••• First impressions of Dang Burger in Carpinteria: you order at a counter in a corner of the Sunburst wine/beer bar, and the menu is tightly focused. We got a double cheeseburger and a veggie burger—intending to split them, but the handoff was sloppy—and both were excellent. I don’t eat burgers very often anymore, but when I do have one, I want it to be like this. (And I actually might have even preferred the veggie burger; the black bean patty is breaded in cornmeal.) While the fries were also very good, I don’t think the Toll House–style chocolate chip cookies were special enough to warrant ingesting even more calories. The setting was as it looks in the photo below, with lounge-y instrumental music that was a bit too loud. P.S. The new liquor license arrived, so all ages are now welcome. The hours are on Instagram, and they’re quirky; Dang currently opens at 2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday (and at noon Friday through Sunday).
••• The San Ysidro Ranch ran an ad in a local paper saying that its “Speakeasy at Plow & Angel” is open, with “live music, craft cocktails, dimly lit.” (So much for parallel structure.) Feel free to report back on the experience. UPDATE: Here’s what people have to say about it….
SYR “speakeasy” at Plow and Angel seems a bit weird. It’s not really a location that you pop into for a drink-more a destination for the evening and then it seems easier to get a drink at your table. What we do like to do is get a drink before dinner and wander the garden (we usually go once during the summer). Sorry that plow and Angel, for a more casual meal in the winter, is no longer available. —AFC
The “speak easy” at SYR is a big disappointment. The gorgeous stone was covered up by large gaudy booths and furniture. It was sad to see compared to the plow and angels casual and cozy energy before. It’s very dimly lit but when you order a cocktail—which are not cheap—they come over on a cart with a bright light so you can see what the waitresses—who are wearing flapper dresses and purses—are doing. Everyone in the bar stopped and stared. It was awkward for someone who just wanted a quiet drink. There is also no food in the bar aside from caviar. We opted to go outside. Like the previous commenter wrote, it was nice to be able to come to dinner at SYR and grab a cocktail and walk through the gardens. Also, not sure if it’s a place to pop in for a drink either. —SSS
We are huge fans of SYR in general, and had high hopes for this new concept. It feels very much like the old bar the at Biltmore in terms of decor (red banquettes, cheetah print, faux fur etc) and was cozy, but the flapper girl costumes on the waitresses felt really costume-y and not on par with the elegance of the establishment as a whole. And the food options being only salted peanuts and caviar—feels Like a weird trap, given the types of seating (everyone has a full sized table at dining height) it would be easy and appropriate to serve apps. —Anon
••• Restaurant Guy said that Augie’s reopened last Friday, but when I reached out to proprietor Augie Johnson, he said, “We are not opening this Friday. We have been experimenting with opening Friday, Saturday, and Sunday but still need to install some equipment.… Still a work in progress.”
••• Chicken fast-food chain Wingstop is opening in Goleta’s Fairview Shopping Center, reports commercial real estate agent Caitlin Hensel. The other area locations are in La Cumbre Plaza and Isla Vista.
••• Well, that was fast: Solvang restaurant Juniper on Fourth, formerly Sear Steakhouse, has closed after a month and a half.
••• Ojai’s Farmer and the Cook has a new cookbook: “a collection of recipes from the cafe menu and others inspired by the farm. Included are Farmer-Steve’s weekly musings about farm life and artwork by Adeetje Bouma.”
••• E. noticed that a beer/wine bar called Odessa Lounge is opening in the former Crush Bar & Tap space (on State Street, in the courtyard between Figueroa and Anapamu). I reached out to the proprietor for more info:
“Odessa” is steeped in history and intrigue. Originating from the ancient Greek city of Odessos, it’s a name that has traveled through time and space, evoking images of mystery, beauty, and a deep connection to the sea. This historical essence is captured in the ambiance of the Odessa Lounge, a place that marries the past with the present in its decor and offerings. We plan on having a healthy selection of wines and beers locally in the area while also blending in a healthy offering of European crafts and wines. We have full intention to have a soft opening within the next 2 weeks, exact date pending!
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