The Clever Root

Spring 2018

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There's a special zing in each bite of the smoked trout and olive deviled eggs with pickled shallots. AS A FAN OF KIMPTON HOTELS for many years now, I find "the Kimpton way" not only offers reliable comfort at choice locations, but a common thread of housing fine—and often trendsetting—dining. With my many travels to California's Central Coast, my stops in Santa Barbara are frequent. More often than not, my nest there is the inviting Kimpton Ca- nary Hotel, which is perched on a high-traffic corner downtown near the city's best shopping and restaurants. Add these benefits to the Canary's dog-friendly reputation (Yappy Hour, anyone?) and bar devoted to craft cocktails, and I've found there's no better place to stay. The 97-room hotel still feels like it lands solidly within the "boutique" category, thanks in part to its quiet corner location and welcoming Spanish Colonial Revival setting that's part of the Santa Barbara area's charm. The red tiles, white stucco, four-poster beds, and dark, restored wood beams exceed expectations. But let's return to the dining: The hotel's restaurant, Finch & Fork, has maintained its stellar reputation through the years with menus devised by talented chefs. With James Siao currently at the helm as Executive Chef (he also oversees the kitchen at another Kimpton restaurant, The Outpost at the Goodland, in nearby Goleta), the cuisine has never been more creative. He's always con- ceiving innovative ways to spotlight ingredi- ents from local fishers, farmers, and ranchers, and the resulting dishes excel in invoking nostalgia and a bit of surprise. "James brings out flavors that are bold, but familiar," Patrick Bryant, Director of Food and Beverage for the Canary and Finch & Fork, tells The Clever Root. "I love the sim- plicity of the dishes." Yet after taking a single glance at Siao's roasted duck breast with maple farro pilaf, carrot cardamom purée, and pearl onions in a blackberry gastrique, one can't help but think the chef's style could perhaps be more accurately described as "elevated simplicity." Bryant, a 20-year industry veteran, understands the nature of high-end, high- volume restaurants and hotels from his previous experience in Las Vegas, where his teams earned prestigious recognition for service, wine lists, and fine dining. His 360-degree view of the Finch & Fork space keeps him constantly aware of his guests' needs, and the attention to detail is immediately apparent. Santa Barbara is lucky to harbor prominent hotels that offer a benchmark for spectacular cuisine, but this corner eatery—open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—makes the Canary fly higher than ever. s p r i n g 2 0 1 8 | 1 9 Eat a healthy drink! The Avocado Fix, created by Finch & Fork Lead Bartender George Piperis, combines fresh avocado with rum, Velvet Falernum, Green Chartreuse, lime, and cinnamon. ■cr Layered flavors and a unique combination of ingredients—gold beet relish, grapefruit, chorizo vinaigrette, and sliced avocado—make this scallop dish a standout.

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