Tag Archives: patio

Smithy

23 Aug

IMG_0081.jpgLast week, we went out to dinner with some good friends. We decided to try Smithy as we hadn’t been there since it had transitioned from Somerset. I just love their outdoor patio. It feels like such a beautiful, serene nook of Santa Barbara. You easily forget that you are steps from State Street. I started things off with a bang when I ordered their “Ortega Undead II: The Resurrection” to drink. It was a yummy, spicy tequila concoction. I was pleased that our waiter was aware of which dishes were not gluten-free due to cross contamination (our table shared the brussels sprouts and the crispy papas which were not GF).  I started with the Grilled Corn. It was served with zucchini, swiss chard, green harissa and queso fresco. Although the dish was simple, the ingredients were so fresh that I found myself wanting to order another one of these. For my main dish, I was tempted by the fact that they had homemade gluten-free pasta available. However, I went with the scallops. IMG_0097.jpgThese were served with an english pea risotto, asparagus and sugar snaps. Once again, the combination of fresh ingredients and a great execution made me incredibly satisfied with my choice. We skipped dessert, but I was almost enticed by their GF chocolate cake that was being served that evening. To be honest, I didn’t find a huge difference between Somerset and Smithy. Regardless, we will definitely be returning both for the food and the ambiance.

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Nook

13 Aug

IMG_9934.jpgI had my mind set on trying a new restaurant today for lunch, which led us to Nook located at the Waterline in the Funk Zone. I had checked the menu out ahead of time and was planning on ordering the blackened rock fish tacos. However, the lady behind the counter informed me that the rock fish hadn’t been delivered yet. She suggested the special halibut tostada instead. After going through the cross contamination conversation with her, I learned that they have a gluten-free fryer that is used for the tostada. Additionally, the fries are gluten-free as they are made in the GF fryer. Typically the halibut would be made on a grill that has non-GF items, but she had the kitchen make it for me in a pan. The tostada was served with a chili lime slaw, black bean relish, avocado salsa and pico de gallo and was topped with some queso.

IMG_9935.jpgThe fries were prepared with white truffle butter, pesto and parmesan cheese. The side patio was the perfect place to enjoy the food while people and dog watching. This is understandably a popular spot on the weekends as it is steps from all of the watering holes that the Funk Zone offers, including two spots within the Waterline.

Somerset

22 May

IMG_1324.jpgLast week, we went on a much needed date night to the newer restaurant, Somerset. We sat in the beautiful garden courtyard which has gotten a major facelift since the Arts & Letters Cafe days. With tons of copper patio heaters to keep you warm, it is such a nice setting to spend a Santa Barbara evening out in.

Our waitress was familiar with Celiac Disease which is always reassuring. She walked me through the menu pointing out which items were truly gluten-free and which would have cross contamination. We started with the Spring Vegetables which came with fava tendrils, salsa verde and crème fraîche. I loved the freshness of this dish, especially the perfectly cooked brussels sprouts and asparagus. I then ordered the Burrata with grilled asparagus, prosciutto, mustard greens, cured egg yolk and pine nut breadcrumbs. For this, I had to omit the breadcrumbs. IMG_1326.jpgIn hindsight, I would have passed on this dish as it felt very similar to the first starter we ordered. I also had it without the egg yolk, so perhaps that would have added a little more complexity to the taste to differentiate it from the first dish. For my main dish, I ordered Braised Short Rib Osso Buco.

IMG_1329.jpgThis was accompanied by polenta, swiss chard, cipollini onions and a horseradish gremolata. The polenta was about 50% butter which was awesome, because butter. But it  also made it so rich that I had a hard time finishing more than half of the dish. I think that had I skipped the starters, I could have polished this off as the meat was so tender. I wasn’t planning on ordering dessert, but then our waitress alerted me that their Chocolate Walnut Torte was made using Thomas Keller’s gluten-free Cup4Cup flour mix. Sold.

IMG_1331.jpgThe salted caramel was a fantastic addition to the torte. The only part of the menu that we didn’t explore was the cocktail menu as I am currently not drinking. However, one of our neighboring tables had a frothy looking concotion that looked quite intriguing. The restaurant is definitely a littly pricy compared to your average Santa Barbara restaurant. But sitting in that courtyard is worth it, even if you only go for drinks and dessert.