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    Post #1 - July 14th, 2004, 12:09 am
    Post #1 - July 14th, 2004, 12:09 am Post #1 - July 14th, 2004, 12:09 am

    I have just returned from Santa Barbara where I dined quite well, though half of the time from my grandmother's gardens (and fruit trees). That said, I was curious if the board had any knowledge of or suggestions for places to try on my return trips.


    - interesting restaurants, especially any that live up to Chicago's high standards for ethnic places

    - great cafes - see my posts here on Cafes of Chicago for the type of recommendations I am looking for, Santa Barbara seems to have a lot of cafes, but their quality and interest was hard to judge on just driving by

    - best options when in various parts of town "by the ocean"; "on State Street"; etc.

    I will find the name of one really great spot we went to and post on it, it was a bit of a fusion restaurant, with a menu that was in three parts, one that stayed yearround, one that changed seasonally, and one that changed weekly. Most dishes were asian influenced, but all were different and very, very good - more on it when I remember the name and address.

  • Post #2 - July 14th, 2004, 9:49 am
    Post #2 - July 14th, 2004, 9:49 am Post #2 - July 14th, 2004, 9:49 am
    You will hear about Taqueria Super Rica, one of the original "chowish" places, which was popularized by Julia Child and Alice Waters types (I don't know if she is actaully a fan). You should go; it's a pleasant enough place, a taqueria that has been Califonianized and serves Nieman Ranch meat on its tacos. It's good, but not up to the considerable hype. Frankly, it's a bit of a spot for the rich and famous, or those aspiring to be, to "slum" without really taking any chances of any kind whatsoever.

    You will see that the "best" taco stand on Earth is not as good as lots of places here in Chicago, and all over S. Cal. for that matter.
  • Post #3 - July 19th, 2004, 9:31 pm
    Post #3 - July 19th, 2004, 9:31 pm Post #3 - July 19th, 2004, 9:31 pm
    I was out in Ojai for a little over a week last spring and spent a bit of time in Santa Barbara. Ojai is a pleasant place for a jaunt into the hills. Food was not so great, and I was quite underwhelmed by Suzanne's in Ojai. If you go, you will do better with a salad or sandwich at the Ojai Cafe. After you climb a mountain.

    Dined at Brophy Brothers on the Pier in SB - nothing special. Simply prepared seafood cooked mostly acceptably, but not that well. I suspect that if one waits or goes at a quieter time, the view from the second floor is great, but the chow is not worth it.

    On the other hand, we had an excellent meal at Downey's which I can recommend unequivocally for a fancier meal.

    Super Rica was closed when we went, which was okay as I had read good things about Taqueria El Bajio, down the street. I had a pretty good torta al pastor. Expensive, overflowing, and could have used a little more zing, but it was quite good. I suspect I am spoiled by Chicago's Mexican food, as I found my Cal-Mex experiences mostly bland and wildly expensive for the quality, but El Bajio was pretty good. The rule for me was the cheaper the place, the better the Mexican.

    In N Out burgers were good - make sure you get the Burger and the fries crispy.

    Next time, I would go explore ethnic and simpler offerings in Ventura.
    Feeling (south) loopy