Weekend Trip to Santa Barbara/Solvang
Hey everyone this is a pretty open question. I'm just looking to have a great time in Santa Barbara this weekend with someone i've been dating for awhile. Not really worried about money but i'm not looking to blow it either :).
So what are some great places for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.
And what are your favorite wineries up there?
I will only be there tonight and tomorrow so i won't have time to try too many places.
I lived in Santa Barbara from 1998 to 2002 and I must say I miss that area because of the beautiful scenery and the great local wines and produce. For dinner in Santa Barbara you simply must go to The Wine Cask downtown on Anacapa Street as it is some of the best dinning in a city packed with fine restaurants. Be sure to speak to the sommelier so he can help you pick out the right wine to go with the dinner you decide on. For lunch I'd take a day trip to the Santa Ynez Valley wine country and pack a nice lunch to enjoy at one of the wineries. The Sunstone or Gainey wineries have the best picnic areas and it is hard to choose between them so pack a good wine friendly picnic basket and pop the cork on one of the bottles you've found during your wine tasting and enjoy. If you'd rather not have a picnic then the Old Cold Spring's Tavern off of Stagecoach Rd near Lake Cachuma off of highway 154 is always a favorite; the food is honest and good and the place has been a well known stop for travelers since the days when the stage coach was the fastest way to get to Santa Barbara. For breakfast the Summerland Beach Cafe in Summerland is always a hit though it's a bit far from Santa Barbara so you might want try the local legend Sambo's for traditional American style breakfast at a great beach front location. Just make sure to eat on the front patio so you can enjoy the ocean view.
One correction to oerdin's post: It's the Cold Spring Tavern, and I second the recommendation -- it's a great place to stop on a Sunday afternoon (maybe on your way back from the Santa Ynez Valley to the Santa Barbara area), when they have live music and awesome tri-tip sandwiches. Here's a link to their webpage:
Edited to add: there are a lot of posts on the California board for wineries and restaurants in the Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez Valley areas.
One of the best meals I had in SB was dinner at Blue Agave. They also had a fantastic tequila menu. 20 E. Cota St, (805) 899-4694.
If you haven't been there at least once, go to La Super Rica for a quick snack or lunch. 622 N. Milpas St.
I would skip dinner but go just for drinks up at the El Encanto hotel, it has such nice gardens and a great view.
Go to Hitching Post II, (yes the one from Sideways), but was great before that movie. BBQ over oaken fire. It's on the way to Solvang.
I love La Super Rica but, sorry, not for the tacos! They make the best Horchata that I have ever tasted, anywhere. The #16 La Super Rica Especial is the best meat item, it's marinated pork (they will sub beef) grilled with poblanos and cheese, comes with fresh made tortillas so you can make your own unique world class tacos. Much better than their dry and boring tacos. The Choriso con Queso or whatever it's called is very good if eaten when served hot, kinda gross after it cools. Their little Gordita or whatever they call the SPICY beans sandwiched between 2 thick fresh tortillas is a tasty item to go with something else. Posole (on Sundays only) is extraordinary! The hot and vinegary salsa roja that comes with it is one of my 2 favorite salsas - ANYWHERE! I always ask for an extra. The Chilaquiles (only served on 2 weekdays) are also wonderful. Also always check the Specials on the little whiteboard for whatever sounds good!
Bouchon in Santa Barbara for dinner. La Super Rica for lunch. Either the Biltmore or the El Encanto for drinks.
Where did you end up going?
Had I seen your post earlier I would have recommended stopping at Trattoria Grappolo on your way out of Solvang, which I what I did on a Solvang trip over Memorial Day last year. One of the best dinners I've ever had.
Rancho Sisquoc, Fess Parker, and Firestone were my favorite wineries...
Next time..absolutely agree re Trattoria Grappalo...love the atmosphere, food, excellent local wine selection.. I had a great penne w/arrabiata sauce one night and have had equally good fish. Rancher next to me was going after his porterhouse like no tomorrow. We go whenever we take the beasts to Rancho Oso for a weekend Also recommend the Longhorn Cafe nextdoor for a great breakfast and the Maverick honkytonk (on the other side) has a capable bartender and some good bands if you're still feeling up to it after dinner.