Santa Barbara Report
Had some great meals here recently. Loved, loved, loved Julienne. What a deal. The food is creative and delicious and the price for the wine pairings is scandalously low for generous pours. They are super flexible (3, 5, or 7 courses and can come from the same course on the menu--so if you want 2 of the 2 offered salads for 2 of your courses, no problem). Husband is the chef, wife the front of the house wine person, server, etc. Great food. Can't say enough.
Jeanine for breakfast on 2 mornings. Crowded, but host always found a place for us to sit. Saturday brunch was a lobster omelet. Also tried a the quesadillas and the breakfast burrito. Only complaint was that they didn't have fresh orange juice on a weekday. Apparently only the weekend. Great way to start the day.
Wine cask for lunch. Fantastic dungeness crab salad with red pepper coulis and corn puree that made the plate really pretty. Yummy Cobb Salad. Nice courtyard with fountain.
Bouchon was mostly wonderful. Started with a scallop trio that had one U6 scallop in asian style; one as a bruschetta; and one on risotto. Delish. One main of duck duo that was good and one of pork shank. The shank was huge, which I found really unappealing and it was sitting on black beans and greens. It was pretty monochromatic and one of those dishes that gets worse the more you think of it afterwards. There was no restraint or variety in color. Rest of meal, service, and atmosphere very good.
Stonehouse (at San Ysidro Ranch). Fantastically romantic on the covered patio with twinkle lights above and our server, Marcus Baker, was really knowledgeable about food and wine and really made the evening. The food was good, but should be better. The chef isn't stretching at all and it seemed like well-prepared, safe food. So, fine, but not good enough for the atmosphere. That being said, I'd go back for the atmosphere.
You confirm a lot of our own local feelings as well. After Julienne, it is all a bit downhill isn't it? Nice to get the report for Wine Cask getting its old groove back again. Thanks for reporting back. This is so helpful when we locals get the on-going question - I am coming to Santa Barbara. What's good!