Over the past three years, no food writer’s suggestions have scored as regularly as R.W. Apple, Jr. His wide-ranging advice resulted in triumphant meals at all price levels in Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Miami, and San Francisco. As a result, when he recommends an eatery, as long as it’s geographically and financially feasible, I view it as a direct order. His recent rundown of Santa Barbara restaurants led me to D’Angelo Bakery & Bread, a charming café from Dietmar Ellbacher in a quiet corner of downtown.
There were chocolate and hazelnut bundt cakes, pumpkin and berry tarts, brick-sized gingerbread cookies, soft pretzels, and much more, all terrific looking. I was dizzy with possibilities before I even lifted a breakfast menu.
We sat outside, at a slatted metal sidewalk table. There were three dishes that sounded wonderful, and only two of us, so we sacrificed the Eggs “Rose,” poached eggs on kalamata olive toast with Mediterranean artichoke spread.
I selected huevos rancheros ($9.95), two crispy corn tortillas topped with refried pinto beans, shredded white cheese, sunny side up eggs, and scorching salsa. It was an elegant version of the classic Mexican breakfast dish, and seriously delicious.
Bananas Foster’s French toast ($9.75) incorporated banana slices, brown sugar, and rum flambé, served on French toast. Since the bread was fresh-baked, and the bananas were caramelized from being cooked in brown sugar, this was ground-breaking French toast. To drink, we each ordered delicious fresh-squeezed lemonade ($2.50). Uncharacteristic to Southern California, D’Angelo even offered free refills.
Before we left, we grabbed three baked goods to go. Of course none of them survived the day.
Not surprisingly, R.W.’s taste buds were well-tuned yet again.