Santa Barbara Foodie Escape Recap

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I had a blast Visiting Santa Barbara with my food blogger friends! Check out the delicious food we ate and the beautiful sights we saw in Santa Barbara.

A Group Photo of Eight Food Bloggers in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Foodie Escape Recap

So a couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I went to Santa Barbara with some blogging friends for a weekend. It was a retreat hosted by myself, Julianne from Beyond Frosting and Dorothy from Crazy for Crust. Eight bloggers met up in Santa Barbara to learn from each other, share experiences and have a great time.

After close to three years of blogging, I can say without a doubt that one of my favorite parts of blogging is all of the wonderful bloggers I’ve met. I began enjoying blogging exponentially more after getting to know those in my online community. Not only are they all such fun, but they are so supportive. Conferences are a wonderful place to meet everyone, but often they are so big and there’s so much going on that you don’t get as much quality face to face time with everyone. This retreat was all about that.

It was a blast and I left feeling encouraged and inspired by some of my favorite bloggers. If you followed along on instagram, you probably have an idea of all that we did, but for those who didn’t, here’s what went on.

I flew into LAX Thursday night and stayed at Julianne’s place along with Krista from Joyful Healthy Eats. Julianne and I have been bloggy besties for more than a year now, and she got to visit our house in February so it was fun to see her place and meet her boyfriend. We’d met via FaceTime before, but in person is better. Super nice guy, btw.

A Selfie of Lindsay, Krista and Julianne Inside a Car

Friday we went up to the house we were staying in called the Opryland Estate. It was absolutely beautiful. Looking out of the front of the house you saw mountains and farmland, and looking out the back, you saw the ocean in the distance. How could you not relax just stepping foot there?

A Collage of Images of the Views From Opryland Estate

We got the rooms set up with the welcome bags (yay for swag!) and itinerary for everyone’s arrival. We had some wonderful sponsors who helped make the weekend possible. Lucky Leaf was our primary sponsor and helped with our housing costs. Everyone was welcomed with a little note from them and some delicious pie filling. Thank you Lucky Leaf!

The Foodie Escape Welcome Bag Next to a Can of Apple Pie Filling

Then it was time for lunch! If there’s one thing a group of food bloggers know how to do, it’s eat. Cabot was wonderful enough to send us some cheese to use for a grilled cheese bar and it was AMAZING! I have always loved their cheese and the grilled cheese totally hit the spot. We enjoyed lunch out back, overlooking the view.

A Collage of Pictures From Our Grilled Cheese Bar Lunch

Then Friday afternoon, we were fortunate enough to get a tour of McConnells’s Fine Ice Cream. They don’t normally do tours, so it was a special treat. Micheal, the owner, was a hoot! I could have listened to him joke around all afternoon. The care they put into their ice cream really impressed me and it was evident that they are passionate about what they do. They even pasteurize their own milk. That’s dedication.

Of course the best part was when he broke out the ice cream at the end! You guys. SO good. I’m totally bummed it’s not on the East Coast yet, but you can order it online. I fully recommend the Salted Caramel Chip (OMG!) and the Churros con Leche (OMG!!). And honestly, they were all amazing.

Ten Tubs of Various Flavors of McConnell's Ice Cream

That evening we had great discussion around social media over some delicious tacos! Julianne made homemade tortillas and the best guacamole I’ve ever had. I had no idea she made such a mean guac. You need to beg her to share the recipe. No joke. It’s legit. And thanks to California Avocados, there was no shortage of guacamole to go around.

Fresh Guacamole in a Decorative Blue, Orange and Yellow Plate

Saturday began bring and early – it was full day. Deborah made her Easy Waffle Recipe. They were so good and made with whipped egg whites. Fluffy city! We chowed down and were sure to top our waffles with some Lucky Leaf pie filling. What’s better than to have pie for breakfast?!

Deborah's Waffle Bar Set Up on a Dark Marble Counter

We also continued with some terrific conversation about bloggy things. You guys, I learn more from these discussions with other bloggers than anything else. And Dorothy and Krista so kindly helped me get my email subscriptions changed over to something so much more fun. If you get my emails, you have probably noticed the change this week. Is it not SO much better?! We have them to thank!

Three Women at a Dining Table Working on Their Laptops

Then, for a mid-morning pick me up, Best Food Facts – who so kindly covered most of our food costs for the weekend (thank you!!) – surprised us with cupcakes! How awesome are they for sending this fun surprise? Delish!

A Box of Twelve Assorted Cupcakes from Best Food Facts

And if we weren’t full enough at this point, Whole Foods Market made sure to finish us off with such a wonderful lunch. Everything was so delicious and well done. My mom is already bugging me to see if they gave us the recipes because the food looked so great (note: I don’t have the recipes, sorry!).

A Collage of Images of Drinks, Dishes and the Menu at Santa Barbara's Whole Foods Market

The menu was amazing! Different drinks with every course, a beer and cheese tasting (bring on the gouda!), the most delicious cod salad, steak and a deconstructed truffle for dessert. It was all wonderful! And of course dessert was my favorite part. 🙂

A Selfie of Eight Female Food Bloggers in a Minivan

After lunch, we headed to the most adorable town – Solvang. It’s a Danish town and I immediately fell in love with it. We started with a wine tasting at Predisio Winery. You know one great thing I learned this weekend? I’m not the only one that likes sweet wine!! I’m really only a sweet wine drinker. I know, I know. But when I tell you I have a sweet tooth, I mean it. And you know who loves it with me? Joan from Chocolate, Chocolate and More! I was so excited to learn I’m not the only one!

A Glass of White Wine on Top of a Laminated Prisidio Menu
A Group Photo of Eight Food Bloggers in Santa Barbara

Next, we headed to Mortenson’s Danish Bakery. We got a behind the scenes peek at the bakery and got to try a couple treats. Every single one was amazing. I wanted them ALL!

A Collage of Bakery Machinery and Food From Mortenson’s Danish Bakery

Then, dinner. If you’re like my mom, you’re wondering at this point how we could possibly eat another thing. It’s like I told my mom. We are food bloggers. We basically train for weekends like these year round. This weekend was the main event. You gotta hang.

Dinner was at SY Kitchen and you must go there if you’re ever nearby! Some of the most delicious food and such a great atmosphere. The Valley Girl drink that I had was to die for – vodka, elderflower (yum!), mint, strawberry, lime and vanilla. So good!

They treated us to a little bit of everything – baked artichoke, homemade ravioli and pasta, wood fired pizza, salad – it was all wonderful and it was so much fun to get to try a little bit of everything.

A Collage of Photos of a Drink and Two Dishes from SY Kitchen

As usual, dessert was amazing. Dorothy has already made a copycat of the tiramisu and I’ve already made some panna cotta (which will be shared with you in a couple weeks – sorry to hold out on you). I’d never had panna cotta before and I am now IN LOVE! Omg.

When we got home, we all put on our PJs faster than we ate dessert (maybe) and hung out on the couch and shared more blogging tips. We didn’t want to go to bed, because then it was going to be over. 🙁

We woke up Sunday and had another great breakfast and said our goodbyes. It was such an awesome trip and I’m so glad I was able to be a part of it. All these women are wonderful and I admire all of them. I’m so blessed to be able to call them friends. Be sure to check out Jen, Deborah, Krista, Dorothy, Joan, Hayley and Julianne on their blogs if you haven’t yet.

Berries, Bananas, Bread, Hummus and Other Breakfast Items on a Countertop
Eight Food-Loving Bloggers Posing Together Outside Opryland Estate

Also, another thank you goes out to the rest of our sponsors for providing us with food and goodies for this weekend in Santa Barbara! King Arthur Flour, Baileys Coffee Creamers, Wilton, OXO, Sabra Dipping Co, Cabot Cheese, California Avocados and Skippy Peanut Butter – thank you all so much!

A Pile of the Goodies I Got During My Trip to Santa Barbara

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12 Comments
  1. Laureen

    I am jealous 🙂 this looked liked an incredible time. What a nice get away. If you ever want to invite a lonely Canadian blogger to one of your retreats, I would be so in, especially Georgia (on my list of places to visit).

  2. Kara

    I’m a new reader who stumbled upon your blog when my daughter requested a chocolate nutella cake for her birthday (By the way, I’m a total cake snob and your chocolate cake is my go-to recipe now- SO good!). Anyway, I don’t normally comment, but had to tell you I loved this post. I’m from Santa Barbara, and my hubby and I bought a home in Solvang almost 3 years ago. It was fun reading about all my neighborhood spots. I go to Mortensen’s for their napoleons so often it’s almost embarrassing!

  3. Julianne @ Beyond Frosting

    I laughed out loud when you wrote that we prepare for these types of weekend! HAHA! Also, I can’t wait to see your Panna Cotta Recipe, maybe I will make it at home so I can finally try it. GRR. 🙂

  4. Dorothy+@+Crazy+for+Crust

    It was the most amazing weekend ever!! Thank you Lindsay for helping to make it perfect. 🙂

  5. Nuvia

    Glad you enjoyed Santa Barbara. My girls and I live in this glorious town and really enjoy your blog. Every morning on the way to school we stop at a cake etched in the cement and see what marvelous creation you have for us. They chant cake cake cake of the day. And everyday that delicious treat is my daughters favorite and decides it for her birthday. thank you for great ideas. Next your in California you have to see Carpinteria, Santa Maria and the 5 cities.

  6. Joan Hayes

    I loved everything about this retreat (thank you sponsors!) but most of all getting to spend time with some of my favorite people! Thank you for including me, we need to do it again soon! AND that McConnell’s Ice Cream is to die for!

  7. Mir

    I saw a lot of pics on Instagram and yes, I was jealous. You guys obviously had so much fun. And SO much good food! What could be better than food and friends? That’s the best part of blogging!

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12