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Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 8:41 pm | Fair 50º


Book Review: ‘Recipes from Historic California’ Cooks Up Culinary Tour

Savor menu favorites from some of the state's best hotspots with this restaurant guide and cookbook

California has been, and always will be, one of the top travel destinations in the United States, if not the world. The varied climate and geography, as well as the balance between city culture and the charms of outdoor pursuits are sure to keep it that way. One of the bonuses of such variety is the food. California’s restaurant scene is as varied and nuanced as its natural wonders.

Recipes from Historic California: A Restaurant Guide and Cookbook by Linda and Steve Bauer
Recipes from Historic California: A Restaurant Guide and Cookbook by Linda and Steve Bauer

What a treat it was to find so many of Santa Barbara’s top restaurants included in the culinary adventure Recipes from Historic California: A Restaurant Guide and Cookbook.

Steve and Linda Bauer have captured the culinary beauty of California in their guide to some of the most popular and innovative restaurants in the state.

The book is divided into three logical sections — Northern, Central and Southern California — for the armchair epicure. Each stop along the route includes a brief history of the restaurant and contact information for the prospective traveler. Best of all, the guide includes favorite recipes for each establishment.

The recipes cover a wide range of flavors, textures and kitchen skill levels. Some recipes, such as our own Upham Hotel’s Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola Cheese, are fun, flavorful and perfect for the beginner cook.

Others, such as El Encanto’s Santa Barbara Shellfish Stew, are more complicated but still manageable for the beginning cook. Masters may want to have a go at the Ojai Valley Inn’s Molasses Brined Melting Beef Short Ribs, and dessert lovers should head straight for the San Ysidro Ranch’s Key Lime Pie.

For all the beauty of California’s natural wonders, and the marvelous complexity of the food scene, there is a surprising lack of photography included in the guide. A few hotel shots grace the centerfold, but there are no photos of the finished recipes. Also puzzling is the inclusion of the Upham Hotel with Central California, while all other area restaurants are included with the Southern California scene.

But don’t let that deter you. There is something in the book for everyone. The guide lets you savor your favorite restaurant foods at home, and friends and families are sure to be impressed.

Recipes from Historic California: A Restaurant Guide and Cookbook

» By Linda and Steve Bauer

» Taylor Trade Publishing

» October 2008

» Hardcover, 340 pages

» ISBN-13: 9781589793484

— Carol Ann Chybowski, who received a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from UCSB, is an aspiring author with short stories in the local anthologies A Community of Voices. The former Santa Barbara resident resides in Southern California.

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