Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mountain to Ocean

Living in Santa Barbara is amazing. Expensive, but amazing. Monday morning, Caroline and I went for a hike up the Cold Springs trail to Tangerine Falls. The water was flowing wildly in the creek since the last rainfall, though the weather has been quite warm for January. I'm guessing that it was in the upper 70's, if not hotter, the day we hiked. After scrambling over rocks and tree roots and over boulders, we arrived to the very beautiful Tangerine Falls and the well earned view in the other direction. Plopped on a giant boulder we sat and ate our sandwiches while staring out over the valley and city below. We offered our other halves of our sandwiches to young kids around us and they were tickled pink at free, yummy sandwiches from South Coast Deli. 
Off the mountain, we then went Stand Up Paddling off of East Beach. The ocean was very calm, except for the occasional jet boat speeding by. Mountain to ocean equals a quite wonderful day indeed.

Wednesday a friend of mine who owns Santa Barbara Stables texted me to go ride for a bit and I quickly agreed. Seen below is Tar (also known as Top Hat when competing) and he was a lovely horse with a great attitude. Santa Barbara Stables is located off of Turnpike in Goleta and out where the views are grand of both mountain and sea.
Today I hiked up to Inspiration Point with my friend Emma. We chose to hike up the Jesusita Trail from the other side, beginning near the reservoir off San Roque Road. The hike is longer from this side, but we found the whole thing to be quite pleasant. Everything was quite green due to the rain and sun we've been having lately. The trail is shaded by large, old oak trees for most of the time which is enchanting. The last bit to the top is strenuous, but the view is our prize!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Via Mmmm

Via Maestra 42 just has to be one of the most delicious restaurants we have in Santa Barbara. I have eaten there for lunch many a times and each time the ingredients are super fresh and the dishes are classic Italian fare. Dinner is also lovely and traditional - eggplant Parmesan is divine. Little did we know that this fine establishment also serves breakfast!

Yesterday, on a most fabulously gorgeous day my boyfriend and I went to the farmer's market to purchase goodies for dinner that night. We saw beautiful Chanterelles seen here, but they sure are pricey!
After the market we enjoyed breakfast at Via Maestra 42 on upper State Street. I enjoyed 2 scrambled eggs, ham, and little slices of eggplant with cheese and tomato on them. YUM. This was so insanely satisfying and delicious I do not really know how to express it. Savory and fresh, every bite was a perfect balance of flavors. Included are a few toasts accompanied by fig jam and a little sweet treat called Dolce de Gigi.

Jeff enjoyed 2 eggs over-easy with smoked salmon and a fresh spinach salad. Wow.
Breakfast polished off, we scootered over to Franceschi park and found this view. In the low 70's the sun shone down in all its summery heat and a cool breeze kept it at the reasonable heat of Santa Barbara. This is why it costs a fortune to live here!

The New Seagrass

Mitchell Sverjen recently sold Seagrass (part of his restaurant trio with bouchon and Wine Cask). A family from Las Vegas are now the proud owners of this top Zagat rated restaurant - though it earned this rating due to its past chef John Pettit.

My mother and I dined there this past week so as to discover what changes were made and what the new chef was like. The decor is the same with sandy and water tones all around - minus a few of the abundance of seahorses that were on the wall.

For my first course I enjoyed a sashimi of Marlin on a avocado rice. For me the rice was a bit underdone and the avocado was lost. I think I would have paired it with something a bit more on the salty side since the raw marlin was rich and fresh.
 Next I enjoyed seared Marlin (enjoying this fish very much) on edamame in cream and a veal reduction. The veal reduction was lovely and the fish very fresh, but there was something lacking. I do not want to use the word bland, but I can't think of another word. I really enjoyed the combination of veal reduction with this fish, however, so perhaps more of it would have been enough.
 Instead of dessert, we enjoyed 3 different sheep cheeses.
 Overall, the new Seagrass is enjoyable, but at $32 for a fish dish it's not as wonderful as it should and could be. I miss John Pettit and will follow him to his next endeavor!