Mar Monte Hotel in Santa Barbara
On a recent anniversary, my husband and I enjoyed an overnight celebration in Santa Barbara. We checked into our hotel (the Mar Monte) and settled into our spacious second-floor ocean view room. We shared a bottle of wine on our balcony while people walked, ran, skated, rode (on bikes and surreys) by on the path below. Many of them waved at us, gave us the thumbs up, or said something like, “you’re living right.” We smiled and raised our glasses in response.
We eventually got ready and took a cab downtown. We weren’t sure where we wanted to eat dinner so we decided to play it by ear. While in the cab, I tried to remember the name of a romantic restaurant I had read about in the hotel magazine. I could picture it: loungy, dimly lit, flickering candles. I knew it was one word, and I was pretty sure it started with an E. The driver didn’t know what I was talking about, and dropped us off in front of an Italian restaurant on State Street. We went inside and had a cocktail at the bar. We were considering eating there until we heard some people complaining about the service.
We ended up walking all over State Street, browsing shops, and enjoying a few appetizers (cheese and crackers and crab cakes) at a small restaurant/bar. Soon we were tired and ready to call it a night. So we took a cab back to our room and ordered a pizza.
The next morning I woke up and remembered the name of the restaurant I couldn’t recall the night before: it was Epiphany. Of course! Since this was our actual anniversary, lunch would be our celebratory meal. After a Bloody Mary at the hotel’s restaurant, Bistro 1111, we caught the Waterfront Shuttle to Stearns Wharf (it costs a quarter per person each way; you can’t beat it). We lingered outside for a while because the warm sun and cool breeze felt so good. We decided to have lunch at the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company. We had eaten there a few years before and loved it. The first time we each ordered the steamed whole Dungeness crab. The more recent time my husband got the shrimp tacos (served over rice) and I had Alaskan king crab legs (served with onion rings and coleslaw), which I paired with a Santa Barbara Blonde (a light crisp ale).
We then walked along the beach and back down Cabrillo Blvd. toward our hotel. Along the way, we discovered Chase Palm Park. It has a carousel, pond, all kinds of winding pathways, large shaded grassy areas, a fountain, and a huge playground. We got back to the hotel feeling good for walking off a little of our indulgences over the last few days. We hopped in our car and headed home.
Mar Monte Hotel
1111 East Cabrillo Ave.
Santa Barbara, CA 93103
Santa Barbara Shellfish Company
230 Stearns Wharf
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Located at the bottom of State Street in Santa Barbara
Cross Street: Cabrillo Boulevard
Waterfront Shuttle and other transportation
More information (including about Chase Palm Park, etc.)