On a recent business trip + vacation (I do a lot of these), I stopped in Santa Barbara for dinner. I was heading from Anaheim to Oceano (on the coast, near Pismo Beach), and after spending way too much time in traffic on the 405, I needed a dinner break. Santa Barbara is one of my absolute favorite cities, and I have it to thank for my decision to move to California, so I decided to stop there.
Backtracking a little, it was January of 1998, and I was living in Cincinnati, OH. I had recently started my first real job after finishing graduate school. For a project I was working on, I had to travel to Goleta (near Santa Barbara). Thanks to the company’s Saturday night stay policy, I ended up spending the weekend in Santa Barbara. I dined in Santa Barbara & Montecito, went whale watching in Ventura, and during a quick stop at the beach on my way back to the airport, I got to see dolphins frolicking just offshore. I fell in love and knew I would live in California someday. It took another 4 years before I made the move, and I ended up in the Bay Area, but Santa Barbara has always had a special place in my heart.
Now, back to the present. After 4 hours of driving (much of it through lovely LA traffic), I arrived in Santa Barbara, and decided to check out Barbareño for dinner. While I’ve been to Santa Barbara a number of times, I had never eaten at this particular restaurant, and decided it would make a great place to celebrate 20 years of my love for California.
I ordered the Tagliatelle, which consisted of noodles made from acorns, along with maitake mushrooms, brussels sprouts, and asparagus. I paired it with a glass of Scar of the Sea Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara County, 2016). Both were fantastic.
I decided since I was celebrating something, I could treat myself to dessert as well, and enjoyed the fabulous semifreddo with walnuts, dulce de leche, and cocoa nibs. Again, I was not disappointed, and ate a lot more of it than I had intended to (I have been trying to cut down on sugar & carbs, and had planned to just eat a few bites as a treat, but I ended up finishing 3/4 of it).All in all, it was a lovely dinner, and a great way to relive memories of my first trip to California.