Lunch with Louie at Tuttini
Santa Barbara food reviews with Louie the pessimist food critic
Jul 7, 2:11 PM (PT)
I remember how sad I was when I heard of the closing of Tutti’s in Montecito. It was one of my most favorite Italian delis/restaurants in town. I never minded the few extra miles I drove to pick-up one of their wonderful rotisserie chickens or trying to make up my mind choosing one of their antipastos or salads. So when I heard they had taken over the place on Carrillo where Aficionado used to be, I decided to give Ed a call and pay them a visit. Well, Tutti’s has decided to give their small child a chance, and it’s now called Tuttini - kind of cute, isn’t it? The place is different than it used to be. Most of the usable space is dedicated to a bakery format, with just a small area in front devoted to the eating - three tables by the window and a bar area by the door. The menu is limited to sandwiches, salads and soups – and lots of goodies from the bakery and coffee bar. Most of their business is now of the quick kind; either to go or a fast lunch.
Talk about fast – there is a new hero in my life and his name is Kobayashi, who again won the hot dog eating contest at Nathan’s on Coney Island, New York by eating a total of 53.5 hot dogs is just 12 minutes. Oy vey – the heartburn.
We ordered a prosciutto sandwich on a panini with a bowl of “fato in casa” (minestrone soup), and a hot panini sandwich of chicken, eggplant, caramelized onions and melted provolone cheese. The vegetable minestrone had very few vegetables, no pasta or potatoes, and was basically watery and red – we passed. The side order of salad was uninspiring and common, and the potato chips with ridges that came with the sandwiches were meaningless - we also passed. But the sandwiches…! I fought, and eventually conquered most of the prosciutto sandwich devouring it amidst sounds more reminiscent of a Roman Bacchanal than a lunch on Carrillo Street. The chicken sandwich on grilled panini was luscious, gooey and slippery. If you tried to hold it from either side, the insides would slip over to the opposite side. If you tried to hold it in the center, it would ooze from every corner. YUM. We finally resorted to a knife and fork and continued with this almost unreal experience until it disappeared.
For dessert, we ordered a bread pudding. It was divine.
A man with gray temples, a light blue buttoned-down shirt and wing tips ran in and ordered. The fastest thing possible - it doesn’t matter what it is, just make it fast. It happened to be a pre-made tuna salad sandwich. Since you are a dedicated subscriber to edhat.com, you know that statistics are of the essence. Ed quickly pulled out his radar gun. That poor sandwich was consumed in exactly 29 seconds. What’s the rush, Brother? We are all going in the same direction - relax and have a bread pudding! Maybe he was starting his own Kobayashi-like tuna fish salad competition.
It was just then that I discovered the absence of a second story in the building. As you sit there, the ceiling is far, far away. There is no second story, but there should be – because 12 feet above our heads there is a door – the door leads to the outside, but there is no visible access to the door. How do you get up there? And, the door is halfway open. Who opened it and why? Questions only an angel can answer - I can’t. Anyway this is just a food review. Go and check out that door – it’s really puzzling.
And, by the way, if Godzilla opened an offspring restaurant, would he call it Godzillini?
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