Hook & Press Donuts

Food

You know the feeling. The one where you roll over first thing in the morning, open your eyes and think… I really need coffee. Then you remember, there’s no more coffee in the house. So you figure, if you have to venture out into the world for a caffeine fix, it has to really be worth the effort, so you might as well add a delicious donut to your caffeine fueled morning. Well, this morning after allowing myself 5 minutes of crying due to the lack of coffee in the house, I decided that today was the day. Today, I was finally going to get my hands on a Hook & Press Hand Crafted Donut.

Since their grand opening in October 2018, I have been hearing a lot of good things about H&P. For some strange reason, however, it has taken me the 6 months they’ve been open to finally sample of their gourmet confectionery treats. After today, I can officially go on record as being part of the Hook & Press fan club.

Just to give you an understanding of how determined I was to get one of these donuts today, you need a little backstory. I woke up super early, and as previously mentioned, I had no coffee in the house. I found out that the shop opened at 8am, so I got myself ready to go out, went to their website and Instagram page to see their current menu (when I commit to a plan of action, I’m all in.) I make my way outside to my car… only to find the battery completely dead. Now, for a lesser human, this could have been the end of my donut adventure. I, however, was not going to see the sun set on this day without getting my gourmet hand crafted donut. So, I called AAA and they gave me a jump. This may not seem like a major life hurdle, but you must keep in mind… I’d had no coffee in like, 18 hours! <Gasp>

Anyway, after that major (minor) setback to the morning, I was once again back on my journey and soon thereafter made it to 1131 State Street where there were still plenty of donuts to ogle and choose from. Most importantly, my pre-selected flavor – the Blueberry Pancake, was still available. Oh Mylanta! Was it ever worth the wait. Delicious airy donut, with blueberry icing and little maple swirls, topped with 4 perfectly ripe fresh blueberries bursting with flavor. My mother got the Samoa, which she totally loved – even though she doesn’t like the cookie, go figure.

By the way, these donuts were such a complete sensory experience for me – I totally forgot to get coffee. They were that good. I enthusiastically give Hook & Press 4/5 🌴🌴🌴🌴 for creative and delicious flavor combinations, staff friendliness, and value (I will happily pay $3.25 for quality like this.) Now that I know what everyone has been raving about, I will certainly be back soon.

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Handlebar Coffee

Food

 

It was Friday afternoon and after a week spent in bed sucking down antibiotics like my life depended on them, I was finally able to venture out into the sun. The first thought I had was, “I need caffeine – STAT”. With a desire to enjoy something outside of the cookie cutter Starbucks chain, I decided to choose from one of the many unique coffee spots that Santa Barbara has to offer and ended up at Handlebar Coffee Roasters . With 2 locations to choose from, I chose their newest location at 2720 De La Vina Street in midtown S.B.

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What I love about this particular location, is the industrial warehouse feel to the interior. There are open beam ceilings, plenty of seating inside and outside (which their original location at 128 E Canon Perdido St is a bit short on.) There is a wholesale area, plenty of company “merch” to look at, and let’s not forget – the excellent coffee and eats on offer. Another selling point for me is the fact that they have kombucha on tap to enjoy. I’ve been to both locations plenty of times, and no matter how busy they are – the staff is always extremely friendly and efficient in getting orders out in a timely manner.

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On today’s visit, I went with a classic vanilla latte and a delicious chocolate rye cookie. As always, the barista was friendly and engaging and poured a perfect cup of espresso goodness. The cookie was really tasty and I personally liked the fact that it was made with rye flower, you couldn’t exactly taste it but there was a little something “extra” that made it all the more scrumptious. It was difficult choosing my treat, even late in the day there were some very tempting treats on offer – one being some delicious looking avocado toast.

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With the owners being former professional cyclists, Handlebar is extremely popular with the manual 2-wheel crowd. If you are at the original location first thing in the morning, especially on a weekend day, be prepared to share the space with more than a few Lycra_wearing enthusiasts. A tip for those that want to find seating easily, I would stop by late morning and after lunchtime. Cyclists aren’t the only welcomed visitors however, this is a very dog friendly spot. I always see doggie bowls filled with fresh water near the door if you happen by with your fur baby.

Since this is obviously one of my semi-regular coffee spots, I’m partial to the Handlebar Coffee scene. Pros are friendly staff, consistent quality coffee, and options available. The only cons I can really state are that the prices are going to be a little higher than a chain, and that the popularity with the cyclist crowd can be a little annoying when you just want to enjoy a low key espresso moment depending on the time and day you visit. Overall, I give Handlebar Coffee Roasters 4/5 🌴🌴🌴🌴

Lilac Patisserie

Food

I have a cake addiction. Actually, it’s more like a sugar addiction that I prefer to express through cake. This being my truth, whenever you find me at an event like a wedding, baby or bridal shower, anniversary, etc – chances are, I’m really only there for dessert. My gift in exchange for a slice of confectionery heaven.

About a month ago, I had an opportunity to barter gifts for cake at a friend’s bridal shower. I was beyond excited when I noticed that there were not one, but three beautiful cakes brought in for the occasion. When I finally got my eager hands on a slice, I was knocked off my feet by how perfectly balanced all of its attributes were – light, fluffy, not too sweet. After cornering the host, I learned that the cakes were from Lilac Patisserie, an all gluten free bakery. I decided then and there that I had to go visit the patisserie in person and sample some of their other treats.

Located at 1017 State Street, Lilac Patisserie’s doors have been open for almost 4 years now – which, considering my little sugar “habit”, blows my mind that it wasn’t on my radar until now. They have been rated 2 years running *Best of SB Wedding Cake Shop* AND the top 10 Gluten Free Bakery in the United States!

Upon entering, you are treated to a tasteful decor with lilac colored walls and bistro style seating. All of the days baked goods are on display for you to ogle as you wait your turn in line. What I immediately noted was that, even though it was the day before Thanksgiving and it was busy with customers picking up orders for the holiday, the staff was not frazzled or out of sorts. On the contrary, they were extremely friendly and welcoming and table service didn’t take very long.

My friend and I decided to split a slice of “The Berry Patch”. Lilac’s menu describes this cake as an “Orange-infused yellow butter cake filled with layers of fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and whipped cream. Frosted with whipped cream and decorated with abstract buttercream vines and leaves and fresh berries.” I was sold on that description alone!

When the cake arrived, it was huge – their cake slices are perfect for sharing. Digging in, I found it to be extremely light and fluffy which is not usually my experience with gluten free cakes. There was no grainy texture whatsoever. This meshed with my experience at the bridal shower the previous month. This means that their quality is consistent. (It also means that my exquisite delight with their cake previously wasn’t just all the Rosé I’d had talking.) It was delicious to the very last bite (that we fought over.)

On this first visit, I was there for the cake. However, Lilac’s menu is full of many other delicious looking treats that I can’t wait to try. If the quality of their cakes is an indication of their other baked goods, I’m sure it will all go down a treat. I enthusiastically give Lilac Patisserie 5 🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴’s for quality, decor, and friendly staff. Even if it isn’t necessary for you to stick to a GF diet, I would still make this a stop on any visit to SB when you are craving something sweet.

And if you were wondering, I got sidetracked by the description of The Berry Patch, but there was my beloved Carrot Cake on offer that day. I will be back very soon to see how it rates.

SB Brit

Savoy Cafe and Deli

Food

Featured on Food Network’s Diners Drive Ins & Dives, Savoy Cafe & Deli (located at 24 W. Figueroa St.) is a favorite of locals who enjoy great tasting high quality quick eats. Whether you are grabbing something to go for lunch or dinner, dining in for breakfast and tea/coffee – you can always be assured that you will be getting something delicious that won’t break your budget.

Tonight after finishing my regular Monday afternoon volunteering with friends, I stopped in looking to pick up something tasty for dinner and a treat for dessert. I decided to get the entree and side dish combo plate and went with the chicken marsala and mashed potatoes. I couldn’t pass on one of their large slices of carrot cake for dessert – eventually I will get into my obsession with carrot cake, but will save that for later entries. For under $20 and in just 10 minutes, I was in and out with my delicious smelling dinner and delectable dessert.

At dinner time, I’m usually in a rush to get home and relax so I often get my meals to go. However, Savoy has a lovely inside and outside dining space – their fancifully lit and decorated patio being my favorite spot to dine for breakfast and lunch. This is also a place one can feel comfortable dining solo, as the clientele and staff are always friendly and if you’re in the mood to strike up a random conversation, one can often be found at the next table.

I can see why this place is a highly rated eatery on tv, travel blogs, and various review sites. I give it 5 out of 5 palm trees 🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴 for convenience without sacrificing quality, versatility in menu selection, and having some of the best carrot cake in town!

SB Brit