Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Santa Barbara Mini Break

For John’s birthday I decided to surprise him with a mini break to Santa Barbara. Not the most original idea I know, but since we were out of town the weekend before I only wanted to go somewhere for one night. Since SB is only 1.5 hours away it was the perfect location!

I did my best in not giving him any clues because I knew he would guess it…I mean really…how many options were there? Well apparently A LOT. He first thought I was taking him to Vegas, then Arizona to hit some DDD’s.

Once we got on the road and started heading south I thought for sure he’d figure it out, but he didn’t! He first thought I was taking him to a Dodger game…then he thought I was taking him to Ojai! At first I thought these were fake guesses, but they weren’t!

I actually threw him off a bit by driving past SB and stopping in Ventura. I wanted to try to sell some of my clothes back to Buffalo Exchange. All of the consignment shops in SLO only give you store credit, but BE didn’t. Let me say that I’m SO glad I took my stuff there! They took about 10 pieces of mine and I got $50 in return, (or $70 in store credit). That is way better than I’d make at a garage sale.

I was also excited that we got to stop in Ventura because we had recently read about an authentic Italian restaurant in town that we wanted to try. It was called Sicily by Gino’s and it was REALLY good. We got a prosciutto and Parmesan cheese pizza.We even got to talk to the owner, which is always cool, and she told us how they only use the freshest ingredients. We told her you could totally tell, as the quality of the pizza was very similar to the pies we had in Italy.

During our lunch I finally let John know where we were going, and he said he really had no idea. Being the planner I am, I handed John a map of SB that had all the places we were going to go during the weekend. The main spot was Williams-Sonoma. For his b-day I got him a gift card there, along with my mom, and his mom! Every month when the dude gets the WS catalog he drools over it. Since we don’t have a WS in SLO, I thought it would be the perfect gift to combine with the mini break!

After lunch we headed back north to WS. Needless to say John was like a kid in a candy store. I can’t tell you how many rounds we made in there before I told him we needed to make a list to help narrow it down. Once we did that we were able to focus a bit easier. (Granted if I had told him ahead of time, we could have looked through our kitchen and seen what we wanted to upgrade.)Next we checked into our Motel. I was a little worried about this place, but it got a good rating on tripadvisor.com, and so far that site has never let me down. The only problem was that NO SB hotels let you book a room for one night. Isn’t that LAME?? I can’t tell you how many places I had to call. Most of them told me to call back the week of, and hopefully they would have a room. Luckily for us the Agave Inn had a room.

It was a sweet deal as most of the rooms had recently been renovated. I was glad John liked it too, as I’m sure it would not have passed my mom’s and sister’s standards.

After a mini rest we headed downtown to do a bit of walking and shopping. Williams-Sonoma didn’t have a few things we were looking for, so they told us to check out Sur La Table. It was our first time in that store and it was AWESOME! John found exactly what he was looking for and I even found a cupcake doughnut pan!! (You can bake doughnuts in it as well, but I want to try cupcakes.)

Next we headed to The Palace Grill…our favorite restaurant in SB. It NEVER disappoints. I’ve blogged about it before, and honestly I don’t know why I just didn’t repost this entry as I’m having de ja vu rereading it!

Anyway, I was planning on sharing a meal with john, but he talked me into getting my ‘ole stand by…because he wanted to eat it! I’m really glad he talked me into it, because it was really good.John also got the blackened fish.
He also LOVES the bread pudding here. I think it was the biggest yet.In case you were ever wondering what is the proper way to eat bread pudding...here is John's in instructional video.

Even though we were stuffed to the brim we decided to stop off at an ‘English’ pub which was on the same block. John was pumped because they had Hoegaarden, and I got a cider. I was a little miffed because they didn’t have any legit English cider. Seriously…if you want to be an authentic pub, you need to have authentic drinks.After some enjoyable people watching, we did a bit more walking/shopping, and then went to Pinkberry!! I was so excited to go again, AND to get mochi on my yogurt. Let me tell you it did not disappoint AGAIN! I am really falling in love with that place. DANGER! DANGER!I got the DEAL OF THE YEAR on these sunglasses. They were regularly $98, but marked down to $54, and then $29. However when the clerk range up the price it, of course, range up as $54, BUT He gave them to me for $29! I then used a 30% off coupon and a $10 off coupon bringing the cost down to $11!! Deal of the year, I’m telling ya. (I'm trying to look tough in this photo).

We decided to get an early start on Sunday as we had a couple of rentals to look at back in SLO. Our first stop was to a bakery that I had found online. The baked goods weren’t that good, but once John saw some of the breakfast food he insisted we eat there. (We were heading to our fave Sambo’s).It was really good. I got the breakfast burrito and John got banana French toast. (John was also photoed out his morning...hence the reason he is not in this food photo.)
We stopped for another café and some more baked goods before we finally hit the road.

It was amazing how much fun we had in 24 hours. I’m actually mad that we don’t go down to SB more often…especially when we know of so many good places to go. 1.5 hours really isn’t that far. I think we will head back after we move.


Lori R. said...

Amber, how the heck do the two of you stay so skinny with all the food stops that your trips are centered around?? AMAZING.

Amber said...

Lori - 1) We only eat like this when we travel...so maybe 2 weekends out of a month? 2) We are back training in a semi-private group at the gym. I hate it, but it's worth it to taste all the goodies that are out there!

Judy S said...

If I lived that close to SB, I would go there twice a month at least! You can go round trip in one day if necessary! I liked the instructional vid on eating bread pudding, but what was he putting on it?

Your B-day weekend sounds perfect. You can plan one for ME any time! :)

Sarah said...

What a fun trip! So what fabulous stuff did John get at WS?

Daniel and Brianne said...

How fun! I too love Sur La Table and WM! I can spend all day there and thankfully we have both in Fresno. You mentioned DDD in AZ and we are going at the end of this month and we were planning on hitting up a couple. So far we have only been to Tommy's Joint. I'll let you know how they are. :)

Sarah said...

You're making me miss Santa Barbara...we should meet there there next time you go!

Saraholic said...

Wow.. looks like you had an awesome time! That husband of yours is adorable.. ;) I like his pudding vid. Did I mention I want to be the two of you when I grow up?

Also.. the next time you visit Sac.. you can go to Crossroads (to sell your clothes for cash) then hit up Sur La Table AND William-Sonoma!

Amber said...

Jude - Plan your b-day weekend? I'm not sure if you have the same interests as your fave son-in-law.

Sarah D. - Let's see...we got a new garlic press, the meat grinder and pasta attachments for the kitchenaid, cheese grater, and I got some Bouchon Bakery cookie mix. I'm going to make those this weekend!

Brianne - Check out www.flavortownusa.com for a map of DDD's.

Sarah A. - You make me laugh...you are grown up silly! Our visit to Sac is going to awesome with a tour guide like you!

Syddison said...

this looks like a great weekend. I am amazed at the deal on the sunglasses. They look really good on you. Do you wanna wanna wanna go to vincent?? With deals like this, you don't need to.