I used to eat at Jeannine’s Bakery and Restaurant when I still lived in Santa Barbara, California. I remembered them for their relaxed and sunshiny atmosphere and their scrumptious baked goods, and when I went back after about 7 years, they were just as good as I remembered them. Perhaps better, since their menu strikes me as being more creative than it was last time I was around (but that’s based sheerly on old memories, so don’t quote me on that). I knew immediately that I had to try their coconut and pineapple scone (pictured above). Oh man, it was incredible. And my friend ordered the strawberries and cream scone (below), which was equally delicious. The strawberry scone was milder and would have been great with a glass of cold milk, while the coconut scone was just amazing all on its own. Of course, for old time’s sake I also had to get a croissant for later (pictured at bottom), and it was just as light and fluffy as I remembered it being. I’ll be back next time I’m in town, and you can believe I’ll be counting down the days for this treat.
I met up with a good friend at Milk & Honey Tapas in downtown Santa Barbara, California, and the entire dining experience was a pleasant surprise. Our waitress was helpful and enthusiastic, and the place has got some great ambiance. Candlelight, contemporary furniture, interesting stone and wood textures on the walls, and bright red pillows to add a splash of color (and comfort!) to it all. I was in love at first sight…and then I saw the menu. Oh, the menu! There’s an entire page dedicated to vegetarian options (11 of ’em, and with 22 non-veg options, that makes the vegetarian choices an entire 1/3 of the menu!), and they all looked amazing. Not to mention their fun and funky names! I ended up going with the Nutty Goat (pictured above), which consisted of multigrain crackers accompanied by a goat cheese, orange basil cranberry sauce, candied pecan, and honey spread served warm. OMG. So good! (Apologies for the graininess of the above photo — the romantic atmosphere translated to dim lighting that I was unwilling to disturb with my ridiculously bright flash.) I couldn’t walk away without dessert, so my friend and I split the Amor y Chocolate (pictured below), which was basically a warm and rich “molten” chocolate cake with fresh raspberries and whipped cream. Just writing this, I wish I could go back. Too bad it’s almost 2500 miles away….
This is the best grilled cheese sandwich I’ve ever had. Leave it to the Natural Cafe to take a simple dish and make it both more nutritious (it has freshly sliced tomatoes in it) and more tasty (three types of cheese). The Natural Cafe is a great place for herbivores and omnivores alike, offering dishes that are light and tasty — and very affordable (which is a real accomplishment in Santa Barbara). It’s one of the restaurants I miss the most, and one that I try to go to every time I’m in town. This is a must-try if you’re ever in the area!
Garrett’s Old Fashioned Restaurant is just that: a great corner restaurant (with lots of windows so you can see beautiful Santa Barbara as you eat) with amazing food and great prices — especially considering its location in one of the pricier parts of California. Their blueberry pancakes were made with fresh, plump blueberries, and their eggs were cooked to perfection. I almost always order my eggs “over-medium” and not all restaurants make a distinction between that and over-easy, often leading to runny, goopy eggs that leave me less than pleased. Not so with Garrett’s — their eggs were fully cooked without being overdone (something that results in a near-poached effect), and their hash browns were fluffy and buttery without being heavy or greasy. If you are ever in the area, give Garrett’s a try! (Sorry, they don’t have a website!)
These black bean enchilladas from The Natural Cafe in Santa Barbara, California, are not only delicious but also vegetarian. In fact, the entire menu offers a wide variety of options for vegetarians and vegans alike. This is not to say that meat-eaters will have to go without — in fact, the grilled chicken pita (pictured below) proved more than satisfying for one of my dining companions. The portions are more than enough, and the prices are highly competitive. The Natural Cafe is one of my all-time favorites.