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Friday, 01 July 2022

The Cafe's, Gardens and Sights of Santa Barbara, California

Written by Russ & Emily Firlik
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This spring we traveled to Santa Barbara, California for the first time to visit our granddaughter. The random images we had of Santa Barbara were Spanish architecture, U2’s song about Santa Barbara (There is No End to Love), coastal views, healthy foods, sunshine, vineyards, hot springs, and plenty of sandy beaches - All true, but there is much more! Many reputable guidebooks can describe the wonders and sites of beautiful Santa Barbara. I'll mention a few of our favorites.


Our granddaughter wanted us to visit Lotusland in Montecito. One of the “ten best gardens in the world,” says one guidebook, and I agree. Founded by opera singer Gianna Walska, Lotusland is a 37 acre estate, and has 25 different gardens ranging from ferns, aloes, lotuses, lilies, palms, topiary and cacti. Spectacular in every sense! Well played, and thank you, Annika!.

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Annika's parents know the hippest cafes and restaurants in and around Santa Barbara. Incidentally, Santa Barbara Uni, pronounced on-née, is actually sea urchin and is a world-class delicacy. Restaurants: Ca’Dario and Tre Luna on the Coast Village; Secret Bao on Anacapri Street, in Santa Barbara - a modern Asian American restaurant; Tap Thai; Sun Sushi; Saigon Restaurant.

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Outside of Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley is Solvang - in the heart of California’s Central Coast of Santa Barbara County - we enjoyed the ramen at Ramen Kotori. In Ojai, in Ventura County, is Ojai’s new hip farm- to- table eater, Dutchess, located in the Santa Ynez Valley, along with countless vineyards, and small towns.


We are universally fascinated by cafe culture, and with coffee and matcha drinks. We are not experts in the art of coffee roasting, or in the intricacies that make coffee such a wonderful beverage. However, since we arrived in Santa Barbara we have experienced many delicious cafe lattes and matchas (from the Japanese “ma” meaning ground, and “cha” for tea), and some of these cafes roast their own coffee beans, including Caje, Handlebar, Dune and Dart.

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Last modified on Friday, 01 July 2022
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