During my last trip to Los Angeles, my friend Sima (founder House of Citrine) and I drove to Santa Barbara! The original plan was to go to the Raw Food World’s warehouse in Ojai for some deals and go to this restaurant Sima had been raving about. Well, I called the Raw Food World several times, no one answered. We stopped for a quick charge in Burbank, at which point I looked up the restaurant we were heading to. They were closed!
So we thought, “fuck it, let’s go to Santa Barbara.” There was no question. We were going to lunch at Mesa Verde. I don’t know the details, but I know my friend Chef Greg Arnold is involved. If I were to guess, he develops the recipes and menu and plating. It all looks and tastes like his style. And I know he used to work in the kitchen there. But I didn’t meet him really until after that. Greg, if you’re reading this, break it down for us in the comments.
Polenta Fries. Caramelized Onion. Smoked Summer Squash. Black Olive. Basil. Piquillo. Tomato. White Bean. Herbs.
And it was amazing. The fries were crunchy, the beans were soft. There was a great variety of textures and flavors in this dish. There was nothing I’d add or takeaway. I ate it with my hands. I also got this beer pictured. It was good, but pretty sweet. I would definitely call it a dessert beer.
The experience outside of the food was great too. The restaurant was quiet, our waiter couldn't have been nicer. We weren't waiting there for hours. Dessert looked so good but were were stuffed! I should note that Mesa Verde is vegan. But don't let that scare you away! It's worth it.
Sima got the Patatas Bravas Tacos. I think she made some kind of modification. I don’t remember what it was. I’m guessing something related to grain-free, so maybe the shell? I should ask. Sima, if you read this and I haven’t corrected it, comment!
All in all, it was a great experience, as usual. It's the only restaurant I can really recommend in Santa Barbara! Except AH Juice, but it's a different atmosphere. It's Nitsa's dad, Alfred's cafe! I got to meet him briefly, which was great. I don't have enough info or pictures for a full review on his cafe. We got there as they were closing up. I did get a turmeric drink that was ah-mazing. Also had a chocolate made from juice pulp that was way better than it sounds. And a peanut butter chocolate bar. Also very good. I'd have gotten more, but it was the end of the day and they ran out!
Ok, now I can say all in all and mean it. If you're going to Santa Barbara, check these two places out.