Local Dish: Smithy Kitchen + Bar

The outdoor patio at Kitchen + Bar is a beautiful place to dine, day or night. Photo courtesy Smithy.

The outdoor patio at Kitchen + Bar is a beautiful place to dine, day or night. Photo courtesy Smithy.

There’s nothing better than good food in a beautiful setting, and the new Smithy Kitchen + Bar (7 E. Anapamu St.) has both! I’ve dined on the lovely outdoor patio—under its gorgeous canopy of 100-year-old olive trees—twice in the last few weeks—once on a cold night and once on a warmish one—and the well-placed heaters make it a comfortable and cozy spot to be in almost any weather.

Designer Steve Hermann has redone the former Somerset space in an upscale yet approachable style, with a more “Santa Barbara” vibe and every day price point. Originally a blacksmith shop, hence the name “Smithy,” this prime downtown location (near the Granada Theatre, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Public Library and Sullivan Goss Gallery) is now a great spot for lunch, dinner with friends and family, nighttime drinks and bites or a leisurely Sunday brunch. There’s also a special Easter Brunch menu, if you’re eager to check it out this weekend.

Smithy's "Baby I'm a Star" cocktail and roasted sunchokes with chanterelles, brown butter hazelnuts and butternut squash puree, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Smithy’s “Baby I’m a Star” cocktail and roasted sunchokes with chanterelles, brown butter hazelnuts and butternut squash puree, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Chef Lauren Herman’s new menu is delicious, and nothing is over $20. We loved the mussels and clams with shallot, garlic, crispy pork belly, and bok choy served with grilled toast. The sauce was so savory we asked for extra toast (homemade) to lap up every last bite. The pastas were also terrific. Try the Cavatelli combined with pork ragu, mustard greens and tomato confit for a hearty dish. The squid ink casarecce in lobster bisque with uni and nori breadcrumbs was also fabulous.

The vegetables really shine as well. We loved the fried delicata squash with cauliflower, bagna cauda, calabrian chili and anchovy aïoli, as well the roasted rainbow carrots with spiced cashew butter, coconut yogurt and carrot top pistou. I also enjoyed the sunchokes, roasted with chanterelles, brown butter hazelnuts and butternut squash puree. Overall, everything was tasty and ideal for sharing.

Smithy's Polenta Dumplings and Mushroom Flatbread. Photo by Kay Cheon, courtesy Smithy.

Smithy’s Polenta Dumplings and Mushroom Flatbread. Photo by Kay Cheon, courtesy Smithy.

Partners in life and in the kitchen, Lauren Herman’s wife, Christina Olufson, is a terrific pastry chef.  The flourless chocolate cake with crushed honeycomb was amazing, as was the butterscotch pumpkin cake. Our friends at a nearby table also raved about the brioche doughnuts, so those are definitely on my list to try next time. 

The cocktails are also worth noting, with creative names like “Ortega Undead II: The Resurrection”  (tequila blanco, lime , thai chile, wild elderflower, falernum and chili-salt rim), “From Tokyo to Mars” (iwai japanese whiskey and bittered grapefruit cordial) and “Baby I’m a Star” (pear and fennel, vodka, fino sherry, absinthe, lemon and peychauds bitters) that are just as delicious as they are irresistible for wordsmiths.

One of several communal dining tables at Smithy Kitchen + Bar, courtesy photo.

One of several communal dining tables at Smithy Kitchen + Bar, courtesy photo.

While I loved the aesthetic of Somerset, Smithy is definitely a more welcoming space, not to mention significantly less expensive. The building’s original exposed brick walls with white weathered board and batten walls, rustic reclaimed table tops, and original school house chairs create a beautiful restaurant that is both airy and open, yet still feels intimate. As is becoming a trend, there are three separate communal tables and bar seating, as well as an additional 130 seats located inside and out, offering a myriad of dining possibilities. The nights I was there, there were large groups of people (both young and less young), lots of couples and smaller groups, as well as some solo diners.

Smithy's Kale Salad. Photo by Kay Cheon, courtesy Smithy.

Smithy’s Kale Salad. Photo by Kay Cheon, courtesy Smithy.

“We want Smithy to provide a dining oasis in the heart of Santa Barbara,” states owner and designer, Steve Hermann.  “We hope to become that bar/restaurant that feels like home for all of our guests’ dining and drinking needs, whether small or large.  Our food is delicious yet accessible, and our environment is welcoming and comfortable.  We’d like to create a new history with Smithy that matches the history of our iconic Santa Barbara location.”

Smithy is located in downtown Santa Barbara at 7 East Anapamu St.  Call 805/845-7112 or visit Open Table for reservations. The restaurant is open Monday through Friday for lunch from 11:30 – 2:30 p.m.; dinner from 5p.m. – close; and Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Happy hour runs daily from 4 – 6 p.m.

Leslie Dinaberg 

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 29, 2018.

Interior shot, courtesy Smithy Kitchen + Bar.

Interior shot, courtesy Smithy Kitchen + Bar.

Bar interior shot, courtesy Smithy Kitchen + Bar.

Bar interior shot, courtesy Smithy Kitchen + Bar.

La Arcada Christmas Walk

La Arcada Christmas Walk, courtesy La Arcada.

La Arcada Christmas Walk, courtesy La Arcada.

Get ready to get in the mood for the holidays! The spirit of Christmas—both past and present—is alive and well at this favorite annual celebration taking place on Wednesday, November 29, from 5–8 p.m. The charming, historic holiday open house has all the trimmings of the season, including twinkling lights, costumed carolers, refreshments and the chance to tell Santa what a good boy or girl you’ve been this year (and even snap a photo if you’ve been really, really good!).

In its 23rd year, the La Arcada Christmas Walk is a festive way to start the holiday season, and spend time with the whole family in a beautiful setting wandering down the enchanting, tree filled courtyard as it is transformed into a winter wonderland.  Hungry? Andersen’s, Viva, Jeannine’s, La Arcada Bistro, Petit Valentien and State & Fig will all be open for dining that evening.

Waterhouse Gallery, La Arcada, courtesy photo.

Waterhouse Gallery, La Arcada, courtesy photo.

Photos with Santa are FREE, as are fresh popped popcorn, treats in shops and the chance to sing-a-long to familiar holiday tunes.

Retail stores and specialty shops including Socorro, Renaissance, Ace Rivington, Lewis & Clarke, LaTavola Fine Linen, August Ridge Vineyards, The Barber Shop, Bread & Butter, Chocolats du CaliBressan, Coast 2 Coast Collection, Peanuts Maternity & Gifts, Sanford Winery and Urban Optics will extend their hours for this very special evening.  Art enthusiasts will enjoy visiting Gallery 113, Santa Barbara Arts, Waterhouse Gallery and the historically significant permanent collection of interactive sculptures throughout the Historic La Arcada Courtyard.

La Arcada is located at 1114 State St. between Figueroa and Anapamu streets.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 20, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Brunch at Finch & Fork

Finch & Fork Bloody Mary, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork Bloody Mary, courtesy photo.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg  

While nothing says “bloody good brunch” like a Bloody Mary, Finch & Fork bartender Joe Dohany has bumped it up a notch with some cocktails designed especially for day drinking.

New to the menu is Dohany’s Breakfast of Champions, a bold drink with bacon–washed bourbon, pecan syrup and peach bitters. He’s also added a Guava Margarita with jalapeño–infused tequila, guava and lime as well as the Stinger with cognac and crème de menthe.  

There’s always the brunch time favorite Bloody Mary, which has also been upgraded, while a variety of mimosas, like orange, grapefruit, cranberry and peach are still available refills for just $1.

Chef James Siao’s midmorning eats are also top notch. Pair the cocktails with Siao’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken, served with kale slaw, pickles and smoked honey mustard, the Roasted Pork Belly & Egg with poached eggs, smashed avocado, toasted bread, chipotle hollandaise and home fries, or the Caramelized Banana French Toast.

Brunch is served every Saturday and Sunday at Finch & Fork (31 W. Carrillo St.) from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Finchandforkrestaurant.com.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor ofSanta Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 17, 2017.

Don’t Miss Small Business Saturday in Downtown Santa Barbara

Small Business SaturdayKicking off the holiday season this is a relatively new retail holiday: Small Business Saturday (November 29). Nestled between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday encourages people to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

This year, Downtown Santa Barbara is promoting Small Business Saturday as a way to kick off the Holiday season.

 A complete list of participating locations are listed on the Downtown Santa Barbara website (DowntownSB.org). As of press time, participants included: 33 Jewels at El Paseo (814 State), Aveda (304 Paseo Nuveo), Bella Rosa Galleries (1103-A State), The Book Den (15 E. Anapamu), Churchill Jewelers (1015 State),The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (811 State, #A), Crazy Good Bread Co. (38 W. Victoria), Culture Counter (38 W. Victoria), Distinctive Framing ‘N’ Art (1333 State), Flagstone Pantry (38 W. Victoria, #108), Foragers Pantry (38 W. Victoria) and  Green Star Coffee (38 W. Victoria).

Courtesy Downtown Santa Barbara

Courtesy Downtown Santa Barbara

Also participating are Hampstead Village (1100 State), Harlequin’s Theatrical Supply (17 W. Gutierrez), Imagine (11. W. Canon Perdido), Indigo Interiors (1321 State), Industry Home (4 E. de la Guerra), Italian Pottery Outlet (929 State), Kernohan’s Toys (18 W. Anapamu), Kitson (651 Paseo Nuevo, #101), Oliver & Espig (1108 State), Plum Goods (909 State), Salt  Cave Santa Barbara (740 State), Salt Boutique (1-A W. Canon Perdido) and Samy’s Camera (530 State).

Additional participants include:  Santa Barbara Arts (1114 State, #24), Santa Barbara Public Market (38 W. Victoria), Santa Monica Seafood (38 W. Victoria), Sojourner Cafe (134 E. Canon Perdido), State & Fig (1114 State, #18), The Pasta Shoppe (38 W. Victoria, #122), Viva Oliva (651 Paseo Nuevo, #207), Wendy Foster State Street (833 State), Whistle Club (819 State. Suites A + B) and Wine + Beer (38 W. Victoria)

DSB staff will be on hand at Marshalls Patio (900 State), giving out Shop Small tote bags, balloons and dog bandanas. “We’re encouraging Shop Small customers to post or tweet where they are shopping or dining throughout the day, using #shopsmall and #DowntownSB,” says Kate Schwab, Downtown Santa Barbara Marketing & Communication Director.

“We have such a diverse and unique blend of small businesses downtown. It is a pleasure to support our many small business in Downtown Santa Barbara and give them an opportunity to show off great places to shop, eat or visit.”

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 26, 2014.