April 2014 - Please The Palate
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Santa Barbara is a college town and home to State Street that is lined with bar after bar serving mediocre well-drinks to weekend revelers. But cocktail lovers rejoice! Now there is a place where you can get a properly made craft cocktail, along with some tasty bites. Located on Canon Perdido Street, just a block and half east of State Street in what was originally Santa Barbara’s Chinatown, but is now called the “Presidio District”, is the Pickle Room. Located next door to Three Pickles Deli, the Pickle Room is in the place of the historical Jimmy’s Oriental Garden bar. With no sign out front except for a red sign that says “cocktails”, Pickle Room is like a speakeasy meets neighborhood bar. More importantly, it is a “grown-up bar,” owner Bob Lovejoy explained.
I had been hearing the reviews about Alma and finally scheduled a date with some friends. After all of the accolades (Best New Restaurant of the Year by Bon Appetit magazine and Ari Traymor being named one of Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chefs of 2013), I was very excited about this meal. Alma offers two tasting menus each night - a 5-course tasting menu for $65/person and a larger one (9 courses) for $110/person (+$55/person for wine pairings). We decided to splurge and go for the big tasting menu, and we were ready to see what was on the menu using ingredients grown in their own Flower Avenue garden, as well as local farms that they work with. Our meal started with little "snacks" - ocean trout, roe and parsnip, mini english muffin with uni, burrata, fennel and roe and tofu and yuzu fritters. The ocean trout was a perfect balance of flavors and textures and the bellini with uni left us wanting more.
[caption id="attachment_9488" align="alignnone" width="502"] Three Pickles Deli[/caption] By day, Three Pickles Subs and Sandwiches is a popular deli in downtown Santa Barbara, with a second location in Goleta.  Lunch is served daily from 11am – 3pm and next door is the recently opened the Pickle Room, a classic cocktail bar next door.