Life of Late ~ 11.20.15

Get this. I’m home again.  In California.  Sort of seems surreal to be honest since this is my first Thanksgiving at home in a few years.  Some people think it’s silly to travel so much around the holidays, but hey, it’s one word – “family”.  Sure, I could be using this time to travel to places outside the United States and make the most of the fact that I’m halfway there (hello direct flights to Europe), but there’s time and place for that.  I do however happen to have a bit of a travel itch and have been trying to set a plan for 2016 and of course consider the important things like budget and days off.  For now, I’ll be enjoying some west coast love.

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^^ Being home means I don’t get to see these lovely ladies and my New York NP crew. Alas, there’s always NP_LAX.  Also, We looooooove our Lululemon shorts.  Even in the fall.  Even when it’s raining.  Especially when they are on sale in the We Made Too Much section.

IMG_3449^^ What we at November Project call the bounce.  Because every workout requires a mighty good warm-up. Safety first, right?

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^^ Updated view of the park.  So long to those harvest leaves and (almost) hello to bare branches.

IMG_3429 ^^ Throwing it back to that good ‘ol casual style.  You know, I probably will wear sweats more often while I am home than I do in New York. That is because my house is built like an igloo (meaning one wears layers upon layers to stay warmish) and my apartment has central heating (blessing and a curse) so we just walk around dressed as if it is summer.

IMG_3461 ^^ Why hello Jo Malone.  The Columbus Circle mall just opened a fine and fresh scent shop and if I’m not careful, I’ll be spending a good deal of my lunch breaks there.  Or in Whole Foods.  Or Williams Sonoma.  Or JCrew.  Basically a mall that has too much good stuff.

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^^ With the holidays comes the return of the gorgeous star decor inside the mall.  I haven’t seen a full on musical production just yet, but I’m sure we’ll catch a glimpse after the Thanksgiving holiday.  I know it’s not Macy’s Christmas Spectacular, but I do recommend checking it out if you are in the area 🙂

Mashable ~ “35 Career Goals” ~ Know your strengths, weaknesses, when to say no, and just know you.  Too often we start to say things about ourselves that aren’t true (are we detail-oriented or do we just want to be detail-oriented?)  Pick a side project, get involved, learn how to delegate and try something that scares you. 

The Muse ~ “13 ‘Crazy’ Interview Questions That Awesome Companies Will Ask” ~ Well, if that’s any indication of the complexity of the applications, I’m not sure if I’m ready for the likes of Google or Apple just yet.  Let me also say that my answer to one of the Tournament of Roses Court questions – what’s your favorite class? – was “lunch”.  Yeah that’s a real winner Kaitlin.  Obviously didn’t get asked back and probably got an eye roll and talking to from my mom.  What can I say?  I’m a keeper. 

Elle ~ “The Case Against Career Ambition

Ali on the Run ~ Just her blog in general makes me happy.  I’m slightly biased since we share a birthday.  Naw, she’s just real and it’s amazing.

The College Prepster ~ “4 Ways to Break Your Digital Addiction” ~ Boy, isn’t this one true.  Let’s just say that my phone is at 49% by noon most days.  More often than not, I feel like stranded without my phone.  No means of getting in touch, scheduling with others or even my own schedule (sad but I live through my iCalendar), etc.  But then there is another part of me that feels relieved.  As if I don’t have to respond to anything and it’s a way of saying get out and do something different.  There are many times that I think to myself (while scrolling through some stupid app while watching TV), that I’m wasting my brainpower.  Isn’t that sad?  People used to read books and educate themselves or learn a new skill.  I sit and scroll and swipe and respond to things.  I’ll probably add something related to this in my 2016 resolutions but for now, I’ll just try to be more mindful. 

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^^ Thanks Coach Brian for being an epic runner who can not only run a marathon, but have enough energy and stamina to run around the water coolers taking pictures of all of us and then go off and chase down whoever he was running with or pacing.  That’s what we call #beastmode.

Dinners with friends are hands down the best.  Especially when you get to eat at places like The Cellar – a restaurant in Beecher’s Cheese Place.

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^^ world’s best mac & cheese + kale & red peppers mac + harvest flatbread

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^^ PUMPKIN PUMPKIN PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE.  Seasonal selections for the win.

Volunteering for work means catching glimpses of Neil Patrick Harris, Taylor Schilling (aka Piper), Sharon Stone, Kathy Griffin (who is actually hilarious), Common, Kelly Ripa (tiny tiny thing), Chris Noth (Mr. Big), Zachary Quinto, and my favorite –  Anderson Cooper.  It also means listening to stories about individuals like you and me, making big changes in the world and giving back way beyond belief.  I’m talking about CNN Heroes, which will be broadcast on Sunday December 6th at 8pm ET.  I highly highly recommend watching this.  You might need a box of tissues as well.

Buzzfeed ~ “13 Reasons Thanksgiving is Not a Holiday for the Weak” ~ TRUTH

IMG_3420Have a fabulous weekend, enjoy the week of the turkey, and share your love and thanks near and wide!

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NP-LAX, Family Time, and a Wedding

First up, a big thank you to all of our veterans, those who have served and who are serving today.  I appreciate your courage and dedication to this nation.

Looking back, this weekend all seems like a blur.  I flew out on Thursday night and was able to take Friday off of work.  There was an epic hill workout with November Project Los Angeles, coffee and shopping with mom, the new James Bond movie with the parents, and oh, a wedding!

IMG_3347 ^^ Whenever I’m home, I try to walk and hike as much as possible.  Sure, exploring the streets of New York keeps me going, but views like this sure trump the increasing homeless population in Union Square.

IMG_3349^^ My friend Laura and I may have gotten lost on our morning hike, but the views were worth the extra half hour detour. (^ photo creds to Laura’s iPhone 6)

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^^ After the hike, Laura and I met up with our other two friends for a little carbo loading before the wedding.  I went for Dish’s selection of pumpkin pancakes, bacon (eh, I’ve had better), and over-easy eggs.  Of the lot, I would say the highlight was the maple butter on top of the pancakes.  I’m not a huge fan of big breakfasts (or pancakes for that matter…lapse in judgement and sold on the holiday aspect), but it was fun to meet up with friends and catch up.  My random thought from the morning was that unless you spread the butter evenly on the bottom pancake, it gets far less love and doesn’t taste nearly as good as the top.  So here’s to the bottom pancake.

Later on in the afternoon, it was time to paint my nails, get ready, and head over with some girl friends to the first wedding of our friend group.  These two have been dating since high school and are THE CUTEST.  It wasn’t a matter of if they would get married, but rather, when.  Honestly, there were tears and laughter, the whole shebang.

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^^ The entire family is beyond crafty (#lifegoals) and made a majority of the signs and structures (note the epic contraption below, which was used as the backdrop of the wedding ceremony)

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>> west coast to east coast love <<

IMG_3393 ^^ High school mini-reunion basically better than any reunion we will be having in the near future.

Once the ceremony was over, we moved our way inside to test out the special “His” and “Her” drinks >> Dark & Spicy (dark rum, allspice dream, ginger beer, lime) and Greyhound (gin, ruby red, grapefruit juice) and explore the seating.  The dinner menu was on point with family style platters filled with chicken, grilled vegetables, steak and chimichurri sauce.

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^^ COOLHAUS COOKIE BAR FOR THE WIN.  This baby was made up of the snackfood cookie (pretzel and potato chips similar to this recipe), gluten-free coconut almond chip, and candied bacon ice cream.  The true winner ice cream was the seasonal boozy selection, which was a take on a cherry manhattan.

{cookie options included: chocolate chip, coconut almond chip, ginger, and snackfood w/ ice cream options: balsamic fig & mascarpone, seasonal boozy, nutella almond, brown butter, and candied bacon}

Their wedding was beyond amazing.  The food, the atmosphere, and decor.

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^^ How adorable of an ending.  The two met in orchestra back in junior high, hence the music note.  Then the truffles were made by a little venezuelen chocolate store in Pasadena.  Absolutely DELISH.

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^^ Sunday called for a walk with the Bodie man, a walk with a college friend, and a few foodie finds at the local Sprouts market.  I’m a sucker for overpriced health items, but this gem was a steal and oh so tasty.

Later in the afternoon, I played a round of golf with the parents, helped make dinner back at home, and then it was off to take a red-eye back to NYC.  There’s really no good way to get back and forth from west coast to east coast.  At one point in my life I thought I would be open to traveling for business.  After countless flights this year, a couple red eyes down and a few more to go, I don’t know if I’d like that lifestyle.  But, never say never.

“The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It’s a choice you make – not just on your wedding day, but over and over again – and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife.” — Barbara de Angelis

LA Eats: The Village Bakery and Cafe

Though I am from Southern California, I have spent very little time outside the realm of Pasadena.  No exploring of the hipster coffee shops, countless hiking trails, and nifty hole in the wall treasures.  Well, now that I’ve made that my life out in New York (exploring as MUCH as possible), I figured I would give California a chance to shine through, even in the unfamiliar territory across town.

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When I was home over the summer, I took my mom to the Wednesday November Project – Los Angeles workout at the Hollywood Bowl.  I was able to work via my cellphone (woohoo technology) and my mom was off for the summer, so we decided to splurge and find a breakfast treat nearby.

IMG_1026 ^^ Obsession with tiles much?  But really, these stones remind me of the architecture style you see all throughout Santa Barbara.  Something about that mission style and flair.

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^^ My mom had taken my grandma to this village bakery & cafe and thought I would love it just as much.  How can you not fall in love with the exterior and bright colors?

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Inside you will find an extensive menu and bakery items.  The menu is perfect for breakfast, snack, lunch, or dinner.  I was even eyeing some of the sweet treats for later, because #willrunforsugar. 

IMG_1037 ^^ Like I said, how can you not fall in love with this vast array of pastries?  Usually I pass up on some of the muffins and breads, but with an array like this, I could have sampled each and every one.

Some of the favorites include the maple bacon scone, olive oil cake, and various bars. Don’t they just look divine?

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^^ Even the interior has a certain charm with the communal tables, bright paintings, and iron-like chairs. In some ways, I want to say “it’s so L.A.”, but I’ll have to spend some time figuring out exactly what that means 😉

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^^ My mom stuck to a simple scone and latte, while I sampled the granola, fruit, and yogurt combo – filling and oh so satisfactory.

And of course it wouldn’t have been right to leave without sampling something extra buttery and delicious.  We did workout after all 😉 #s’moresbarearned

IMG_1043Village Bakery & Cafe
3119 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039
M-F: 8am-7pm
Sat-Sun: 8am-4pm

*Make sure you check the streets for information on street cleaning! You don’t want to find yourself with a parking ticket!

There’s No Place Like Home

Home.  What in the world does that even mean?  Where you grew up? Where you live now? Does it have to be a full-on brick and mortar house with a yard?  Are you a roaming nomad?  For those of you who have graduated from high school and entered into the college or adult world, I’m sure you understand what I’m talking about.  We all reach a point (usually that big 1-8 birthday where you are legally considered an adult) where it’s time to live our own life.  You probably have left the nest and created a world of your own – you call the shots on when to go out, when to go to bed, what to eat, and how often you change your sheets.  Ok, that last one might be a little gross but it’s all about learning to live on your own.

When I went to college, I left a little piece of me back in Southern California.  I thought it was a given that I would move back to LA.  It’s where I grew up, where my family is, etc.  It was home.  I didn’t really give Santa Clara a chance and instead spent too much time worrying about classes and if I was involved enough or ready for the outside world.  I would just dip my toes in the Silicon Valley, never letting myself admit that I could adapt to Northern California ways.  I spent too much time looking back rather than in the moment.  But then something happened.  When I went home for the holidays, it no longer felt normal.  People had moved away, stores had changed and I didn’t know where I was supposed to fit into all of that. For some reason I thought that nothing would change, no one would grow older, and it would all stay the same.

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When senior year started, I decided I needed to change things up.  I wanted another shot at what my dad called “reinventing myself” or really just letting my true personality shine – no holding back and no worries if some people couldn’t relate. I decided to move to New York and there is where things fell into place.  I stopped worrying what people thought about me, I started focusing on the things I like to do – like exploring and working out – and started to make some really good friends.  I let people get to know the real me and stopped presenting a version of who I thought I should be.  It started to feel like home.  Every time I left to visit my family or explore another part of the east coast, I would get excited to see the NYC skyline or the tall skyscrapers from a distance.

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Living in New York has been one of the best decisions I have made.  I love the fast paced life style, the diversity of people, and the wide range of opportunities available.

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^^ It took me almost a year to find out about November Project but I am 100% certain it has contributed to my happiness here.

11221751_948895365133721_90525601569340533_o ^^ Then there are these people.  My np_nyc tribe.  I’m sorry but the np_lax just didn’t feel like home.  I’m sure I would fit right in after a few weeks of workouts and hardcore dedication – that’s after all how I started to make NYC feel like home – but I just missed my friends and the other familiar faces

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^^ So maybe my life is built up by working out and November Project.  That’s not too much a problem though since we are the work hard & play hard types of people.  I think life can be about finding people with common interests and making the most out of those relationships.  If it means you see them once or twice a week or maybe daily, then so be it.  But we shouldn’t force ourselves into situations that constantly make us unhappy or uncomfortable.  Even though I’m only 24, I feel as though I’ve experienced enough of that.  I’m done with feeling insecure and the odd man out.

Then I flew back to Southern California for the 4th of July.  I saw family, I went to the mountains, I went to the beach, and I saw friends who had just moved out to the west side of Los Angeles.

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Sure there was traffic, but there were views like this ^^.  We went running on trails and then had breakfast in a popular coffee spot (Urth Cafe – Spanish latte or Spanish granita – get it and you will not be sorry) by the beach.   Life was somehow easier in a way but more difficult in other ways.  My brain started to become muddled with what to do.

IMG_1025^^  Yes, this happens but then so does this:

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^^ For goodness sake I’m only 24 but I feel like the weight of the future is resting heavily on my shoulders right now.  There are people going to med school and getting engaged and even married with kids!  I know this feeling of confusion is going to be a long one – that’s why there are articles out there like Though Catalog’s “The Hardest Things People Had To Learn in Their 20’s“.  Yes, I admit, a lot of this is #firstworldproblems so I apologize if this seems trivial.  Let’s just say being back in California for an extended period of time was odd and I felt like I was in limbo.  No doubt I would like to move back there some day, but when?  The answer is I don’t know right now.  Maybe it’s a year or maybe it’s longer.

IMG_1022^^ Maybe the real decision should be based upon the wide variety of acai bowls offered?  I may have selected Santa Clara as my college of choice because they offered a “make-your-own-parfait” on the weekends. True story.

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I know that I like being close to my family – being able to golf or go for a hike or go out to dinner.  I know that I like having my own schedule and having a constant list of places to explore here in Manhattan.  I wish that Los Angeles didn’t rely so much on driving and the west side was closer together (wishful thinking).  I wish that New York was cleaner and that it was easier to escape the island and explore the coast (problem – I need a car/place to stay that’s relatively cheap…recent graduate problems).

I write for fun and to connect with people.  I read blogs to feel a commonality and have made some excellent friends through it.  I read blogs like Ali’s to feel validated in showing my quirky personality and that things work out, and I read posts like Sarah’s to know that we are all thriving and struggling at the same time.  We have become friends outside of the blogging world and are usually two peas in a pod.  (or insert dancing emoji) 😉

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^^ View from my run over the Manhattan bridge (accidentally on the biking-designated side) to NP in Brooklyn last Friday.

I’m fully aware that I don’t have to have my 5-10-15 year plan figured out right now.  I know that things change and the next year(s) will be life lessons in themselves.  I could learn to love the city and east coast even more or another winter could do me in.  Who knows?  For now, I’m happy in this crazy place I call home, at least for now.  I know my mom has heard this discussion too many times to count, so sorry mom.  Now that it has been written and published for the world wide web, I will let it drop and just go out there and carpe diem.  Let’s live it up for the moment, sound good?

Does anyone else feel the pull between comfort (often w/ family) and adventure (and growth)?  Does there have to be such a divide?  

It’s Time for Dodger Baseball

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A trip to Los Angeles is never complete without a Dodger Game.  Sure you have the Lakers and Clippers and even USC Trojans, but let’s be real – the Dodgers are where it’s at.  Having been born in raised in the Los Angeles area, I’ve been lucky to visit the Ravine since I was just a baby.

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^^ No joke, here I am just over a month old!  (benefit of visiting home means access to perfect throw-back pictures) 😉

So, factoring in about 25 years worth of games, that means that we have had the privilege of seeing the Ravine change over the years.  From faulty food choices to the addition and removal of gaudy advertisements, from the omni-presence of the 76-ball in the outfield to the flashy 21st century ads from advertisers that pay bigger and better prices.  There was the time that Frank McCourt took over and then there was the time that he made such poor decisions that when we saw him at the stadium, my mom gave him a piece of her mind.  But we also met Tommy Lasorda and hopefully will one day run into the great Vin Scully.  He truly is a piece of history and a piece of the Dodgers. 

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Though New York does play host to a couple decent teams, I will never stray from my National League roots (Heyyyyy Brooklyn Dodgers!).  There was almost a time where I purchased a hat at Met’s Stadium (because souvenirs are plain ‘ol fun) but refrained to stay true to my boys in blue (the REAL blue).

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Not only has the stadium evolved over the years, but the food options have improved tremendously too! 

IMG_7567  This was a nifty addition to the park – a decent looking bar overlooking the field (located behind right field)

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Tommy Lasorda’s presents a little bit of Italian flare and flavor with options like classic NY pizza (one would have to sample in order to verify the “classic” element) chicken parm sandwich, or Italian sausage with grilled peppers and onions.

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 If you are looking for some hot dog options, this is definitely your paradise.  It’s one stop short of Pink’s, without the extra drive or wait!

IMG_7573^^ I was tempted by the bacon wrapped hot dog, especially since they used to serve them after every MLS Galaxy Game, but went for a  turkey burger on wheat bun option instead.  (we packed in our own peanuts + veggie bags to help supplement the stadium eats)

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^^ SWING BATTER SWING

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^^ Anyone remember the Olympic dancing sensation Kate Hansen?  Kate actually grew up in my community and I played soccer with her (and we were in 7th grade choir together…), so it’s neat to see what she is up to these days.

IMG_7587 IMG_7588Because we are suckers for tradition, we had to purchase a cup of soft serve frozen yogurt – something that we have done for years and years.  I even recall the original pink booth that we used to buy it from – about three changes ago – and would secretly have them top the ice cream with rainbow sprinkles without my dad knowing 🙂 (I do have to watch myself because I’m already starting to pull the “back in my day” card)

IMG_7590 IMG_7591 ^^ And it’s a DODGER WIN!  With a great come back for the boys in blue, I’ll add my own cheesy touch and say that my attendance was a good luck charm at that night’s game 🙂

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The best part about the Dodgers winning is that they end the game with Randy Newman’s “I LOVE LA” song.  It’s all just too darn true.

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We even stayed to the very end of the game and watched the Friday night fireworks! I say actually because the typical Los Angeles fan will arrive late and leave early to an event – all to avoid that lovely traffic.  But, all in all this had to have been the very best game that I have been to with my family.  Good food, good baseball, a win, and post-game spectacular 🙂

“The roar of the crowd has always been the sweetest music. It’s intoxicating.” – Vin Scully

Santa Barbara, CA Eats ~ Barbareño

IMG_7549Step right in to a little piece of Californian cuisine.

This neat little place, located off of State Street happened to have been created by a couple of Claremont students and is certainly one of my new favorites.  My sister actually was on the cross country team with Julian (head chef) and Kris (sous chef), which is how we stumbled across this gastronomical treat.

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In the words of the restaurant itself:

BAR·BA·RE·ÑO (N)

a. Language – One of the extinct Chumashan languages, a group of Native American languages, which was spoken in the area of Santa Barbara.
b. Restaurant – A restaurant based in Santa Barbara, inspired by the terroir of the region.

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^^ outside dining if you so desire (a bit chillier on these Santa Barbara nights, but just as delightful)

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^^ seasonal menus created with plenty of time, love, and care

As a matter of fact, the menu is packed full of native ingredients – from avocados to Santa Maria barbecue, from oak to piquito beans.

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^^ We started off with a garden salad ~ stone fruit (nectarines), umeboshi, mahlab croquette (goat cheese)

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^^ Nancy’s Quail

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^^ Hidden Valley Raviolo ~ ranch ricotta, peas, carrots, duck egg

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^^ Bob’s classic burger

What’s neat is that they keep the grill right outside and with each order, a sous chef will take the selected meat out to roast or grill, right in front of your own eyes. (or anyone really who had a view outside of the main dining hall)

Though we all had eaten quite well, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity on such a unique selection of sweets.  By now you know that I am such a sucker for dessert, possibly my “Achilles heel” but such is life.

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^^ Nance’s basil infused ice cream atop lemon curd and paired with a parmesan crisp

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^^ My “Muffet’s Tuffets” ~ chocolate ganache, milk jam, seasonal fruit

The real winner and crowd pleaser is with “Movie Snacks” (crème brûlée with popcorn and homemade milk duds) so make sure to keep some room for that!

If brunch is more of your thing, it’s served on the weekends from 9:30am – 1:30p.  Either call for a reservation, submit a request online, or place your name in and take a walk around the town.

Barbareño
205 W Canon Perdido St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 963-9591
~ About ~ Menu ~ Reservations ~