Lunch with Louie at Brophy Brothers
Santa Barbara food reviews with Louie the pessimist food critic
Mar 09, 8:23 PM (PT)
Tuesday the 9th of March, it’s 12.30 in the afternoon and the skies in Santa Barbara are as blue and intense as the ocean in front of me. Sitting on the balcony at Brophy Brothers, I feel like half the battle has already been won. It is such a glorious day, the air is permeated with the smell of the ocean, hundreds of boats of all sizes are resting peacefully in the Santa Barbara Harbor, old men are exchanging fishing stories by the dock, young people are on their way to the beach with their kayaks. California dreaming.
I would have been happy even if my lunch consisted of just a Snickers bar. The place in itself is charming, with old black and white pictures of fishing past, a bar in the center of the eating area was the meeting place of several fisherman, having a brew and a good time as well. There are two outside eating areas; we were very lucky to get a table with a great view of the ocean and the hills as well.
Alyssa was our waitress today; she is blond with beautiful blue eyes and a cherub like smile; she is also new at what she is doing so she is a little tentative but also very helpful and kind. We ordered fish and chips, a giant bowl of clam chowder, a salad and some coleslaw. The food was good - not exceptional - but good. By the time you are ready to eat, your senses are in turmoil because of all the splendor of the surroundings, so your taste buds become affected by all of this euphoria and your criticism factor loses its sharpness. You are happy. A bit of Hemingway has taken a hold of your imagination and your soul. The food came quickly. The fish batter could have used a little more crispness and the fish itself could have been a little whiter; the clam chowder was chock full of clams and tasty, but the chowder itself was not as thick as on previous occasions. The three side dishes, coleslaw, salad and French fries were adequate. Overall, lunch was good, but not memorable.
We were in the middle of our lunches when a gentleman came in and sat right behind me. Wearing an impeccably tailored suit, shirt and tie he looked a little bit out of place with the casual atmosphere of the harbor and the restaurant. He ordered crab. I cringed.
I have to say, crab-eaters are a strange breed. Proper, correct and fitting human beings become possessed sybarites who lose all sign of eating dignity in the presence of the ugly crustacean. I have seen it before. Like mythological beasts they descend on their prey with incredible ferociousness. You know what is going to happen when they request a bib. I wonder if wearing a bib is like a code and also an ultimate excuse for these creatures to start acting like eating degenerates. Soon, pieces of crab and shell could actually be airborne and some of them could fall on my head and shoulders. He might actually suck on a claw and afterward throw it over his shoulder. It could go flying by us and land on an unsuspecting tourist, who would dismiss the whole incident as being part of the ambiance. Fun - but bad for tourism.
We didn’t want to wait around to find out, so we paid and went for a walk to the end of the breakwater, gorging on the fresh breeze and the waves crashing all around us. Little red-headed children running away from their moms and their moms chasing after them. Earth and nature at its best. I felt so lucky to be here in Santa Barbara and so fortunate to be alive. So did Ed.
On our way back from the end of the esplanade and to our cars, the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds”, was playing in my head. It was California dreaming after all.
Edhat reader comments:
Right on Louie.
Brophy's is all about the ambiance. We go there all the time for a Bloody Mary and some food. I say some food because it's good but not great but location, location, location. Brophy's is a icon not to be missed in this town because restaurants are not all about eating.
- Signore Pazzo
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