Rachel Agana »

Monthly Archives: December 2011

Sakana | Montecito, CA

Like I said before, my family & I are a bit of seafood snobs – especially – when it comes to sushi. After checking out Butterfly Beach, we searched for local Japanese restaurants on our Garmin and ended up at Sakana. This was during my pre-iPhone days so I had no idea it had such high accolades on Yelp.

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Sakana is not your traditional Japanese restaurant. Catering to the American sensibility, every other item on the menu was infused with white truffles or cream cheese.

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Although the dishes were beautifully presented, a lesson to Sakana and all those in Southern California – looks cannot substitute for substance. Maybe we just came at a time when the fish was not as fresh but that is no excuse for a big-ticket establishment. Don’t let my smile fool you -the salmon sashimi on my salad was thinly cut! All their high score reviews is just another example of how money can’t buy you taste. We were all missing our East Bay faves – Nama & Miyuki who give generously at a fraction of the cost.

Butterfly Beach + The Biltmore | Montecito, CA

On our last day in Santa Barbara, before we made the drive up north, we stopped by to check the view of Butterfly Beach adjacent to The Biltmore. Known for serving as a backdrop to many a Hollywood film and a home-away-from-home for celebs off-camera, this Four Seasons hotel combines high class luxury with Mediterreanean charm.

We didn’t get a chance to explore the inside but perhaps one day. To my delight, this was one of the rare times my brother was game for portrait taking.

He’s such a character!

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I’m not much of a beach person but I imagine this would be a nice location to catch the sunset – water for days.

Mission Santa Barbara

Today marks the 225th anniversary of when Franciscan Friar Fermin de Lasuen founded the “Queen of the Missions” on the Feast Day of St. Barbara. As a native Californian with a Catholic school upbringing, visiting this beautiful Mission was not just a photo op but also a chance to connect with my roots.

I remember back in 4th grade we visited a local mission and had to choose a partner to make a presentation on one of the 21 historic missions. Maggie & I made a miniture model out of foam board and lots of acrylic paint. Wish I had a photo to show you.:)

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Back in 2003, I was fortunate enough to visit Assisi, Italy during a trip to Europe through my high school. Seeing where St. Francis lived and served was so humbling and the vibrant and detailed frescos that canvased the interiors were awe inspiring. It amazing to me that one person from centuries ago can still have such influence on the present day.

Brophy Bros Seafood Restaurant

After a successful day of shopping the 4th of July weekend sales up and down State St. (bought my first fedora at Urban AND my first designer purchase – flats from Betsey!!), my parents and I decided to fuel up at Brophy Bros located right on the Santa Barbara harbor.

Coming from the San Francisco Bay Area, you could say we are sort of seafood snobs. We were quite dissapointed that they had run out of oysters. Like really? The ceviche was OK – the fish was not chunky and its greyish hue was a little off putting.

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I will say that the rest of the dishes were excellent. Super creamy clam chowdah. Plump shrimp with hearty portions.

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I tend to only eat half my meal when I go out (I love me some leftovers!) but unfortunately our hotel room did not have a mini fridge. I hate wasting food. I did bring it to go but seafood, especially shrimp spoils fast. If you’re in town I’d definitely recommend coming here to dine by the sea. See Brophy Bros on Yelp.