Walking the beachfront one day I ran across a skate park. I asked a few of the sidelined skaters for their favourite restaurant in Santa Barbara. I know, its not really a good idea to get restaurant recommendations from a group of teenage boys, however I did add the restriction that it couldn’t be a fast food chain. Minutes and several hundred ‘like dude’s later they agreed on one place, Lucky Penny.
Its a little challenging to find since it takes up a small space in a cluster of structures and there isn’t any street signage. You will however notice that one side of the building is glimmering with copper- pennies, go figure!
Its all outdoor seating at wooden picnic benches. Its small, I doubt 20 people could wedge in at once. Despite that, its a pleasant, casual space filled with interesting artwork and creatively placed plants. I noticed most people come in for coffee or takeaway; the stream is constant and seemingly the locals.
Mostly locally crafted beers, pizzas and sammies but not the usual fare. I didn’t have to look down the small menu too far before choosing – Spicy Lamb Meatball Sandwich. The Middle Eastern in me goes straight for lamb when its on the menu. The ciabatta roll was crusty on the out but pillowy and absorbent on the in. That was good since it soaked up quite a bit of the harrissa-spiked tomato sauce. If you don”t know harissa, its a hot pepper based spice mix. If that was not enough heat, they had also added roasted chili. Arugula added bite and herbal flavour and shaved Pecorino added some saltiness and creaminess to the mix. Delicious!
I didn’t know any of the local beers but the girl at the counter gave me a sample of the Paso Robles Peach IPA; I liked. It was definitely a West Coast IPA, heavy hops, which surprisingly paired well with the subtle dried peach undercurrents. It definitely was a good, soothing companion to the fiery sandwich.
Its a counter-order, table-delivery setup and delivery seemed to happen almost instantly, of course I was somewhat distracted by the artwork and potted plants hugging the walls of the small outdoor space. Everyone here is very friendly and helpful.
Its about average. Spicy Lamb Meatball Sandwich – $10, Paso Robles Peach IPA – $6
Lucky Penny is only a few blocks from the beach. The other bonus to its location is that the next block north, Yanonali St., is wine alley – many winery outposts and wine bars focusing on Santa Barbara’s local production.
Lunch: November 2014
Lucky Penny | 127 Anacapa | Santa Barbara CA 93101