Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Santa Barbara's Luxury Hotel, The Bacara

This past weekend, my friend Caroline and I ventured out to the Bacara Hotel to check it all out and the food there. It's been under new ownership for a bit now, which has made locals happy as the previous peeps weren't all that kind to locals. Personally, I enjoy hotels during the holidays as they are all decked out with beautiful decorations so I was happy to scope that out.
We ate at the Bistro located near the pool, with view to the ocean...and the oil rigs...
We shared the Tuna Tartar to begin. The tartar was very fresh and the lemon zest mixed in there was, well, zesty! And tasty.
I then enjoyed the mussels prepared in a Pernod, tarragon sauce. The mussels were fresh and that oceany-sweet I enjoy so much. There were fries served with it, which were fun to dip in the delicious sauce, but weren't fries to write home about.
Caroline enjoyed the crispy skin salmon on potato puree and tomato confit and artichoke. She really enjoyed it. I took a taste and the salmon was moist and the puree smooth.
The service was great, but a the verge of being excessive. The prices for food were what we expected - being at a luxury resort hotel with ocean view and all....but the cost for the iced tea and the espressos we had was very high. $5 for an espresso?! Yikes.

Overall, a lovely lunch at the Bacara Bistro. Good place to treat yourself to a little vacation in your home town. The holiday decorations, by the way, were beautiful - large silver bulbs mixed in with bare branches and Monarch butterflies. Plus, they do tea tastings there, which I will soon be venturing back to discover.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The New Mimosa Restaurant in Santa Barbara

On this cold, drizzly night I met my mom at Mimosa in downtown Santa Barbara. Mimosa was located at a different location for many, many years...way off the beaten path in an old, drab atmosphere. I was excited to learn of their new location on State Street, look, and jazzed up menu.
I was welcomed in by two lovely waitress/hostesses and a warm ambiance. The simple yet elegant look works nicely in the space and their location in the middle of downtown must be bringing loads of visitors. The menu is split into appetizers, mains, and small plates. We shared one of their small plates just because it sounded really interesting - Stilton and Lavender Savory Cheesecake, on fresh arugula and lemon vinaigrette. Yep. It was called cheesecake, and had the consistency of a cheesecake, but I still may not classify it as a cheesecake. It was quite good. I enjoyed the strength of the lavender and the subtleness of the Stilton. Heads up as the small plates are, as they are called, small.
My mother enjoyed the stuffed mushrooms for her starter. Stuffed with spinach, onions, and Fontina with a Balsamic reduction. Judging from her ooo-ing and aw-ing, I think she liked them.
As I was still chilled, I enjoyed the onion soup. Very satisfying and deliciously onion-y. The cheese and bread on top just really does it for me. I am a salt LOVER, but about 3/4 of the way through I started to feel the saltiness was too much. However, I finished it anyhow...yum.
Quack. As my main course I chose the duck served in a Port reduction with pears. I found the pears to be my favorite flavor combination with the duck. The veggies on the side were quite buttered, but I seem to have a complex about broccoli on my plate...even if it's the best broccoli, I just have this odd reaction to it and I love broccoli. I think I must have been traumatized by undercooked, tasteless broccoli vegetable sides all too often, or something...Other than that, I really enjoyed it. My mother and I both chose the Bordeaux by the glass to accompany our meal.
The desserts were quite tempting, but just no more room. For next time!
The waitresses were very nice and helpful, but not overbearing. They were well informed and if they didn't know the answer to my odd question, they did not hesitate to go in the back and ask, which I admire very much.
I'll be going back, as I had a hard time choosing what I wanted to eat, as many things intrigued me. Plus I heard about their dessert special for today (which they had run out of) that involved chocolate and bacon...yep...I'm going back...

Mimosa  - 714 State Street