Santa Barbara Highlights

We recently took a road trip to California, for a long weekend, to soak in some time to relax before the babies are born. We were also looking to escape to cooler weather…which was not the case, since there was a bit of a heat wave (in the 80’s)while we were there.

During our trip, we stayed in Carpinteria, and drove over to Santa Barbara several times (about 15 minutes away) as well as visited Goleta, Solvang and the Santa Ynez valley. Each of these places were so different from one another, and we loved each and every one of them.

Carpinteria is known as home to the ‘world’s safest beach’, and is a quiet beach town with a few quaint eateries and boutiques near the coast. Santa Barbara, on the other hand, is a lot more metropolitan and has a vibrant downtown scene, with the coast nearby as well as nice restaurants and plenty of familiar stores to shop in. Santa Barbara is known as the ‘American Riviera’.

While in Carpinteria and Santa Barbara, we dined at the following notable establishments:

Carpinteria
Gianfranco’s Trattoria – Serves great Italian food, in a cozy atmosphere; I ordered their signature spinach and cheese ravioli and loved it.
Foster’s Freeze – Local ice cream shop; we ate here one night when we were too full to eat a proper dinner; I had a hot dog and strawberry shake (which was superb!)

Santa Barbara
Jane – Our favorite restaurant of the ones we tried. Warm atmosphere, great food and great service; I was lucky enough to find veal on the menu and loved it — had the veal scallopini.
Brophy Bros Seafood – Great spot for fresh seafood, right on the harbour; I ordered the fish and chips and needed help finishing it! Very good batter on the fish.

Crushcakes – Organic cupcakes! I ordered (and loved) the Strawberry Blush — a strawberry cupcake topped with pink strawberry frosting.
McConnell’s Ice Cream – Handmade ice cream served in very generous scoops! I barely finished one scoop of Peanut Butter Crunch in a waffle bowl.
Spoon Gelato – Excellent gelato; plenty of flavors to choose from. I tried the hazelnut and loved it!

We also ventured out to Goleta for their Annual Lemon Festival, where Vic tried a variety of local wines and lemon beer while I indulged in a decadent slice of lemon meringue pie. The next day we drove through beautiful landscapes and mountains to Solvang, a small town which was founded by Danish settlers and looks like it was taken right out of Denmark and placed in the California highlands. I tried the traditional Danish ‘Aebleskiver’ pancakes for breakfast, which are basically round balls of batter covered in powdered sugar, and served with fresh preserves.

After a brief tour of Solvang, we visited the Bridlewood Winery in the nearby Santa Ynez Valley. The property is magnificent and so beautiful. We took a tour via horse-driven carriage and purchased a nice bottle of Syrah, which is the grape they most pride themselves in harvesting.

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