Full Stomach Information | The Many Menus of Matt
This version of Full Stomach Information was initially emailed to subscribers on November 17, 2023. To obtain Matt Kettmann’s meals publication in your inbox every Friday, join at impartial.com/newsletters.
As a lot as I’m a fan of touring — Miami, Charleston, Savannah, and Mexico Metropolis are already on the docket for the primary half 2024, with Bolivia and Armenia being contemplated as lengthy photographs plus what appears like my obligatory post-pandemic return to wherever in Europe — I cherish my time at house in Santa Barbara. Whereas reminding me of why we name this expensive place house, it additionally provides me time to discover new and ever-beloved eating places and work by way of the piles of produce in my very own kitchen.
So, as I do occasionally in Full Stomach Information, right here’s a scattershot rundown of the place I’ve been consuming and what I’ve been making at house. (Take a look at subsequent week’s post-Thanksgiving FBF for extra recollections of final week’s apple orchard guru Dave Beamer.)
Crispy petrale sole (left) and avocado ceviche tostada at SB Fish Market in Goleta | Credit score: Matt Kettmann
FRESH FLAVORS @ FISH MARKET: I’ve hit up the Santa Barbara Fish Market’s new café in Goleta a few occasions now, and have been impressed with the clear, direct method Chef Paul Osborne approaches the dishes. Whereas watching my photographer-friend Macduff Everton take pleasure in his fish & chips — only one huge filet, indicating that it’s truly an actual rockfish — I chomped into the crispy petrale sole sandwich, with celery root slaw, arugula, lemon aioli, and pickled peppers on ciabatta. I may have used a contact extra warmth and slaw, however I’d rapidly order once more.
The subsequent week I used to be again, my spouse choosing the confit tuna soften with Fiscalini cheddar, Castelvetrano olive, and jalapeño on sourdough. I obtained each the avocado ceviche tostada, which showcased the tremendous contemporary fish alongside avo mousse, mango, papaya, and serrano. It additionally may have used a contact extra warmth, however perhaps I simply have to ask for spicy? The wonderful caesar salad wedge was a winner throughout each lunches.
GOING BIG @ BARBAREÑO: It had been awhile since I sat down for a correct meal at Barbareño, the West Canon Perdido Avenue restaurant that focuses on codifying and elevating Central Coast delicacies. I’d written this text about their collaboration with Ojai Valley Brewery, so the maître d’ Nathaniel Tyson invited my spouse and I for dinner, and we went fairly huge, no less than when it got here to exploring the small plates.
I needed to begin with the eggamuffins, their cheffy ode to the S.B.-invented Egg McMuffin, after which we sampled the ricotta dumplings, fluffy cheese balls set atop a strawberry masala. (Each of these got here house as leftovers too.) The backyard lettuce salad tantalized with ardour fruit French dressing, cacao granola, and a mysteriously scrumptious banana shmear, after which the ahi crudo could have gained the night time, floating above a watermelon-avocado stack in pool of basil aguachile and topped with watermelon cucumber halves.
We solely shared one major course, the silky, savory black cod, long-soaked in pinquito miso with chile negro, blackberry gelee, wild onion, and a pistachio-pea puree. I believed it was implausible, though my spouse would have been content material with three orders of the In‘n’Out-inspired animal potatoes.
For dessert, we went for the s’extra, and talked for fairly some time about eating places, journey, and ballet with Nathaniel, who additionally dances for Santa Barbara Ballet. It was a superb date night time, and I’ll be again quickly with associates to tuck in to the fried hen, which is the maître d’s favourite dish.
DOWNTOWN BAR HOPPING WITH BOY: A pair Saturdays in the past, a couple of associates have been hitting up Arnoldi’s Café for a birthday drink and chew, so I joined them with my 13-year-old son, Mason, in tow. After we couldn’t get a desk on the jam-packed Italian joint — my private historical past there goes again to 1999, once we hosted my commencement celebration there, with my well-known nice uncle in attendance — we crowded across the bar, ingesting martinis and indulging in calamari and spicy shrimp. (Mason had a coke.)
Arnoldi’s Cafe and Bluefin at La Paloma | Credit score: Matt Kettmann
We then wandered over to La Paloma Cafe, discovering seats within the bar once more, sharing varied flavored margaritas, oysters, and shishitos whereas Mason opted for a flowery Mexican soda. Chef Jeremy Tummel by some means observed I used to be there, requested if we wished one thing particular, after which introduced out a regionally caught bluefin stomach that he’d rapidly rolled throughout the oak fireplace. The sunshine smoke gave the fatty minimize a kobe beef taste. “I may have a type of each morning,” I mentioned to Jeremy, who agreed.
Crudo and lamb chop at Gala | Credit score: Matt Kettmann
ALL GREAT @ GALA: Final Friday night time’s dinner with associates (who lived for 2 years in Valencia) on the Spanish-influenced hotspot Gala was lights-out throughout. There have been huge events on the patio and the power jogged my memory of bustling spots in San Sebastian and Barcelona, the place house owners Tara Penke and Jaime Riesco run their first restaurant, Picnic. We finally enhanced the Iberian vibe by ordering a white wine from Valencia and a natty purple from someplace in Spain.
However we began off with beet margaritas and pisco sours in hand, shifting by way of shrimp and hen croquetas, shatter-crispy calamari, fried inexperienced tomatoes, and zucchini blossoms filled with halloumi. The crudo, sliced into paper skinny sheets and topped with pomegranate, microgreens, flowers, and varied oils, was mind-blowing, and the duck confit tackled the savory facet of the meal with ease. I can’t wait to return, irrespective of which period of day.
Drinks at Gala and hen piccata at Jane | Credit score: Matt Kettmann
PICATTA @ JANE IN GOLETA: On a weekend night time when our daughter was at a Halloween celebration, my spouse, son, and I went to Jane Restaurant in Goleta. I used to be itching for a hen picatta, one thing that I by no means normally order (too pedestrian for my elitist palate, maybe?), and so they nailed it. Crunchy sufficient with zippy lemon sauce and wealthy butter, it happy my cravings. We washed it down with Las Jaras chardonnay from Mendocino County, a departure from our common Central Coast refreshments. Corkage that night time was solely $10. The delicately fried but tangy hen impressed me to strive Chinese language-style lemon hen in my air fryer the next night time. Completely happy to report that I nailed that one too.
SALSA @ SANTA MARIA PUBLIC MARKET: A reporting task discovered me within the warehouse district of Santa Maria, the place they’ve opened the Santa Maria Public Market. Not like different meals halls that function a number of eating places, this seems to be one kitchen placing out varied sorts of meals, from Mexican and Italian to Asian bowls and American bistro. (The caveat there’s that Esfuerzo Wines runs the wine bar.) I picked the pastrami & avocado salad off of the bistro menu, and it was high quality. What was beautiful, although, was the intense orange salsa that was delivered with chips at no cost earlier than my sandwich confirmed up. It was fairly spicy, however not an excessive amount of to overpower a variety of intriguing flavors. I couldn’t cease consuming it.
Pastrami-avocado sandwich at Santa Maria Public Market | Credit score: Matt Kettmann
DINING WITH MITCHELL @ BOUCHON: It’s one factor to know the chef or proprietor of an institution. It’s one other factor to sit down down with them for a full meal. That’s what I did with Mitchell Sjerven, whose bouchon on Victoria Avenue is celebrating its twenty fifth anniversary in 2023. I’ll be writing a bit about our dialog, particularly Mitchell’s ideas on what longevity means in at the moment’s restaurant world, so I’ll preserve this quick: At all times order the scallop trio, and go order that steak au poivre earlier than it leaves the specials menu. And in the event that they by some means open a bottle of Hermitage for you, drink all of it.
POWER LUNCH @ THE DAISY: Regardless of current woes in coping with the town about its parklet, The Daisy is reigning as the correct energy lunch locale for downtown Santa Barbara. Stroll-up ordering is straightforward and the meals, which is absolutely easy whereas fairly scrumptious, comes rapidly, particularly if you happen to get these pickles to begin your meal. I went for the tarragon hen salad sandwich throughout a current assembly, and I’d order that one over and over. I have to get again there for dinner sometime quickly.
SQUIRREL @ SIERRA FOOTHILLS: Final month, whereas hanging with faculty buddies at a cabin within the Sierra Foothills, we plotted to hunt and eat a squirrel. My buddy shot it, I cleaned it, after which we grilled it. 4 of the seven of us there loved a pair bites, tasting someplace between darkish turkey and rabbit meat. It is a true story, however can even function a check to see what number of of you might be nonetheless studying this far down the publication!
Skinning squirrel, skinned squirrel | Credit score: Matt Kettmann
SECRET TREAT @ HARRY’S: I don’t actually need to break this one, so I’m burying it down right here between the squirrel and my very own cooking. I met a Native Hero-to-be for martinis at Harry’s Plaza Café the opposite day, and he ordered the jalapeño bottle caps, an off-menu merchandise that’s by some means concurrently fried, addictive, spicy, and never too heavy. You didn’t hear it from me.
HIGHLIGHTS @ HOME: In my very own kitchen, I’ve been making frittatas of all kinds, crepes each candy and savory (one stack layered in skinny sheets of omelet and ham), mussels with leek and sauvignon blanc, and peppers filled with cheese and beans.
After listening to the newest episode of my favourite podcast Gastropod, which was all about beans, I purchased a bunch of stuff from Rancho Gordo, and obtained to cooking my first batch of Royal Coronas. They’ve confirmed up in a little bit of all the pieces since, together with these peppers. The most effective use may need been with a hen inventory I made plus leftover rice, slightly little bit of pulled roasted hen, and mandolined jalapeno. Delicate however flavorful and fulfilling.
I used to be additionally pleased with my first stab at shakshuka, the baked tomato stew-with-egg dish of Maghrebi/North African origin. Utilizing peppers and tomatoes that we’d collected the day earlier than throughout a piece celebration at Rancho San Julian, I put a barely Mexican spin on the nice and cozy breakfast by serving it with cheese-crusted tortillas. The entire household dug that one.
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