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foodie sites and groups in Santa Barbara--any tips?

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I'm now quite familiar with some of the most obvious food sites of Santa Barbara (Lazy Acres, Tri-County Produce, C'est Cheese, La Super Rica, Kanaloa Seafood) and I'm curious to find more shops, suppliers, and hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Any recommendations? A restaurant supply house would be fun, and a Chinese bakery would make my day, but I get the impression that neither exist in this particular part of the California coast.

While I'm at it, let me also ask if there might be any vaguely organized activities or organizations around Santa Barbara for aspiring foodies and weekend cooks. Cooking classes? Kitchens to volunteer in?

Thanks in advance for your pointers,
Drew Dara-Abrams

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  1. Jordano's Foodservice out on Patterson Ave is a broadline distributor - you can will call just about anything out there - but it is not a walk around warehouse, so you have to know what you want.

    They have all kinds of pots and pans and related kitchen equipment, etc etc etc - you can buy food wholesale as well.

    Shalhoob Meat is another local gem - he sells choice and better grade meat to the general public - he's down on St Helena St, on the beach side of the freeway

    C'est Cheese is just starting some cooking classes - call for more info.

    1 Reply
    1. re: peasoup

      I also like
      Metropulos at 216 E Yanonali St. Good selection of cheese, meats and pasta.

      I think I remember seeing some bakery items at the Asian store near KMart, but I am not sure how fresh they are.

    2. My S.O.s mom volunteers in the food kitchen for Food from the Heart. They meet at a local church kitchen. Constance and State Street.

      1. SB City College Adult Education has cooking classes. These are at the Schott Center. Here's a link: http://ce.sbcc.edu/cooking.htm

        1. Thanks for all the good suggestions! --Drew

          1. I second the Santa Barbara City College Adult Ed (online catalog) which have varied and great cooking classes where you can meet fellow foodies. Typical fee is about $60 for 8 week classes - dinner included. Most of them are located at the Wake Center off Turnpike Road and 101.

            You can find good ethnic shopping tips in this area from those in the class - but don't know of any Chinese bakeries.

            The Chinese restaurant on the corner of Chapala and West Anapamu may be able to help you - I think it is the best one in Santa Barbara. And there are several asian markets with a variety of asian products - one in downtown Goleta on Calle Real and one by K-Mart off Hollister closer to UCSB.

            There was the Institute of Wine and Food (Food and Wine?) around these parts for a number of years that had monthly dinner or food specialty gatherings -anyone know if they are still around? Think it came out of Julia Child's presence here in town and a nasty conflict with UCSB about accepting her library archives.

            Also there is a fine Culinary Arts professional program at the main campus at SBCC - on Cliff Drive on the Mesa for sampling their Gourmet Dining room during the semesters on Thursday or Friday evenings and lunch every day, plus full program classes if you want to get a two year degree for fun as well as profit. $20 a unit now.

            Maybe someday we anonymous SB chowhounders will have an informal gathering ?????????

            Edhat.com http://www.edhat.com/ is an online magazine that has tried to do restaurant reviews with varying success but has some interesting archives to explore. Amy Wong in the largely now discredited NewsPress Scene section on Fridays does a good job reveiwing restaurants - until she too gets fired and/or resigns.

            "Nippers.com" is awful - the guy simply does not know his stuff and has an online restaurant review site for Santa Barbara - strictly amateur hour with him regardless of his pretentions of being a "Baron" and having a radio travel program. He is pretty clueless and limited in his culinary horizons.

            The Independent while doing some excellent local reporting has gotten very weak in its dining reviews lately, but worth a look see for a free weekly newspaper. Up and coming daily Santa Barbara Daily Sound occasionally does a food or restaurant column, but not with any consistency.

            1. Indo-China Market in Goleta is lots of fun. They're always bringing in interesting new products. They carry a variety of fresh, frozen and packaged Asian items as well as some Middle Eastern, Dutch and British stuff. They're in the K-Mart shopping center at 6831 Hollister Ave.

              Do you know Cuzcatlan on De la Vina? It's Salvadorean. We like it a lot. It's above Alamar, across the street from the Ralph's shopping center and Taco Bell.

              Santa Cruz markets have a lot of interesting Mexican products.

              1. Here is the link for a SB group, mostly professionals in the food business, mostly women but not all.
                http://www.womensculinaryguild.com/in...

                Also there is a Slow Food group here.
                http://www.slowfood.com/about_us/eng/...

                Both host fun foodie events.
                As mentioned above, Nippers has a board about SB restaurants and hosts quarterly lunch events.
                http://nippers.sbwh.com/forum.asp?FOR...

                AIWF's site is http://www.aiwf.org/santabarbara/inde...

                Also the SB Natural History Museum has had a series of food history events the last few years. Hopefully they will be doing them again this summer. They have covered cheese, wheat, chocolate, beer, garlic, olives or olive oil so far.

                1. Drew, Only just signed up w/Chow, but saw your note. Sad to say, I don't think there are any Chinese bakeries between L.A. and Oakland. If you found some, I'd love to know. There are some great hole-in-the-walls, though, that I didn't see mentioned in replies. Jade Restaurant on Upper State across and right from Las Positas is the best! Gourmet, Asian Fusion, but reasonable prices. It's wonderful. Another, new, is Renaud's, again off Las Positas, between Harry's and Chaucer's.