Category Archives: Scenes of Interest

Day Trip to Santa Barbara

It all started with reading a random article about an economical yet gorgeous wedding from Harper’s Bazaar:

“For dessert, guests chose between three gluten-free cakes: coconut, which is Matt’s favorite, a vegan carrot, and lemon-raspberry—all created by Lilac Patisserie in Santa Barbara.”
Ultimate Vineyard Wedding

Of course this merited a visit. With the power of friendship we loaded up into a car and took on the coastal city.

Lilac Patisserie
Starting off the day right with a spot of lunch at a completely gluten free establishment!!!! I stood outside for a moment, worried about it fulfilling my expectations like Rapunzel in Tangled with the lanterns. I thought if things go well I would order one of their cakes for my big day (riddle: which is harder to find, a good husband or a decent gluten free wedding cake?). We lined up and ordered for a sit down brunch. I had the omelette with a lemon meringue tart, lemon bar piece, and a slice of their berry patch cake. The tart crust is a little hard but has a nice cookie texture which I appreciated. Omelette was a little tough, much to my chagrin, but their fillings of bacon and ham were smoky and well sized. My favorites were the key lime pie and lemon bar, and I thought they did a lovely Coconut Cream Cake, and I don’t like coconut as a rule. I thought their quiche had a peculiar flavor which I couldn’t place but didn’t enjoy. I took a brioche and rustic white loaf to go (into our ready cooler in the trunk). I was pleased overall, of course I wish there were more places like this near me even if it’ll break the bank as their offerings come with a hefty price tag. It’s quite a charming place, and their service is nice enough. What I loved was that nothing tasted overly sweet, since they make things in the European style. Bravo, Lilac!

Santa Barbara Mission
Quite a picturesque location where one can meander and learn about some California history. In 1786 this Spanish mission was founded by the Franciscan order. They allow self-guided walking tours around most of the gardens and cemetery. Missions have a melancholy air as they tend to have dark and somber stories. On one level the serious reflection in the cemetery reminds us of our mortality and suffering in life. Then there is the forced culturization of the natives and their population being reduced by European diseases. So many tragic stories of the Chumash tribe and the San Nicolas islanders who were completely decimated. It is heartbreaking to hear about the greed and power of settlers but there is an echo of the simple lives of those who lived before and a hope not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream
A local staple of Santa Barbara where the flavors are unusual and the line is constant. The owners throughout the years were intense in their commitment to quality, from their customized imported dairy machines to their blind taste selection of dark chocolate. I thought it was funny how metal spoons are used for sampling but plastic is for the actual purchase. Seems the workers had it tough with their old fashioned scoops which they use to serve two mini flavors when someone orders a single (genius!). At long last I had a taste of their chocolate covered strawberry along with the pistachio amaretto. I expected a rich, silky smooth taste like that of gelato, but it was just sort of a creamy texture. I think it’s worth a try for their unique menu (clover, strawberry rhubarb, and Turkish coffee, anyone?).

Stearn’s Wharf & Santa Barbara Shellfish Company
Our grand finale on the beach, ya’ll. The restaurant sits at the end of the wharf and you can sit and enjoy fresh seafood while admiring the ocean view. I heard the box crab was delicious and I got more work than I bargained for. The flesh had some flavor and was tender, but cracking the spiny shell almost shredded my hands. As I live and learn, better order the clams next time.

A fulfilling day with tasty food and beautiful scenery. It is a blessing to walk along the fancy white buildings of State Street with its well off citizens. I would be good with coming back to taste more delights and snag a ton more desserts. Til next time!