Aesthetics of Everywhere

The urban scene, its people and processes. Based in southern California.

Archive for the ‘Santa Barbara’ Category

Cycling through Santa Barbara Wine Country

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A few weekends ago, I took an afternoon away from the little one to finally do a little riding coupled with wine tasting. When in SB… do as the Santa Barbarians (and tourists), and sip some vino.

My friend and I spontaneously came up with the idea of a wine tasting bike tour the morning of, and drafted up a route using some older resources we found on the SB Bike Coalition and Crazy Guy on a Bike websites. We were shooting for something around 15 miles without too much climbing. I’d say we were successful in doing so, so I’m sharing the route and details here. Would love to hear if I’m able to inspire any others to do something similar!

Wine on.

Written by Crystal Bae

June 4th, 2017 at 4:14 pm

TAKOTOR 2016: Inaugural Takotor by the Numbers

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Our inaugural “Takotor” ride in February found a group of us cycling thirty miles around Santa Barbara and Carpinteria, sampling local taco joints. Thanks to visiting friends Hyunoo and Tif for inspiring us to show you a bit of California living.

Hungry riders: 8
And we’re already thinking of the second mouthwatering Takotor, so keep your ears to the ground for the next round.

Taco (and burrito) purveyors: 5

  • Stacky’s Seaside in Summerland (now closed, I hear) for breakfast burritos
  • Taqueria Rincon Alteno, a gas station taqueria in Carpinteria with loaded up veggie tacos
  • Tacos Don Roge, close to Carpinteria beach
  • Taqueria La Colmena in Santa Barbara, a near-unanimous fave by the group
  • Taqueria El Bajio in Santa Barbara

Ratings collected through TakoScore: 34
At our second stop, Sheldon came up with a quick and easy taco rating system so we could collect our comparisons of all the taquerias visited throughout the day. And thus TakoScore was born! It evolved throughout the day to include previously-overlooked metrics. In the end, we landed on measuring the following aspects of each taco purveyor: taste, mouthfeel, ingredients, ambiance, salsas, and the open-to-interpretation sexiness.

Venue Taste Mouthfeel Ingredients Ambiance Salsas Sexiness
STACKYS 4.2 4.3 3.3 4.3 3.0 3.8
RINCON ALTENO 3.3 2.7 3.6 2.7 3.0 2.7
DON ROGE 2.1 2.7 2.4 5.0 3.3 2.7
LA COLMENA 4.9 4.9 4.6 4.6 4.9 4.7
EL BAJIO 3.5 4.6 3.6 3.4 3.3 3.0

 
takotor 2016: "The horizon is an endless taco."

Brewery stops: 2
Stopped for pints at Island Brewing and BrewLAB in Carpinteria.

Cafe breaks: 1
Just the one stop at one of our favorite Carp joints, Lucky Llama!

Churros: 0
To the dismay of our ridership, once we finally located the mystical churro shop, they had run out of churros for the day. Next TakoTor must return.

Written by Crystal Bae

April 29th, 2016 at 10:01 am

Reflections on 2015

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Here’s my year 2015, recapped in approximate order. I’ve been doing very little blogging despite much happening in my life, but the new year is a nice time to reflect on how things have been developing.

Walking to Knapp's Castle

Read onto the recap!

Written by Crystal Bae

January 6th, 2016 at 7:55 am

Errandonnee 2015

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I know our “winter” here is very different from winter in DC, but hey, the Errandonnee Challenge is open to all! Judging by everyone else’s photos and entries so far, the errandonnee is a great way to herald the coming of spring. Here’s my write-up from this year’s challenge. This isn’t so much a “challenge” as a pleasant way to work more utilitarian riding into your week while connecting with bike-minded people all over the country (and the world?). Ride your bike to complete at least 12 errands in 12 days. Simple, right?

Onto my entry for 2015.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 | Category: Store
Took an extended lunch break to ride 5.9 miles to the bike shop. Had to get my derailleur tuned up after an unsuccessful (but not horrendous) attempt to fix it myself. Bikes seem to take a beating when transported often in a trailer alongside many other bikes.

Three Pickles in Goleta, CA Cyclists on Goleta Beach

Continue onto the rest…

Written by Crystal Bae

March 17th, 2015 at 10:16 pm

Coffeeneuring 2013, Part Two

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Here’s the continuation of my coffeeneuring in 2013, with part one here. It was nice to complete this run in a new city, as last year’s trips took me around the Washington, DC area. My new home base has proven itself a fine land for coffee adventuring thus far.

Visit to Handlebar Coffee Roasters on Saturday, November 9th
128 East Canon Perdido Street, Santa Barbara, California
Ride distance: 14.7 miles

This place is uber-hip and serves delicious coffee. The patio, tucked in an alley and open to the cafe counter, is small but welcoming, and on this particular weekend afternoon happiness seemed effortless. It’s amazing what a space for enjoying the art of coffee can do for the neighborhood.

Handlebar Coffee Roasters in Santa Barbara

Latte at Handlebar Coffee

See? The art of coffee.

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Written by Crystal Bae

November 19th, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Volunteering with Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition

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I wanted to do a quick write-up on what it’s like to volunteer with the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition (SB Bike) since we’ve had a great time working with this organization over the past couple of months. SB Bike is involved with bicycle advocacy work and is an incredible part of the community here. Bici Centro is the leg of SB Bike that operates as a community bike shop, teaching people how to fix up their bikes and refurbishing donated bikes. You can volunteer or work on your own bike during the Bici Centro open shop hours. Volunteers share their know-how and almost every tool you might need is on hand.

Bici Centro Open Shop

There are other ways to volunteer as well: joining in advocacy efforts like working towards new bike lanes; checking bikes at the valet for Santa Barbara Bowl events; educating youth about bike safety; and helping out at various special events listed on the SB Bike calendar.

Last weekend, SB Bike was out at the first (annual?) Santa Barbara Open Streets event, tabling with information about bike resources and advocacy in Santa Barbara. Open Streets is a worldwide project – modeled off of the weekly Ciclovía in Bogotá, Colombia – to close streets to motorized traffic for a day and take in the pleasure of people-powered movement. Bici Centro was also set up at Open Streets, helping with quick mechanical fixes for riders.

SB Bike at Santa Barbara Open Streets

This weekend, SB Bike hosted a volunteer appreciation barbecue in its backyard space. SB Bike loves its volunteers and definitely made us all feel recognized – with live music, great food, bike-related giveaways, and a fire for all to gather ’round. This is a great city for cycling that’s only getting better. If you want to get involved in the cycling community in Santa Barbara, check out the website for the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition at www.sbbike.org.

Written by Crystal Bae

November 10th, 2013 at 10:38 am

Coffeeneuring 2013, Part One

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Currently I’m very much in the exploratory stage of settling into our new home: learning best routes to get around, acquiring a sense of how things are oriented, and seeking out the best cafes. This last point is helped along by my friend Mary’s annual autumn Coffeeneuring Challenge, which inspires many utilitarian cyclists around the country – and perhaps around the world – to bike to seven different coffee shops by Sunday, November 17th and report back, well-caffeinated. Any reason for riding bikes and sipping coffee is fine by me, so here are my first four rides.

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Written by Crystal Bae

November 2nd, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Settling on the West Coast

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The quality and abundance of produce here is staggering. The first time we went to the neighborhood farmers market here was eye-opening. So much grows here, and availability of certain fruits or veggies depends less on following the seasons than it did back east. In DC, we shopped much more seasonally: the market only ran from May to November, and what you could purchase was highly dependent on what was available that time of year. At the Goleta farmers market, I found not only peaches, berries, tomatoes, kale, squash, meats, and dairy, but local dates, figs, nuts, and honey, as well as many, many vegetables I couldn’t identify.

Goleta Farmers Market

Did you know there are many varieties of avocado? I had no idea. The flavor varies: some are nuttier than others, some grow much larger, some are rounder while others are more pear-shaped. One of the many avocado vendors this morning gave me three free avocados when I paid for mine. That’s something you wouldn’t get at the supermarket.

It never registered in my mind that in Washington, DC, it’s just not as easy to get fresh, local produce without going out of your way. The produce stocked at the supermarket is shipped in from hundreds (if not thousands) of miles away. The farms represented at the DC farmers markets came from further away than you’d expect, too. The Washington, DC metropolitan area is growing too urban for farms – look at how much Loudoun County, an exburb of DC located about 40 miles from downtown, has shifted from its historic roots as a farming community – so they’re located further out in the rural parts of Maryland, Virginia, or Pennsylvania. And produce is much more expensive in DC. In Goleta, many of the farmers market vendors are from within Santa Barbara County, and at least one of them (Fairview Gardens) only has to drive their produce two miles to bring it to market. Most of the farms are right in Goleta or Santa Barbara. You can get fifty-cent avocados or a huge bunch of kale for a dollar at the regular supermarket. We’ve been eating well.

But that’s an inevitable difference between being located right in the middle of a huge agricultural area versus being on a more built-up coast. Besides the people, whom I miss above all, there are other things I prefer about DC living:

  • The abundance of Asian supermarkets in the suburbs. We have small Asian markets in Goleta and Santa Barbara, but they’re overpriced.
  • Our favorite Ethiopian takeout place, Zenebech Injera in Shaw. Washington, DC has the largest concentration of Ethiopians in the U.S. and Ethiopian food is some of the best affordable cuisine around.
  • All the neighborhoods in DC – and parts of Arlington – are only a few miles away. Things are much less dense here, and it seems like a lot of the places we go to are in suburban-style shopping centers. Going through busy parking lots on a bike is the worst.

I’ll surely miss the crisp autumn weather that should be approaching DC soon. Even the winter holds fond memories of getting bundled up to ride to work in the dark, with only my thoughts and a bright beam of light leading the way, and the sudden comfort of leaving the outside freeze and entering a heated building. Everyone here tells me I won’t miss winter. I think it’ll depend on reading the more subtle cues that mark the passage of seasons here.

Written by Crystal Bae

September 8th, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Bicycle Commuting in Goleta and Santa Barbara

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The past few weeks, I’ve been getting to know my way around Goleta and downtown Santa Barbara by bicycle. There is a lot of cycling infrastructure in place, including prominently marked bicycle routes – such as the Cross Town Route, Foothill Route, or Coast Route – as well as bike lanes on many of the local streets.

Santa Barbara County bike map

As a newcomer to the area, I’ve found the Santa Barbara County Bike Map to be a great resource. It helps me decide to take one route over another based on availability of a bike lane or continuity with a signed route. It also shows a bit of topography, which is useful when you’re trying to avoid strenuous climbs, of which there aren’t really any between Goleta and Santa Barbara unless you detour into the foothills. (Or if you’re seeking out climbs, as some are apt to do.)

My commute has been cut from a 15-mile bike ride to a sub-2-mile ride, making it a bit too short, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to fit longer rides into my schedule. We’ve been asking around and local cyclists have recommended a few fun rides for us to try out sometime: the climb up the old San Marcos Road, the climb up Gibraltar Road, the ride up to Lake Casitas and Ojai. Can you see a theme here? We’ll definitely be getting our climbing legs living in California.

Written by Crystal Bae

August 31st, 2013 at 6:52 pm