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Nov 10, 2008 06:49 AM

Nice, big, bad for you desserts in Santa Barbara. Later in the night.

My husband is taking me up to his hometown of Santa Barbara to visit the in-laws. Really, we are going to eat large spiny lobsters this weekend somewhere.

Before dinner, we will visit a few in town wine rooms.

Afterwards, I want a really big and very bad for me desserts. Maybe with a milkshake, too. I love the big rich chocolate cake at Jerry's Famous Deli in LA, or big pieces of apple pie.

Where can I get a really big, but really good, dessert in my husband's home town, preferably later in the evening?

If it is BETTER than Jerry's, well, that's good too.

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  1. How late, as Santa Barbara rolls up the sidewalk pretty early?

    I can't think of purely "late night" places but McConnells on DelaVina and West Mission Street for wonderfully rich and indulgent ice cream is the best we can offer for the later hours. The bakeries and cupcake places do not keep late hours. in this town. But Cafe Bianco makes some of the richest and most indulgent cakes out there - but close by 5pm. Anderson's Danich Cafe and Bakery remains open for dinner but probably closes by 9pm has wonderful Danish treats. Our Daily Bread also has a nice array but close down by 5-6pm too.

    Here is our dining guide desserts listing for SB:
    This is probably not the answer you are looking for, but my most favorite, all hours dessert indulgence are the Swedish pancakes with lignonberry jam and whipped butter at any IHOP and we have a particularly charming one in downtown Santa Barbara on State Street with a huge fig tree growing up in the middle of it - sure, it is a brightly lit chain cafe, but those pancakes cannot be topped anywhere. IMHO. I just gotta have these every once in a while - and there is no possible justification for them because they are rich, gooey, buttery and tart and wonderful all at the same time. Well, I guess one can call the eggs in the soft and delicious crepes a nutritional plus, but the rest of this is all down hill into culinary decadence.

    The coconut cake at Montecito Cafe on Coast Village Road in Montecito is a wonderfully indulgent and a top local favorite but the place is always busy for full dinners so just getting dessert might be a problem. Cakes are not easy to come by in many restaurants, a lost art form which is one reason everyone loves getting it at the Montecito Cafe - I dare you to finish the whole slice they give you with its rich buttercream frosting.

    Another place for wonderful desserts is Downey's which many do not like for their dinner entrees but their desserts are some of the best in town (I also like their dinners and their elegant setting).

    Off the top of my head I would assume Tupelo Junction on State Street near the Granada Theater would have some yummy desserts because this is an art form of Southern cooking, and again you are stuck having to work within restaurant hours.

    The very best chocolate offering in town anywhere is the Marquis torte at Renaud's cafe in Las Positas, but that is not open late at night. You could order one and save it for later. The chocolate mousse at Petit Valentin in La Arcada is absolutely wonderful and worth just having dessert here alone, though I have liked the dinners there as well.

    The bread pudding at Hungry Cat on Chapala and West Anapamu gets rave reviews and they might be open "later". Ca' Dario on East Victoria has some great desserts - Italian style, their berry, puff pastry and zabagione is wonderful, and I love their afogato (expresso and white chocolate icecream). But these are more discrete desserts rather than over the top indulgences.

    I will also look forward to the answers others have - living here we usually are not looking for late night places so it will be fun to learn what others know about.

    Here is our dining guide for SB desserts:

    5 Replies
    1. re: glbtrtr

      Thank you for a wonderful answer. Actually, The IHOP and Anderson's sounds pretty good. My husband also says the IHOP has a tree growing out of it. What does that mean? Is it a literal FIG TREE?! A real tree? He won't tell me.

      I would love the montecito cafe, too....and Downey's

      They all sound grand.

      Any good HUGE Mexican desserts?

      1. re: Depage

        There used to be a large old house on that corner with a grand yard and the woman who lived there planted the tree so they kept it after they tore the house down and put in the restaurant which was long locally owned and was a hangout before it became part of the IHOP chain.

        It used to be called the Blue Onion and then Frimples and then IHOP. But the tree has been happily living in the middle of it for I bet almost a hundred years. You can see parts of the old house's driveway entrance if you look carefully at the curb leading to the new parking lot.

        So IHOP and the fig tree is very much part of Santa Barbara history. I appreciate the chain protecting the tree and giving up floor space to build around it and that is one more reason I like to stop by from time to time .......... for guess what!

        And if you want to try them all, there is nothing wrong with an early breakfast at IHOP - those pancakes are 24 hour good.

        I don't know Mexican desserts besides flan, sorry. But there are Mexican bakeries around town - Rose's on San Andres on the Westside and there is one on the corner of Alamar and DeLaVina. They are pretty friendly places so you can ask them if they can fix you up something, but again they will not be open late.

        Moderation in all things, eh? Hope you enjoy your time in our town. Ah, to be young again and get away with double helpings ..................

        1. re: glbtrtr

          That sounds just crazy!

          What types of pancakes doe they serve? Do they serve cake, too? Are there chocolate chip pancakes?

          Also, to get away from IHOP, have you had the Fondue at Anderson's (I saw this online) and are their desserts of substantial size? I really want good, but kinda big.

          What about this El PAseo someone told me about.

          Also, ever heard of INtermezzo?

          1. re: Depage

            El Paseo has lousy, bulk Mexican food and typically bus tour crowds. No one I know goes there for the food. Setting is attractive as is its location in El Paseo so it is worth a look see if you are on an architectural tour, but definitely not for a dining spot.

            Intermezzo also in El Paseo is a small little bar, overpriced and limited menu of no great distinction but high on yuppified style. I think it is also operated by the Wine Cask next door which I have personally chosen to boycott the new ownership who destroyed the historic patio and ripped out trees without city permission. Don't care what their food is like because there are too many other choices in town who treat Santa Barbara with more care.

            You are better off going across the street to Paradise Cafe to get more local SB action or even Pacific crepes to see what they can put together for dessert crepes, though they are not as good at IHOP. I know.

            Here is the IHOP crepe menu online. This is one thing I like about them - they are my favorite chain and when all else fails out there in some remote dining netherland, there is always IHOP.

            Yep, chocolate chip pancakes. You are in luck.

      2. re: glbtrtr

        Yum...McConnell's. I cannot think of a better place in Santa Barbara to indulge. To think there is still a place where I find myself asking the person behind the counter to 'not make it so big please'. Then there is the divine coconut cake at the Montecito Cafe and beautiful cakes at Anderson's Bakery and Jeannine's in Montecito...the new cupcake place, Crushcakes, that is not anything spectacular in my opinion. One of the greatest places for breakfast and excellent bread is always D'Angelo's on Garden...a great find.