Birthday Celebration in Santa Barbara

This is another recap post about my birthday trip to Santa Barbara (from July), but we did a lot of amazing things and had a ton of great food, so I wanted to share!


Santa Barbara is by far one of my favorite places on Earth. I don’t know if it is because it reminds me of Europe, because I love the beach, the laid back lifestyle, the great restaurants, the scenery, the beauty of the quaint yet vibrant town, or the accumulation of memories, but it is truly a special place. I have loved it since the first day I visited, and over time it has become even more special to me because T and I spent most of our relationship living there as well as got married there. Luckily, T is from there, and his family lives there, so we get to visit quite often.


For my birthday, I requested that we stay in Santa Barbara and spend the day doing some of our favorite activities. AT_RachandTris_bandwWe arrived in Santa Barbara, visited with T’s parents, and then went to dinner the night before my birthday at Arlington Tavern. I had always wanted to try this place, and was excited to see what it was about!  Priding itself on being a farm-to-table, fresh, made-from-scratch restaurant, it seemed like it would be right up my alley. Not only was the food amazing, but the atmosphere, and service was fantastic. It is off upper State Street, has a cozy, gastropub like atmosphere created by exposed brick and dark woods. It also has a great little patio for al-fresco dining. Short_ribs_ATThe Arlington Tavern also has delicious Paleo choices! We started off with a grilled shrimp appetizer as well as their mac and cheese (couldn’t resist at least a bite, both were delicious…it’s my birthday…I’ll do what I want :)). For the main course, I had the braised short ribs over seasonal veggies, and it was outstanding. Melt in your mouth tasty. T had the Lamb Shank, which was also amazing (I of course stole a few bites, but returned the favor). We opted out of dessert because T’s family bought my favorite chocolate, chocolate, with a hint of coffee, cake from Jeannine’s Bakery.

My Non-Paleo Chocolate Cake


In-Laws at Arlington Tavern









Across from the Arlington Tavern, I spotted a sign that said Santa Barbara Public Market that I had never seen before. rorisIt turns out, it opened recently, so we went to check it out. This instantly became one of my new favorite places.  It was close to shutting down for the night, but we stopped by Rori’s Creamery, which serves organic, freshly made ice cream with only top ingredients and no preservatives.  I had to try it…and it was incredible. The most creamy, and one of the most delicious ice creams I have ever had. We tried the Vanilla Bean and Dark Chocolate flavors. It’s almost as good as the chocolate ice cream that I make 🙂  chocolateI have had my fair share of ice cream, including genuine Italian Gelato and this place gives the best a run for their money. I was incredibly impressed and will be going back there every time we visit!

We headed home to eat ice cream and cake, to hang out with the family and to celebrate my birthday. We went to bed early because we had fun plans for the next day, which was actually my birthday.

T and I woke up, headed off to my favorite breakfast place, Scarlett Begonia in Victoria Court (it’s like being in Europe), but I didn’t realize it is closed Mondays!  I remembered Renaud’s is close by, so we walked over to this other great breakfast spot and ate breakfast on their patio. From there, we walked back to the Santa Barbara Public Market to do some shopping for our kayak/picnic adventure. Fresh meats, cheeses, veggies, paleo snack options, and tons of other delicious looking food choices surrounded us.



We gathered our preferred picnic goodies, consisting of sparkling water, proscuitto, brie cheese, and a goat’s milk cheese, hummus, rainier cherries, and an incredibly juicy pear.  Afterward, we headed down to the water to rent a two-man kayak and set out into the ocean.


It was an incredibly beautiful day…we lucked out with the weather!  We kayaked over to this secluded, basically private beach, and had our picnic while enjoying the sun.




We took a walk and then headed back in the kayak because we thought it would be a nice treat to take Scout to her favorite place, the beach to chase sticks and tennis balls in the waves.





We later met some friends for dinner at the Finch and Fork in the Kimpton owned Canary hotel in downtown Santa Barbara, which was also fantastic. This place has amazing food, cocktails, and an incredibly fun atmosphere. They also serve incredible fresh, tasty dishes, and had plenty of pale options to choose from. It’s a great place to begin a night out with friends or to have a long dinner and drinks, especially including the hand-made freshly crafted cocktails.


The next morning we made another obligatory stop at one of my favorite breakfast (or anytime) places, Backyard Bowls. They make delicious smoothies, acai, oatmeal, quinoa, etc. type bowls with a bunch of options for toppings and add-ins.  My personal favorite is the Cocoa Almond Bowl because it involves chocolate, is Paleo (hold the granola – add in coconut shavings and other crunchy toppings), and is absolutely delicious. I could eat it every day, literally.

This was a perfect way to spend my birthday, as well as enjoy some quality time with T, Scout, family and friends. We came back refreshed, relaxed, happily fed, and already missing Santa Barbara.


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