My blog won't be filled with journal entries or a be a personal mission statement of any sort. My purpose here is to help those in need of advice on simple recipes as well as where to eat in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Whether it be restaurants or favorite dishes, I have many favorites and will share them in this forum. My idea began after offering advice to colleagues, friends and strangers alike on one common topic: my favorite places. It may boil down to a matter of taste, I do realize, and only in an effort to gain some credibilty will I add that, so far, every suggestion I have made has been a good one (so I have heard). Why, you may ask, would anyone seek my advice? I have no idea, I just hear that people seem to really enjoy my suggestions. Please feel free to disagree.
I grew up in Santa Barbara and went to school there as well (UCSB). Because my family and friends are still there, I am a frequent weekend visitor. Everytime I reach the Santa Barbara County line I remember why Santa Barbara is such a great weekend destination particularly for we Angelinos who need to slow down, recharge and breathe in some clean air. Whether it's wine tasting or beaching, one cannot help but take in the crisper, cleaner air and know that things will be better, at least for the weekend. No traffic. No aggressive drivers. No honking. A weekend or longer in Santa Barbara will leave the hungry or ready to shop satisfied and then some. The restaurant scene is fabulous. Foodies the world over will be content in knowing that their culinary fantasies can truly be met on the California Riviera. The nightlife pales in comparisson to that of LA but that's probably not why most people come to Santa Barbara in the first place. Bars and lounges are more the local flavor. And the amazing brunches will make you happy you didn't stay out all night.
My post Santa Barbara days have been spent in Los Angeles. I'm coming up on my fourteenth year in the city of Angels and have to say that the best part of living here are the restaurants. My area of knowledge really lies in the west side eateries, i.e Santa Monica and Venice, but I will defintely venture past the 405 for some high quality food ala Ink or the Bizarre. There is nothing that makes me happier than grabbing the LA Times first thing on Saturday morning for the notorious food critic, Miss S. Irene Virbila's write up. And I do get a lot of my dining ideas from Miss Irene (and often disagree). Jonathon Gold has also been influential, his knack for the obscure and off the beaten path has given me new inspiration; he really knows his ethnic hole-in-the-walls and I am in no way scared to try them. NYC aside, I think we live in the food mecca of the country; LA is such an amazing city when it comes to food and there is no city I would rather sink my money or my mouth into.
Having worked in the entertainment industry all of the thirteen plus years I have lived in LA, I have definitely taken clients to a fair share of watering holes. Of course, with age, my tastes have changed and loud, crowded Hollywood bars and clubs have been traded in for outside tables at hotel bars or restaurant patios. I am a wine enthusiast and almost equally love a good beer. I do know some great old dives but that is not my forte, by any means. I like a place where I feel comfortable. Like the restaurants in LA, there are a slew of watering holes and finding the right one is like finding a needle in a haystack. But once you do find it-- you'll want to keep going back...