Santa Barbara, CA– April 2014 – Day 1

Solvang Restaurant
1672 Copenhagen Dr
Solvang, CA 93463
http://www.solvangrestaurant.com/

 

Solvang Restaurant, located in the heart of downtown Solvang, is famous for its Danish Aebleskiver.  It is about 30 miles north of Santa Barbara on the way to the central coast wine trail, so it made an ideal stop for breakfast.  There is a strong Danish history in Solvang with many places serving aebleskivers, but most people stop by Solvang Restauant.  More importantly, it was the commencement of our first trip together. Would it be the first of many more trips and meals to come or would be the first and only chapter in this book.  Only time will tell.

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Storefront – Solvang Restaurant, Solvang, CA

You can find aebleskivers served several different ways. The most common method is with powdered sugar sprinkled over them and then topped with raspberry jam. As we walked in, you could see the assembly line of aebleskivers through the front window.

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Storefront – Solvang Restaurant, Solvang, CA

Dessert would have to wait until we scoured the rest of the menu. Not surprising, the most appealing choices fell within the basics. We opted for a simple egg, bacon and waffle. If you’ve never had breakfast, what we were served could of passed a satisfying. Unfortunately we have had a proper breakfast, so this was reminiscent of a run-of-the-mill road side diner.

 

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Bacon, Egg and Waffle Breakfast 5/10 – Solvang Restaurant, Solvang, CA

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Bacon, Egg and Waffle Breakfast 5/10 – Solvang Restaurant, Solvang, CA

$6 Bacon, Egg and Waffle Breakfast
With all the anticipated drinking, we needed to stock up on some calories with an old-fashioned American breakfast.  The bacon and eggs were straightforward diner food of decent quality. The waffle, on the other hand, was less ambitious. Neither of us were proclaiming, “Leggo my Eggo!”

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Aebleskivers 6/10 – Solvang Restaurant, Solvang, CA

$3.25 Aebleskivers
Hot and fresh came out the dough. Cold and fresh came out the jam. It reminded me of what you would get at a good state fair, simple and good.

Now that we had filled up on breakfast, we were prepared to start the wine tasting.  I’m 31, as educated as one can come and cultured ten times over, yet I’ve never been wine tasting. No friends have ever offered an invitation. I don’t receive any winery advertisements in my snail mail or email for that matter. Could it be possible that I’ve been racially profiled out of the pastime. Perhaps, come to think of it, I don’t received anything about golf either.

Well that would all change today. We expected to taste some great wines and be drawn into the experience for a lifetime to come.  Regrettably, it was not to be.  We did a tasting at five wineries and probably liked one to two wines in total. It could be Santa Barbara wines aren’t good, Santa Barabara wines are not our style or we are just clueless and couldn’t differentiate a 2003 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin, Rhône, France and NV Charles Shaw White Zinfandel

 

Sunstone Winery
125 N Refugio Rd
Santa Ynez, CA 93460
http://sunstonewinery.com/

 

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Sunstone Winery, Santa Ynez, CA

 

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Wine barrels – Sunstone Winery, Santa Ynez, CA

 

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Sunstone Winery, Santa Ynez, CA

 

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Wine cellar – Sunstone Winery, Santa Ynez, CA

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Wine cellar – Sunstone Winery, Santa Ynez, CA

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Jen and myself – Sunstone Winery, Santa Ynez, CA

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 Sunstone Winery, Santa Ynez, CA

 

Beckmen Vineyards
2670 Ontiveros Rd
Los Olivos, CA 93441
https://www.beckmenvineyards.com/

 

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wine tasting glasses – Beckmen Vineyards, Los Olivos, CA

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Vineyards – Beckmen Vineyards, Los Olivos, CA

 

 

 

Firestone Vineyards
5017 Zaca Station Rd
Los Olivos, CA 93441
https://www.firestonewine.com/

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View – Firestone Vineyards, Los Olivos, CA

 

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Winery tour – Firestone Vineyards, Los Olivos, CA

 

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Winery tour – Firestone Vineyards, Los Olivos, CA

 

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Winery tour – Firestone Vineyards, Los Olivos, CA

 

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Winery tour – Firestone Vineyards, Los Olivos, CA

 

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Winery tour – Firestone Vineyards, Los Olivos, CA

 

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Winery tour – Firestone Vineyards, Los Olivos, CA

 

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Winery tour – Firestone Vineyards, Los Olivos, CA

 

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Winery tour – Firestone Vineyards, Los Olivos, CA

 

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Winery tour – Firestone Vineyards, Los Olivos, CA

 

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Winery tour – Firestone Vineyards, Los Olivos, CA

 

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Winery tour – Firestone Vineyards, Los Olivos, CA

 

Andrew Murray Winery
Foxen Canyon Rd
Los Olivos, CA 93441
http://andrewmurrayvineyards.com/

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Vineyards- Andrew Murray Winery, Los Olivos, CA

 

Clairmont Farms
2480 Roblar Ave
Los Olivos, CA 93441
http://www.clairmontfarms.com/

 

 

Zaca Mesa Winery
6905 Foxen Canyon Rd
Los Olivos, CA 93441
http://www.zacamesa.com/

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Oversized chess set – Zaca Mesa Winery, Los Olivos, CA

 

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Oversized chess set – Zaca Mesa Winery, Los Olivos, CA

 

Neverland Ranch
5225 Figueroa Mountain Road
Los Olivos, California 93441

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Neverland Ranch, Los Olivos, CA

La Super Rica
622 N Milpas St
Santa Barbara, CA 93103
https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-super-rica-taqueria-santa-barbara

La Super Rica came to national prominence with the backing of Julia Child. She bestowed onto it the title of best taqueria in the entire nation.  And if you thank her for the great find, you must also thank her for the 30 minute waits lined down the street.  Her kind words have brought thousands of gringos west of the Mississippi River look for an fine alternative to Rick Bayless.

 

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#13 Queso  Especial  6/10 – La Super Rica, Santa Barbara, CA

$3.20 #13 Queso  Especial – Melted cheese with homemade tomato sauce and three corn tortillas
Not what I expected when I think of Mexican food, but the basic flavors shined though.  Scooped up with the earthy essence of the homemade tortillas, it was a great introduction to this anticipated visit.

 

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#16 Super-Rica Especial 8/10  – La Super Rica, Santa Barbara, CA

$6.80 #16 Super-Rica Especial – Roasted chile passila stuffed with cheese, with marinated pork

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#19 Frijol Super-Rica  1/10 – La Super Rica, Santa Barbara, CA

$2.55 #19 Frijol Super-Rica – Cooked pinto beans with chorizo, bacon and chile w/ two corn tortillas.
We were looking to get a range of the menu when we order, but this ended up being the worst of the dishes.  It was those watery pinto beans and the meats didn’t taste cohesive with the dish.  The tortillas were the lone bright spot.

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Tamal De Verduras  6/10 – La Super Rica, Santa Barbara, CA

$4 Tamal De Verduras – Filled with chayote, corn zucchini, potato, chile strips, cheese, sauce.  Topped with a cream sauce. (6)

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Daily Special Tamale 6/10 – La Super Rica, Santa Barbara, CA

$4 Daily Special Tamale

 

Canary Hotel
31 W Carrillo St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
canarysantabarbara.com

We were out all day and ready to check-in to our hotel for the night. Jen was tasked with the booking and decided on the Canary Hotel, a newly renovated boutique hotel with less than 100 rooms, just steps away from State Street. It had a California beach-side feel to the decor and hit the spot for our weekend rendezvous.

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Canary Hotel, Santa Barbara, CA

 

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Canary Hotel, Santa Barbara, CA


It was 9PM, we were dead tired from the day’s activities. And even if we had any energy, we had just ate a couple hours ago. But, we still had a reservation at Hungry Cat, the neighborhood seafood house opened by chef David Lentz. The original location is in Hollywood and since we had yet to visit and we were slightly turned off by the upscale fare offered by Santa Barbara, we decided to include it on our visit. A power shower was in order to refresh and stay awake for the duration on the meal. After that, we were on our way. We kept the event fairly light and may have been the reason it didn’t wow us. The oysters and the bread pudding were both enjoyable. We have since been to the Hollywood location a few times and savor in chef Lentz’s simple preparation of seafood. My favorites are the peel & eat shrimp and the steamed jumbo shrimp. Not to mention,the annual Crab Fest. It’s always a place a would recommend for seafood in Los Angeles.

 

Hungry Cat
1134 Chapala St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
http://www.thehungrycat.com/

 

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Kumquatini 7/10 – Hungry Cat, Santa Barbara, CA

 

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Luke’ Lemonade 7/10 – Hungry Cat, Santa Barbara, CA

 

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Oyster platter 9/10 – Hungry Cat, Santa Barbara, CA

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Saturday night special chowder 6/10 – Hungry Cat, Santa Barbara, CA

 

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Chocolate bread pudding 8/10 – Hungry Cat, Santa Barbara, CA

 

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