Sakana, Santa Barbara

As some of you know, I love sushi. I could probably eat it every day if mercury poisoning was the “in” thing this year. I was able to take a last-minute trip to Santa Barbara for a night and Jon talked me into going for sushi (which wasn’t hard). Tucked away in the Montecito shopping center you may just overlook this little sushi restaurant but it’s OH so worth it. We had heard about Sakana from some friends and decided to take a trip over. There was a bit of a wait but the hostess gave us a ring when our table was ready so we were able to walk around the little plaza.

Sakana, Santa Barbara, Sushi -acaffeiantedbrunette.com

Sakana, Santa Barbara, Sushi -acaffeiantedbrunette.com

 

The restaurant has a very casual feel to it. They put all of the decoration into their sushi.

 

Sakana, Santa Barbara, Sushi -acaffeiantedbrunette.com

The menu at Sakana can be a bit intimidating. They have so many sushi rolls you don’t even know what to do with yourself. So instead of trying to flip a coin to decide (we would’ve needed lots of coins), we sat back and let the chef do his thing and decide on what to feed us. I think he did a very good job.

Sakana, Santa Barbara, Sushi -acaffeiantedbrunette.com

To start we received their habanero yellowtail roll and the merry go round roll. It was phenomenal and we knew we were in good hands.Sakana, Santa Barbara, Sushi -acaffeiantedbrunette.com

Sakana, Santa Barbara, Sushi -acaffeiantedbrunette.com

Sakana, Santa Barbara, Sushi -acaffeiantedbrunette.comNext came a big boat of fish.
Sakana, Santa Barbara, Sushi -acaffeiantedbrunette.comVery fresh and delicious fish of all sorts.
Sakana, Santa Barbara, Sushi -acaffeiantedbrunette.com

The sushi just kept coming. My mouth and belly were in awe and oh so happy. The next roll we received was their blackened yellowtail roll. Sakana, Santa Barbara, Sushi -acaffeiantedbrunette.com

Sakana, Santa Barbara, Sushi -acaffeiantedbrunette.comAnd last but not least the lobster melt.
Sakana, Santa Barbara, Sushi -acaffeiantedbrunette.com

Sakana, Santa Barbara, Sushi -acaffeiantedbrunette.comFrom the presentation to the sushi’s unique flavor Sakana will have you coming back for more. Sakana is one of the best places I have had sushi so far in my life actually. Definitely in the top three and I plan on going back very soon. You can find Sakana at 1046 Coast Village Rd in Santa Barbara. You won’t be disappointed.

Happy Eating!

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La Fiesta Brava Restaurant Venice

There’s a small family owned restaurant in Venice that is serving up some authentic mexican food. You may not think to come in when you walk by La Fiesta Brava on Rose Avenue, you may actually notice the bars on the windows and not look back. I probably wouldn’t have but I heard the food was excellent so I hopped in for a bite last week.

There’s no tablecloths, everything is at a bare minimum here, but La Fiesta Brava is a nice little hole-in-the-wall. No frills needed.

And with very good prices might I add. La fiesta brava, mexican, venice california -acaffeinatedbrunette.comLa Fiesta Brava is very humble. What looks to be an average restaurant is actually a little gem. The restaurant doesn’t serve liquor but is conveniently located next to one so you can BYOB right on over.

To start we ordered some of their fresh guacamole.

La fiesta brava, mexican, venice california -acaffeinatedbrunette.com

Jon tried their burrito. The burrito came stuffed with beef, beans and rice. La fiesta brava, mexican, venice california -acaffeinatedbrunette.com

I had the chicken enchiladas. The marinated chicken gave the enchiladas lots of flavor and the beans were excellent. La fiesta brava, mexican, venice california -acaffeinatedbrunette.comIf you’re looking for a quick bite at a very good price, La Fiesta Brava is a great little place to stop by. It is located at 423 Rose Ave
Venice, CA 90291.

Enjoy!

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Reel Inn Malibu

There’s a little shack in Malibu that’s serving up some great “fast food” seafood. Known for its way of ordering and their fresh seafood, Reel Inn is a great place to stop in when craving some fishies from the sea. Timing is everything here as the line can get pretty hectic so come early. Not a good place to be waiting in line on an empty stomach. Reel Inn has the perfect atmosphere to enjoy a brew on a sunny California afternoon and the daily catch. Reel Inn, Malibu -acaffeinatedbrunette.com

Ordering is easy as 1, 2, 3…literally. Just choose your fish, how you would like it prepared and two of their homemade sides. Reel Inn, Malibu -acaffeinatedbrunette.com

Don’t worry about dressing to impress here, most people walk off the beach to grab some grub. Dining is indoors and outdoors so you can enjoy the sunny day. Reel Inn, Malibu -acaffeinatedbrunette.com

Reel Inn, Malibu -acaffeinatedbrunette.com

I’m a big calamari lover. When I was growing up I would always go to City Fish in Connecticut to grab some calamari for lunch before heading off to the park. So of course I ordered their calamari. The calamari comes lightly breaded and fresh. Reel Inn’s calamari was good but I was hoping for a bit more flavor. Reel Inn, Malibu -acaffeinatedbrunette.com

For my main meal I decided to try Reel Inn’s special of the day, Mahi Mahi cajun style with rice and home fries. The Mahi Mahi was cooked to perfection and cajun style gave the seafood a nice flavoring.  Reel Inn, Malibu -acaffeinatedbrunette.com

Jon tried the ahi tuna with fries and slaw. He asked for sushi grade and it came out perfectly. Reel Inn, Malibu -acaffeinatedbrunette.comIf you’re looking for some quick seafood in Malibu, Reel Inn is a great place to go. Their portions are generous and the seafood fresh. Consider this low key gem your ace in the hole. Find Reel Inn at 18661 Pacific Coast Hwy in Malibu.

Enjoy!

 

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Grilled Cheese Goodness at Heywood

In NYC I had a favorite spot I would frequent at least every other week called Earl’s Beer and Cheese. My friends would say I should do their marketing because it was always one of my recommendations. It was a little hole-in-the-wall decorated with pictures of deer and birds on the walls and made some heavenly grilled cheeses accompanied with a spicy tomato soup. Now being absent of NYC and Earl’s for a while I had to find another to replace it.  Well LA, I think I found a good one.

Heywoods grilled cheeses -acaffeinatedbrunette.comHeywoods Grilled Cheese Shoppe gives a childhood favorite an artisanal twist. As you walk in you may hear some familiar music that may have you shake rattlin and rollin your way over to the counter. It was hard not to pop out of my seat and do a little boogie while I waited.

Heywoods grilled cheeses -acaffeinatedbrunette.com

Ooey gooey goodness is the first thing that comes to mind when you bite into a Heywood grilled cheese.Their cheese is melted to perfection and bread has a perfect “crisp” sound as you bite into your first delightful bite.

Heywoods grilled cheeses -acaffeinatedbrunette.comI plumped for their Game Changer, a unique English double-gloucester grilled into a sourdough bread. The Game Changer is topped with a light spread of organic, homemade habanero jam and gives this purple and gold sandwich a gentle kick. You can choose to have your sandwich with a nicely dressed salad and tiny cup of tomato soup for dipping or a full cup of soup.

Heywoods grilled cheeses -acaffeinatedbrunette.com

Jon decided on going a totally opposite route and ordered their Italian Blue Cheese. His sandwich comes with freshly sliced mozzarella topped with a creamy blue cheese, fresh walnut pesto and sundried tomatoes. Heywoods grilled cheeses -acaffeinatedbrunette.comWe swip-swapped halves and each had the best of both worlds. Mine was spicy and flavorful, Jon’s was rich and creamy.

Heywoods grilled cheeses -acaffeinatedbrunette.com

Heywoods grilled cheeses -acaffeinatedbrunette.comThe staff at Heywoods is friendly and helpful. Don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation or a change to your sandwich. They’re happy to oblige. And for the vegans and gluten-free people out there, they’ve got you covered. Heywoods is open til 3am so you’ll never miss out on a tasty grilled cheese and is located at 3337 W Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles.

Enjoy!

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