Friday, May 30, 2014

Santa Barbara, California (May 2014)

I just returned from a few days in Santa Barbara, which, like many places in California, is a city where vegetarians will not go hungry.  Californians certainly love healthy eating -- and the vast array of smoothie bars (check out Backyard Bowls) and veg-friendly cafes (check out The Natural Cafe) make it easy for vegetarian travelers to find a quick bite.  

But as always, I was on the lookout for a first-class dining experience, and was delighted to find just that at Pierre Lafond's State Street WineBistro.  

The WineBistro is located in the heart of Santa Barbara's lively downtown, and its large windows and outdoor seating make it an ideal place for people watching along State Street.  The restaurant features organic produce and local wines, not to mention great service.  I could not have been more pleased with my meal.  Although it was difficult to decide what to order given the expansive selection of vegetarian options, I settled on this protein-packed red quinoa and sprouted mung bean salad, which was covered in a tasty cilantro-lime vinaigrette.

Red quinoa and sprouted mung bean salad with grape tomatoes, roasted corn, avocado, wilted baby Earth trine kale, and a cilantro-lime vinaigrette

This salad was served as an entree and was so filling that I did not have room to try anything else, which was disappointing because the menu not only had an endless list of vegetarian soups, salads, sandwiches (including a house-made, gluten-free veggie burger!), and flatbreads, but it also had an entire section of other appealing vegetarian entrees.

If I ever return to Santa Barbara, I'll look forward to grabbing another window seat at the WineBistro!

TIP:  Go for lunch or an early dinner while the sun is still out to take advantage of the outdoor seating and large picture windows.  Santa Barbara gets chilly after dark!

Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro on Urbanspoon