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Aug 20, 2010 05:47 PM

NYC hounds Santa Barbara report

As promised, here it is. First, thanks to everyone who answered our post a few weeks ago, especially glbtrtr, you guys are awesome. So here is our trip, mercifully summarized for you. We drove up from LA and proceeded directly to gelson's for a basic shop. Never even saw a peacharine before, and we bought some great melons, too. Hope you all appreciate how superior your produce is here. Had dinner at Cava, which we liked quite a bit. NYC not really known for Mexican/Latin food, there are some ethnic places in the outer boroughs but in the wilds of Manhattan, not our strong point. And they make a killer blood orange martini. Next night was a group cooked meal with friends, lamb burgers made with lamb from Whole Foods. Friday dinner at Tre Lune, really outstanding for a moderate Italian place, they make a truffle pasta thing that is superb. Saturday at Cafe Luck, kind of like Balthazar in New York but less of a scene. This was OK, they make a decent roast chicken but I could have skipped this one, sorry.
Sunday night dinner at home and we discovered Tri County Produce, which we loved. Made a huge salad and grilled some chicken, a group of happy New Yorkers after an afternoon of polo. Monday night was Lucky's --- expensive and really just feh, but we did get to see Barry Manilow and his entourage. For the money, our NYC steakhouses kick Lucky's ass. But we bought two bottles of wine with us and they said if we bought a third from them, corkage waived, so done deal.
Next dinner was Olio et Limone, which we really liked a lot. Great Chicken saltimbocca although gruyere cheese on that is a bit wierd, in my opinion. Next was Hungry Cat, and although you all were a bit cautious re he service we found this place outstanding all around except they were out of sea urchin by 8 pm, that was a bit of a bummer.
Last night dinner in, fish from the place down by the SB harbor and back to tri county for more fruit and veggies. Tonight we hit Brophy's. Brought most of our wine up from LA but picked up extra also from Tri County, nice selection and fairly priced. Refused to wait in line for a taco at the Julia Child place, I suspect it was not worth the wait.
Thanks again, you all live the dream and you have the best damn oysters out here!

The Hungry Cat
1134 Chapala St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Cava Restaurant
1212 Coast Village Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93108

Tre Lune
1151 Coast Village Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93108

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  1. Thank you so much for the report. It helps so much to know what people like when we recommend places, and reconfirm some of the ones we might not have on our top of the list have reasons why not. Glad you liked Tre Lune - we don't mention this one often and I have had some very nice food there too. I'll give it a bit more attention. TriCounties and Gelsons are great for produce - so glad that worked out for you. I like them better than our outdoor Farmers Markets and always surprised how little I spend at Tri Counties compared to the Farmers Markets too.

    It is nice to get some NYC feed back - we don't have great restuurants out here but we have a lot of good ones, interesting ones and special items at many of them. Sorry you did not get to try the #15 special at La Superica, but I don't like the long line waits there either. And poor service or not, the Hungry Cat PugBurger is calling me again next week and I can hardly wait.

    Glad you had a good time out here - it is a special place and we have to work very hard to keep it that way - development pressures constantly and always the distortions when a place like this tries to preserve itself, yet has to change regardless of whether we want to or not.

    The Hungry Cat
    1134 Chapala St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

    Tre Lune
    1151 Coast Village Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93108

    2 Replies
    1. re: glbtrtr

      Brophy's was fun and a great last evening here, but seriously, I now know there is far better food to be had in SB! You are right, this is a very special place and you are blessed to live here. Thanks again, it is a pain to share all this knowledge and we were very appreciative. Hope to do the same for you in NYC.

      1. re: susan robin

        The treat of getting inside tips from New Yorkers was worth every bit of my time here in Santa Barbara to share our little place. Hope to take you up on that offer sometime - that place is pretty daunting for us small town people and NYC still sets the culinary standards for the US, or at least gives Chicago a good run for it. Los Angeles can probably compete too, but SF never quite lived up to its full potential for the type of truly superb cuisine one would expect in NYC.

    2. Ate at superica 2day BARLEY worth the wait.
      Someone needs to send them some kosher salt and teach them how to use it.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ChrisG.PersonalChef

        There are some wonderfully tasty items on the La Superica menu. Please tell us which items you had rather than just trash the entire place.

        The #15 which is melted cheese and bacon put into fresh tortillas with a heavy slathering of their fresh pico de gallo is a taste sensation made in heaven.

        So please, some combos may not be to your liking or perhaps you did not dress it up with a salsa mix that worked best for you, but a wholesale condemnation seems out of line for this wonderful little place that took our town's choices for "mexican" food in the right direction many years ago and we are thankful for this.

        1. re: glbtrtr

          Why the constant fuss about La Superica? If you like it, pass the word. If you don't like it- it is okay by me. I am a mexican food FREAK and I love it! I have had less than stellar meals there and still return. I LOVE El Bajio!!! I don't like Altramiranos. NO BIG DEAL!.

          It is a TACO STAND folks. Who cares if Julia Child loved it or not- who cares? Julia Child was a FOOD FAN, whether it be McDonalds fries or butter.

          It is a matter of personal taste- and the folks looking to better themsleves by eatting at a JULIA CHILD approved venue is silly.

          1. re: OldJalamaMama

            The fuss started when Julia featured a special called Julia Child's Santa Barbara and she featured both La Superica and the Santa Cruz Mexican food market across the street - the idea was fresh ingredients, fresh preparation if you recall was not much in fashion particularly for Mexican food in this town way back when that Julia Child special was filmed. Then La superica got a nod in 1000 places you must visit before you die under the Santa Barbara heading. I give LSR owner a lot of credit having been one of his first customers decades ago for trying something so new and so special in this town that was dastardly for Mexican food choices then. If you could get a friend to go with you to the Rose Cafe on Haley Street back in those days you might come as close as you were going to get to "mexican" which was still not very close so LSR was a delightful departure into the fresh versions that one would find in the country itself and this coincided somewhat with Julia exploring her new winter home here. She was happy to find a food market where everything wasn't covered in plastic and she could poke the fish and loved the simplicity of LSR and thus this association became the stuff of legend. It was the simplicity of LSR and the honesty of Santa Cruz market that won her over. No one need take it beyond that. Except when I dream about the #15 - then I too get a little batty about LSR. And I think if I ever moved on to the melted cheese with chorizo instead of the bacon with the fresh tortillas and pico de gallo, I have to leave this forum too guilty of oratory excess that would compromise my credibility for sure.