Saturday, January 7, 2017

Mesa Verde- Santa Barbara, CA

Mesa Verde- Santa Barbara, CA: Exterior

Having enjoyed vegan/vegetarian focused restaurants in the past (Cafe Gratitude, Real Food Daily), we started off a visit to Santa Barbara by visiting Mesa Verde for lunch. It had been positively reviewed on multiple websites, and its own website showcased beautifully crafted vegetarian cuisine.

Housed in its own quaint grey and green building, parking is a tight, only having a few dedicated spots in the parking lot.  Although we arrived relatively late for lunch (around 2pm), we still had to wait more than 10 minutes for a table. The restaurant was near capacity, and employees were busy in the kitchen and serving customers seated indoors and outdoors. The environment was still relaxed, with locals enjoying a wide number of items from the menu.

Mesa Verde- Santa Barbara, CA: Helios (Carrot, Strawberry, Lemon)

The owner happened to serve us that day, and apologized for the wait. After ordering and asking for his input on recommended lunch items-- the Patatas Bravas Tacos and Picadillo Empanadas came highly recommended--he provided us complimentary samples of Helios, a cold-pressed juice composed of carrot, strawberry and lemon. This was quite light and refreshing, with the hint of lemon accenting the carrot and strawberry pleasantly. I loved the mason jar cups too. (A regular order of the juice would come in a glass bottle)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

L'Etoile- Madison, WI

L'Etoile--Madison, WI: Entrance Signage

L'Etoile, located on the Capitol Square, is a fine-dining establishment in Madison, Wisconsin, focused on local and seasonal offerings. Arguably Madison's most renown restaurant, I couldn't have skipped a trip to Madison without trying this place for myself.

L'Etoile--Madison, WI: Interior

L'Etoile provides an air of simple elegance. Housed in a building with floor to ceiling windows, with an interior that has understated neutral tones, the scene warmed up with the extensive wine cellar, candlelight, and flower arrangements.

At our table, we received custom printed menus for the evening. It was here that the attention to detail came about. When making the reservation, we had noted the occassion that presided our visit, and our menus had a small message to reflect that note. Moreover, the employees also were aware of the occassion--a very nice touch.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Javan Restaurant- Los Angeles (Sawtelle), CA

Javan Restaurant- Los Angeles (Sawtelle), CA: Exterior

Established in 1986, Javan Restaurant is a Middle Eastern restaurant located on the Westside focusing on Persian food. 

Javan Restaurant- Los Angeles (Sawtelle), CA: Interior 

Inside, the environment was decidedly upscale, with a bar, a white grand piano, stone tables, wood accents, and plenty of pictures adorning the walls. All the waiters, moreover, were dressed quite formally with dress shirts and ties.