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).

EXPLORE: Comedy Hideaway | Laugh it Up

By Leslie Dinaberg


Maz Jobrani at Santa Barbara Comedy Hideaway, photo by Mercedes Lowe

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the comedy club, of course! Chickens know how to cluck it up, and now you can, too, at the Comedy Hideaway. Andrey Belikov launched the venture in 2012, with a single show per week in Goleta. Now the entrepreneurial comic and promoter puts on six comedy shows a week in Goleta and Santa Barbara, and has additional venues in Ventura and Oakland.

“We’ll frequently book comics to all three places together,” says Belikov. The reception in Santa Barbara has been really good. “People love our shows; they give them 4.5 or 5 on Yelp,” he says. “A lot of clubs in other places are really dated with a two drink minimum, long lines and bouncers—it’s not the best experience. Here in Santa Barbara, we’re more laid back.”

That laid-back vibe attracts top-notch talent. Recent performers include Iliza Shlesinger (winner of Last Comic Standing), Taylor Williamson (second place winner of America’s Got Talent), Carlos Alazraqui (Officer James Garcia on Comedy Central’s Reno 911) and Bryan Callen (comedic actor in The Hangover 1 & 2, Mad TV, Ride Along and Old School).

“A lot of our headliners will use Santa Barbara as a place to try out material when they know they’re going to appear on Letterman,” says Belikov. “They’ll do seven shows just to get ready for a five-minute appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman, which is great for us.” The lineups are usually announced on Sunday night before the Thursday shows and typically include four to six comics: a host, special guests and a headliner—and a lot of special guests are also headliners.

Goleta Comedy Hideaway is every Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. (inside Petrini’s, 5711 Calle Real, Goleta). Santa Barbara Comedy Hideaway is every Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. (upstairs at Apero, 532 State St.). “The later shows tend to attract a younger crowd (guests must be at least 18), while the earlier 7:30 p.m. shows get all ages,” says Belikov. “It really depends upon the headliner. It just keeps growing and growing. It’s been great.” No joke! For more information or to purchase tickets, visit 

Originally published in the Fall 2014 issue of Santa Barbara SEASONS Magazine