Monday, November 12, 2007

Everybody C'est Cheese


If they were any hotter, the cheese would melt. That sums up the popularity of C’est Cheese, a specialty store at 825 Santa Barbara St that features over 100 cheeses from around the world. It is little tucked-away gems like this that Santa Barbara is famous for and I thank reader Todd McRay for finding this one for me.
Started in 2003 by Michael & Kathryn Graham, C’est Cheese has built up a large and loyal fan base.

Many restaurants source all of their cheeses at C'est Cheese, including top rated French hotspot Bouchon, Intermezzo and more. They have a regular following of people who come in every week or two to get their cheeses. Saturday is their biggest day.
Popular cheeses include Brie, Stilton, Red Hawk by “Cowgirl Creamery” and Gruyere. Owner Michael Graham told me that many customers are surprised when they taste the quality. “People think they know Gruyere and then they taste this and their whole world has changed,” he said. They also have many rare & exotic cheeses that no one else in the area sells. He pointed to the “Memoire,” a Dutch Gouda infused with black truffles, as an example.
Though the focus is cheese, C’est Cheese is also a high-end grocery with wines, olive oils, vinegars, crackers, salami, prosciutto, paté, artisan honey and more. “We prefer to stock artisan items rather than big store commodity products,” Michael said as he picked up a small jar of spicy sun-dried tomatoes. “This is made by a family in Tunisia,” he said.
For those with a sweet tooth they also have a display of chocolate truffles. The most popular item is “Caramel with Fleur de Sel” that is embedded with small salt crystals. “Salt & chocolate is amazing,” he said. Another truffle in high demand is “Coeur,” a dark chocolate infused with raspberry.
C’est Cheese is open Monday-Friday 10am-7pm and Saturday 8am-6pm. For more information call 965-0318 or visit

SPEAKING OF CHEESE: Reader Frank let me know that the Cheese Shop Carmel, located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, is opening a store in Paseo Nuevo downtown. It is scheduled to open early December next to Nordstrom.

SPECIALS SPOTLIGHT: This section of my column always lists pretty good bargains, but this week’s deal is jaw-dropping. Enterprise Fish Company, located at 225 State St, is celebrating their 30th anniversary by rolling back prices to what they were in 1977. For two days only, on November 14th & 15th, you will be able order the following entrees: Pacific Red Snapper $5.95, Shrimp Louie Salad $5.95, Combo Skewer $7.95, Salmon $7.95 and Swordfish $8.95. Also discounted are appetizers: Fried Calamari $2.95, Bay Shrimp Cocktail $2.95 and Oyster Shooter 75 cents.

SUSHI ON SITE: Reader Meridith has been searching for a local catering company that offers fresh sushi and was unable to locate one. Thank you to readers Steve Weixel, Anita, Chris & Steve V. for helping Meridith find the answer! It appears the best option for sushi catering in Santa Barbara is a company called “Sushi on Site” that has a van often seen around town. Sushi is made fresh to order on the premises and they will set up a sushi lounge for you. Their sushi bar lounge is advertised as great for weddings, birthdays, and corporate events. Sushi on Site was founded by Arief Norman who has been a professional master sushi chef for more than 15 years. Call 805-708-7127 or visit for menus and photos.

SESTO SENSO: Sesto Senso, which means "sixth sense" in Italian, has opened at 1026 Coast Village Rd in Montecito. Brought to you by Alberto & Michelle Mastrangelo, the owners of Epiphany Restaurant & Bar downtown, Seso Senso offers appetizers and wine. In addition to a large variety of wine, Sesto Senso serves Italian sushi including white salmon carpaccio, smoked duck breast with medjook dates & pearl onions, tuna/hamachi/beef carpaccio, Dungeness crab squash with guacamole and much more. They are open Mon-Sat 5pm - midnight. Call 565-1956.

FACT OF THE DAY: Rumors about the exact day of Ruth's Chris Steakhouse opening have been bouncing all over the calendar. Last week I sat down with Ruth's Chris general manager Christopher Goodyear and he gave me the official scoop. The grand opening of the new La Cumbre Plaza restaurant is Monday, November 19th at 5pm.

WEEKEND JAZZ: Volare Ristorante at 1095 Edison St in Santa Ynez has live jazz 7-9pm on Fridays & Saturdays. Call 693-8072.

CHOCOLATERIE: A French chocolate making business will open in Carpinteria mid-November. "Chocolats du CaliBressan" will be located in the business park at 4193 Carpinteria Ave, Suite 4. Call 684-6900.

TAKE-HOME THANKSGIVING: Jack’s Bistro, located at 5050 Carpinteria Ave in Carpinteria, is offering a take-home Thanksgiving dinner (turkey or ham) that serves 8-10. It includes traditional mash potatoes, gravy, herb stuffing, vegetable medley, caramelized roasted yams and fresh dinner rolls. Price is $94.95. Orders are due by November 19th at noon. Call 453-1408.

SUBWAY COMING TO DOWNTOWN: No, the city is not planning to start tunneling under State Street. Subway "Sandwiches" will be taking over the old Cingular Wireless location, a few doors down from Spice Avenue. The address is 1021A State St and they have not yet started the remodel.

John Dickson’s column appears every Tuesday in the Daily Sound. E-mail your restaurant news tips to

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