We went to Santa Barbara for food, photos, and fun. And we had a LOT of all these. We LOVE to travel (almost as much as coffee *gasp*) and so these small escapades on random weekends are what keep us going through our busy, busy weeks.
1. Grand Central Market
We stopped at DTLA’s Grand Central Market before making the 2.5 hour drive up to Santa Barbara. If you’ve never been to Grand Central Market, it’s this really awesome collection of juice shops, farmer’s markets, coffee shops, ice cream shops, etc. It’s a crowded and busy little marketplace, so don’t expect a light-hearted sit down conversation. But there’s so much to see, so grab something to eat, and explore!
Eggslut: When we first got in line, we thought we were in for some breakfast. But by the time we got to the front to order, we were right on the cusp of breakfast and lunch. Eggslut was awesome enough to let us choose whichever we wanted. We chose to go with El Gaucho. If you know us, you know that we love meat and Eggslut did it right. The tri tip in this sandwich was to die for. It wasn’t salty. It wasn’t heavy. It was just the perfect amount of savory flavors. Also, there was an egg in the sandwich (fried, for those of you who just pictured a whole egg in the sandwich.. weirdos), and as we all know, eggs just make everything better.
Some of the BEST coffee we have had, the only complaint is the price. I’ts a bit expensive, but because we don’t live in L.A., it’s worth treating ourselves to it every time we’re around. We tried their milkshake, cold brew, and iced macadamia almond lattes. The milkshake is just the right amount of sweetness for coffee lovers like us; and it is STRONG. It’ll definitely give you that caffeinated sugar high to get you through the day. Their cold brew is a solid one. It’s low on the acidity and high on the flavor, like all cold brews should be. The macadamia almond iced lattes do NOT taste what you think they taste like. The blend of nutty flavors create such a unique taste, and the latte itself is incredibly smooth.
Left: Milkshake Middle: Macadamia Almond Iced Latte Right: Bottled Cold Brew
2. The Drive
Now the drive to Santa Barbara… makes us feel like we should walk around with go pros attached to our heads. Partially because the view was so beautiful, but also because of all the ridiculousness that ensues when we try to road trip anywhere. We’re both THE most directionally challenged people in the world.(Thanks to Tracie, direction giver extraordinaire we took a wee bit of a detour. And Jessica, being quite the genius herself, went cruising for 17 miles until she realized something was wrong…) It’s kind of sad. But the silver lining: some of the PRETTIEST things we saw on the road were because we got lost…
When we finally arrived in Santa Barbara, it was like stepping into a movie. So many parts of this city is done with Spanish (Spanish Colonial Revival) style architecture. Upon some research, we found that the city made a very concerted effort to create this very uniform look after the 1925 earthquake which destroyed huge parts of the city. Pair that with the blue skies and palm trees, SO California gorgeous.
Our first stop was food. We just HAD to try Norton’s pastrami. It was mentioned on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network hosted by Guy Fieri. Naturally, it did not disappoint. We had the NYC sandwich: Pastrami, Cole Slaw, Swiss, &Russian Dressing on rye. They also give you a little dish of pickles which perfectly balanced the sandwich.
There is a super cheap (to us LA goers) parking lot right across from Norton’s and it is literally a minute walk to State Street in Santa Barbara which is one of their bigger shopping areas. But before we headed to State Street, COFFEE. We headed to The French Press and got cold brews. It was a perfectly acceptable, satisfying cold brew. Didn’t knock my socks off, but can’t complain.
5. Alice Keck Memorial Garden
State Street was a cute little outdoor shopping area which was a great place to stretch our legs and walk off the meal we just ate. It was nice to stroll through and there were a ton of shops to browse through. However, we didn’t come to Santa Barbara to shop, so we headed over to the Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden, which was supposed to have some beautiful sights.
The Garden is not huge as far as square footage goes, but if you are nature lovers like us, there is SO much to see. Gorgeous trees, insects, a cute little duck and turtle pond with a gazebo, flowers, the list goes ON. It was nice and quiet even though there were a good amount of people around. It’s a great place to just sit and enjoy nature. Of if you’re like us, grab a good book and a latte!
6. Santa Barbara Pier
Next, we headed over to the Santa Barbara Pier for some seafood and the ocean breeze:
We ate at Santa Barbara Shellfish Company which was not the greatest food, but the service was friendly, the restaurant (more like a bar) had a cozy feel, and the view of course was great while we were waiting for our seats. It had 4 stars on yelp, but it’s gonna take a little more to impress our OC/LA taste buds. Sorry, Santa Barbara.
We had eaten so much that day that we decided on a lighter dinner. We ordered coconut shrimp which came with onion rings and a bread bowl of clam chowder because it was windy and COLD outside!! (Guess who got sick the next day? One of the lattes was not very happy)
7. McConnell’s Ice Cream
We decided that before we head back home, we should try McConnell’s Ice Cream, a mom and pop ice cream shop that originated in Santa Barbara and has now even expanded to L.A!
Although this photo only shows two flavors, we actually got four: Churros Con Leche, Toasted Coconut Almond Chip, Blueberry, and Chocolate Covered Strawberry. We LOVE our ice-cream, and McConnell’s does not disappoint. Their unique flavors are so creamy and bursting with happiness for your taste buds. Did we say we love ice cream? Because, we do. A lot.
These small trips are our life line. There wasn’t a whole lot of planning involved because it was just a day trip–no hotels, flights, car rental, etc. And that meant we didn’t have to hurt our bank! All we had to do was get in our cars and go. In all honesty, we could have each other, some coffee, and enjoy ourselves sitting next to a trash can (I kid you not, we would find something to laugh about). But in addition to the great coffee, company, and chats, Santa Barbara turned out to be a city that had just a little bit of everything–city life, nature, and the beach all in one place. There aren’t many cities that can boast having all three of these elements to their name. This little road trip was far enough to feel like a getaway, but close enough for a hassle-free daycation!!