Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Locals rockin’ the Boathouse


The official name is the “Boathouse” but with the huge amount of public interest in Santa Barbara's newest seaside restaurant, that opened last Sunday night, it is rapidly becoming “Port Hendry.” Tom & Adam White spent $1.6 million renovating the Hendry’s Beach building formerly known as the Brown Pelican and it has quickly become a local treasure. I attended a “friends, family & neighbors” cocktail party last Wednesday night and it was clear to the hundreds of attendees that the Boathouse will be a local’s hotspot for years to come.

The Boathouse has many noticeable architectural improvements. While seated at the bar you now face the ocean (instead of the back wall as was the case at the Brown Pelican). They have opened the outdoor wall of the bar as well so you can attack the bartenders from both sides. While at the cocktail party I enjoyed the outdoor patio that is surrounded by new glass walls & heaters. Everyone was warm & cozy even though the banners on the new flag pole were flapping in the coastal breeze. Mr. White tells me that the Boathouse will be serving local fresh fish and suggests you try the local sea bass which is in season right now. Initially the Boathouse is open for breakfast & dinner and lunch will be added to the schedule next week. Hours are 730 a.m. to close. For more information call 898-2628 or visit boathousesb.com.

JULIENNE OPENS: “Progressive American” restaurant Julienne opens tomorrow night at 138 E. Canon Perdido Street, the former home of Le Bon Cafe. Owner Justin West tells me that the restaurant will serve dinner only and will be open Wednesday – Sunday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Last seating is at 9:45 p.m. and reservations are accepted but not required. West operates the restaurant with his fiancée Emma Gudeman who he met in culinary school. Creating Juienne has been their dream for two years and the restaurant opening will be followed by their wedding in October. Sous Chef Weston Richards was previously the Chef de Cuisine at Intermezzo. Wine director Graham Tatomer has his own label (Tatomer Wines) and has put a lot of effort into creating a unique list for Juilienne.

FRESH START OPENS: Fresh Start Community Cafe & Creperie has opened at 6558 Pardall Rd in Isla Vista. The restaurant offers donuts, bagels and crepes. The most popular item on the menu is the “Fresh Start Crepe” which includes strawberries, banana, whipped cream, Ghirardelli chocolate sauce and strawberry compote. For more information call 685-1924 or visit freshstartiv.com.

RUMOR MACHINE: I have a love/hate relationship with the Rumor Machine. I loved it when it told me about Pinkberry coming to town many months before the official word was released. I hated it when it recently told me that a deli is coming to Paseo Nuevo and then a FroYo wine bar promptly announced its arrival instead. Perhaps it is time to contact Make It Work (makeitwork.com) to initiate some repairs, especially after this morning’s print-out which read “Vons market in La Cumbre Plaza will be transformed into a movie theater.” As always, this rumor might be completely false or a brilliant forecast of future events. Your call.

PANERA BREAD: Reader Steve pointed me to a January press-release indicating that Panera Bread, a bakery chain with 1,185 locations across the U.S., intends to open a store in Santa Barbara County. Reader Nancy tells me that she was at the Panera in Thousand Oaks recently and on their paper take-out menu there was a list of stores “coming soon” to cities nearby. One of the cities listed was Santa Barbara.

THINK PINK: Wendy Jones, owner of Sprinkled Pink Cupcake Couture in Montecito, tells me that her dessert destination is tentatively scheduled to open for business next Monday, August 25th.

LAST CALL: After 45 years in business Mel’s Lounge & Cocktails closes its doors this Sunday, August 24th.

MIDDLE EAST FESTIVAL: This weekend, August 23-24, starting at 10 a.m., you can enjoy the Santa Barbara Middle East Festival at the Carrillo Rec Center, 100 E. Carrillo Street downtown. Cost is $5 at the door and includes Middle Eastern Food, arts, crafts and gifts, Henna art and dance workshops. Also included are free drum, belly dance and line dance classes and lectures throughout each day. Saturday evening, August 23rd at 8pm there will be a concert featuring Alexandra King, Elizabeth Strong, Tamra-Henna and many more stars of Belly Dance. Cost of concert is $30 ($25 with festival hand stamp). For festival information call 687-8823 or visit alexandraking.com.

ALOHA FIRDAY: It's “Aloha Friday” every week at L & L Hawaiian Barbecue near Costco in Goleta. Wear your favorite aloha shirt on Fridays and receive 10% off.

REALLY GRAND: Pho Bistro at 903 Embarcadero Del Norte in Isla Vista might have set some sort of record for longest grand opening in history. I was in the area last week and noticed that Pho Bistro's grand opening sign was still displayed out front for all to see even though they opened 15 months ago. Considering that each year thousands of new students arrive in Isla Vista for the first time, an endless grand opening might be a pretty good marketing strategy. Party on!

JULIA CHILD 007: News circulating in the press right now claims that Santa Barbara's dear departed & world famous chef Julia Child was a World War II-era spy.

YAMR: I heard the term YAMR (pronounced “yammer”) the other day during a conversation about Santa Barbara eateries. I stopped the chatter in mid-sentence and asked what the heck a “YAMR” is. I am told that it is an acronym for “Yet Another Mexican Restaurant.”

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

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