Lunch with Louie at the Brigitte’s
Santa Barbara food reviews with Louie the pessimist food critic
Mar 23, 5:05 PM (PT)
I got to Brigitte’s at 11:40, almost one hour before my meeting with Ed at 12:30. I am always early. I got shpilkes, the Jewish equivalent to A.D.D.
Located at 1135 State Street next to the Arlington Theater, Brigitte's has been a mainstay in the restaurant community in Santa Barbara for the past 17 years. It was early and the place was empty except for one table by the window, a very attractive lady and her lunch companion were enjoying a bottle of wine and having a grand time. Nice.
I took a walk and came back just as Ed was arriving. 12:30, it was after all the agreed upon time. God forbid he should be a little early.
The place was getting full but we got lucky and got a nice table by the window right across from the original couple, still drinking their wine and not eating, but something was really funny because they were still giggling away. Boy, that was a real different outfit she was wearing. Spots, lots of spots, but what kind?
We got to meet a whole bunch of people at Brigitte's, all of them staff. A lady first greeted us and gave us our menus. Then another lady brought the water and bread. Somebody else asked us if we were ready to order, smiled and left. A couple of minutes later somebody totally different took our order. You want diversification in your service, go to Brigitte’s, it’s a little confusing but has a certain ballet quality to it.
We ordered a lentil soup with mushrooms and vegetables, a tomato linguini with chicken, Anaheim chilies and pine nuts, and a grilled chicken sandwich with avocado and garlic mayonnaise with a side of baby greens.
The soup was absolutely marvelous. The linguini was equally superb - the pasta al dente and freshly cooked. The chicken, pine nuts and chilies made the dish not only different and attractive but delicious and surprisingly light.
The sandwich was very good, but it was supposed to be served on a ciabatta roll and that was not ciabatta. It was ok, but it wasn’t ciabatta. On the other hand it seems that the bread to serve if you are going to be carbo-fashionable is ciabatta. Even Jack in the Box has a ciabatta-baguette sandwich. Go figure that one out if you can. Two different kinds of breads on one sandwich. They must figure we are either stupid or don’t care and they go right ahead with their silly ads.
Back to Brigitte’s. Super lunch, exquisite and reasonably priced, outstanding and diversified service, a total of 6 people took care of our table. The place is wonderfully appointed, and soon to be called Opal, as we were informed by one of our servers. It seems Brigitte’s is assumed by many people to be a French restaurant. Opal with its many facets and changing colors is more in line with their fusion of many tastes and flavors. That’s all right.
In the meantime the spotted lady and her main man got their food, a couple of pizzas that looked great. But those spots had already caught my imagination and curiosity; to small to be cow skin. Pony? Appaloosa? Cheetah? No, those are yellow spots. Finally Ed, in his infinite wisdom hit upon the right answer. Dalmatians. It was Cruella de Ville. No it couldn’t be. Just as my imagination was taken off to the most bizarre of places, they got up and got ready to go. I had to take a closer look. I got up, went to the counter and ordered our check. Time was of the essence. The check came (that’s right somebody else we hadn’t yet seen; that made a total of seven, six ladies and one man, wow)! I ran to the door just as Cruella was leaving and took a closer look, and if it wasn’t the real thing it was damn close to it. I wondered how many … oh forget it.
But as we looked a little closer we really appreciated how very well designed the whole pantsuit was. At the waist, a metal belt of cylindrical small links looked almost like a collar. And when we finally left the place, to our amazement, we saw that right under the belt hung another chain. Made of little wire round circles that connected to each other and ended in a loop that just hung there, right at her tush. Like waiting for a leash?
It was Cruella de Ville! The process of complete identification with her little victims had gone full circle. She was, finally, a true Dalmatian. We were in hysterics all the way to our cars and believe me; it was very hard to get that image out of my mind.
Brigitte’s, or soon to be Opal, is a superb restaurant and if you ever feel like treating yourself to something special, take the extra 20 minutes for your lunch and I promise you a grand time.
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