Mimosa, oh beautiful mimosa. The weekend starts with you and bubbles up from there. I’m on the sunny patio of Kanaloa, Al Vafa is playing blues and jazz guitar, the palm trees are waving, and it is the start to another amazing Santa Barbara weekend. I can think of no better way than a mason jar filled with champagne and orange juice, can you? Bellini’s and Mimosas are both on the menu at Kanaloa now, and I’m the first in line. Sparkle cuts through the sweet orange juice, and I somehow feel virtuous to be drinking it…after all, there is vitamin C in this beverage! And part of the celebration, certainly, is Kanaloa’s new brunch menu. A place I love to eat for lunch and dinner just made my weekends a whole lot sweeter. Chef Alliano and the Kanaloa crew are serving a brunch menu from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends, and I highly recommend their new benedict dishes, delish seafood omelet, even the mysterious berry banana bread pudding bowl is something to explore.
But the classics are here too, including Chef Alliano’s take on the BLT, Kanaloa style, and I’m going straight in for the GLT. What in the world is a “GLT”, you ask? Well, it’s like a BLT, with one crucial difference. Gravlax instead of bacon! And in my case, being a fan of avocado, I’m making this a GLTA. Martín makes the gravlax right, pressed with dill peppercorn, and a little brandy, resulting in coral slices of soft, silky loveliness, eaten on grilled sourdough, with a ginger aioli. On the side are cubes of soft, fried Cajun potatoes, beautifully spiced with a rich, almost lemony flavor and a kiss of heat in the throat; a few shallots perfectly browned complete the forkful. These are the kind of potatoes I want to spend some quality time with. But the sandwich, oh bliss, the sandwich. Bright tomato, soft, luxurious salmon with the right hint of dill, velvet avocado, crisp sour bread, soft green lettuce, and oh my word, we are rolling on a food high. This is truly a unique food offering in SB, and something that speaks to the strength of Kanaloa: beautifully presented fish, carefully curated flavors, fresh, inventive food. The plate is jeweled with blueberries, pineapple, a few strawberries. Add in the house salad, and I am on a different planet: Planet Weekend! Delicate watercress, crunch macadamia nuts, sweet earthy golden beets, creamy goat cheese, and purple sweet onions. This is side salad elevated to an art, and I think I might just have another mimosa while I nibble and relax. Isn’t that what brunch is supposed to be?
Angela Borda is a Santa Barbara food writer who is delighted to be blogging about one of her favorite restaurants, Kanaloa Seafood.