Thursday, August 1, 2013

California Week: Santa Barbara Area

After our quick trip in LA, we headed up the coast to visit our dear friends who live in Carpinteria, just south of Santa Barbara. On our way, we took a quick detour over to Ojai. I'd never been, and wanted specifically to see The Farmer and the Cook, which I'd heard about for years. It's very much a healthy, organic (my husband says "hippie") spot, that has a great salad bar, and vegan options. We all love the salad dressing that they make—you can buy bottles of them.

Our friends brought us to this new coffee shop, the Handlebar Coffee Roaster. They make a nice iced coffee, and just across the street from it (and next door) is the El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Park. Although I didn't take pictures this time, our first stop whenever we go to Santa Barbara, is Rose Cafe, and we always get their Huevos Rancheros.

If you're ever in the Santa Barbara area on a farmers market day (downtown is on Tue and Sat), you have to go. Even if you're staying in a hotel and won't be able to buy any of the gorgeous produce, there are plenty of things you can buy for snacking or for bringing home. We always pick up some Barhi dates, walnuts, and hickory smoked pistachios.

Rory's Ice Cream is delicious--and she has a new shop in Montecito. We loved how she serves samples on real spoons.

Our friends' neighbor invited us to the Coral Casino—it's a private beach club, but if you're staying at the Four Seasons which is just across the street, you have access to it. It was the nicest beach club I've ever been to (not that I've been to many!) Seriously, it was so tastefully done--amazing facilities, great restaurant and bar, beautifully decorated...and on the beach--that I would totally splurge for a stay at the Four Seasons just to come to the club.

That salad was amazing, and could totally be shared by two. The food prices were totally fair at the Coral Casino, which was a nice surprise.

We love to visit the San Ysidro Ranch when we're in the area...we have never stayed there, but just to have a drink, and walk around the grounds, is incredible. The room above is a private dining room, and yes that's a fire going in the background. 
Their lovely lily ponds...
They make a mean old fashioned there...
And a tableside Crepes Suzette...

On our way to the Ventura flea market...we saw these campers. Yes, those are pink flamingos in the front of their camper.
We stopped for breakfast at the Faria Beach Cafe in the Faria County Park. Fantastic breakfast sandwiches.

And our last stop in the area was to check out the newly renovated El Encanto, which is now operated by Orient Express. It's up high in the hills, and I'm sure the view is amazing, although we had a very fogged-in day. We had a delicious Huevos Rancheros, and then took a tour of the spa and rooms. The spa treatments use organic products, and it looked great. Rooms and bathrooms are huge, and have really nice details. We loved the hummingbird feeders they had all around the property, and yes, we saw many of them buzzing around.


  1. oh my... I want this vacation exactly. Beautiful photos!!

  2. Your trip to Santa Barbara seems like it was a wonderful one! As a local I can tell you hit some really great spots. Next time you are in town you should come visit us at Industry Home (just 2 blocks from Handle Bar Coffee Roaster). We design and build furniture and lighting here in SB and opened just a few months ago.