I have been seriously slacking in the food blogging department and I’ve been hardcore craving some delicious food that doesn’t come in a Styrofoam box or a paper baggie. So after an afternoon of shopping for Vegas outfits and sipping on Starbucks iced coffee, I took my level of basic-ness up a notch by heading over to Happy Hour at Blush Restaurant + Lounge.
Blush is a trendy, open lounge located in a prime spot right on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara. On Yelp they only have 3.5 stars so I was a teeny bit hesitant to try it out, but who can resist a place that offers Happy Hour on a Saturday?!
Blush offers a 2 for 1 deal on all their apps printed in red (no lobster mac and cheese for me *cries*) and a discount on their house drinks. A pretty sweet deal if you’re splitting with someone else! Also, apologies for the less-than-stellar photo quality. Everything is shot on my iPhone 6, which isn’t as hi-res as my DSLR, but I made do!
We started off with a glass of the sangria, only $6 during their Happy Hour. I was expecting a traditional drink – red wine with lots of fruity flavor, but this was more of a white wine lemonade with some bluebs floating inside. It was a surprise, but a delicious one. Super sweet with a slight tangy lemon flavor – plus it’s pretty and pink!
As soon as I see something breaded and fried, I know I’m in for a treat. These are the piquillo poppers – peppers stuffed with spicy chorizo, salty queso fresco, and a creamy chipotle crema. They’re warm and meaty inside with a great crunch from the crispy breading and the crema cools everything off.
I’m a sucker for ahi tuna tartare and this outing was no different. Just look at that presentation – almost too pretty to eat! But obvi I ate every last bite, you guys know me better than that. The taro chips were the perfect crunchy addition to the soft, buttery tuna chunks and the amazing ponzu sauce combined with the salty soy mustard added another flavor level. It was definitely worth it for the Happy Hour deal, but the teeny tiny portion left me wanting more; I don’t think I would pay full price for it.
More fatty fried goodness, but this time it’s part veggie so it’s practically a health food. The crispy artichoke hearts are a must-get on this menu. They came piping hot in a cute little basket. Plus, there are two side dipping aoilis: garlic & lemon. I personally loved the lemon aioli best (who doesn’t enjoy an artichoke/lemon combo) but overall the whole dish was delicious and super filling.
Last but not least is the prosciutto and fig flatbread. Blush has a surprising amount of flatbreads on their menus, but we went with the fanciest sounding one (I mean, cambozola cheese… it’s so fancy idek what it is). I would have liked a tad more cheese, but otherwise this dish was another prime choice. The sharp, salty cheese and the crispy prosciutto contrasted perfectly with the sweetness of the soft figs and balsamic drizzle. And you can’t go wrong with that gorgeous plating – totally Insta-worthy.
I would definitely come back to Blush again, either for Happy Hour, a full dinner, or even to try their brunch menu. It’s a nice place to lounge outside on the patio or have a more romantic dinner in the dim, moody interior. I’d definitely give it more than 3.5 stars!