Thanks to facebook, I’ve reconnected with old school friends. One is Danielle, both my brother and I took an after-school Chinese class with her. She’s back in town, slowly developing a confectionery business.
With my brother also visiting this weekend, we all got together for a Sunday lunch. The weather, while a little blustery, was still sunny. Just fine for some outdoor grilling and indoor eating.
The tri-tip came from Whitefoot, initially unseasoned and the butcher seasoned it for me with a dry rub. The grilled winter squash came from the garden, a sort of hybrid between a butternut and a kabocha. I only seasoned it with olive oil, salt and pepper and let the flavor of the squash do the rest. My mother prepared some homemade salsa to spoon on the tri-tip, which we ate with warm toasted tortillas.
The beans are Santa Maria style pinquitos, with the pink beans coming from Shepherd Farms at the Saturday morning farmers market. Although I made them beforehand in my pressure cooker, I poured the beans into a heat-proof casserole and set them on a high rack in the grill so any smoke from the grilling would seep into the beans. Plus, it kept them warm. I added a couple tablespoons of water to the casserole to keep the top of the beans from drying out.
We spent the lunch catching up on our lives and reminiscing a few high school memories. Good times!
Whitefoot is probably the last remaining mom and pop butchery in Santa Barbara. So I am very conflicted to hear that a Fresh and Easy grocery store chain is moving into Whitefoot’s space, along with a row of other mom and pop businesses in that block.
I went there yesterday on an errand to get a tri-tip, some tri-tip sandwiches for friends who couldn’t get there themselves and those sandwiches are their very very favorite, and to buy up a big bag of their smoked ham hocks.
The shopkeepers honestly did not know whether they had to close or stay open, but they are staying open as long as they can. They are also looking to relocate, should they have to vacate the property.
Either way, if you have butchery needs and want to show you appreciate a very local business, go there and show your support.
The tri-tip sandwich is indeed lovely, this photo is of just half the sandwich. In you’re eating in, get the salsa on it, if you’re taking it away, get the salsa on the side so the roll doesn’t get soggy. The salsa is critical to a good tri-tip sandwich. This big gut buster full size sandwich costs about $9 and can feed two.
The *best* ham hocks are available here. They are sold whole, and the butcher can cut them up into several chunks for you. Wonderful for bean soups and stews. Where else locally can you get this?
My tri-tip I bought plain, and they seasoned it for me. Chain store seasoned tri-tip I normally have to wash most of the sauce off before I’ll set it on the grill. Here it’s hand seasoned by people who know how to bring the best out of their cuts of meat.
Hotel food, not as bad as you’d think. Especially in Santa Barbara, where tri-tip might grace the menu.
Santa Maria-style grilled tri-tip, nice and pink. Sadly, no salsa or beans or tortillas in sight. Instead we have a number of salads, biscuits and fruit.
Stop #2 on our progressive dinner.
Ted supports many community projects and organizations. His work alongside la Casa de la Raza meant he was in the know on some good torta action at the downtown mercado.
We arrived to an absolute madhouse of people rocking out to an oompa band that was bringing down the house with some righteous tuba playing. It was best to lurk around the backside, chatting with the Casa de la Raza folks as they were preparing the next round of tri-tip for their sandwiches.
It probably took 40 minutes to acquire the $8 torta. Freshly grilled and seasoned beef tri-tip, served in a soft roll with lettuce, tomato and onion. It was good, of course, and we quickly retreated into the back lots to eat it in peace. I only had my small camera with me, which doesn’t do well in low light, so I must subject you to some rather bad photos of Ted’s silhouette by the toilets – you’ll have to trust me that he’s very happy holding his torta – and the torta itself, which required some mad photoshopping skillz to make it look like a torta and not like the blue, green and yellow alien pod my camera tried to turn it into.
I admit it: it was my first torta at Fiesta ever.
The afternoon’s nocino making session merged into an evening dinner with friends in Heather and Sarita’s garden.
There was plenty of beer, wine and spirits, but the low-alcohol tolerance chick in me gravitated towards the Trader Joe’s Blueberry Juice. And who could say no to it, with the enthusiastic sommelier we had offering the sweet beverage around.
There were plenty of hot dogs and sausages, and of many varieties. Tom, the resident vegetarian, brought out some mighty fine yams for the gang. Getcher hot yams! It was hard to pick the winner of all the wonderful things to eat available. Then again, some pickin’s weren’t entirely socially approved. I didn’t mind.
But if I did have to select a few items of key tastiness, it would have to be Kia’s homemade pinquito beans, made with Rancho Gordo beans, a fantastic company in Napa Valley that specializes in heirloom beans. Her pinquito beans bring a tri-tip dinner together, alongside thick handmade flour tortillas and fresh salsa.
Kia also brought homemade ice cream: strawberry and burnt sugar. Heavenly.
It was no camping, like my traditional memorial weekend, but it was darn fine.
The Fredericks did not open up Ye Olde Butcher Shop, but they did take possession of the existing shop within the last few years.
Ye Olde Butcher Shop has been around for a long time, even being rebuilt from wildfires of years past. Their sandwiches have consistently been the biggest I’ve ever seen in Santa Barbara. Their standard sub is so stuffed with meat and cheese that it feeds me and three friends. I’m glad that the new owners have carried on this generous tradition. But I am saddened that they have culled out much of the “butcher” side to the shop as it seems their main focus is now these enormous sandwiches. I have advocated their tri-tip and steaks for years, but lately I’ve been looking elsewhere for new sources.
Ye Olde Butcher Shop