santa barbara farmers market

Last Saturday we headed over to Santa Barbara to go to the farmers market to find out if it was as great as I’d heard/read. It was a beautiful day for the two hour drive past small towns, fields of strawberries and groves of oranges and lemons.

We bought strawberries, apple cider, a pummelo and two strawberry plants. Even though there were a lot more vendors than our local farmers market, I like ours better because there are benches and little tables where you can sit and visit with a friend or eat something you’ve bought from a vendor. Or people watch, my favorite thing to do. Santa Barbara has no prepared food vendors (such as bbq, sausages, gyros) and no place to sit… and it doesn’t have that relaxing, I-want-to-hang-around-here-for-a-while vibe. So we didn’t. Hang around, that is.

We left the farmers market and headed for a pizza place that came highly recommended by yelpers (people who post reviews on yelp.com) and sounded like the perfect place to have lunch. It was.

Olio Pizzeria makes just about the best pizza I’ve ever had. Pizza from any mom & pop place in New York City is still the best, but this comes within a hair of being just as good. The pizza pictured above is the umbra pizza (truffles and mushrooms). We also got the quattro formaggi pizza (four cheese). Both were fantastic. We also had squid ink calamari for an appetizer (it’s black and looks like it was burned up, but it was so good) and chocolate hazelnut panna cotta (chocolate pudding) for dessert . The next trip to Santa Barbara will be to have lunch at Olio’s again.

Olio’s pizza makers: top left, twirling the dough in the air (he never missed); top right, a smile for the camera in between twirling pizza dough; lower photo, pulling the pizza out of the pizza oven. These two guys kept us entertained while we waited for our pizza.

On the way home we stopped at several roadside fruit stands and bought more strawberries, some avocados and a bag of oranges. A pretty good – and healthy – haul and a wonderful day overall.

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