INSTAGRAM RECAP – FOOD EDITION

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Dos Carlitos | tacos al pastor | cilantro | chile | lime | avocado sauce | corn tortillas | grilled pineapple

The latest happenings of Kiki E. on Instagram. Food edition. Follow Kiki on IG under the handle @blonderambitions.

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FABULOUS SANTA BARBARA SPOT – EUREKA!

The Story: When a new place opens up in Santa Barbara, there’s always quite a bit of buzz… When I heard about Eureka!, I was told they specialized in gourmet burgers and really creative libations. As a good burger and a cocktail are two of my very favorite things, I knew I had to give it a shot and see if it lived up to the hype.

The Place: Eureka! has a relaxed, yet polished, appearance. Loads of dark wood give the place a slightly masculine feel (a decor choice that I love), but the mood is lightened through the use of playful light fixtures, huge windows, and a bright eye-catching bar (with more beers on tap than I could count). References to surf culture abound; a photo of a surfer chick designates one of the restrooms for the women and art referencing Rincon and Jalama can be found adorning the walls. During the day, the ambiance is relaxed and California casual.  As the sun begins to set, the surround instantly changes as young people flock to get a table or a seat at the bar before the place fills up. After taking in the environment, I knew that if the cocktails and burgers lived up to the comfortable and inviting design of the space (spoiler alert: they did!), then I was in for a treat.

The Experience: I went in to Eureka! with my sister and two of my favorite friends and we all ordered a different cocktail and entree (tasting all of them, of course). We decided to share appetizers, so we started with the Bruschetta and the Lollipop Corn Dogs.  The Bruschetta had a wonderfully unexpected flavor due to the incorporation of goat cheese and lemon zest in the recipe. The Lollipop Corn Dogs were anything but standard because of the condiments that accompanied the pops; the spicy porter mustard, ketchup made in-house and the cheddar IPA sauce were all equally excellent. When it was time for the main course, I ordered the Jalapeño Egg Burger and the Vodka (their cocktails are named after the liquor used in the libation). The cocktail was highly aromatic (thank you, muddled basil) and light (per the inclusion of freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice); I would definitely order it again.  The burger was insanely delicious… the yolk of the egg melded with the crisp bacon, spicy jalapeño, and just-sweet-enough chipotle sauce perfectly. I got my burger with a side of honey and cinnamon covered sweet potato fries (must try). My sister (and the talent behind the photographs in this article!) had the Italian Caprese Burger with a side of Handcut Kennebec Potato Fries. She loved the strength of the basil and the touch of balsamic glaze (she ordered another side of this for her fries). For her drink, she opted for the Rum (two rums, one of them spiced, combined with a medley of fresh citrus juices and a hint of vanilla bean)… I had a sip (or two!) and I immediately felt like I was in the tropics. One of my girlfriends ordered the Fig Marmalade Burger with the Panko Crusted Onion Rings and the Gin. The burger (which I ordered on one of my previous excursions to Eureka!) is covered in goat cheese and jam; in my book, that pretty much makes the burger flawless. The Gin was an incredibly unique concoction: junipero gin with maraschino cherry liqueur served over crushed ice, like a lighter version of an alcohol-filled snowcone. The last member in our party (we’ll refer to her as the “healthy one”), ordered the Watermelon Salad (mixed with quinoa, feta, and a balsamic lemon dressing) and the Tequila (a freshly-squeezed-juice-version of your typical margarita… but so. much. better.). She raved about her salad and drank every last drop of her cocktail.
*TIP:  John, the manager, and Charlie, the service manager and social media guru, are both astute and aware… Due to this, the customer service is excellent even amidst the lively, bustling environment.

The Details: Eureka! is a definite must-try.  All burgers can be made with beef, chicken, turkey or bison (raised on Catalina Island). You can also get all burgers made “naked” (on a bed of lettuce) or tortilla wrapped. None of Eureka!’s drinks contain high fructose corn syrup. There’s live acoustic music every Thursday night. Burgers start at $9.50 and drinks start around $9. You can check out Eureka!’s website here.  Stop by {601 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara, CA 93101} or call and make a reservation {805.618.3388}.

All photo credit for this article goes to my incredible sister, Kaitland. xo

FABULOUS EVENT – A SURPRISE BIRTHDAY BRUNCH FOR MY SISTER

So, if you don’t know by now… I run a design house in Santa Barbara (see it here or here).  One of the things I LOVE. Love. love. is event design.  My little sister (and my best friend in the whole wide world) was turning 24… I thought a surprise brunch in her favorite color {green} at her favorite restaurant (Blush of Santa Barbara) was in order.  I whipped up a theme, stuck with the color scheme, did a little graphic design on some menus, and scoured the local Farmer’s Market so that I could put together the flower arrangements {my how-to on arranging flowers is here!}.  A party isn’t truly a party without some ridiculously fabulous people… we’re blessed with the most fabulous friends that life has to offer.  Needless to say, with the genuine surprise on my sister’s face as she walked in (whew! she had no idea!), the wonderful guests in attendance, and the bottomless mimosas (no better way to pass a Sunday afternoon)… the party was quite a hit.