The Palms – Carpinteria
“The Palms. Isn’t that the place where you pay for the honor of cooking your own food?” Well, yeah, so if you’re picky about what you like, here’s a chance to do it Your Way. And the price is right.
The DIY fondue style eating didn’t last long in Santa Barbara (RIP Melting Pot), but DIY grilling has found its niche in Carpinteria at The Palms, which has been around since 1912. I’m not from Carp, so I didn’t grow up with the only options of finer dining being The Palms or Tony’s. In fact, I didn’t even go to The Palms for the first time until this year, but it sure was fun.
This was dinner with Tory and Sibel, and it was their last night in town. They’d been camping in Carp for the last week or so, I think they enjoyed the locale a lot. Anyway, three of us got the 10-ounce rib eye ($13.50), and Ted got the 8-ounce top sirloin ($9.95). All the dinner plate options included the salad bar, with baked potatoes, Texas toast (again, DIY), beans, the salad bar itself and The Palms’ specialty – deep-fried croutons. BTW, there are main dish options where the kitchen will do the cooking for you. But I like a challenge.
My gang doesn’t fear the grill, and we crowded around the heat with our spatulas and shakers of onion salt. My secret weapon is the pats of butter that are brought to the dinner table. I use them on both sides of the steak in the last 5 minutes on the grill for browning and juicing things up. It’s so good. I also butter and garlic the bread, and set those lower on the grill to soak up the juices of my steak for a little extra umami.
Mmm, now here’s a full meal with beans, potato, toast and steak, and maybe a lunch the next day with the leftovers.
The Palms is very popular with the oldies but goodies. That’s not surprising, since The Palms has been around long enough to establish many generations of loyal customers, and as long as those who’ve been around the longest aren’t dying, they’re still coming here. Must be something in those deep fried croutons.