First Look at the Menu of the Mexican Restaurant Opening Downtown

••• Azul, the Mexican restaurant coming to the former Somerset/Smithy/La Cocina space on Anapamu (State/Anacapa), says it’s opening this month. The chef is Manny Diaz—who “has spoiled patrons at some of the [L.A.] area’s renowned restaurants, including Downtown’s Pacific Grille, Nicola, Nucleus Nuance, Rudolpho’s, and renowned Los Angeles landmark, the San Antonio Winery,” and more recently at Bistro Provincia, in Covina (and maybe Dana Point?). And the menu is online.

••• Tara Penke and Jaime Riseco expect to soft-launch Gala—the all-day, market-driven restaurant coming to the former Low Pigeon space at Anacapa and Ortega—at the end of the month.

••• Creaminal has some terrific new merchandise with designs by DJ Javier.

••• I’ve been checking in with Derf’s Cafe every now and then since learning that its lease only went through year end. The word is that it’s month-to-month, or maybe day-to-day, for as long as it can hang on.

••• The Drover’s Doughnuts outpost in Los Olivos has closed, but the company says a new one is in the works.

••• One of the reasons I enjoy following Oat Bakery on Instagram: the occasional bread face.


Sign up for the Siteline email newsletter for the freshest food news in town.




Official reply is that the 2 families that started God’s Provisions – then one family left, so name change. I still wonder why the refuse to say Buellton- they prefer Santa Ynez. Owner is a blogger/online media “person”

Leslie Westbrook

Happy New Year! Love Oat Bakery’s Picasso-eque bread faces – too pretty to eat? Thanks for those Erik; new Mexican restaurant AZUL on Anapamu…some of us old-timers fondly remember it as the original Arts + Letters Cafe and first Sullivan Goss Gallery birthed by Frank Goss and his wife Trisha before the new space was built and sold.


I was fondly remembering Arts + Letters, too. I loved the interior courtyard for lunch and enjoyed “opera under the stars” at night.

Claire Mitchell

Thanks for the update on Derf’s. I’m a huge fan. From your prior article, I thought it was the Landlord that might not renew Derf’s lease, but now it sounds like it’s a matter of whether Derf’s can afford to stay? Did you get clarification? Shall we start a Save Derf’s campaign?!

Erik Torkells

I don’t know the particulars, but my guess is that the landlord hasn’t decided whether to renew and is letting the restaurant stay till it does.