Max’s Restaurant

After browsing in the Axxess Book for a new spot to try, Justin and I decided to visit Max’s on Upper State Street for a late breakfast / lunch.  Max’s is definitely a favorite spot for some of SB’s older residents.  In the 75% filled dining area, all but ourselves were over the age of 60 it appeared.  I have no problem with this and once I opened the menu my attention went straight to the food.  After opening the breakfast menu to the first page, I knew I was in a breakfast mood and would order something off that menu rather than the lunch one.  The breakfast menu was incredibly substantial as they offered 15 or so omelets along with any other traditional breakfast plate you could think up.  I decided to try the Max’s Quesadilla, which came with eggs, onions, bacon and cheese inside a whole wheat tortilla.  It came topped with sour cream and salsa with a side of potatoes and beans.  After a bit of a wait for our food, it all came out perfectly and tasted great.  The Quesadilla filled me up and had great flavor. We were able to use the Axxess card to receive 2 for 1 pricing and will definitely be back to use the 10% discount thereafter.

Would I Return: Yes

Worth the Price: yes

Total Price : $16 after discount and tip

Price: $ ($0-$10)

Max’s Restaurant Website

Menu

Menu

Max's Quesadilla

Max's Quesadilla

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Cielito

After attempting to dine at Ca Dario (too long a wait), we decided to check out the new Mexican restaurant, Cielito, which is located in La Arcada Plaza.  The inside of the restaurant is decorated wonderfully and has a big bar, nice seating and an upstairs and downstairs.  Cielito is essentially a tapas bar so we decided to order four plates between the two of us.  They all came out at different times, which was nice as we could really focus in on one flavor at a time.  The sopesitos came out first and was quite delicious, although small (a reoccurring theme throughout the meal).  The sauce that these sat in was tasty and we even used some on our other dishes.  The next item to come out was the tostaditos, which are mini tostados.  I preferred these over the sopesitos and found them rather similar.  The filete was even smaller than the other two plates and was cooked a little too much for my particular liking.  The taste and seasoning was good, but not nearly worth the price.  Finally we had the tamale, which I felt had the best taste (I’m a big tamale fan though).  Again the portion size for this was miniscule, but tapas are tapas I guess….

The service at Cielito was hit and miss.  Our server seemed very on top of things and had a friendly personality, yet we had to ask twice for both water and napkins.  During the meal our server checked in often and even helped guide us through some of the items on the menu, yet wasn’t clear on everything himself it seemed.

The mezcal flight was in my eyes the best deal we came across during this particular dining experience.  For $15 we got three substantial shots of Mezcal (type of tequila) for tasting, all of which were wonderful!  Not many restaurants in town boast a tequila tasting menu, which I found to be a great touch to the drinks menu.

All in all it was a nice evening out, however we felt slightly unsatisfied as we left the restaurant.  The great flavor made up for the portion sizes, but not enough to justify the price in my eyes.

Would I Return: No

Worth the Price: No

Total Price : $98.00 after tip

Price: $$ ($10-$20)

Cielito Website

Sopesitos

Sopesitos

Tostaditos Tinga

Tostaditos Tinga

Anticucho Filete

Anticucho Filete

Mezcal Intro Flight + Tamale Oaxaqueno

Mezcal Intro Flight + Tamale Oaxaqueno

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The Habit Burger Grill – La Cumbre

The Habit Burger happens to be one of the most successful, Santa Barbara born restaurant chains and also one of my favorite places to grab a quick burger.  We decided to visit the La Cumbre location because it has the most inside seating and happens to be their newest.  We lucked out upon arrival and came in with no line and quickly put in our order, finding a nice booth immediately.  Not to mention the FourSquare badge (see below) for the check-in!  The order happens to be pretty standard for me although it can definitely vary depending on the time of the day and the extent of my appetitie.  Tonight I was hungry… Going for the malt!  The order is as follow:

– BBQ Bacon Charburger ($3.85) add Cheese ($0.50) and avocado ($1.00) … This beast of a burger happens to be one of my favorites and due to my appetite on this particular night I decided to add avocado (what doesn’t it make better?).  The grilled onions are also a must for any of the burgers or sandwiches.  As always the burger came out delicious and was the first item to dissapear of my plate.  On to the onion rings and fries…

-Onion Rings ($1.95) & Fries ($1.80) … In my opinion the onion rings at Habit are far superior than the fries.  The fries come out a little soggy for my liking while the onion rings are nice and crispy!  You have to ask for ranch (so don’t forget) and I know Allison’s meal isn’t complete without it!

-Chocolate Malt ($2.95) & Chocolate Milkshake ($2.85) …  Both of these drinks make for a great dessert and can even be enjoyed during the meal.  The malt is usually my choice because of the malty taste it brings.  I tend to like bigger chunks but oeverall both are usually enough to bring a nice end to the meal.

Would I Return: Yes

Worth the Price: Yes

Total Price : $21.92

Price: $ ($0-$10)

Habit Website

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Flame Broiled Badge!

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Yep...

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Grilled Chicken Sandwich

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Chocolate Shake + Chocolate Malt = Heaven...

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Proper

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South Coast Deli – Goleta

South Coast Deli has long been one of my favorite places to grab a sandwich in Santa Barbara and ever since they started doing breakfast sandwiches this obsession has only become stronger.  This morning I decided to stop by the Patterson location before heading over to Jordanos for a quick breakfast.  Inside this location they have plenty of seating and is relatively mellow during the morning hours.  It’s always fun to watch all of the employees in the back putting together all of the office orders for later in the day.  With all of the companies in that area of Goleta, this location seems to specialize in office deliveries.  This morning was acrtually the first instance when I had to wait at the register for more than a minute before someone came to help me.  I was plenty fine with this as I could see everyone behind the scenes working their butts off and it didnt look like anyone was slacking in the slightest.  I’ve met both Dar and Jim (the owners) on seperte occasions and there couldn’t be a nicer couple and proffessional when it comes to running such a hopping place.  Their other locations (Chapala, Carrillo, IV) all have a faithful following and come lunch time they must be closed if the line isn’t out the door!

Today I ordered the Max’s Sandwich off of the breakfast menu which comes on sliced/toasted sourdough and includes scrambled eggs, bacon, pepper-jack cheese, tomato, and cajun mayo.  I was able to use my Axxess card for a free coffee (Peet’s).  The sandwich came out quickly and was as tasty and filling as usual.  This is a sandwich to have if your looking for a big breakfast or know you won’t be eating again until well after lunch time.

Would I Return: Yes

Worth the Price: Yes

Total Price : $7 ($6.50 + Tax) (Free Soda or Coffee with Axxess Card)

Price: $ ($0-$10)

South Coast Deli Website

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Receipt

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Max's Sammie

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Order Here

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Nicky D’s Wood-Fired Pizza

It’s amazing how the small stretch of De La Vina Street can have three quality pizza joints.  After having Taffy’s and Marty’s on various other occasions I was ready to try the newest of the three, Nicky D’s.  Nicky D’s uses a wood-fired oven and offers your typical pizza shop fare; pizza, calzones, salads, wings, etc.  The spot is overall pretty small with only a handful of tables and the prep area in the same room practically.  It was Allison, Justin and I on this particular occasion so we decided to order a few items.  We ordered the house dinner salad, 6 HOT wings and a large Nicky D’Lux (pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, olive, peppers, onion).  We were able to use our axxess card for a one time offer of 20% off the entire order, which saved us about $7 on our total.  The salad was enough for three people and came with a tasty italian dressing and mixed greens as opposed to iceberg.  The wings can be ordered three different ways (regular, hot and BBQ) and having decided on hot it was a good thing we had water nearby.  They were very spicy and came out dripping in sauce.  The pizza arrived soon after and was drenched in toppings.  The sheer weight of all the toppings made the inner area of the pizza rather flimsy, but the crust got crispier towards the perimeter.  I found the big pieces of sausage very flavorful, but felt they went a little over board with the red onion.  The owner looked to be making the pizzas and also came out to check on us which was a nice gesture I always appreciate.

Would I Return: Yes

Worth the Price: Yes

Total Price (after discount and tip): $33 …. Full Mixed Green Salad: $7.95 Six Wings: $5.95 Large Nicky D’Lux: $21.95

Price: $$ ($10-$20)

Nicky D’s Website

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Serious Signage

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NY Style

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Slice Me

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Marmalade Cafe

Marmalade Cafe is tucked inside La Cumbre Plaza and offers a diverse menu with options for everyone. Today was the first time I ventured in for happy hour and was pleasantly surprised, although not overwhelmed. The happy hour is restricted to the bar, which is unfortunate because the bar sits in front of the front door causing a cold draft. Allison and I just wanted something quick so we ordered the Fried Calamari, an Anchor Steam and an Amstel Light. The calamari was $6 while each bottled beer cost $5. I was a little bit disappointed that they had nothing on tap, but their selection was good enough to get me by. The calamari came out quickly and disappeared off the plate just as quickly. It was good, but in no way the best I’ve had. Overall we had a nice trip into Marmalade and will no doubt be back again!

Would I Return: Yes

Worth the Price: Yes

Total Price (after discount): $20 after generous tip

Price: $ ($0-$10)

Marmalade Cafe Website

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Drinks

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Fried Calamari

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Zaytoon

Zaytoon has been one of my favorite restaurants in town since I went for lunch there with some friends and fell in love with their chicken shwarma. That being said I was bittersweet about tonight’s reservation as it fell in the middle of the BCS National Championship game.

Sitting outside at Zaytoon is a must as the ambiance is top-notch with high seats, fire pits, plenty of foliage and beautiful lighting.  Although we didn’t partake during this particular meal they also offer hooka and various flavored tobaccos.  We started off by ordering a bottle of the Acacia Pinot Noir which happened to be half off, along with all other bottles, on Mondays.  As much as I love the chicken shwarma I was determined to try something different this trip as I knew I’d be able to poach some off of Allison’s plate.  I chose the lemon chicken and as we waited  pitas and homemade olive tapenade were dropped off to the table.  Our starter salads were delivered next, which accompany all entrées and is always a great start to their meals.  The lemon chicken was amazing and very saucy, which is how I like it.  The rice that accompanies most entrees is always moist and flavorful.  I was glad to have tried another dish, but I still choose the chicken shwarma as their reigning champ!

Would I Return: Yes

Worth the Price: Yes

Prices: $17.95 Lemon Chicken, $19.50 Acacia Pinot (after 50% Discount), $17.95 Chicken Shwarma

Price: $$ ($10-$20)

Zaytoon Website

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Lights Outside

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Table Fire

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Chicken Shwarma

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Pita for Starters

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Lemon Chicken

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Baskin Robbins

Since I showed so much restraint during dinner by ordering a salad, we decided to splurge for desert and headed over to Baskin Robbins on Upper State Street. With a place like Baskin Robbins you pretty much know what your gonna get both service and food wise. Per usual we each tried three different flavors after which I decided on a single scoop of Cake Frosting inside of a sugar cone. We were able to use our Axxess card for the second time in one night as we received another single scoop for free (one time offer). Allison decided to go with the “classic” Pralines & Cream in a sugar cone. The young girl working was plenty cordial and a good sport about our trying different flavors (as she should be). The store was clean inside and our trip was overall a good experience.

Would I Return: Yes

Worth the Price: Yes

Total Price (after discount): $2.74

Price: $ ($0-$10)

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California Pasta

After creating this blog just a few days ago my mind began to swirl about which restaurant would be my inaugural entry.  My first choice was Petros, a new, highly-regarded greek restaurant, but due to a trip down to LA our meal there has been postponed temporarily.  Following an afternoon of watching football today, Allison and I found ourselves strolling through Paseo Nuevo looking for a quick bite to eat before going to see “My Week With Marliyn”.  We decided to stop in at California Pasta, where we knew we’d be able to eat a quick and light meal while also using our Santa Barbara Axxess card for a discount.  I definitely hadn’t anticipated writing my first blog about a quick service restaurant like California pasta, but it was our experince there that reminded me just why I’m writing this blog.

When we first walked in there was no line so we went right up to the register to order.  We both decided to order the Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad which comes with avocado and garlic bread.  Each salad cost $9.50 and the one time axxess deal gave us $6 off one of them.  Our salads were dropped off by an employee we thought was a customer at first considering that they had been talking on the phone, eating and taking up a table for four just prior to dropping off our food.  As we ate our food the line stacked out the door, all the tables filled up, and this employee continued to talk on her phone without a worry in the world.  It was at that moment I new I wanted to make this experince my first blog.  It encompassed so much of what I go through on a daily basis and my inspiration to do this blog in the first place.  These are the details I always seem to notice and have a different view of following my own experiences within the food industry.  Luckily for California Pasta they are not viewed by any stretch of the imagination a “fine dining” restaurant so these actions aren’t detrimental.  It’s the quality of the food and the promptness in which its delivered that should be the benchmark for a restaurant like this.  California Pasta not only brought out our dishes quickly, but they also left us satisfied as the chicken was seasoned well, the salad wasn’t over-dressed, the avocado was big and the garlic bread was nice and toasty (just how I like it!).  This trip to California Pasta was not my first and will not be my last as they consistently leave me satisfied.

Would I Return: Yes

Worth the Price: Yes

Total Price (after discount): $14.67

Price: $ ($0-$10)

California Pasta Website

Welcome Foodies!

A restaurant blog written by a restauranteur…. Focusing on, but not limited to, beautiful Santa Barbara!  Welcome and Enjoy!