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Tag Archives: Santa Barbara

Chocolats du Cali Bressan (Santa Barbara, California)

After reading Joanne Harris’s Chocolat, I was left with a craving that plain ol’ Hershey’s just couldn’t satisfy.  I needed beautiful, gourmet, thoughtfully-prepared and delicious chocolates a la Vianne Rocher.  And, much to my luck, I found them right here in Santa Barbara!  Chocolats du Cali Bressan is a legitimate French chocolaterie that I just know makes truffles and bon bons to rival Vianne’s.  It also doesn’t hurt that it’s right next door to the new downtown tasting room of one of my favorites, Sanford Winery.  Best of all – you don’t have to be in beautiful Santa Barbara to benefit from these delicious treats.  You can order them online!

We generally review places that you can sit and read a book at – this is not one of them.  It’s a small, hole-in-the-wall place.  However, it’s near some outdoor benches, a great winery (that, admittedly, is nearly always too full to linger over a book) and all the other seating that downtown Santa Barbara has to offer.  So if you’re near or far, I recommend you grab a chocolate (or two), and settle in with Chocolat.  I’m no Vianne, so I don’t know what your favorite is, but I can tell you mine!  I recommend the Boysenberry Seashell and Earl Grey Bon Bons, as well as the Szichuan Pepper and Orange Truffle – though you can also try the Rocher bon bon… perhaps named after our heroine herself?

Final great thing – Chocolate Tasting/Tours with champagne monthly!  If you’re local, check the site for more details.

I give this chocolaterie 4 stars.  I know you’ll enjoy it too! ★★★★

http://www.chococalibressan.com/

– Becca

The French Press (Santa Barbara, CA)

Dearest caffeinated readers, its Becca, with your latest literary coffee shop review.  I’ve been living in Santa Barbara for about 3 months now, and after spending summer vacations in the area for as long as I can remember, I feel like a local already!  That said, you could imagine my surprise when I got settled in and realized I didn’t have a coffee place to call my own and frequent!  For the good of the blog (and my sanity) I’ve worked to remedy that.  This time, I tried out The French Press, on 1101 State Street, after being told by a “true” local (born and raised) that it was the best coffee shop in town.

French Press is known for being crowded, so I came on a rare weekday with no class.  I’m glad I did, because every time I’ve walked past it since, there was no room to set up camp.  Because I went on a Friday, I was able to order an iced latte and grab a table about halfway through their oblong shaped venue; perfect for people watching during breaks from studying.   The décor is cute, a sort of upscale, hipster-chic.  The baristas were friendly, though not particularly speedy.  This is clearly the place to be for up and coming readers and writers in the area, and I was able to eavesdrop on several people bumping into each other and talking about the various pieces they were working on – that was cool!

There’s really nothing bad I can say about the French Press, but I wasn’t completely blown away.  The coffee is good, not great.  The service was fair, but nothing exceptional.  Overall, it was a pretty average coffee experience.  The vibe I got was that this is a place to see and be seen, and there was a feeling of exclusivity that I wasn’t overly fond of.

I give the French Press 2 stars.  It wasn’t horrible, and I may go back, but I’ve certainly had better coffee experiences, and for a good reading haunt, the place has to have available seats!★★

The French Press

Planned Parenthood Book Sale (Santa Barbara, CA)

Hello readers in the Santa Barbara area!

Being a budding English teacher in the area comes with a few pretty incredible perks, like hearing about great events like this first!  Coming soon (Sept 20-30) is the 38th Annual Planned Parenthood Book Sale at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara, CA.  This will be my first year going, but I hear it is absolutely gigantic and a fixture in the tri-county community, as well as one of Planned Parenthood’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

Hope to see you all there!  For more information, please visit Planned Parenthood’s website here.

-Becca

The Daily Grind (Santa Barbara, CA)

Since moving to Santa Barbara, I’ve been looking for a good coffee place (and by extension reading, studying, and gossiping place) that really feels like home.  Being new to the town, I’ll be trying a lot of new places and writing about them here, but I’m happy to report that I have already found a gem!

I was drawn to The Daily Grind when my absolute favorite singer/songwriter and Santa Barbara local, Crosby Loggins (check him out), wrote about it in one of his songs.  When I looked it up, and found it was across from another favorite place, McConnell’s ice cream, my high hopes were further elevated.

It may be relevant to note, before I continue, that I am the biggest coffee snob on the planet.  Since traveling to Costa Rica and getting hooked on their insanely delicious brews, Starbucks is just okay and Folger’s makes me want to cry.  I actually have Costa Rican coffee delivered in bulk so I can drink it every morning!  But I can honestly say that whatever Daily Grind is using, it is GOOD.  It’s the best I’ve had since Costa Rica, hands down.  In fact, it might even be better!  Which is lucky, because you can purchase coffee beans and grounds at The Daily Grind!  And if coffee isn’t your thing, there is also a juice bar and huge assortment pastries, as well as sandwiches and salads. (MUFFINS!  Get the muffins! They’re sinfully wonderful)

Aside from the great coffee and snacks, the vibe is perfect for reading and studying.  In fact, if you come to this place, you’ll be surrounded by fellow readers and academics.  You will also be surrounded by license plates from various places and bikes hanging on the wall.  The quirky décor is really fun, and surprisingly at odds with the upbeat pop music that was playing through my most recent visit.

One thing to keep in mind is that Daily Grind accepts cash only… so come prepared!  They also don’t have air conditioning, which isn’t usually an issue in Santa Barbara, but learn from my mistake and do NOT wear a sweater there in August!  I’m giving my new favorite digs in Santa Barbara four stars.  Pay them a visit soon, on the corner of De La Vina and Mission!  I know I will be. ★★★★

– Becca