California: Santa Barbara
Meyers and I really try to make a conscious effort to take advantage of our time in various regions. So while living in the sunshine state, we must do as the Californians do. This meant a weekend trip to Santa Barbara with our dog, Bella.
We booked our hotel late Thursday evening and left on Friday afternoon from L.A. around 3:00pm. (Note: After 1:30/2:00pm you will typically get very well acquainted with L.A. traffic.) But if there is ever a good time to get stuck in traffic, the drive down the Pacific Coast Highway is gorgeous driving slow!
Food, Food & FOOD:
BOUCHON: Intimate restaurant with quality preparation and local ingredients. Perfect for a special event or nice dinner.
MC'CONNELL'S: You scream, we scream, we all scream for... ICE CREAM.
BROPHY BRO'S: Being in the Marina, this restaurant has some amazing views and delectable seafood.
THE LARK: Family-style dining with beautiful presentations and even better flavors.
Take A Hike: KNAPP'S CASTLE
An easy family (and dog) friendly hike with great views of the coast, Channel Islands, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, Santa Cruz and Anacapa.
Relax At The Beach: BUTTERFLY BEACH
A dog friendly beach with ideal sunrise & sunset views.
Walk & Wine: URBAN WINE TRAIL
Self guided, walking wine tour through downtown Santa Barbara
Now, It's Time To Get Funky: THE FUNK ZONE
Don't be turned away by the name. This is currently Santa Barbara's most popular area for tourists and locals alike! Funk Zone is a new, contemporary district in Santa Barbara and home to many art galleries, microbreweries, farm-to-table restaurants, unique boutiques and nearly 20 wine-tasting rooms.
ZOO TO-DO: SANTA BARBARA ZOO
Ranked as one of the best small zoos in the country, SB's Zoo is a haven for nearly 600 animals and 6 different exhibits. Within their 30-acre area, the zoo is most famously known for Gemina, the giraffe with the crooked neck.
MY FAVORITES FROM THIS TRIP:
DINNER: BOUCHON || This might be THE BEST meal I have had in awhile! Their menu changes often (said the waiter) as the chef loves using local, in-season ingredients. Meyers and I first ordered some amazing crab cakes with fennel and grapefruit. AND OH, their house-made bread was out of this world! Naturally, Meyers and I needed two refills..
For our entrees, I ordered seabass and Meyers enjoyed the seabass and the lamb. (Yes, he ate two entrees.) For dessert, the menu featured Santa Barbara's favorite ice cream, McConnell's!
Overall, the restaurant is on the pricier side but well worth it!
DESSERT: MC'CONNELL'S || It's not only ice cream. IT'S FREAKING AMAZING ICE CREAM. Need I say more? Go there, you won't be disappointed.
BEACH: BUTTERFLY || Having a dog with us on the trip, left us with some limited beach options. But as I researched potential destinations, I continually read positive about Butterfly Beach. To be honest, I wasn't 100% sure after my online research if dogs were allowed. So after a minor Instagram investigation, I realized that dogs could be there!
Needless today, our little family packed up some towels, waters, SPF and headed over! Typically if you give Meyers and me the choice of a pool or a beach, we would prefer to lie by a pool. So for us to say that we would 100% go back to Butterfly Beach when we return to Santa Barbara, it would be worth making a stop on our trip.
Overall, the beach wasn't too crowded. It wasn't too pet friendly to where you spend half your time holding your dog back from trying to play. And, the people on the beach didn't look like they were a long lost relative of the loch ness monster. HA! In terms of location, Butterfly Beach is in a desirable area as it sits right between the Four Season's Biltmore and the ocean.