A few weeks ago, Eric and I took a weekend trip to beautiful Santa Barbara, California to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. You may remember our brief mini-moon getaway last year to Palm Springs. This year’s trip was a little faster-paced, but still full of fun.
We stayed at the Hotel Indigo, a cozy boutique hotel on the edge of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone. Established in recent years, the Funk Zone is a formerly shady industrial district turned hip & artistic epicenter. Breweries, wineries, trendy restaurants, and kitschy shops line the blocks between State Street and Garden Street to the south of Highway 101.
The hotel itself boasts a green-friendly design, which meant compact but cozy rooms. The small room didn’t bother us — we spent most of our time out on the town.
We started out on the wharf, sampling wines from Deep Sea Winery and shrimp ceviche at the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company. Then we took a short walk to the Funk Zone for Lucky Penny‘s flatbread fare, beers at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company, zesty pulled pork from Red’s Bin 211, Cutler’s assortment of fine artisan spirits, and sparkling wines and locally made toffee at Riverbench Winery.
My favorites? Definitely the Milpas Flatbread at Lucky Penny, a Mexican-style flatbread which emphasizes Santa Barbara’s heavy Mexican influences. It’s topped with flavorful chorizo, spicy tomatillo marinara, and gooey sunny-side-up eggs. I was also a huge fan of Cutler’s Artisan Spirits — their vodka in particular.
The tour did include a fun photography scavenger hunt — whoever took the most photographs from a list our guide gave us at the start of the tour would win a prize. Knowing Eric is always up for a challenge, I encouraged him to go for it, and he ended up winning us a bag of delicious toffee from local favorite Koval Confections.
We visited a few more restaurants on our trip that I feel I must mention. The Lark, in the heart of the Funk Zone, was our first stop upon our arrival Friday night. An upscale tapas place, they serve a variety of surprisingly large sharing dishes. We spent the evening gorging ourselves on way too much food, but it was so delicious we simply couldn’t stop ourselves.
The Hotel Indigo’s own Nuance restaurant was no disappointment. We grabbed brunch here on Saturday morning before our tour. The service was prompt and the food fresh, healthy, and positively delectable. Lilly’s Taqueria, off of State Street, was equally satisfying, serving up some of the area’s best tacos (indicated by the line reaching out the door and into the parking lot). And a night of beers and soccer at Hoffmann Brat Haus rounded out our experience in the best way.