Menu Mergers

805 Living March 2020, Menu Mergers story by Leslie Dinaberg.

805 Living March 2020, Menu Mergers story by Leslie Dinaberg.

Crazy culinary mash-ups can sometimes turn out to be pure gold. Here are three such surprisingly delicious creations in the 805.

The Homemade Breakfast Lasagna at Ventura’s Immigrant Son Caffe ( quickly attracted a following after the restaurant opened on January 1. The traditional strips of pasta are layered with spinach and prosciutto cotto in a béchamel marinara and topped with a fried egg.

“All of our dishes come from a long line of family traditions and recipes that are incredibly special to us personally,” says Matt Coulter, who co-owns the restaurant with Alessandro Tromba. “Growing up in the family business, Alessandro knew that if he could create [a restaurant with] the warm feelings of home and bring that atmosphere to downtown Ventura, it would be a special place for so many friends and family to create lifelong memories.”

History also plays a role in the Reuben Egg Roll at Lovejoy’s Pickle Room ( cocktail lounge in downtown Santa Barbara. The hybrid dish was created to honor Jimmy’s Oriental Gardens, the Chinese restaurant that previously occupied the space and was a favorite of the Lovejoy family, founders of the Pickle Room and Three Pickles Subs & Sandwiches, which now share the historic landmark building.

In what owner Clay Lovejoy calls “a great conversation starter,” the classic ingredients for a Reuben sandwich (hot pastrami, sauerkraut, Russian Dressing and Swiss cheese) are wrapped in eggroll skin and deep fried.

Why put a waffle on a plate when it can be served on a stick? Inspired by Mexico’s mangos and other treats on sticks, “Don” Francisco Lara decided to go vertical with his Don Waffly waffle on a stick (instagram/donwaffly), making it from scratch and dipping it in milk chocolate, white chocolate, matcha-flavored white chocolate, or cajeta (Mexican caramel sauce) before sprinkling it with toppings like shredded coconut, crushed Oreo cookies, Fruity Pebbles cereal, chopped almonds, or sprinkles. The waffle sticks are available at Dolce Vita (805-746-5009) in the Oxnard Transit Center and can be ordered for on-site catering.

Lara’s son Javier says he and his father plan to expand the offerings to include savory varieties and add a food truck to the mix.        —Leslie Dinaberg

805 Living Cover, March 2020.Click here to read this story as it appeared in 805 Living magazine, (805 Living Pulse March 2020).

Pickle Room News

The Pickle Room's Clay Lovejoy (photo by Leslie Dinaberg)

The Pickle Room’s Clay Lovejoy (photo by Leslie Dinaberg)

We’re big fans of the Pickle Room around here. Did you know that the John Schnackenberg and Cougar Estrada play live jazz the third Saturday of each month at Lovejoy’s Pickle Room? There’s no cover charge, and they play from 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

Try the Mai Tai or the Moscow Mule along with the Chinese/Deli Reuben Egg Roll (sounds weird but trust us, it’s amazing!) and the delicious fried rice.

The Pickle Room's Reuben Egg Roll (courtesy photo)

The Pickle Room’s Reuben Egg Roll (courtesy photo)

Lovejoy’s Pickle Room is located at 126 E. Canon Perdido St.

Right next door the sister restaurant Three Pickles Deli has a new incarnation at night. It transforms into a sushi bar Tsukemono (which we hear means “pickled things” in Japanese). Open after 6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, you can eat in the sushi bar, or they’ll bring your favorite sushi to you at the Pickle Room.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on August 12, 2014.