Tuesday, January 18, 2011

UNDERCOVER TOURIST

It's TAX time. That time of year when I don't see much of my husband. Last week we realized that we both had all day Monday off. We thought about going out of town and then we came up with the idea to be tourists in Santa Barbara. Where do tourist go??? What do tourists do???  Ron went down to the visitors center and came home with maps, coupons for tourists, and a lot of tourist suggestions. WOW! We can go wine tasting for free, get free coffee, free calamari, discounts and more! What fun we were going to have...BUT WAIT...I'm not a tourist. I'm about as local as you can get. What if someone recognizes me using tourist coupons. OH NO!  SO...I decided to go undercover.

First, the disguise.

That ought to work.  We started our staycation with Happy Hour Sunday night. Where do the tourists go?? How about the FisHouse on Cabrillo Blvd. On Sundays they have a happy hour from 11:30AM till closing so off we went. We had the Ahi Tacos and the Fillet Mignon Skewers. Both delish. Then we headed over to the Fish Enterprise. Their Happy Hour started at 7:00 on Sunday until closing. We arrived at 5 minutes before 7:00 and had no problem finding a nice table. We had a bowl of steamed clams and a basket of bread. A great way to spend the evening as we looked forward to Monday.

Monday morning, in disguise and ready to hit the trail......
First stop Sambos. We had a coupon for free coffee and we hadn't been there in years...maybe not since high school.

A great breakfast and nobody recognized me.
We had a coupon for two for one entrance to the Botanic Gardens. Another place we hadn't been to in years so we headed off.

We walked up to the Kiosk and ..... OH NO! I knew her...what would she think when I gave her my tourist coupon. Maybe she won't recognize me in my disguise. I said hello and handed her the coupon. She said "Hi Lexi and welcome! You don't need that coupon I'll let you both in for free today". She was either being extremely nice or felt sorry for me in my disguise, using tourist coupons. Oh well. It was a beautiful day and we had a very nice hike.
After the hike we headed out for a free wine tasting.
 This place was really fun and filled with tourists. They have live music on the weekends and holidays and it was a nice touch. I found a Zin that I really liked. They also give tourists 10% off wine purchases :) :) :)
After the wine tasting we decided we should have some food. We had a tourist coupon for a free order of calamari at Arch Rock Fish. This place opened last year but we hadn't been there before. We LOVED this place. The bar has a great feel. I think they have the best Happy Hour food and drinks in town. Their Happy Hour is Monday-Friday 3-7 and Sunday 12-5. We were there before 5:00 and we had the place to ourselves. The waiter said that  after 5 it starts to get really busy. First we had the calamari. It was perfectly cooked, tender, and served with a great dipping sauce. Next we tried the Grilled Fish Taco. Only one small taco, but a nice piece of grilled fish and only three dollars. Then we tried the Home Made Guacamole and Chips. This was the best guacamole I have had in town. They quickly fried the chips when we ordered them so they were piping hot and crispy. To top off a perfect meal of small plates we ordered the Stilton and Truffle Honey Grilled Cheese. OMG these were so good.

They have at least twelve different appetizers on the Happy Hour menu.We can't wait to go back. Cocktails and wine are 3.00 during Happy Hour and beers start at 2.75. The service was superb. This may become my new favorite place.

We headed home HAPPY  (of course) and delighted that we had such a blast in our own home town. Every place we visited today was only a couple of miles from our home.

Only 3 months until TAX season is over :) I can't wait.







2 comments:

sharon said...

Sounds like such a great time. I would recognize those great nails anywhere. We can't wait to go to Arch Rock too. We'll give you a full report.
Enjoyed your day.

Lexi said...

We had a blast! You know...I forgot about my nails. I should have worn gloves. Hope you like Arch Rock.