Attention foodies…fun lovers…walkers! One of the best things to do in Santa Barbara is to take a walking food tour with Savor Santa Barbara Food and Walking Tours. This new venture and the only guided culinary walking tour in Santa Barbara is the inspiration of Santa Barbara cousins Erin O’Rourke and Sara Dill. “This is what you do on one of our tours,” they say, “Eat. Drink. Walk. Repeat!” That says it all!
The easy walk is just under a couple of miles and is made over a period of about 3.5 hours. It’s packed with fun and showcases the food, drink, architecture and natural beauty of Santa Barbara. The goal of the walk is to take visitors off-the-beaten path to places they might not otherwise find. Mission Accomplished! We loved every stop along the way of this walk, and it turned out to be our favorite activity, giving us a unique perspective on this enchanting city.
Over the course of our culinary adventure, we covered a lot of ground and participated in seven eclectic tastings. Our small group started on “the other side of the tracks” where we tasted a Crispy Shredded Beef Taco with five types of fresh salsa made daily on the premises and three varieties of handcrafted beer within sight of the room where it was brewed. At our third tasting site, we were served a wonderful Lobster Bisque laced with butter, sherry and topped with golden puffed pastry.
By now, I was getting full, and wondered how I would survive four more tastings! “I think we need to incorporate a nap stop!” joked someone in our group. After a lot of playful banter, it was decided – no naps! We had places to go, lots to see and things to taste! Erin paced us well, and we enjoyed getting to know our new-found walking friends as we strolled in the sunshine. With feet on the ground and the breeze blowing on our faces, we realized that we were appreciating so much more about this fair city than if we had just been whizzing along in a car.
Next we came to Santa Barbara’s vogue and ever-changing neighborhood, the Funk Zone, named for its unique mix of artists, surfboard shapers, craft workers, locally owned shops, galleries, eateries and wine tasting rooms. Here we tasted a flight of lovely red wines at one of Santa Barbara’s oldest wineries. Then, we were headed to the historic Old Town District of Santa Barbara. Our promenade took us along beautiful hidden paseos to our next tasting, a healthy bowl of cool ambrosial fruits stuffed with acaí, bananas and strawberries, goji berry and granola. Erin shared some great stories about Santa Barbara’s unique red tiled roofs as we were arriving at our next stop, where we tasted a tempting Cedar Plank Salmon with balsamic mustard glaze and fresh local greens. Then, it was on to bustling State Street for our final tasting – ice cream! Topping off the tour, we sampled not one, but two flavors (Salted Caramel Chip and Winter Cranberry Chip) of fabulous artisanal ice cream.
We were sorry to see the merriment end, but the time did come when our tour was over and we had to say good-bye to our bon vivant friends. Kudos to Erin for a super fun, high energy, interesting, informative and absolutely scrumptious tour. Now we can say we have walked and tasted Santa Barbara, and we pronounce it very, very good!