Cali Getaway

Mom and I had our SB trip this past weekend and it was fantastic!  SB as in Santa Barbara, not Spring Break, though it was a spring break for us in a way.  From Friday through Monday Mom and I lived it up in the California sunshine, driving in our sweet Camaro with the top down, enjoying the catch from the sea, each other’s company and some great adventures.  I already want to go back!

Friday morning we each flew to LAX, each arriving slightly delayed thanks to a runway undergoing construction.  But in our car and on our way down Highway 1 we were off shortly after noon.  Our first stop was for amazing fish, shrimp and pork tacos from a cute little food truck in Santa Monica.  We dined al fresco at the neighboring Ralph’s grocery store, where I later realized I left my purse for the weekend.  But all was good as it was a “safe neighborhood” and some kind soul brought it to the store where I claimed it several days later.  So sans-license we continued our drive down the coast to Santa Barbara, checking into our cute hotel for three nights at the Brisas del Mar.  Our king room was spacious and nice.  We were stocked with a bottle of bubbly and were informed of all of the perks that were offered by the hotel.

Our first task was to enjoy the wine and cheese hour which had just begun and which we indeed enjoyed all three nights we were there.  We sat on their terrace with wine and cheese and conversation for just over an hour, but an hour too much for some horrendous tan lines.  We changed and set out on foot to the beach, then to State Street to do some shopping, me buying a fedora-like hat and sunglasses, before getting hungry for dinner around 7:30 pm.  Since our one mystery shop in Santa Barbara was just around the corner we decided to do that and boy was it a delicious meal and good ambiance.  We savored some fantastic brussel sprouts, a kale salad, sea scallops with avocado, beet relish and grapefruit, and braised short ribs over a parsnip mash and broccolini.  We decided on the simple peanut butter chocolate local ice cream for dessert and left full and happy and walked back to our inn for the night.

Saturday morning Mom came in the room with breakfast in hand.  She got quite the selection from the continental breakfast and we enjoyed this at our leisure in the comfort of our room and in PJs.  But by 9 am we were at the front desk ready to get our free bike rentals and hit the trails.  We were lucky to get 5-speed cruiser bikes and set out again for the beach.  First 2 miles were leisure riding but not before long were we huffing and puffing up a steep and curvy incline on Cliff Dr.  We stuck to the designated Coast Route, not really sure where it would take us as we had done very little research on our ride.  This took us through horse pastures at Hope Ranch, then back down to a creekside trail, through neighborhoods, and then finally spitting us out at Goleta State Park where we took a quick break to enjoy the views and restroom.  We continued another mile or so up to the cliffside campus of University California Santa Barbara.  We found a marine reserve where we watched the surf lessons and enjoyed more sunshine.  We hopped back on the bike to the nearby campus spot of South Coast Deli.  We each enjoyed an amazing kale salad that was huge and went well with the local IPA that we split.  We took our time, soaking up the sun and enjoying our meal.  We took a different route back to Santa Barbara and ended up completing a 30-mile loop.

We returned our bikes and set out on foot to the beach to get in some R&R with our books and try to fix our tan lines to no such luck.  We made it back for the tail end of wine hour but also popped the bubbly and enjoyed it while showering and changing for dinner.  We waited for the sunset at Stern’s Wharf as well as for dinner at the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company.  We finally got our outdoor table on the wharf and decided to share the shrimp bisque, the local rock crab, and crab cakes.  All of the food was so so but eating on the wharf was fun to do.  We came back to the hotel to hot tub before calling it a night.

Sunday morning started much the same as the day before.  After a quick bite Mom and I each set out on a 4 mile run along the waterfront.  It was busy but enjoyable to see the sights.  We met back at the hotel, enjoyed some coffee on the terrace and then set out on foot for our Mothers Day yoga class.  The yoga studio was much farther than we thought so we made it to State Street and then got smart and caught the $.50 electric shuttle a ways.  We made it with plenty of time to set out our mats before class started.  The class was good and tough, especially after a run, but loosened us out nicely and we left feeling better than when we came in.  Feeling good we set back out on State Street, shopped a bit, then got lunch at a cute cafe next to the theater.  We sat on the patio and shared another crab cake dish, carrot and parsnip soup, sweet potato fries and salad.  Everything was very good and we had a great people-watching spot.

Fantastic lunch in the sun.

We made our way back to the hotel to enjoy a little bit of relaxation time at the pool.  It also happened to be wine hour.  Dinner on Sunday night was at the Cadiz restaurant for tapas.  We had a great table outside under their space heater and decided on three tapas; grilled octopus, steak kabobs, and sea scallops with pesto.  All three were well cooked but had very interesting combinations of flavors.  We enjoyed them but were too full to order anything more.  We walked to the Yogurtland nearby to use the coupons we had from the hotel to enjoy some frozen yogurt as a treat.

Our only time sunbathing at the pool

Monday morning was our last day in Santa Barbara and we decided to wake earlier and hit the hiking trails.  We fueled up on breakfast and made the short drive to the trailhead of the Romero Canyon Trail.  We had decided on this 10 mile figure eight loop as it was supposedly less crowded, a little more of a hike than the others, and with good views of the coast and mountains.  And that it was!  The entire way up was very gradual and enjoyed the coastal views throughout much of it.  We found a great lookout that we stopped briefly to share a snack and some water before continuing on.  At 7 miles we took a wrong turn which ended up adding about 2+ miles to our trip and led us on an interesting and narrow trail back to connect to the main one.  Once back on track we worked quickly back the steeper way to the car.  At this point we were over an hour late for our checkout so we quickly packed, showered and changed to get out quick.  Which we did.

We hadn’t seen the Mission so we drove to that, also saw the beautiful Courthouse before getting on the freeway.  Stop #1:  Best fish tacos and veggie tempura from this awesome place in Ventura, CA.  Stop #2:  Latte from Starbucks in Ventura.  Stop #3:  Ralphs in Santa Monica for purse.  Wrong Ralphs.  Stop #3:  Ralphs in Pacific Palisades.  Right Ralphs and collected purse.  Stop #4:  Beverly Hills.  Once in Beverly Hills we strolled Rodeo Drive, window shopping and being all girly, taking pictures in a rose booth and whatnot.

At 7 pm we found our way to the bar at theBLVD to begin an epic mystery shop.  Mom had the perfect manhattan and I got an old fashioned and we observed the clientele.  At this point we made the connection that we were in the hotel from Pretty Woman.  Awesome!  At 7:30 we were ready for our dinner reservation and were escorted to our table.  From this point on the night was magical.  More crab cakes, an awesome salmon dish, sea bream, cauliflower, and then a chocolate dessert to beat all other chocolate desserts.  We left so full we could hardly manage.  We made our way to our airport hotel, quickly changed into our comfy clothes, and hit the hay.

Our early alarm went off and we were up and moving.  Mom graciously dropped me off at the airport for my 6 am flight before she returned our ride and headed back to the airport to catch her flight at 7 am.  It was a wonderful trip and one that I will remember for a long time to come.  I love my mom!!!



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