I’m happy to see that Renaud’s in the Arlington Plaza downtown has expanded their outdoor seating. Before it was a couple 2-tops, now there is a little patio with half a dozen tables. I know that looking into a car park is not terribly exciting, but Santa Barbara is blessed with such beautiful weather most of the year that being out in the fresh air is good enough.
I, however, had errands to run, so picked up some sweets to go.
An almond croissant, a plain croissant, and a macaron each of chocolate and salted caramel.
Going to Renaud’s was inspired by the latest Edible Santa Barbara, btw. Did you see the photo spread of all those pastries? Why should I ask that, just click the link, s’il vous plait.
Catch-up time with Brendan at Renaud’s.
We shared a bottle of fizzy water, I had a plain croissant, he had a croissant breakfast sandwich with fruit.
As usual, the croissants were crisp, flaky, buttery and perfect. Brendan’s breakfast croissant was stuffed with ham and havarti cheese, all warm and oozy.
Renovations to Loretto Plaza have recently completed and the outside seating area is now available. This is great news for bistro diners who used to wait ages for an open table. I didn’t see anyone waiting, and we even had my preferred window seat.
We ran into friends as well, and I have to give those people special props for their excellent taste in pastries.
Well smack me with a challah and call me lucky.
Sure, the baker thought I was visiting from another country when she found out I didn’t know what a Black and White was, but I bought one, and I ate it, and it was good.
I also got a little raspberry chocolate ganache cake, fully meaning to share it with a friend – as you should because its size is deceiving and it’s filling – but I didn’t. But I can say I am very grateful there was an actual cake portion to the cake because it certainly was very rich and decadent. The cake was finely layered, enrobed in the ganache, and decorated with gold powder, white frosting and a fat fresh raspberry.
Truly sinful. I have a date with the devil.
Say It With Flour
I’ve only visited New York twice, with about four years inbetween. Yet both times I somehow ended up at this cafe.
Both times I was with someone who wanted a cannoli. And afterwards, both friends said, “meh.”
I like Caffe Roma because their pastries are made in house, they seem to be a long standing business with regular patrons as well as tourists, and the interior – provided you are near the window – is pleasantly photogenic.
Prices seem reasonable, although I have nothing else to compare it to.
Service was friendly, even for an obviously bumbling tourist as myself.
Maybe someday I’ll return, and bring a friend who wants to try a pastry other than a cannoli. Then I’d have more to write about.
Caffe Roma Pastry
Breakfast at Renaud’s is always excellent. The friends who’ve been here are won over and become regular customers. The other friends, who’ve not yet been, I look forward to indoctrinating.
This was one such morning, and not only was I pleased with breakfast, but I loved the photo I got of an honest plate of bacon, eggs, potatoes and toast.
Oooh dear, so simple and so good. It cost about $9, a small price to pay for a plate of breakfast heaven.
And here are three of my other favorites. A plain croissant, a chocolate macaroon, and an almond croissant. If these were all that Renaud’s served, I’d still be happy.
Absolutely no complaints on the food, only gushing compliments.
You can order from the mains and dine-in menu, but you will not be able to resist a pastry on the side. The croissants are the best in Santa Barbara and we are truly spoiled to have them. Nothing mushy and puffy about them, they are flakey and crisp on the outside, perfect for a quick dip in the cappuccino or some hot chocolate. Just make sure it’s good hot chocolate or you will do your croissant a grave disservice.
They have a great Axxess deal: first use is buy one entree get one free. Purchases afterwards are 10% off. We used the bogo today for our toasted croissant breakfast sandwich and croque monsieur. So good. Each came with a choice of salad or cup of fruit. And of course we got a pastry or two to nibble on while waiting for our hot food.
Top: Croque monsiuer, on left. Croissant, on right.
Bottom: Raisin pastry, on left. Cappuccino, on right.
Customers move in and out in a steady flow. Renaud’s is easy to find while the Plaza is undergoing renovations – just watch where all the people in the carpark are walking to.
Renaud’s has recently opened in Loretto Plaza, next door to Harry’s Plaza Cafe. It is a French style bakery and bistro with a warm neighborhood feel.
In the morning it smells of a busy warm oven. I got an almond croissant straight off the baking sheet that was sweet, crisp and flaky. The plain croissant was also crisp and flaky, not at all like the large fluffy things we are starting to grow accustomed to at the chain and warehouse shops.
The chocolate macaroon was to die for. French macaroons are not the coconut haystacky things (although I like those too), think of them more like a light meringue shell encasing a dense creamy filling. The inside of the chocolate macaroon was like a flourless chocolate torte. Delicious.
I bought an assortment of pastries to take home and the counter woman wrapped them up in a pretty brown box and tied it with raffia.
There is bistro food served here, too. Baguette with jam or cut meats, some simple sandwiches, egg dishes and salads. One of these sit-down meals will cost around $8-$11 for the dish. The menu’s on the website.
All the customers there when I visited early one morning seemed very happy to be there. A few were already repeat customers, and the new ones were excited to give things a try.
It’s hard to write a review of Our Daily Bread without also mentioning its neighbor shops, because the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. The cheese shop next door, C’est Cheese, is a great complement to the bread sold here.
But as a stand-alone, Our Daily Bread is fine. Fresh bread, including my favorites, baguette and ciabatta (as rolls, half pound or full pound loaves). There are also numerous pastries and cookies, and a deli section with sandwiches and salads. The place is nearly always busy, with natives and locals and some of their dogs. Not too many tourists, since it’s a couple blocks off State Street.
I had one slight poor experience when I ordered the creme brulee to go. They scooped out the custard from the single-serving dish and plonked it into a big plastic box. Ugly as anything, all broken and smeared, I learned my lesson and only eat this dessert on site. I think it cost about $4.
One thing I like about the place is its distinct separation of the bakery and the deli. On the right side of the shop is the menu ordering for sandwiches and salads and other fussy service stuff. The bakery is a different line on the left side of the shop, everyone queues up, points to their baked items, pays, and they are out the door. No fuss. This is my preferred side.
Parking nearby is a hassle. There’s no private lot. The street spaces are shared with the cheese shop and a popular sandwich shop across the street. But there is a garage lot a few blocks away.
Our Daily Bread