Happy Dancing Taste Buds While Dining at Bouchon Santa Barbara
Bouchon ~ Wine Country Cuisine in the Heart of Santa Barbara, California – As these boomers are out roaming, one of our great missions is to find wonderful places to dine, sample their cuisine, and then report back to you our loyal subscribers.
We are very excited to tell you about our dining experience at Bouchon in downtown Santa Barbara, California.
Bouchon specializes in Santa Barbara “Wine Country Cuisine”. This means they source their ingredients using an “as-fresh-and-as-local-as-possible” approach, with fish from the Santa Barbara Channel and produce from the surrounding countryside. They then take into account how these flavors can be presented in concert with their local wines.
This was day #1 of our 10-Day California Central Coast Road Trip, we have our good friends from Michigan dining with us, and we are looking forward to a wonderful dining experience.
As we settled into our table, the first item of business was to select a nice local bottle of wine. I didn’t realize this, but Santa Barbara County has over 100 wineries, most of them small local businesses, and together they are producing a half billion dollars in revenue. According to the Santa Barbara Vintners’ Association, the area is well-known for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. We settled on a Syrah.
For our first course, Carol and I shared Tutti Frutti Farms Heirloom Tomato Stack (heirloom tomatoes, pickled shallots, Purple Haze goat cheese, teardrop tomatoes, heirloom basil, balsamic & tomato oil). We love heirloom tomatoes and these were simply outstanding. This is my half of the stack.
When we are visiting a new restaurant, I always inquire about the chef’s signature dish. I received an immediate response: Bourbon & Maple-Glazed California Duck Breast (duck confit, thyme-infused jus, succotash of corn, fava beans, applewood-smoked bacon, and Windrose Farms butternut squash).
As I am writing this, I am racking my brain to discern if I have ever relished upon such an amazing serving of duck. The answer is no. This is easily the best duck I have ever enjoyed and I find myself wishing I lived closer to Santa Barbara. Hats of to Executive Chef Greg Murphy.
Listen, if you fancy duck, then there is only one choice on the menu in my opinion.
My taste buds were doing a happy dance with each and every bite!
Further, I was having a hard time keeping other’s forks away from my plate. Back you swine…back!
Now, my wife Carol is a major fan of short ribs.
If there are short ribs on the menu, then she is drawn to them like objects to the magnetic neutron star known as Soft Gamma Repeater 1806-20, the most powerful known magnetic object in the universe.
Therefore, Carol enjoyed Duo of Braised Short Rib & Grilled New York (Yukon gold potatoes, braised celery root and baby shiitakes, celery root puree, and red wine jus).
It was absolutely delicious, but not as good as my duck!
Of course, she vehemently disagreed.
Not to leave our friends Bob & Karen Schroeder out of the picture, Bob was beaming over his Grilled Smoked Venison (red wine braised farro barley, fava beans, Tamai Farm beets, smoked onion purée, and souce Bordelaise), while Karen quietly enjoyed her Char-grilled Rack of Lamb (sautéed fingerling potatoes, braised Swiss chard with golden raisins, crispy prosciutto and rosemary demiglace).
I think Karen’s suppressed joy was merely a ploy to keep us away from her lamb. Only later did I hear of her praise for her dinner. Had she given utterance to her enjoyment earlier, certain I would have begged for a taste.
Very sneaky Karen, very sneaky!
With very satisfied, and full bellies Manager John Loewen insisted that we try the chef’s Margerum Ranch Blueberry Upside Down Cake (thyme créme anglaise, blueberry coulis, & California lemon zest ice cream).
The four of us split one dessert, but what a wonderful ending to a completely delightful gastronomical journey.
“As fresh and as local as possible”. That is the aim of Bouchon Santa Barbara, and the four of us were completely delighted to have sampled the Santa Barbara area in such a wonderful way.
Certainly, hundreds of local business-folk contributed to this experience, and we thank you all from the bottoms of our hearts.
Great job Bouchon team! We will certainly be back when we next visit Santa Barbara, and will sing your praises until we do.
Here’s a great video from Bouchon’s owner, Mitchell Sjerven.