We finally found it.  Bouchon was the best meal we had in SB, hands down.  A total mellow vibe.  Not a lot of tables.  The kitchen is set in the back.  In some ways, you feel like you are sitting in someones kitchen while they cook for you.  I liked it the minute we walked in.

We had a variety of different things and almost everything was delicious.  The girls began with a simple salad.  Roasted yellow and red beets over a mixture of greens tossed with feta cheese and tiny pieces of olive.  They aren’t olive fans so they picked out each piece.  But the salad was delicious and so was the dressing.  The girls eat slowly and really enjoy their food.  I wish I could eat as slow as they do.  It makes you more aware of what you are eating and you fill up quicker.  Hmm.  Maybe I should stop drinking? 

Josh had the "Poche Chaude"  Crispy phillo dough filled with mozzarella and vegetables and roasted in the oven served along side two separate dips, a red pepper coulis and a olive tapenade.  It was a little over powered by the phillo dough but good tasting.  Fred went with the pan roasted scallops which was delicious! Two large scallops pan seared and served in a bowl of a mushroom stew.  Loads of flavor and a good combo.
I went with the sliced fennel salad.  Lots of fennel mixed with greens alongside a couple of sliced avocados and a fennel seed vinaigrette around the edges of the plate.  Really good and a nice way to begin a meal.  Fresh.

For dinner we had a mixture.  Josh went with the beef.  Rare grilled New York strip served over a mixture of sweet potatoes, Yukon golds and smoked bacon, cut up into bite sized pieces and mixed with a cream sauce.  Incredibly rich but excellent.  It works really well with the beef.  Em and Fred went with the chicken.  A juicy chicken breast served over mashed goat cheese potatoes that had small carrots in there that tasted like carrots that had just been plucked out of the ground.  Jess and I went with the duck.  Sliced duck breast, served rare and a duck confit leg/thigh served over similar to Josh’s with a different set of ingredients.  Corn, fava beans and applewood smoked bacon again cut into small pieces and mixed in a cream sauce. It is really good and tasty. 

We finished everything, literally.  Dessert was a must.  The kids each ordered something different.  Josh went with the chocolate.  A chocolate tart, similar to the one made at Jo Jo’s on the upper East side.  Once the fork hits the chocolate tart, it just oozes out.  Serve that with a large scoop of coconut ice cream, you can’t go wrong.  The tiny toasted macadamian nuts don’t hurt as an added bonus.  Emily went for the apple tartin.  Very thinly sliced apples served over a puffed pastry, laced with lots of sugar and baked served with a cinnamon ice cream.  So good.  Jess opted for the meyer lemon tart.  My favorite.  Tart lemon filling in an exceptionally rich tart with berries that have been tossed in sugar served over the tart and a large scoop of lemony whipped cream on the side.  So good.  The waiter heard me wonder about the Constant Bliss cheese which supposedly tastes like Jack Cheese so he brought some over.  It was a rich hard cheese and was much more flavorful than Jack cheese.

My fondness for Jack Cheese comes from growing up in LA.  When we moved to Michigan there were 2 things that I couldn’t believe they didn’t have.  These were two things that were part of our every day kitchen.  Sour dough bread and Jack Cheese.  Kinda funny actually.  Those two items were no where to be found in Ann Arbor Michigan at that point.

Bouchon was a huge hit.  When I return to Santa Barbara, I won’t miss Bouchon.  Made me truly appreciate SB.