So… we took off for Christmas week and scampered down the coast to Santa Barbara for a romantic couples holiday break.
Best. Decision. Ever.
Apparently it rained vicious cats and dogs for most of the week at home while we basked in the 50 degree mostly sunny weather to the south.
We stayed at the Hyatt Santa Barbara, across the street from the beach and less than a mile from State Street (the main drag). The Hyatt was adequate, and much less expensive than the Four Seasons in which my hubs wanted to indulge. (I love that decadent spirit of his, but am too pragmatic to do such things more than annually). Views from our balcony were beautiful, the service was much better than average (the staff really was great), and the location was convenient. The restaurant was a bit disappointing but it could be avoided, there are plenty of options within a couple miles of the hotel.
The best meal we had was dinner at Bouchon, in the downtown area. It was epic and worth the splurge. Bouchon serves fresh local produce, meats, and fish. The wines are also local and were well paired. The service was wonderful. This is one of the best meals I’ve had in the last year and the staff were so on top of things, it was an absolute pleasure. Here’s a link to their yelp review in case you need more convincing.
Coffee was a problem on this trip. I love coffee. No. I mean really love it. And the coffee at the hotel was SAD. We went to a local coffee shop and a Starbucks, but it was disheartening. Until we found Muddy Waters Cafe, a funny little spot with sweet hippie staff… reminded me of college. There are some crummy reviews on yelp, but I had a great experience and DELICIOUS cappuccino.
Finally, we received a recommendation from a friend to check out Rori’s Artisanal Creamery for a scoop of knock-your-socks-off ice cream. We were not led astray. It’s in Carpinteria, about 10 miles south of Santa Barbara on the 101 and was definitely worth the ride. I had the salted caramel. Heavenly. And they use all organic ingredients, they even use cream from a farm that only grass feeds their cows. And you can use the short drive out here as an excuse to wander along some different, less frequented beaches, than the beautiful ones in Santa Barbara proper. Win, win.
Have you been to Santa Barbara? What were your favorite spots?