Culinary Favorites in Santa Barbara
you are a devotee of good Irish fare and Guinness from Dublin,
your fondest wish will come through while traveling through
Santa Barbara, California, where you will find a few stellar
downtown venues that are family owned and specialize in Celtic
inspired food and drink. Dargan's Irish
Restaurant & Pub, Willie Quinn's
La Arcada Bistro and The James
Joyce are all destinations that are overflowing with
hungry and thirsty patrons on St. Patrick's Day and every day.
Dargan's Irish Restaurant & Pub
it's opening at 18 East Ortega Street, Paul Dargan's authentic
Irish Pub has featured Irish musicians and dancers who entertain
patrons of the pub. The menu includes original recipes of Paul's
mother, who was from the Belfast area in Ireland, and this food
is a bit more formal than the average run of the mill pub. The
Guinness onion soup with Gruyere cheese is quite amazing. They
serve a hearty lamb shank covered with home made gravy, but
also offer baked beans with bangers and a variety of additional
entrees, sandwiches, appetizers and salads.
showcases an impressive collection of fine Irish whiskey, and
a respectable variety of Irish and domestic beer and ale including
Smithwick's Ale from Kilkenny, Harp Lager from County Louth,
Boddington's from Manchester, England, Stella Artois from Belgium,
Guinness direct from Dublin, and Manners Irish Apple Cider from
Tipperary. The atmosphere at Dargan's is upscale Irish all the
way, with a wonderful wood paneled pool hall in the back, and
a cozy fireplace room for dining with friends and family, while
enjoying live Irish entertainment. (www.darganssb.com)
Lamb Shank with vegetable Entre
Arcadia Bistro, featuring Irish Music with Irish & International
Cuisine, is a local family owned restaurant. The owners Willie
Quinn, originally from County Mayo Ireland, and Trini Quinn,
originally from Mexico met in Santa Barbara and fell in love.
Willie Quinn and his wife Trini took over the La Arcada Bistro
on State Street ten years ago and turned it into an inviting
restaurant, where live Irish entertainment is enjoyed on the
patio throughout the week.
lunch and dinner are served at La Arcada Bistro 1114 State Street.
Seating is available inside or on the patio, where diners get
an up close and personal view of the bands who are performing
during lunch or dinner. Celtic breakfast favorites include a
traditional Irish breakfast special of two eggs over easy, imported
Irish Bacon, sausages, black and white pudding, sautéed
tomatoes and mushrooms, served with house-made sweet Irish soda
bread, a wonderful variety of omelets and waffles, and John
McCann's Irish oatmeal special served with brown sugar, milk,
bananas and candied walnuts.
Trio of La Arcada Bistro Favorites
industrious couple have two daughters Aoife and Brigid Quinn
who perform as The Foggy Dew Band. The girls are also accomplished
Irish dancers and perform non-stop on March 17. Another group
performing regularly is Shepherd's Pie Band. Willie's Irish
authentic plates are from the south of Ireland area, and it
is the exact food my grandmother and aunts cooked during their
lifetime; making It a very nostalgic experience for me to dine
on Willie's corned beef and cabbage or lamb stew. Trini has
helped introduce dishes from around the world; including Mexican
and European dishes. Pouring a perfect Guinness is an ongoing
happening in this fun and fanciful meeting place.
- The James Joyce at 513 State Street is considered the best
by many locals to be the most authentic Irish bar in Santa Barbara.
This venue is so reminiscent of bars I've visited in Dublin,
covered with wooden everything, and offering favorite Irish
beers and ale on tap, as well as Irish whiskey and specialty
cocktails. It's a place where people enjoy quiet conversations
in the afternoon, and rowdy everything as the night goes on.
There are very few places to sit down, and not unlike the Irish
watering holes in Ireland people stand in crowds and order drinks,
which are then passed back to them. Local musicians provide
entertainment here six nights a week.
A Perfect Black Velvet
a fun past time watching the bartender pour a perfect Guinness
pint or make a lovely black velvet (Guinness and cider beer
cocktail known as a poor man's black velvet). I've had the pleasure
to visit the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin and received a certificate
for 'pouring a perfect pint' during a writing trip a few years
ago, and it is an art that requires patience and a good eye.
The black velvet is a softer-gentler drink combining Guinness
and Cider that is a favorite on holidays in England and Ireland.
The original black velvet was a cocktail made from stout and
white, sparkling wine, traditionally champagne. It was crafted
by the bartender of the Brook's Club in London in 1861 to mourn
the death of Prince Albert, and symbolizes the black or purple
cloth armbands worn by mourners.
By Bonnie Carroll
About Bonnie Carroll
Bonnie Carroll has been a food/travel/lifestyle writer since
1983. She is the founder & publisher of Bonnie Carroll's
Life Bites News - www.lifebitesnews.com,
does travel and food reporting on KZSB1290 radio, and contributes
to a variety of national and international travel/lifestyle
publications. Her first children's book C.C. Charles was published
in 2002 and she is currently working on a second book. Contact
her at Contact her at email@example.com.