Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pita Inn opens in Carpinteria

BY JOHN DICKSON
THE RESTAURANT GUY
Reader Jason let me know that the Pita Inn at 3807 Santa Claus Lane in Carpinteria is now open. The Pita Inn replaces Smokin Jacks Kansas City BBQ which closed earlier this month. I stopped by last week and interviewed manager Rick Dorantes who told me that the Pita Inn serves Mediterranean cuisine and that they had their grand opening July 25th. Dorantes suggests you try the Lamb Kabob, Hummus and Baba Ganous.

All entrees are less than $8 (most are under $7) and the menu includes Shish Kabob, Kifta Kabob, Shawarma, Lamb Kabob, Jerusalem Mix, Vegetarian Falafel and Vegetarian Combination. All sandwiches are served inside pita with lettuce and tomatoes. All plates (an extra $1 or so) are served with rice, salad and pita bread. Hours are Monday - Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information call 566-6602.

KOBACHI OPENING UPTOWN: Reader Caroline sent me an email on Saturday letting me know that Ahi Sushi is planning to open a new restaurant. I stopped by and got the scoop. In about two weeks Ahi Sushi will be opening a new restaurant called “Kobachi Izakaya Dining” at 4141 State Street in El Mercado Plaza (near Highway 154). They will be replacing the now-closed Kampai. Kobachi is a small-portions style of dining that will compliment drinking and a social atmosphere. Think of it as a Happy Hour that never ends!

RACHEL RAY: John Palminteri's "On The Spot" column in the current issue of CASA Magazine reports that TV personality Rachel Ray has been visiting restaurants in Santa Barbara, getting interviews for an upcoming show. She hosts the syndicated talk/lifestyle program "Rachael Ray" and two Food Network series, "30 Minute Meals" and "Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels." Palminteri says that Ray made stops at Elements Restaurant & Bar, La Super Rica Taqueria, Stella Mare's and Palace Grill.

SLY’S UPDATE: Host Michael Bott tells me that Sly’s Seafood, Steaks & Cocktails at 686 Linden Avenue in Carpinteria is undergoing final inspections and might open this week, possibly as early as tomorrow.

EL ENCANTO UPDATE: El Encanto Dining Room representative Philippe Berger contacted me and let me know that the opening date of the popular Riviera restaurant has changed from Spring 2008 to the Fall of 2009.

YELLOW HOUSE UPDATE: It has come to my attention that a closed yet well-known yellow-colored restaurant in Summerland will no longer be renamed “The Yellow Rose” when it reopens this December. Owner Bernard Rosenson, who is about to begin extensive renovations of the building, has decided to keep the familiar name “The Big Yellow House.”

SPEAKING OF YELLOW: I was flipping through the yellow pages the other day and noticed that some restaurants try harder than others to get your attention. Some restaurants list just a name and phone number. Others have 1/8 page, 1/4 page, 1/2 page and 3/4 page ads. A select few individual restaurants, however, have gone the extra mile to let their services be known by taking out a full-page color ad.
The champion is Eladio’s which stands alone with the only double full-page ad that opens like a centerfold when you reach the restaurant section of the Verizon Yellow Pages. Verizon’s full-page advertisers are All India Cafe, China Pavilion, Rose Cafe and Uncle Chen's.
 In the Santa Barbara Community Phonebook that recently arrived at my doorstep there are an abundance of full-page advertisers, including: Cafe Del Sol, China Pavilion, Enterprise Fish Company, Epiphany, Fishouse, Holdren's, Opal, Palace Grill, Rose Cafe, Santa Barbara Shellfish Co, Sesto Senso, Spiritland Bistro and Stella Mare’s.

WHEAT AND GLUTEN-FREE: Jocelyn Kuzminski, pastry chef for Elements Restaurant & Bar at 129 E. Anapamu Street, informs me that they have introduced a new dessert menu. Half of Elements' new dessert menu is completely wheat and gluten-free. This includes desserts such as Bananas Foster, Creme Brulee with cinnamon meringues, Dark Chocolate Mousse with a flourless chocolate cake, and a Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Tart with a toasted pecan crust. In addition, other wheat and gluten-free desserts and cakes can be created on request. For more information call 884-9218 or visit elementsrestaurantandbar.com

SQUARE WATERMELONS: Here is a cool new trend for summer: square watermelons. A round watermelon can take up a lot of room in a refrigerator and the usually round fruit often sits awkwardly on refrigerator shelves. Smart farmers have found a way to force their watermelons to grow into a square shape by inserting the melons into square, tempered glass cases while the fruit is still growing on the vine. I found a company located in Michigan that makes these cases that you can buy online at square-watermelons.com. As interesting an idea as that is, I personally think it is easier to buy the newer, smaller, individual-sized variety at your local grocer rather than turn your garden into a laboratory for “Frankenmelon.”

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

1 comment:

Joe Allegretti said...

Re: full page restau ads -- What's "Uncle Chen's" ???

And I couldn't be more excited about IZAKAYA coming to town, and by the masters from Ahi to boot! Happy days, indeed.

I think this weekly column is by far my favorite part of the Sound.