One of the best reasons to travel is to find new places to eat :) Even though I've been to Santa Barbara numerous times, there are always new places to try and I was very happy to find Renaud's Patisserie and Bistro within walking distance of my rental, just behind busy State Street.
I was impressed that this small bakery serves breakfast made with organic cage free, grain fed eggs, and all their salad greens and coffee are also organic. Their breakfast pastries start at only $2.25 and if you want a light breakfast, you can have a bowl of yogurt with homemade jam and granola for only $4.50.
The fresh fruit was a pretty assortment of peach, apricot, cantaloupe, strawberry, and pineapple.The peach could have been riper, but the rest of the fruit was ripe and tasty.
Even with coffee at Renaud's, I needed an espresso and went to French Press on State Street for my fix. Unfortunately the hype about this place far outweighed both the service and the coffee. The coffee here was much like the vibe....looked good, but tasted terrible. It was actually sour! Service and pastries both fell short of good, making this a place a "do not return" with good options elsewhere.
A place I will definitely return is Tupelo Junction Cafe. Recommended by a local, and one of those places that made me do a second take when I looked at the menu, this is THE place for a hearty breakfast, lunch, happy hour, or dinner if you love Southern food. I chose the Wild Mushroom, asparagus, black truffle cheese scramble with baby greens and homemade bread and jam for $14. Somehow I managed to finish this gigantic plate!
The atmosphere was casual, the service was hospitable, and the food was exemplary, regardless of whether you preferred something as upscale as the omelette I ordered, or if you wanted just biscuits and sausage gravy (both made in house) for $6. For those who want a sweet breakfast, they have a Waffle Lady's pumpkin oatmeal waffle with caramelized bananas, candied pecans and real maple syrup for $12 that will give you a sugar high for the day! Water is served in mason jars, and they make all their jams and preserves, so if you love something, you can take a jar home.
Santa Barbara is only one and a half hours away, but spending a few days away makes it feel like it's a world away from my "normal" life in Los Angeles (especially since I did not have to deal with jet lag:)