Adama – Santa Barbara, California, USA
We toyed with the idea of going to Sea World in San Diego while we were in LA. It’s a big hike with terrible traffic – up to 4 hours each way. We thought about it and we love animals but I’m a bit uncomfortable with big creatures stuck in a small space. We looked at ‘Shamu’ the orca on the Sea World webcam from Sydney and jeez, there’s not of room in that tank. So I showed the girls ‘Free Willy’ and we decided that we’d rather go and see whales as they’re meant to be – put our money into a company that was promoting marine mammals in the ocean.
Excellent! We felt we’d made a noble and educated choice. But when the day came, it was a shocker – the 2 hour drive to Santa Barbara was terrible, the kids played up, we fought over directions like Mr & Mrs Incredible, took a few wrong turns and almost missed the boat. Then we set sail and the winds were stronger than forecast, the sea was choppy, the route was long and we saw nothing! Not a sausage!!! Four hours on a turbulent sea for naught. The little one stayed in the cabin, asleep on her Dad’s arm, I sat out on the bow, anxious about sea sickness which thankfully never arrived.
Back on shore in the early evening, disappointed, exhausted and hungry in an unfamiliar city, this place appeared like a vision:
Adama is in a quirky, historical building, chunky with character. It’s odd shapes, cosy booths and bench-top dining would suit any occasion. There’s local art on the walls and flowers on the tables – it’s cute!
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, depending on the day, we were here for dinner and these nachos went down well;
We also tried the gluten free, vegan pizza and the chile verde enchiladas with cashew cream – there were lots of gf options on the menu and the staff sure know what they’re talking about so you’re in good hands. As with many Californian restaurants, there’s a Mexican influence in the menu – there were flavours in the food here that I’d never experienced before.
The bakery counter has a cracking assembly of rarely-seen gluten free + vegan baked goods – only the cookies (bottom left) in this picture weren’t gluten free;
We tried the carrot cake and it was exceptional – super carroty with a beautiful squelchy consistency. The owner wasn’t amazed when I told her how wonderful the cake was, she’s been baking for many years – but vegan + gluten free does not always guarantee fabulous cake!
Blue whales were seen the days before and the days after we were in Santa Barbara, and literally thousands of dolphins. Despite it all, I would probably make the same choice again, and I know where I’ll be going for lunch.
428 Chapala Street,