Eatery - Finch & Fork (CA)
31 W Carrillo St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Pricing - $$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - American, Breakfast
Breakfast - you need it, and you need it done well. Cast off the days of just grabbing a quick banana and granola bar on your way out. When my friends and I took a short trip up to Santa Barbara for a few days, we didn't want to default to the easy route for our breakfasts. We sought out places that specialized in this morning meal, and Finch & Fork at the base of Canary Hotel came up in our search. A simple reservation was made, and we waltzed into the neatly decorated, intimate restaurant when the time came, impressed by the choice in interior design and the superb service. How was the food though? You ought to drop in to give your tastebuds a ride sometime.
The earthy tones, reclaimed wood, and heavy use of rivets in the furniture in play with the vintage graphics gave a uniquely beautiful tone to the atmosphere inside Finch & Fork. I felt like I was a guest in a carefully curated living space turned hosting zone. In addition to the main dining area, there were alcoves and private rooms for events that were just as preciously designed; we even spotted a well-stocked bar on the other side with a nearby sign advertising tempting Happy Hour specials. In a toast toward that general direction, I ordered myself a Maria en Fuego ($13 - Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, housemade Bloody Mary mix, chili and salt rim, grilled pineapple, olives, and celery) to start the morning off with a kick. And what a kick at that! The chili and spicy Bloody Mary mix would wake anybody up and keep them drinking. Though there was heat to it, the cocktail was easy to drink and kept me coming back for more - delish!
The brunch menu showed plenty of options divided into sections labeled Bake Shop, Early Birds (drinks), Eggs, Flours & Grains, Plates, and SIDEkicks. Though the breakfast-oriented options sounded very attractive, I had to abide by my own personal "rule" to go for dishes with the restaurant's name on it so...my order was their F&F Burger ($15 - mushrooms, aged Cheddar, b&b pickles, and special sauce) which came with some very tasty French fries. The patty was hefty and grilled but almost too juicy as it made a mess after being bitten into in addition to the slightly oily bun. The pickles almost detracted from the mushrooms and Cheddar but overall, the "special sauce" tied things together well. Crisp lettuce and tomatoes helped with the fresh feel.
My dining mates went for the Roasted Pork Belly & Egg ($16 - poached eggs, smashed avocado, toasted bread, chipotle hollandaise, and home fries) and House Cured Lox & Bagel ($14 - cold smoked salmon, capers, red onion, tomato jam, and cream cheese) dishes, both of which each enjoyed overall. However, the pork belly seemed almost overcooked and the lox was not as cold as it could have been, leading to pieces just a little oilier than expected. Beyond those points, all of the flavors played well together and had a good balance. I think we'll have to come back another time to check out how they tackle dinner!
Photography by Minerva Thai.