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Because Missing Out Is Never Fun!

Ichiban Japanese Restaurant

Yee-haw!  Seaweed!

Ichiban Japanese Restaurant
2011 S. Broadway
Santa Maria, CA
Ichiban Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

As expected, I devoured some good ol' BBQ the moment I landed in Santa Maria.  But, after two days of leftovers, I was ready for something new.  A little online research pointed me to a nondescript Japanese restaurant in a strip mall in the land of steakhouses and taquerias.

Ravenous from a day of sightseeing, I was ready to chow down; after a brief encounter with the menu, I chose the Jalapeno Roll and Chicken Katsu Combination.  The size of other diners' meals seemed average, so I figured this would be "just enough" food.

The Jalapeno Roll arrived, freshly tempura-fried and topped with roe.  I gulped it down too quickly to even remember its ingredients. Then, my entree arrived.

Um, I guess I overlooked the word "Platter" that followed the words "Chicken Katsu Combination" on the menu.

It was a beauty of a dish, complete with a side salad topped with sweet miso dressing, deep fried gyoza, shrimp and vegetable tempura, teriyaki chicken skewer, and, of course, a healthy portion of chicken katsu.  Breaded in panko and fried to a golden brown, it was juicy, tender and perfect when dunked into the accompanying katsu sauce.

I got a few stares since my plates took up more than half of the table.  Luckily, I have no shame.  I worked my way in circles around the platter, and each bite was better than the last.

I left full, happy and completely satisfied with the gracious service provided.  Sushi in Santa Maria?  Proof you should never rule anything out while you're traveling.

Solvang Restaurant

They taste even better than they look!

Solvang Restaurant
1672 Copenhagen Drive
Solvang, CA
Solvang Restaurant on Urbanspoon

It's pretty easy to determine what is sold here.  It's on the wall's menu, it's painted on the window, and it's found in 90% of customers' hands: 3 Aebleskiver with Powdered Sugar and Jam.  It wasn't even until I returned home from my trip that my photos indicated other delicacies like Medisterpolse (Danish sausage) are also sold.

Half the fun is watching these Danish pastries being made by a young woman who constantly turns rows and rows of batter in specially-shaped pans to achieve the desired spherical shape.  When done, they are doused in raspberry jam and finished with a generous dusting of powdered sugar.

The balls of awesomeness are tender, like pancakes, with a slightly crisp exterior that allows them to hold up to the toppings.  Still warm, they melt in your mouth.  I sat on a nearby bench and watched as droves swarmed in to form a line that started snaking along the walk-up window.

Although it wasn't particularly breezy that day, I managed to get powdered sugar all over myself.  Etiquette classes may be in order.

Yolo Fruit Stand

Bargains await!  Just follow the rest of the cars...

Yolo Fruit Stand
46710 County Road 32B
Davis, CA

The first time I came here was a Saturday and, as expected, the place was packed.  But 1:45 on a Thursday?  That's a testament to incredible variety and crazy-ass low prices.

Five heads of garlic for a buck.  Giant eggplant for a buck.  Generous sacks of dried local apricots and pears for fours bucks.  Almost-ripened plums, peaches and bananas begging for one night on your kitchen counter before you devour them.

Also snagged was a big container of peanut brittle...three bucks!  How can you go wrong here?  By not stopping the next time you drive by, that's how.

I've said it once, and I'll say it again.  Don't be a schmuck.  Support your local farmers!

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