It has been too long since I went away without a kid! There is no way to truly describe how much I was looking forward to this weekend. And boy, did it deliver!
My BFF Kiri and I soaked up some much-needed grown-up time when no one was touching us with sticky hands or asking for a snack. We spent multiple hours reading in a museum, browsing an antique shop AND we slept in until 9. I know, shocking, and totally impossible feats with 3-year-olds.
I took hundreds of pictures, as usual, so this really is the cream of the crop. The food and sights were pretty spectacular.
On our drive up, we stopped for dinner in Culver City. We just stabbed at the map (aka phone) and we got lucky and landed on a GREAT place.
We split a 3-meat plate with a side of Mac and cheese and slaw. I don't usually go for slaw but we disappeared this one quick! We had to try the banana pudding. It is particular to Maple Bar because of the peanut butter mousse and chilled bananas. I know, right??
(I am pretty skeptical when it comes to BBQ because I never order the right thing. Guess what I have learned from my husband? ASK THE EMPLOYEES. Hopefully you get a server who isn't brand-new but they will have tried most of the menu as part of their job and they should definitely know the house specialty.)
Going to sleep and waking up only having ourselves to worry about was a special treat.
Breakfast on day 1 was a pleasant surprise. We searched for a seaside brunch and our first look was at a place with 1 1/2 hour wait at a pet friendly beach. Nothing wrong with a wait but the beach was super crowded and smelled like pee. We called a place 10 minutes away. They had NO wait so we jumped in the car and got to eat with our toes literally in the sand and the food was fantastic.
OJ pancakes, where they actually mix in fresh orange juice with the flour before mixing the batter, are delicious and subtly spiced to taste a little bit like wassail. Not overpowering at all but I love wassail so much and I am here for this OJ pancake.
Also had to get chilaquiles because I love that they are becoming a popular breakfast dish (not just in SoCal) plus a bit of cod fish and chips!
Overall, extremely satisfied with everything we ate. The fruit was perfect and home potatoes were on point.
The table in the sand was lovely but we decided that even though our families would have loved to eat there with us it would have been a sandy mess of a meal with our 3-year-olds in the mix. Thank heavens for this weekend (and more to come) for adult-only time!
ok, I didn't know anything about the Missions across California. It was deeply disturbing to learn so abruptly but I am grateful that I was able to read the historical information in the museum tour under a lense of skepticism, with an attempt to read the truth between the lines. It reminded me of that line from Hamilton, "who lives, who dies, who tells your story". The narrative of the Spanish monks who came to 'save' the Chumash and other native tribes with religion and agriculture is skewed in favor of the white/European guys. I am still learning about it. It calls to me like nothing else has for a while. I am Mexican and I am ashamed that I don't know anything about this. I will stay on this deep dive until we can find a way to describe what happened to the native people rather than making it sound like someone did them a huge favor by destroying their existing life and culture.
In the past, I might have ended this paragraph with an apology if my feelings offended anyone. Welcome to 2021. We're talking about this stuff.
When we arrived at the Mission, it was hard to miss the Rose Garden. It was stunning and not even in full bloom yet. I wish I could go back to see it now. June is for ROSES (allll the heart eyes)
State street in Santa Barbara is a pedestrian street full of great restaurants, cute shops and boutiques. We wandered through a stellar antique shop, ate delicious ice cream, had an amazing dinner and got our nails done with the best service all within 100 yards of this darling street.
Antique Alley was full of treasures and incredibly entertaining to wander through. We lost track of time and found some stunning stuff. Among other treasures, I found a fascinating book about Jenny Lind (I only know about her because of The Greatest Showman) and I kinda wish I bought it but we're not really in a 'collecting' state of our lives right now. (We are moving homes at least 3 more times in the next year so less really is more at the moment)
There were a few ice cream shops on my list but we started with McConnell's (it started in Santa Barbara but has locations across southern California) and man, was it a great excuse to have dessert before dinner.
We got 5 different flavors and even though I would get all of them again, the Eureka Lemon and Marionberry my outstanding flavor.
For dinner we walked 3 feet to Apna Indian Restaurant.
I HAVE NEVER HAD SUCH DELICIOUS SAMOSAS. I would go back get 3 order of samosas and be perfectly happy.
But the butter chicken was also great and I love a lamb saag. Seriously though, the samosa....
The server brought a yummy tea with our check and it was boiling hot and just a little sweet, just the way I like my tea. Perfection.
We didn't walk all the way down State Street to the pier but there are places on our list for when we inevitably visit again. Hopefully soon!
Brunch is the best and this was really top notch.
We started with a charcuterie board, (because why not?), and it's my new favorite brunch appetizer! Coconut and pineapple pancakes that taste like a fluffy piña colada. If I see a smoked salmon Benedict on a menu, I don't look any further. Get in my belly! This one was served with avocado which was delightful. I highly recommend you travel with someone that is as chill as Kiri and will split all the food and not be afraid to over-order. haha but seriously, we probably did that.
We got a little distracted from our final hours in Santa Barbara/Montecito and it's kind of a funny story. Disclaimer* remember that we are busy moms and fairly chill humans who mean no harm!
We drove around to admire the houses in Montecito and during our little tour we spotted a celebrity! I was oblivious to the fact that we were deep in famous people country but Kiri had her eyes peeled and we followed the car to confirm: definitely Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson!
We felt like such creeps and we were sure that they knew we were following them (so so sorry!) but honestly, it was the best and most entertaining way to leave the weekend. It would have been harder to leave if we hadn't been laughing at how full-on childish we were being about seeing a celebrity.
Tom and Rita were probably headed to LA for something and we might have kept on their tail out of curiosity but we were running low on gas so our chase ended with our curiosity still high.
We pulled off the route home a couple of times to just walk and explore until we needed to get back to our babies and real life.
First stop, Malibu Pier