Santa Barbara Vibes
This is a place of ocean breezes, relaxation, wine and good food. This city is so cool, calm and chill. I just loved it!
My husband and I stayed at this cute, boutique hotel, right across from the beach. Hotel Milo, was incredibly convenient and just located in the most perfect spot for first time adventures. Upon arrival, we dropped our bags off with the valet and walked right up State Street and hit up Joe's Cafe for some excellent Santa Barbara Roast Coffee. These are some good, strong, robust beans. I wish I would've left with a bag of this coffee, it was just that good. We headed back down State Street and walked along Stearns Wharf to some beautiful views, check out the restaurants and some small little touristy shops. Afterwards, we walked along the beach and down to Brophy Brothers for some lunch overlooking the marina. I tried shark for the first time. I was a little underwhelmed by it, it tasted just like tuna, but at least I tried something new! Off to the Funk Zone, where there is a cluster of little tasting rooms that you can hit up if you don't have the time to make it all the way out to the Santa Ynez Valley. We started off at the Santa Barbara Winery. Super cute place, friendly staff. With 6 wines to taste for each flight. It was a great spot to start off the trip, with an outdoor patio to relax and watch the bustling streets. Next on the list was Au Bon Climat. I HIGHLY recommend you hit up this tasting room. It looks like a little library. I just loved it and the staff were super helpful and friendly. We actually walked out with a bottle of "The Pip", a very unique tasting Chardonnay. Super cozy and quaint. There are a bunch of other tasting rooms right around the corner if you happen to have more time to wander around. The nice thing about the tasting rooms in this part of town is you just walk right in, no appointments necessary. We ended our first night in town with a beautiful dinner at Bouchon. We were able to have a patio seat, which I think is the best seat in the house. The meal was excellent. I had the tomato soup to start where the grilled cheese crouton literally melted away when you stirred it. The salmon for dinner was top notch. Just absolutely perfect. For a little sweet, my husband and I shared the ice cream sandwich. I have to say I'm a little spoiled when it comes to ice cream sandwiches, because honestly nothing can beat The Baked Bear in Arizona. Sorry. lol
Saturday we woke up a little late and walked next door to Sambos for breakfast. Excellent service, nice staff and just a good, quick breakfast. The place gets crazy packed, because it's literally right across from the beach and surrounded by beach hotels. So get there early if you don't want to wait. Afterwards we walked right up to our jeep for our wine tour excursion. The hotel booked the whole thing for us and we loved every second of it. We had the most amazing group, which you know could always be hit or miss. Our driver was super nice and very patient with us. We really enjoyed each winery and he let us hang around longer than we should have. Usually I like to plan out which wineries we go to, but I didn't know enough about the Santa Ynez Valley. So we hopped in our open back jeep and flew down the highway. The open air was amazing, as well as the unreal views of the countryside. Our first stop was Gainey Ranch Winery.We had a private tasting in their barn, which was on the back end of the property. We got to meet the barns very own owl who stayed perched up on the top beam and stared at us the entire time. It was very cute. We tried some really nice wines and I honestly wish we grabbed a few bottles before we left, but we took way to long at this tasting. Next stop, Bridlewood Winery.We had an excellent time here. The most gorgeous piece of property where we also sat out front and had lunch. Last and final stop, Imagine Wine Room.We had a wonderful time here chatting with the owner and hearing all about where he came from and how he got into the business. We heard about his successful children, which one of them features his sculptures in the tasting room. Definitely pieces of art and one of his pieces is one of the wines label, that we happened to walk out with. Great little tasting room and wine that you honestly won't experience at any other vineyard or restaurant. So I would absolutely make this a must try on your list. His production is limited and he doesn't distribute to stores or restaurants.Finally we parted ways with our fun little group and finished off the night at The Palace Grill. This place is not something I would typically try. It's authentic Cajun Creole cuisine. I had the cajun crawfish popcorn and the hubby had the gumbo to start. AMAZING! For dinner he had the lamb chops and I the blackened redfish, which is only available on the weekends. Very fresh and perfectly cooked. Embarrassingly enough, we had to get dessert. You have to get the bread pudding souffle. I've tried a lot of bread pudding but none have ever tasted this good. It's unbelievable. Be careful to not burn yourself because it comes out hot!
For our last day in Santa Barbara, may have just been my most favorite. To be honest Friday and Saturday were pretty awesome but something about a Sunday, with wine tasting, just can't be beat. We had an amazing breakfast at Scarlett Begonia. We both ordered the egg sandwich, which was just awesome. Amazing coffee, cute little courtyard that we sat in and just super relaxing. Definitely make reservations, because who likes to wait around for coffee first thing in the morning? Afterwards we headed back to the hotel to relax and pack up. Once we dropped the bags of with the valet, we headed back to the Funk Zone and grabbed a seat at the Santa Barbara Wine Collective. As we snagged a high top right by the outdoor patio we ended up getting served by a nice guy we actually met at Au Bon Climat. Super knowledgeable and even brought us over an extra wine and we finished out flight to sample. We loved this place so much. Very eclectic and just a great way to sample out different wineries all in one spot. I had the Fess Parker tasting and the hubby ordered the Babcock. Babock was recently in Food and Wine and to be honest, I should've known better and gone with that one. The wines are to die for! I can't wait for our shipment to arrive, because they are so amazing. I've never smelled such fragrant wines in my life. Each one is so different from the next. You really need to try, you will not regret it. Right before we headed out we walked literally right around the corner to Lucky Penny for some dinner. Cute little place, for some yummy and fresh pizza. It honestly can't be beat. Honestly, if was a fantastic trip and I can hardly wait till we venture back for some new adventures mixed in with some old. This place is pretty magical and just so beautiful. Till next time ...