.com/

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"1. Corkage: Rosie, it was never only a buck; even 15 years ago it was, I think, at least $5. Now, I'm virtually certain that it's $25. Furthermore, the wine list prices are $25 above the Wine Cask's retail store price, the idea being that were to you buy a bottle and bring it in to the restaurant, you'd end up paying the same either way."

Now everything makes sense. Thank you so much. Have my reservation for Wine Cask and looking forward to dining there.

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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