Santa Barbara

Anderson’s Bakery for breakfast. This Danish restaurant and bakery has been at the heart of Santa Barbara for many years. They serve a wide variety of pastries and breakfast items to please everyone. If you’re lucky snag a spot on the patio.

Bouchon Santa Barbara From the same owners of Wine Cask. Delicious. They have a “Foodie Market Stroll” on Tuesday s that is highly recommended. The lamb chops where perfect. The wines are all local Santa Barbara County wines, nice selection, huge portions.

El Bajio Taqueria (129 N Milpas St). North Milpas is lined with taqueria’s and one look at any of the lines tells you they are all pretty good, and I can speak for almost all of them, they are worth the wait.  El Bajio is my favorite right now with a wide range of tacos, burritos, and my favorite, breakfast fare.

The French Press. They serve the best espresso in town, as well as a great selection of other drinks and some of the best pastries I have had in years (think croissants and strawberry basil balsamic “pop tarts”).

Le Café Stella (3302 McCaw Ave). I love this place for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Lovely patio plus indoor dinning.

Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant (131 Anacapa St.) Recently opened in late summer 2013.

Santa Barbara Farmers Market. Ok, yes, technically not a restaurant, however, some of the best fruit, vegetables, herbs, meat, seafood and other items I have every come across. Easy to go astray, and equally easy to find just what you need for a wonderful meal. Well supported by local farmers (many organic) as well as Edible Communities. Year round you can find one every day somewhere in the Santa Barbara/Goleta area. Recommended: Ridgeback shrimp from Gorgita Seafoods, honey from San Marcos Farms, and honey dates from DaVall Date Garden.

Taqueria Cuernavaca (at the corner of Carrillo and De La Vina Streets). Very good, huge assortment of tacos, and other assorted dishes. In the back they have a self-serve condiment station – a must.

McConnell’s Ice Cream (201 W Mission St). Great ice cream, lots of choices including toppings and cones. My favorite is the salted caramel in a waffle cone. Parking is tight so be prepared to haggle for a spot.

Wine Cask. They serve local seasonal foods.   Attached wine tasting room, event room and catering available. Great outdoor dining area for lunches and warm evenings.  Large wine selection includes new and old world wines, as well as California Wines, including Sandhi Wines Chardonnay.

St. Helena

Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen Fabulous meal (I had the roast quail with figs and arugula), and the wine list was a nice selection from the area and abroad. For those who are into desserts: I am unsure of who the pastry chef is…but the tart was one of the best I have ever had, and the chocolate cupcake with homemade pistachio ice cream was fabulous!

San Francisco