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
It’s First Thursday! That means browsing the galleries and studios downtown, checking out the art, listening to some music, catching up with friends, and grabbing a bite to eat at Square One.
Pink recommended the grilled apricot salad, mizuna, manchego crisp, champagne vinaigrette.
This was followed by:
This was one of those spur-of-the-moment evenings when we’re downtown, hungry, and suddenly decide it’s the perfect time to grab a meal at Square One. Sitting at the bar is the way to go, so we can engage the folks working there.
We had a glass of red wine, and shared two main dishes. I focused mainly on chestnut ravioli with bacon and cress. Sweet tasting, and very good. T got the “Petite” steak, which was very confusingly titled, because the petite steak was anything but. If petite means 12 ounces, then yes it was petite. Coming in at $19, cooked perfectly, and served alongside french fries and green beans, this is a great deal.
Dessert was fresh sugar doughnuts with an espresso creme anglaise for dipping. Delicious.