Thursday, June 30, 2016

Goleta's Got a New Chef

That, my hungry friends, is kimchi fries, and yes you want some. It's really not as fussy fusion as it sounds, since there's a classic like chips and malt vinegar lingering in its roots if you think about it. So you get fries down at the bottom but even better some yummy apple and cabbage with just enough zing; in fact, any Korean kimchi aficionado is probably going to bitch the stuff doesn't stink enough. Settle down, though--you're eating in Goleta. Then you get some lime curry aioli, too, for more lift (citrus always lifts--think about that when you choose the cocktail to pair with this, and you'll want one of those too--it's a lovely list of drinks).

This dish is just one of the highlights on the menu at the Outpost at the Goodland Hotel, a spot with a new chef, Nick Bajal, who is whipping up some tasty plates. The menu is slowly shifting under his watchful eye and keen palate to add stuff like bibimap (he does have a bit of a Korean thing going, but overall it's all Pacific Rim, and a big rim that is) with a duck breast cooked to such perfection you'd instantly order duck if it were on the menu. Or something like white bass over a cashew mole, rich with more savories than you can count yet not a bit gloppy or gooey (if you've been scared off by too many more chocolate-based moles). This dish is so good even the red quinoa on it is ok!

Save room for dessert, too, especially the beguilingly exotic Coconut and Hibiscus, which is rum soaked coconut cake, candied cashews, and hibiscus sorbet. The cake is moist but also a bit biscuity, a very satisfying texture, not too rummy (this isn't Little Italy), and than that sorbet gives just the right fruity-flower notes. Lovely.

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