From Wikipedia. The history of Santa Barbara, California, begins approximately 13,000 years ago with the arrival of the first Native Americans. The Spanish came in the 18th century to occupy and Christianize the area, which became part of Mexico following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, the expanding United States acquired the town along with the rest of California as a result of defeating Mexico in the Mexican-American War. Santa Barbara transformed then from a dusty cluster of adobes into successively a rowdy, lawless Gold Rush era town; a Victorian-era health resort; a center of silent film production; an oil boom town; a town supporting a military base and hospital during World War II; and finally it became the economically diverse resort destination it remains in the present day. Twice destroyed by earthquakes, in 1812 and 1925, it most recently has rebuilt itself in a Spanish Colonial style.
Lady Egg and I set out for a quick run up the California coast to Santa Barbara for some food and wine tasting. This area has become more than a beach with a vibrant tourist scene that features a diverse bioclimate as well as industries like wine making and fishing.
Cajun Cafe: Our first stop was Cajun Cafe just off State Street for a quick breakfast before heading out to Mission Santa Barbara. I got the Jambalaya with eggs while Lady Egg got the Crab Cake Benedict. After some much needed coffee refills we headed out to Mission Santa Barbara.
Mission Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Mission, is a Spanish mission founded by the Franciscan order near present-day Santa Barbara, California. It was founded by Padre Fermín Lasuén on December 4, 1786, the feast day of Saint Barbara, as the tenth mission for the religious conversion of the indigenous local Chumash-Barbareño tribe of Native American people.
Mission Santa Barbara’s name comes from the legend of Saint Barbara, a girl who was supposedly beheaded by her father for following the Christian Faith. The early missionaries built three different chapels during the first few years, each larger than the previous one. It was only after the Santa Barbara earthquake on December 21, 1812, which destroyed the existing buildings, that the construction on the current Mission was begun. It was completed and then dedicated in 1820. The towers were considerably damaged in the June 29, 1925 earthquake, but were subsequently rebuilt by 1927. The appearance of the inside of the church has not been altered significantly since 1820.
They have a self guided tour for $9 and at the end, I bought a prayer candle for my recently deceased father and light it at the mission before taking the candle home with me.
Santa Barbara Shellfish Company: After the mission, we drove to Stearn pier and waiting to get lunch at the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company. I was curious if the all the hype was real. They have a take out window as well if you don’t want to eat inside which is pretty small. Our lunch consisted of a cup of chowder, 1/2 dozen Washington oysters, steamed clams and a fresh uni on top of a scallop and a slice of lime. For the freshness level, this place is the real deal.
Wine Tasting: Lincourt and Foley. When I joined the Sebastiani wine club in Sonoma, it gave me access to some wineries in Santa Barbara. We left the city and drove up to the Santa Ynez valley and went to Lincourt and Foley. There was a Chardonnay celebration at Foley which focused on both wine and some food parings like oysters, shrimp and caviar. Needless to say, we got to taste some amazing wines and I took back home 2 bottles from Lincourt’s Pinot Noir.
It was a long but an fun filled day discovering that Santa Barbara is more than just a beach.