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Our Santa Barbara weekend yields good food, drink, and music 

Have you heard people complain that San Luis Obispo is becoming too much like Santa Barbara, as if Santa Barbara is some kind of hellhole? Me too, so cover me, because I'm going in! It's Friday, July 19, and my wife and I are driving to a place many hope SLO won't turn into.

After our obligatory stop at Arroyo Grande's In-N-Out and a quick 90-minute drive, we're pulling into our home away from home, The White Jasmine Inn, a super charming bed and breakfast about three-blocks off State Street.

click to enlarge HOME AWAY FROM HOME The White Jasmine Inn, a Victorian-era bed and breakfast just three blocks off State Street, is quaint and comfortable and reasonably priced, by Santa Barbara standards. - PHOTOS BY GLEN STARKEY
  • Photos By Glen Starkey
  • HOME AWAY FROM HOME The White Jasmine Inn, a Victorian-era bed and breakfast just three blocks off State Street, is quaint and comfortable and reasonably priced, by Santa Barbara standards.

The weather is a perfect 72-degrees, and our antiques-filled Victorian-style room comes with a private Jacuzzi and patio. We certainly wouldn't want SLO to turn into this insufferable place!

We book reservations at a restaurant my endodontist recommended during my last root canal, Olie e Limone Ristorante, where we have an amazing dinner that includes "Fettuccine con Spugnole e Asparagi" (ribbon pasta, morel mushrooms, asparagus, cream) and "Lombata de Vitello alla Griglia" (grilled veal chop, roasted potatoes, rosemary jus). Yes, we eat tortured baby cow. No, we don't feel good about it. Yes, it tastes amazing! SLO already has really great Italian restaurants, so in that regard we're already like Santa Barbara. Gasp!

After dinner, we stroll down State Street and hit a couple cozy bars, first The Good Lion, where my wife raves about their Manhattan, and then The James Joyce, a good old-fashioned Irish pub that features generous whiskey pours and live music. We take a Lyft home because we've walked enough, thank you very much.

click to enlarge SEEING THE SIGHTS The Santa Barbara Marina offers boat tours, kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals, and fresh seafood at spots like Brophy Bros., where we had a great lunch. - PHOTOS BY GLEN STARKEY
  • Photos By Glen Starkey
  • SEEING THE SIGHTS The Santa Barbara Marina offers boat tours, kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals, and fresh seafood at spots like Brophy Bros., where we had a great lunch.

When we awaken on Saturday, July 20, we enjoy a European style buffet with Norwegian smoked salmon, sliced ham and cheeses, cream cheese, hard-boiled eggs, assorted breads, butter and assorted jams, Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, fresh cut seasonal fruits (kiwi, grapes, peaches, pineapple, blueberries), vegetarian quiche or spanakopita, coffee, tea, and juice. We're eating good, baby!

We walk about three blocks to the Santa Barbara Goodwill to check on any must-have treasures. I find a hand-blown glass bottle stop and a couple of nice rocks glasses. My wife scores some rain boots and Asian flats with embroidery. We're out the door for 22 bucks! Hooza!

After a soak in our Jacuzzi, we take a Lyft to the Santa Barbara Marina and put our names in at famed seafood spot Brophy Bros., which gives us a pager and estimated 20 to 25 minute wait, so we walk around the marina and take in the sights and sounds, like a guy selling fresh sea urchin off one of the piers or the two young boys living their best lives as they fish off the dock. Summertime and the living's easy!

Buzz goes the pager, and we're seated on a two-top outside overlooking the harbor where we chow down on clam chowder, crab cakes, and grilled mahi mahi served with mango and papaya relish. It's clear why this spot is so popular! The chowder and crab cakes are especially good. Another Lyft back to the inn sets us up for a nice food-coma-induced midday nap before our Santa Barbara Bowl show at 7 p.m.

click to enlarge ROCKING IN THE FREE WORLD The Santa Barbara Bowl is a terrific venue, and on July 20, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats delivered the goods. - PHOTOS BY GLEN STARKEY
  • Photos By Glen Starkey
  • ROCKING IN THE FREE WORLD The Santa Barbara Bowl is a terrific venue, and on July 20, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats delivered the goods.

My wife and I love Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, and after the indie-pop opener, Lucius, the vintage-sounding R&B band takes the stage and delivers a barnburner of a show. Later we discover our health app clocks us climbing 25-flights of steps. The Bowl is a workout!

We Lyft downtown to The Press Room, a bar that reminds me of SLO's own McCarthy's Irish Pub, where we enjoy a nightcap before Lyfting back to the inn because I climbed 25 freaking flights, man!

Sunday, July 21, starts with another leisurely rise and shine, European buffet, Jacuzzi soak, and then we're on the road home. Traffic is clear sailing, and we decide to stop in Buellton to try Industrial Eats, which friends have been raving about. Sure enough, the Cuban sando and meatball and ricotta sando are the bomb!

Weirdly, we hit some ugly traffic coming into Santa Maria, and it's stop-and-go until around Shell Beach. I tell my wife it's teaching me the patience I'll need when we drive to LA in August. As for Santa Barbara, there're worse places SLO could turn into! Δ

Glen Starkey is New Times' senior staff writer. Contact him at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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