While The Hungry Cat provided our best food in Santa Barbara, we had other nice meals as well. We had a surprisingly good Thai dinner at Zen Yai - a little place right on State Street (pictured above during lunch service the next day).
We started with their papaya salad, which was nicely done and had a decent heat level. Then we had an eggplant/chile/basil dish with chicken. I can be mixed on eggplant, but this was very nicely cooked. We also had their "Massaman Salmon". Generous chunks of crispy salmon in a rich, flavorful sauce.
On our way out of town, we stopped for late breakfast / early lunch at the Rose Cafe, a Mexican greasy spoon a few blocks east of State Street.
When we arrived, a few people were finishing up breakfast, and some older gentleman were enjoying coffee and a newspaper at the counter. Definitely a neighborhood joint.
I had huevos rancheros and Sherry had a pork burrito and a chile relleno. Everything was good - nothing particularly special, but quite enjoyable. Combined with friendly service and the nice local feel to the place, it makes a good casual breakfast or lunch option in the area.
On Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings, they shut down two blocks of State Street for a farmers market. We happened to be in town for the Tuesday market and took a stroll down the line of booths. We immediately had farmers market envy.
While we love our local farmers market, the Santa Barbara market was pretty impressive in comparison - with easily twice as many vendors. Like our market, it is all farm-produced products - nobody selling jewelry or snacks on a stick. Truly a great resource for those living in the area.
Zen Yai Thai Cuisine 425 State St. Santa Barbara, California (805) 957-1102 Rose Cafe #1 424 E Haley St. Santa Barbara, California (805) 966-3773