So when I was up in Santa Barbara on the infamous State St., I wanted to go back to Petit Valentien because of how much I loved the food + atmosphere + price the last time I visited but I also wanted to try something new.
I'll admit I was also a bit underdressed for Petit Valentien since I had spent the entire day in my bathing suit lounging around Butterfly Beach and then riding in a deuce coupe for the rest of the afternoon.
Not having an iphone or blackberry or a cellphone with good internet service, I had no way of yelping or searching through people's food blogs to find what other alternatives there were on State St. In a way, it was a blessing not having to look up reviews and having expectations before entering a restaurant.
So how did I end up choosing Andersen's Danish Bakery and Restaurant for dinner? There was a lady playing a harp outside in the patio area, and the inside of the restaurant looked like Serendipity from NYC if it was Danishified. Plus, the restaurant smelled like sweet butter from the street.
Anyway, I had no idea what to get. The Schnitzel sounded awesome and they offered a tasting menu but I didn't want to overeat, especially after all the exercise I had done. Trying to lose weight here. Besides, overeating, tasting menus, and prix fixe menus are all part of my LA dining persona. I don't have to bring that to Santa Barbara. So I got the Gulasch while my eating partner had the Schnitzel. We both got the lentil soup over the salad.
The soup was good. Nothing to write home about so I'll stop writing.
The Schnitzel was great. It was basically breaded pork. Of course there are better versions of this elsewhere but it was a stronger dish than the Gulasch. It was not offensive and I wished I had ordered it instead.
The Gulasch came with mashed potatoes sitting on top. I was not a fan of this dish because it was way too sweet. I had imagined it to be spicier, with more slowcooked beef that falls apart upon touching it. But what do I know? Maybe Danish Gulasch is supposed to taste this way. I barely finished half of it before picking at the Schnitzel.
Thankfully, because I didn't finish my Gulasch, I had inadvertently saved room for dessert! This was the best part of the meal, actually, and to no surprise since what lured me into the restaurant in the first place was the brightly lit rows of baked goods. The waiter said he'd come around with a dessert tray and we picked this one, out of all the delicious looking cakes and pastries. I think it was called the house cake or something like that. It's spongecake soaked in Grand Marnier and each layer of cream is a different flavor. The top pink layer is a soft and creamy MARZIPAN. I heart marzipan especially when it's not hard as a rock. I was sold. The cake was $9 and had I known better, I would have ordered two slices of cake for dinner instead of getting an $18 entree (that didn't taste anything like $18 + the reminder that for that same amount, I could have had an awesome dinner at Petit Valentien around the corner). I couldn't be mad after devouring this cake, though. This place is freakin awesome because of this cake.
While I type this, I'm dreaming about the next time I will be able to have this. The best $9 ever spent.
Andersen's Danish Bakery & Restaurant
1106 State St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101