The bougainvillea at San Ysidro Ranch.
A few days in Santa Barbara and its environs can brighten the heart of any Chicagoan tired of an endlessly rainy spring.
Here are four spots worth visiting:
San Ysidro Ranch – The honeymoon spot of John and Jacqueline Kennedy, you can’t beat the setting – rose gardens, beautiful bougainvillea and hummingbirds darting around. The Montecito gem survived last year’s mudslides intact.
Petit Valentien – The small Santa Barbara restaurant serves Ethiopian cuisine for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays. I recommend the platter of two meats (try the spicy chicken) and four vegetables on a circle of Injera Ethiopian flatbread, a perfect meal for two.
Les Marchands – A vibrant spot in Funk Town, I suggest the wild boar lasagna.
Sanford Winery – The elegantly constructed tasting room in Lompoc offers a great selection of whites and reds. In the vineyards, set graciously in the Santa Rita Hills, the original Pinot Noir vines planted in 1973 are now 60 feet deep.