May 23, 2013

California Coastal Cruise Day 4- Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara was my favourite port out of all the stops we made in this cruise! Even though I loved big cities like San Francisco and San Diego, Santa Barbara had the perfect combination of coastal sunshine and small city charm. The downtown area is within walking distance of the beaches and the port. In addition, gorgeous Spanish architecture can be found all over the city!

Our day started with breakfast at the Traditional Dining Room.

The special of the day- a ham and cheese omelette- was rather rubbery and dry. 

My mom had soft boiled eggs, which came perfectly cooked.

Santa Barbara is a tender port, which means that the ship isn't able to pull up to the pier (usually because it's too shallow) and we had to be taken to the shore on a smaller boat.

There's also a shuttle bus that takes you from the pier to the downtown area and it goes up and down State Street (the main street in the city) for only 50 cents!

We wondered off the State Street to find lunch and it was such a treat to see all the pretty Spanish-style houses that lined the street.

After a 25 minute trek, we finally arrived at Los Agaves for lunch (highly recommended on yelp).

Complimentary chips are served at each table.

They have an amazing salsa bar to complement the chips. The salsas vary by hotness, and some of them are quite spicy.

I tried almost all of them, but but the green one was my favourite!

My mom and I shared two things- the first was queso fundido ($7.95)- diced roasted poblano chilies, combined with authentic Mexican chorizo and melted Oaxaca cheese. This was a cheese-lover's dream come true- a pile of oozy, cheesy deliciousness. But underneath all that cheese, there was a generous portion of chorizo.

It came with three homemade corn tortillas. We only managed to finish one because the cheese was way too filling on its own! This would've been a good sharing plate for 4-6 people.

We also had the Agaves Enchilada ($12.25)- fresh halibut and shrimp, red pepper and onion, topped with chipotle sauce, rice and salad with a delicious mango dressing. I have to say that I loved everything on the plate! The rice was super flavourful and the salad was incredibly light and refreshing with that tasty mango dressing! As well, the chipotle sauce was simply to die for. I managed to finish most of this plate but was stuffed for the rest of the day!
Los Agaves on Urbanspoon

After lunch, we strolled back to State Street for some shopping. They have a good selection of stores and the outdoor malls are all so pretty!

We actually spent so much time in Santa Barbara that we took the last tender boat available back to the cruise ship. 

Dinner that night was a little lackluster compared to my amazing lunch. The theme of the night was Italian dinner, and I started with the eggplant parmigiana. However, I didn't like the tomato sauce at all.

Mom had prosciutto crudo con melone (dry-cured ham with sweet cantaloupe melon). The melon is hidden behind all that meat.

We both ordered an iced peach bellini soup. I was so surprised that it wasn't served in a glass like all the other cold soups were. Even though it was essentially a cocktail, it felt really weird to be drinking it with a spoon.

For my main, I had pan fried veal scallopini with marsala wine sauce, green beans, cherry tomatoes and creamy mashed potatoes. It was a mediocre dish. 

My mom had gratinated sea scallops and shrimp in light cream sauce, crowned with floppy potato mash. There was something about that cream sauce that I really disliked, so I only took a bite. We were too full to have dessert that night, so we just grabbed some fruits from the buffet again. All in all, I had an amazing day in Santa Barbara!



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