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Fitting In Fast Food

Weekly Column by Loretta Redd, PhD

McDonalds owes a debt of gratitude to Santa Barbara for its gift of the late Herb Peterson, who, in the 1960’s with Don Greadel, invented the Egg McMuffin. Though it took until 1972 for this mighty little breakfast orb and renowned hangover cure to become nationally distributed, it remains as much a hit today as it did then.

Of course, McDonald’s didn’t have 27 million daily U.S. customers then (growing by one million per year) and fast food hadn’t become a major component of America’s blubbery big-bottoms tilting the scales of healthcare cost and limiting longevity.

I recently read that the city of Loma Linda is attempting to prevent ‘Mickey D’ from coming to its health-oriented town. Seems that about half of the 22,000 residents are Seventh Day Adventists, who approach their bodies with serious intent: no alcohol, no tobacco, no caffeine, and usually vegetarian.

The residents of Loma Linda have been designated by National Geographic as one of four cities in the world where residents life expectancies reach into their 80’s, 90’s and 100’s. (Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica and Sardinia, Italy are the others.)

Clearly, these folks are evidence that driving through the golden arches can also fast track you toward the pearly gates. But we live in a society with freedom of choice, and reward developers and their seemingly insatiable appetite for new fast food locations.

Even in towns where the population really doesn’t want them.

Loma Linda does in fact have a del Taco and Carl’s, Jr. but the Happy Meal location is a little too close to “site of the rolling hills that Adventists prophet Ellen G. White envisioned as a haven for the church.”

City Council in between a rock and a Big Mac on this one. The Loma Linda University Medical Center has joined with the Adventists in pleading to restrict the placement, and every council member knows there is another election right around the corner.

So, should Uncle Sam replace Betty Crocker in the kitchen? Is it the role of government- local, state or federal- to control what we eat? I can’t imagine it is a just matter of “education,” because if anyone still believes you can have a healthy body surviving on brown and white fried food seven days a week, they haven’t been to the doctor in a while. And don’t tell me it’s cheap, because in the long run, poor health is anything but.

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Six Years Ago… the Goleta Post Office Massacre

January 30th is another infamous day in the history of Santa Barbara County. Today marks the six-year anniversary of the Goleta post office massacre.

After killing her next-door neighbor with a shot to the head, Jennifer San Marco went on to open fire inside the U.S. Postal Service building in Goleta, killing seven employees before taking her own life. The shootings comprised the worst mass murder by a woman in the history of the United States.

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Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Gardens Sunset

Santa Barbara Photo of the Week by Bill Heller.

Looking back it’s been a while since I posted a panorama. And what better place for a beautiful view in every direction than the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens? Yet another beautiful oasis in the middle of the city perfect for a relaxing walk, even if you only have a lunch hour to get away.

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-Bill Heller


My Night in Italy

Film Feast review by Santa Barbara View Restaurant Correspondent

Let’s face it, Santa Barbara has lots of restaurants.  There are literally hundreds to choose from.  And if you are anything like me, you have a favorite dish at a restaurant and you just order the same thing.  For example, if you are at Brophy’s you get the clam chowder, if you find yourself at Carlitos, you get the fajitas, if you are at Harry’s you always get the Blue Moon Martini (Grey Goose vodka with blue cheese olives).  And if you happen to find yourself at Ca’Dario, there is one favorite that is nearly impossible to pass up, the Ravioli al Burra e Salvia (Brown Butter Sage Ravioli).  Personally, I have ordered this menu item as an appetizer, an entree and a dessert!  But oh Ca’Dario, how you surprised me.  On Friday night, my favorite dish was actually out shined by a heavenly special on the “Film Feast” menu!

Say what you will about the SB International Film Festival, an unexpected benefit of the festival that you may love or hate, has started a new tradition in culinary bliss.   The Film Feast.  According to the organizers: “Santa Barbara’s cast of culinary characters presents Film Feast three-course tasting menus offered Jan. 26 – Feb. 5, 2012.” And 50 of Santa Barbara’s restaurants, bars and hotels are participating.

As a local, I already know that Ca’Dario has good food.  But I have to say, the Ca’Dario Film Feast Menu is worth every penny.  If you have never been to Ca’Dario or have not been in a while, you owe it to yourself to take a ‘staycation’ to Italy on Victoria Street.  The quaint European atmosphere is genuine with traditional décor; white tablecloths, hardwood floors, smell of roasting garlic and the sweet sound of clicking glasses and plates and a steady hum of friends and lovers in lively conversation.  The staff is friendly and very loyal, our server has been with the restaurant for 15 years.  And you won’t find an ounce of pretense.

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Never Forget: the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill

On the afternoon of January 29, 1969, an environmental nightmare began in Santa Barbara. A Union Oil Co. platform stationed six miles off the coast of Summerland suffered a blowout. The platform ruptured because of inadequate protective casing.

For eleven days, oil workers struggled to cap the rupture. During that time, 200,000 gallons of crude oil bubbled to the surface and was spread into a 800 square mile slick by winds and swells. Incoming tides brought the thick tar to beaches from Rincon Point to Goleta, marring 35 miles of coastline.
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Beaches with off-shore kelp forests were spared the worst as kelp fronds kept most of the tar from coming ashore. The slick also moved south, tarring Anacapa Island’s Frenchy’s Cove and beaches on Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel Islands.

Animals that depended on the sea were hard hit. Incoming tides brought the corpses of dead seals and dolphins. Oil had clogged the blowholes of the dolphins, causing massive lung hemorrhages. Animals that ingested the oil were poisoned.

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EcoFacts: Green Building

Fringe as it may seem in this country, green building is a GIANT subject. Most of us human beings, especially we richer ones, spend practically all of our lives in buildings. They provide us with safety from the elements and from others, comfortable places to sleep and be, protection for our stuff (not a small matter). Our homes and furnishings create our own spaces and become extensions of ourselves. And then there are our workplaces.

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Santa Barbara Garden Post

This is your last chance to plant more rounds of winter veggies you love the most, and the littles that grow year round. Peas are especially heat sensitive, but we Coastie pea lovers can get one more round! At this time be sure they are mildew resistant varieties! But it’s really time to think in terms of those summer treats you love too! Space is an issue now unless you have fields! Those of us in 10’ X 20’ Community Garden plots need to reserve space and prepare those soils. I plant some of the smaller border plants, like lettuces, where they will be on the sunny side, then add the bigger plants that need more heat behind them in March.

Plant LETTUCE, beets, brocs, cabbages, cauliflower, celery, chard, kale, kohlrabi, potatoes, radish, spinach, turnips. Asparagus and artichoke bare-root. Or put in asparagus from seed in March.

Clean things up. Prune your trees, remove dead wood in your herbs. Divide clumps of Society garlic. On ground that needs more humus, lay down some bagged steer or well aged horse manure, let the rains wash the nutrients down, in about 2 months dig it in.

Continue with your harvesting, sidedress your producing plants, do your snail prevention. After rains, foliar apply another batch of aspirin – stimulates growth, boost the immune system, and baking soda and powdered milk to boost their immune system and act as a germicides. Don’t forget to add a dash of liquid soap to make the mix stick! Hold off on watering for a few days to let the potion do its job. Your plants will thrive!

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