Friday, October 17, 2014

BRUNCH: Sambo's & Tupelo Junction Cafe

{I'm posting every day this month for the 31 Days writing challenge!
Click here to see an introduction and a list of all the posts I've written so far.}

I mentioned earlier this month that I really love breakfast and I’ll eat it literally any time of day, so no one should be surprised that there will be at least two separate posts that are wholly devoted to my favorite brunch spots in Santa Barbara.

Today, let’s talk about the spot with my favorite view and the spot where I make the one and only exception to my Breakfast Always rule.

First up, for the best brunch with a view, is Sambo’s!  This cute little diner has been in Santa Barbara for 57 years.  It started out as a one-off, and by the early ‘80s had grown into a huge chain with over 1,000 locations.  Eventually ALL of those locations closed down for one reason or another, but the original Sambo’s is still going strong.

I suspect their success is partly due to the fact that their outdoor seating area is literally right across the street from the ocean, and also because of the baskets of free (tasty!) mini muffins you get while you wait for your actual order to arrive.  Both of these things are HUGE selling points for me, anyway.  

Joe and I often end up at Sambo’s after church on cool, sunny afternoons.  More often than not, he’ll get the Santa Barbara omelette because he likes to rub it in my face that I’m allergic to avocado.  (I kid, I kid.  I mean, I really am allergic to avocado, but he’s not usually mean about getting to enjoy it without me.)  And I almost always get the Papa Jumbo Special, which is crispy bacon, two eggs over hard, and three insanely delicious pancakes.  I’ve also been known on some occasions to indulge in their JUMBO mimosa, which most definitely lives up to its name.

If you've never been to Sambo's, get your butt over there and thank me later.

The second spot I want to share with you today is Tupelo Junction Cafe, which is on downtown State Street, right next to the Granada Theater.  Now, you may be wondering about this “Breakfast Always” rule I mentioned a few paragraphs up. 

So here’s the thing: I love breakfast foods so much that if a restaurant serves it during a time when they also have lunch and dinner options available, I seriously don’t even look at the rest of the menu.  
I always get breakfast if breakfast is an option.  

But Tupelo is the one and only place where I will make an exception to that rule.  See, they have these things on the lunch menu called cheddar cheese hush puppies with spicy pepper jam.  It’s as amazing as it sounds (and if you don’t find that amazing-sounding, we can’t be friends anymore).  This picture below doesn’t even begin to do justice to how gooey the cheese is in the center, or how downright blissful my face is when I’m eating one of these things.

The good news is, ain’t nobody ever gotten full on a few little hush puppies.  So I always have room for a little something else, and therefore I still always get something breakfasty at Tupelo if it’s before 2 PM.  And if I’m there for dinner, there are still plenty of great options (like MORE HUSH PUPPIES).  

But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of their absolute best breakfast items, and that is the vanilla dipped French toast with homemade berry syrup and fresh whipped cream.  I mean...what more could you want in life?  They use baguettes, not just regular bread, and that berry syrup is seriously yummy.

Shoot, now you’ve got me all hungry for some breakfast!


Now for the real fun: one of these fantastic places wants to share the love with two of my dear readers!  That’s right – Sambo’s is giving away TWO $25 gift cards to a couple lucky commenters!  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here on the blog answering this question:

What’s your favorite breakfast food?

You can earn additional entries by following the instructions over on my Instagram post here.

31 Days of Santa Barbara giveaways will close at midnight on Friday, October 31st.  Winners for ALL the giveaways throughout this series will be announced on Monday, November 3rd!

{Disclaimer: All opinions in this post are my own; I reached out to Sambo's to see if they wanted to give my readers some swag, and they graciously agreed!}


  1. My favorite breakfast food is the ever-obvious french toast - preferably, drenched in syrup, covered in berries and powdered with a little sugar. Delicious.

    (As a side note: Sambo's makes an INCREDIBLE bloody mary, garnished with shrimp and blue cheese stuffed olives - I've never been crazy about this breakfast drink, but this place made me a believer :) )

    - Jessica

  2. Like you, breakfast is my favorite meal & I love, LOVE a good omelet! So glad to visit from the 31 Dayers FB thread :)

  3. Mini-muffins! Now that's MY kind of restaurant!

  4. Gosh, now I'm hungry! If I'm ever out that way, I'm checking these places out!

    Love your blog's name, by the way.

  5. Kahlua french toast at Jeannine's you must try! I love Tupelo Junction but our of my price range so I would love to win. What i love love...muffins and bacon!

  6. I will eat breakfast any time or any place. PANCAKES are the ultimate breakfast food for me because there's so much you can do to/with them. (Please don't choose me for a winner because I have neither of those places near me. Give them to someone who can enjoy them.)

    Your food descriptions are AWESOME!

  7. I am also a breakfast lover! My favorite is Egg's Benedict - I always always order it anywhere I go for breakfast or brunch!

  8. favorite breakfast might depend on who is making it. If I'm doing the cooking, I'd say french toast; if my hubby or a restaurant is doing the cooking, probably an omelet. P.S. Can a relative win?

  9. My favorite breakfast food is everything that comprises a typical German breakfast (, but since I can't have that here, I'd have to say hash browns (esp crispy on the outside, mealy on the inside) and eggs over medium.

    Also, have you ever done Tupelo's happy hour? They serve "small plates" and the selections are amazing!


Thanks for your comment! I try to reply to all comments within the post itself so we can keep the conversation going.