…is Berkeley. And it’s Ici’s scoop of Darjeeling with sour cherry ice cream. It is hard to believe that I had any more room in my stomach after eating such feast today, but I did. It’s delicious.
I’ve had breakfast and lunch only – no dinner yet.
If you are staying at the Indigo Hotel, aren’t you the lucky one to have this food brought to you in bed. It would be such an incredible luxury.
But I simply walked in the door, sat the bar on two occasions and a small 2 top later on, and thoroughly enjoyed my meals nonetheless. Maybe it was because it was the first beautiful days of quintessential Santa Barbara weather (“Sunny. 72. Next update in 5 days.”) that broke everyone’s pseudo Seasonal Affective Disorder from the freezing temps of 2013, or maybe because it’s damn good food.
If it can be made in-house, it is. If not, it’s sourced from local purveyors and those names are available online, or ask.
My first visit, I had the two eggs any style, with bacon or sausage, potatoes and toast. I opted for poached eggs, it came in a pretty bowl with a sea urchin pattern. The house bacon is sweet and smokey, not salty. Potatoes were delicate little roasted things. $10.
My friend had the tomato braised Niman brisket with poached egg and potatoes, a tender mass of good things. $16.
Second visit was lunch with a very hungry friend, we got loads of good things.
* Mushroom pizza – made with local mushrooms and truffle oil. This is good to share with a friend. The truffle was not overpowering. I’d like to try their other pizzas, I just love the fresh char and smoke on crusty bread.
* Panna cotta – very enjoyable of the desserts we got. At first my friend seemed critical of the dish, it wasn’t apparently jiggling in a way he would have expected. But in time he admitted it was good. I liked the touch of seeing lots of vanilla seeds throughout the dish. I’d get this again.
Third visit was another breakfast, less than 24 hours after I’d had lunch. We tried the crab and eggs benedict, the breakfast sausages, and another cinnamon roll. All were delicious, and the sausage made in-house, but now that I’ve had both bacon and the sausage, I’ll stick with the housemade bacon. It is so good.
Everyone working there was extremely nice and knowledgeable. Sitting at the bar is a pleasure, where you can look up in awe at the variety of liquor available. I’m eyeing up the Negroni. But that’s for another visit.
Anchor (adjacent to the Indigo Hotel, with a street entrance and hotel entrance)
Something very special happened this past weekend and it had nothing to do with large men wearing lots of protection running around the grass and taking breaks every 40 seconds. It has everything to do with turning a year older and having super awesome straight up baller friends.
First, I remembered that Greg and Rob in the past had flown into town in Greg’s plane to have lunch. On Saturday I whimsically sent Rob a message, “Ya wanna?” and they’re all like, “Dude! Hells yeah.” Meanwhile, a third friend Mike who caught wind of the action going down is all, “Psst, I want in, but keep it on the DL.” **
What resulted was Greg and Rob flying into town at noon on a private freaking plane, I collect them at the Atlantic airport for private planes (they get free coffee and fresh baked cookies there, did you know that??) and we go to Via Maestra 42 for lunch, where Mike’s already waiting at a table for us. Surprise!
And what a fabulous lunch we had. How quickly we forget that Santa Barbara has some nice Italian food outside of the popular spots downtown. Via Maestra is a small gleaming gem in the mid-late century of uptown suburbia. It’s tiny inside, reminiscent of European bistros, waitstaff that are proud of their product and their positions, and quick to give great recommendations. Our guy pimped his caffe lattes very well.
The boys went the more traditional route of ordering main dishes. But I started with San Pellegrino bitters, as Via Maestra is one of the few places I know that serves it. So nice of them to put it in a fluted glass with a slice of lemon.
And while they feasted on the house salads their main dishes come with, I have a more substantial dish called the Tricolor Salad (but spelled in Italian). It was a baby green salad with candied walnuts, dried fruit, prosciutto and blue cheese. Beautifully presented and substantial, a meal in itself, especially if you’re ordering dessert (hint of things to come).
Food came generally at once, so while I was digging into my lovely salad, the main dishes came out for the manfolk. Mike is fond of pesto, so he ordered bowtie pasta with pesto sauce. Greg succumbed to my recommendations and ordered the pumpkin ravioli with brown butter sage sauce.
Rob, the hungriest of the bunch and also the primary moneybags of the meal, got one of the specials: grilled salmon and crisp tender greens. Oh, it looked really great!
For dessert, I opted for a small selection of sorbets, and Greg and Rob shared the profiteroles. All of Via Maestra’s gelato and sorbet are imported from Milan. We also bowed to the pleasant pressure of our waiter and ordered his special caffe lattes. Yes, they were beautiful and delicious. Thank you.
Then Mike drove home to LA, and Rob and Greg piled back into Greg’s Cessna and flew home! And I ate some of the chocolate chip cookies at the airport. Then, because I’m officially old and crotchety, I went to bed at 8 pm.
Via Maestra 42
** conversation not verbatim
Here’s the Scoop is an ice cream parlor that not only serves up the best variety of gourmet flavored ice cream and sorbet in town, made in-house, but they source all their fruit flavors seasonally from our local farmers markets.
Last weekend I’d had their incredible cherimoya sorbet and the mixed berry Buttonwood merlot at the Edible evening gala, and this weekend was their Valentine’s special: a hot fudge sundae using a heart shaped chewy brownie, a scoop of ice cream of your choice, whipped cream and a good drizzle of hot fudge, $8. There’s also a special treat offered to people who subscribed to their newsletter that really sweetened the deal. You’ll just have to join their email newsletter to get in on that action.
Two of us went, and I got the marscapone gelato, while my friend got the espresso gelato.
The judgement: no leftovers. The brownie was chewy, quite firm, and the ice cream and hot fudge softened it up. It was bigger than it looked and we were so full after this late afternoon “snack” that we skipped dinner.
Happy Valentine’s Day-ish!
Here’s the Scoop
My final food destination on the birthday food tour.
This time I got my desserts. There was time to spare between the SBIFF 1129 after party, and the late night showing of local short films at the Metro 4.
Cafe Luck’s just around the corner, and I know for sure I can get dessert in and out in half an hour. This time I had two companions, all sitting at the bar, eating ice cream.
The bartender was kind enough to put a candle into two of the scoops of ice cream, so thank you for that. But the winning items came later.
The other big winner is Cafe Luck’s Floating Island dessert. This is heaps fancier than I ever had in France. Just look at it!
A stout column of meringue topped with a great ball of spun sugar, all in a bowl of lavender creme anglaise. And for $7!! Is it even legal to have such a great dessert for such a small price?
And yes, it was delicious.
I’m back! I have about 30 minutes to spare, and want ice cream. What’s Cafe Luck got for me today?
Coconut cashew sorbet. This is the $3 scoop. Yes, a “scoop” is the contents of that glass. Best ice cream deal in town. Swears.
I have yet to actually eat a meal at Cafe Luck. Prior to tonight, it was just a cocktail there. And tonight, just dessert.
But I finally succumbed to the temptation of ice cream, due entirely to an inside scoop (oh god, so punny) that the ice cream and sorbets there were now under the care of a friend. The Santa Barbara Film Festival was now underway, I had a press pass, and my first event to attend was still an hour away. What to do?
So I ate three “scoops” of ice cream, considerably bigger scoops than I was expecting for gourmet ice cream, of marscapone, salted caramel and a sorbet that I can’t remember anymore. It was way more ice cream than I was expecting. And cost just $7 for the lot. No photo, unfortunately. I savored my sweets at the bar.
The real prize came at the end of the meal, mainly because I wasn’t expecting it. The bartender brought out two little macarons, Earl Grey flavored, from the kitchen. I got a message that the earl grey was inspired by me. Aw! And they were really good, too.
I’m now a fan.
All hands at the company meeting. Breakfast and lunch included. All I got photos of was the desserts. It wasn’t so bad for convention food.
Cheesecake and mini-mousse. File this under corporate.
It is my family’s tradition to have an austere meal on Christmas Eve. Just a simple brothy soup and homemade bread, twisted into a pretzel. This is our pre-penance, in preparation for the gluttony that occurs the following day.
We had this dinner, and I did not take photos, except for our not-so-austere dessert: a steamed persimmon pudding.
Set aflame with brandy by yours truly.
The macaroons at Metropulos are divine. Today they offered a white chocolate coconut macaroon, and a chocolate coconut macaroon. If wasn’t hard to decide what to get – obviously one of each.
Metro Fine Foods