For months, Rob and I have been looking forward to spending a few days celebrating our anniversary in Santa Barbara. It's been a crazy few weeks for us (we haven't been home for a weekend since the end of March!), and even though it felt a little weird to pack up the car and drop Ender off at daycare yet again, it was pretty nice to get away just the two of us with no real plans to do anything but explore a place that was 100% new to both of us.
We decided to drive from the Bay Area so we could stop in Monterey. I've been a Death Cab for Cutie fan for as long as I can remember and ever since I heard the song Bixby Canyon Bridge, I've dreamed about seeing it in person. Then Big Little Lies came out and the bridge was in the opening credits, so I got even more excited about driving over it. It was a little out of the way, but totally worth it, and we stopped for lunch on the water in Monterey, which is always super nice.
The weather in Santa Barbara over the weekend wasn't great (mostly cold and windy with some rain), but we had a great time. Here are a few details:
Where we stayed: the Santa Barbara Inn. It was a bit of a splurge, but the rooms were lovely with big beautiful patios, the pool is heated, and the restaurant downstairs has an okay complimentary breakfast and a really nice happy hour every afternoon. It's right across the street from the beach so we'd take long walks in the afternoon and then go right to the bar for a drink and a snack. We had one sunny day so we spent that afternoon swimming in the pool, which was really fun.
Where we ate:
- Convivo (the restaurant in our hotel): We were so tired the night we got in that we ordered a pizza and dessert and ate in bed. One other night we accidentally had dinner there because we ordered so many snacks at happy hour that we were too full to eat anything else. The pizzas were really good and they had these delicious lamb meatballs on the menu, which I loved even though I usually don't care for lamb very much. The margaritas at happy hour were $5 and super tasty.
- East Beach Tacos: This is a cute little taco place that's attached to a batting cage. We ate here twice as well, for lunch on our second day and then before we left town on Sunday afternoon. The guacamole is some of the best I've ever had, and you can get any 3 tacos for $9, which was perfect for me and Rob. I had a grilled fish taco the first time and the grilled shrimp on the second visit. They were both incredible. And because it shares a parking lot with the batting cage, they also serve burgers and hot dogs and a kid's meal quesadilla, which I found really charming.
- Brophy Bros: Rob and I were so into this place--it reminded us of a California version of this bar we used to go to in Charlottesville (that's The Virginian for any of you Wahoos). It's small and cozy with a really cool bar, and there's a patio over the harbor that we waited a little bit longer for.
- McConnell's Ice Cream: So good! I got banana salted caramel (that was one flavor) and pistachio amaretto. The banana caramel was definitely my favorite. Rob got a milkshake and he loved it so much that we ended up coming back that same day after dinner for an ice cream sandwich (his) and a hot chocolate (mine).
- Loquita: I would go back to this place in a heartbeat. We decided to go late on Saturday night and luckily made a reservation--it was packed! Our table was outside, which I would have loved but it was super windy and kind of cold. Luckily they had lots of heat lamps out there and every chair was equipped with a fleece blanket. We were still a little chilly, but it was a nice touch, and it definitely helped. We ordered a couple drinks and shared the chicken and chorizo paella, patatas bravas, and gambas al ajillo. The food and cocktails were amazing and the whole vibe there was super romantic--perfect for an anniversary dinner (although I'd go again no matter the occasion).
I'm sure it's clear to you guys by now that all we really do when we travel is eat, but you can also find us walking 5-7 miles a day, taking afternoon naps, and watching whatever crappy television is on in the room at night. So...yeah, I guess we're just in it for the food.
If you've been to Santa Barbara, what were your favorite spots? I think we'll definitely be back!