This past weekend, we took advantage of the great weather by miniature golfing, hiking and enjoying i Madonnari at the Mission. Before miniature golfing, we stopped at my favorite spot in Ventura, Redbrick Pizza Cafe. We started with the GF Fire-Roast Toast. I want to eat this every day for the rest of my life. It had olive oil, garlic, chipotle sauce, parmesam, herbs and a bruschetta spread. I also had the Italian Fhazani which was good as well. After eating, we headed to Golf N’ Stuff for some miniature golf.
Even though I lost, it was still a lot of fun. They have an arcade too if you want to pretend that you are a kid again. The next day, we decided to go on a short hike/walk to Knapp’s Castle. The views there were fantastic.
George Owen Knapp, founder of Union Carbide, built Knapp’s Castle shortly after purchasing the 160-acre (0.65 km2) parcel in 1916. In 1940, Frances Holden bought the property and invited her friend, world-famous opera singer Lotte Lehmann, to move in. The mansion was destroyed by a forest fire only five weeks later, and now only the massive sandstone foundations, fireplace pillars and walls of the original seven structures remain intact.
It is such a unique spot that offers unbelievable panoramic views. We also took advantage of i Madonnari. If you have the chance, you should visit the Mission the next couple of days while the chalk drawings on the plaza there are still fresh. It is one of those great local events that Santa Barbara offers every year. I just love this city so much.
Last night, we decided to head to Santa Ynez for a change in scenery. First, we stopped at one of my favorite boutiques, Ladybug, to check out their latest merchandise. Then we headed down the street to try the new restaurant in Santa Ynez, S.Y. Kitchen. I started with the special tomato salad which had tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and olives along with fresh goat cheese. The ingredients were very simple but it was very fresh and flavorful. For my main dish, I had gluten-free pasta with a duck ragu that had tomato, thyme and porcini mushrooms.
I usually avoid any and all dishes that have the word mushroom in the description. However, the people next to us were eating this dish and it looked amazing. The waiter assured me that they cook the gluten-free pasta in a separate pot and use a clean colander and utensils. This dish was so hearty that I found it difficult to finish. We also shared an order of the sauteed spinach.
The spinach was very good and was finished quite quickly. There was a gluten-free dessert on the menu that I was thinking about ordering. But the waiter didn’t come by for 25 minutes after dropping off the dessert menu, so by the time he did, I had decided against it. I really liked the feel of this restaurant. It had a rustic farmhouse vibe to it. I also love the drive along the 154, so I can definitely see us returning!
Sunday was a beautiful day in Santa Barbara. The skies were blue without a cloud in sight. What better way to spend the day than an aerial tour of the area? I took flight with Above All Aviation, located adjacent to Santa Barbara Airport. For the next 30 minutes, I enjoyed stunning views of Reagan Ranch, Lake Cachuma, Oprah’s house and our beautiful coastline. After the flight, I headed down to Chase Palm Park to partake in the Take Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis Walk. A group of us walked on behalf of Gluten-Free Santa Barbara to support those with these digestive diseases.
It was great to see so many people in the community rally around those who suffer from these diseases. I would love to see something similar in the future to benefit Celiac awareness and research!
Today was another beautiful day in Santa Barbara. My good friend and I decided to take advantage of the weather by enjoying a beverage on the rooftop at the Canary Hotel. After soaking up some rays, we headed downstairs to try Finch & Fork. We started by sharing the shishito peppers. I love shishito peppers. These were especially salty and delicious. I then had the halibut.
This was served with a lentil salad, roasted cipollini onions and asparagus. The fish was cooked well and I enjoyed the salad that it came with. I would probably try something a little more flavorful though next time. My friend ordered the Pan Roasted Half Chicken.
This was served with a sweet corn puree, apple and arugula salad and charred lemon. Out of the two dishes, I preferred the halibut. Overall, we had a pleasant meal. I can already see myself returning just for the shishito peppers and the views from the rooftop.
Happy Celiac Awareness Month! As a reminder, we are holding our Spring Meet-Up this Wednesday at Adama at 5:30 PM. For details and for any information about future events, please visit the Gluten-Free Santa Barbara Facebook Page! See you there… I will be the one devouring the GF onion rings!
After getting my hair done today in Ojai, I decided to get some lunch at Papa Lennon’s. They have gluten-free pizza available and even make their own crust. However, after asking some questions, I found that they use the same surface and utensils for the GF and regular crusts. They also have gluten-free pasta available. After confirming that the pasta would be cooked in a clean pot and with clean utensils, I ordered the Pasta Primavera. This had sauteed seasonal vegetables, freshly grated parmesan cheese and a pesto cream sauce. It was hearty and warm which was appreciated as it was quite overcast today.
Last night, we decided to try the much buzzed about El Encanto restaurant. We walked around the property a bit before eating, and found it to be quite beautiful. On a clear night, the views would be outstanding. Then we sat down for dinner. When I asked our waiter what my options were, he ran down a list of four menu items and then walked away not allowing for me to ask questions. This made me a bit nervous. When he finally came back, I narrowed it down to the two items he said I could have unaltered. They were the Pan Seared Swordfish and the Confit Jidori Chicken Breast. The chicken came with crispy chickpea fries which intrigued me, so I asked how they were prepared. It turns out that they are fried in contaminated oil so they were not GF. Additionally, about five minutes after ordering, an amuse bouche came out that was clearly not GF. The gentleman that brought it out apologized and said he would be back with something I could have but we never saw him again. Hmm. I started with the Spring Salad Edible Flowers without the croutons that usually come with it. I wasn’t a huge fan of the taste of this. My husband tried it and decided it tasted like Febreeze. For my main, I had the swordfish which was served with creamy Jerusalem artichokes, French black truffle, sweet garlic parsley custard and cabbage bacon emulsion.
I would love to say that this was great, but I found it a bit bland. The whole experience at the restaurant just felt very impersonal. As an Orient-Express property, I had high hopes that they would be well informed about allergies. But it was very apparent that there was a lack of awareness and communication going on. I think that in Santa Barbara, if you charge a certain amount of money, an expectation of reliable service come with it. I don’t think we would go back for food, but it does seem like it would be a nice spot for a drink in the summer.