With a stay at Historic Santa Maria Inn, you'll be centrally located in Santa Maria, steps from Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum and minutes from Simas Park. This spa hotel is within close proximity of Natural Hisotry Museum and Marian and Severson Theaters.
Make yourself at home in one of the 164 air-conditioned rooms featuring refrigerators and flat-screen televisions. Rooms have private balconies. Wired and wireless Internet access is complimentary, while video-game consoles and premium TV channels are also offered to provide entertainment. Bathrooms feature shower/tub combinations, designer toiletries, and hair dryers.
Rec, Spa, Premium Amenities
DonÃât miss out on the many recreational opportunities, including a nightclub, an outdoor pool, and a spa tub. This hotel also features complimentary wireless Internet access, concierge services, and gift shops/newsstands.
Enjoy a meal at a restaurant or in a coffee shop/café. Or stay in and take advantage of the hotel's room service (during limited hours). At the end of the day, relax with your favorite drink at a bar/lounge.
Business, Other Amenities
Featured amenities include audiovisual equipment, complimentary newspapers in the lobby, and dry cleaning/laundry services. Planning an event in Santa Maria? This hotel has 10,000 square feet (929 square meters) of space consisting of conference/meeting rooms, small meeting rooms, and a ballroom. A roundtrip airport shuttle is provided at no charge.
Deemed "pizza of the year" every year by Great Scott's Pizza's loyal fans, this deliciously-cheesy pizza will have you reaching for seconds, thirds, and even fourths.
Great Scott's Pizza's chefs have carefully created a menu filled with flavorful and healthy eats.
Take your pick of beer, wine, or other beverages offered on this pizzeria's menu.
Children are more than welcome to dine at this pizzeria, where there's something for everyone on the menu.
Great Scott's Pizza caters to all party sizes, both large and small.
Relaxed attire is perfectly fine at Great Scott's Pizza, known for its laid-back ambience.
Eating requires the perfect environment. This pizzeria's pickup and delivery options let you choose where you want to dine.
Love the food so much you want to serve it at your next soiree? No problem — Great Scott's Pizza offers catering.
Forget the hassle of street parking and head to Great Scott's Pizza for easy access to parking lots.
For a quick and easy payment solution at Great Scott's Pizza, pay by major credit card.
Roni, sausage, and veggie are just a few of the delicious options at Great Scott's Pizza. Taste the shining reviews for yourself when you head to Great Scott's Pizza for a tasty pizza pie.
For a casual meal that is highly-rated, look no further than Great Scott's Pizza's pizza.
When you just want to relax in a casual setting and enjoy some pizza, make your way over to Great Scott's Pizza.
A tasty pizza form Great Scott's Pizza is perfect for any of your upcoming casual gatherings.
Klondike Pizza's piping pizza is just as hot as its ratings, and customers call this tasty spot one of the best around.
Going gluten-free? Dig a low-fat diet? Klondike Pizza has you covered on both fronts.
This pizzeria guests can also take advantage of the many drink options offered here.
Go ahead and bring your rug rats with you — this pizzeria has kid-friendly food and seating.
At Klondike Pizza, the prime seating is on the patio. Come check out what all the buzz is about.
The pizzeria is on the noisier end, which is something to keep in mind when planning intimate get-togethers.
You can also have Klondike Pizza cater your next event.
Some say walking is the greatest thing in life. This pizzeria knows it's carryout.
Parking is provided in a nearby lot, so diners can easily walk to and from their cars.
Klondike Pizza offers parking for all diners, including those who travel by bike.
The pizzeria's dinner menu receives the most attention, but diners have the option of grabbing breakfast or lunch here, too.
So come taste the pizza at Klondike Pizza for yourself and see what all the ratings buzz is about.
If you can't get enough pizza, be sure to try the pies at Klondike Pizza, which earn ratings too hot to handle.
Next time you're in the mood for a casual night out, be sure to stop for a delicious pizza at Klondike Pizza.
When you need a quick dinner option for the whole family, stop by Klondike Pizza and enjoy a hot and fresh pizza.
Just-right juicy steaks are the norm at Shaws Famous Steak House, a five-star worthy, fan-favorite steakhouse.
Low-fat and gluten-free options are featured on the menu.
Unwind with a glass of wine or cocktail with your meal — this restaurant has a wonderful selection of drinks to accompany your dinner.
This restaurant is more than willing to accommodate families, so kids are welcome to tag along.
Shake off your workday and treat yourself to Shaws Famous Steak House's happy hour.
At Shaws Famous Steak House, your large or small group can be seated quickly and comfortably.
It tends to get especially busy on weeknights, so be sure to call ahead and make a reservation.
With food this good, you'll be running into this restaurant to pick it up yourself.
Pull into one of the many parking spaces nearby if you choose to drive to the restaurant.
Travel by bike to Shaws Famous Steak House and store your bike at a nearby rack.
Treating yourself doesn't mean breaking the bank, come taste the great dishes Shaws Famous Steak House has to offer.
Night owls will be happy to hear that the restaurant is best known for their evening menu, though breakfast and lunch are also served.
For that extra special sizzle, it doesn't get much better than an all-star steak dinner at Shaws Famous Steak House.
If you are seeking the juiciest and most affordable steaks in town, look no further than Shaws Famous Steak House.
Whether you prefer sausage, 'roni, or all-around veggie, Straw Hat Pizza's easy-to-please pizza has fans dishing out top-notch ratings.
Straw Hat Pizza's menu is packed with gluten-free and healthy items all foodies will enjoy.
The drink list at this pizzeria has everything you need to complete your meal (and your night out).
Parents appreciate this pizzeria's kid-friendly attitude, and little ones are often seen dining out with the adults.
Large groups will appreciate Straw Hat Pizza for its ability to seat them quickly.
Jeans are just right for a meal at Straw Hat Pizza, which embraces a casual vibe.
No delivery needed. In and out for carryout.
Take the comfort of your own home and add great grub from Straw Hat Pizza to create the perfect night.
Straw Hat Pizza is located near a parking lot, which many diners take advantage of.
Straw Hat Pizza makes bikers feel at ease with the multiple storage racks outside.
When melted cheese and quality crust is all you can think about, it may be time for a hot slice or two. Experience pizza at its best when you order a pie from top-rated Straw Hat Pizza.
So bring your appetite to Straw Hat Pizza. This no-muss, no-fuss pizza joint comes with rave reviews.
Don't stress over planning a fancy dinner. Keep it fun and casual with a fresh, handmade pizza from Straw Hat Pizza.
When you order pizza from Straw Hat Pizza, you'll maximize any evening for sure.
Go beyond just beans and rice at Las Comadres Salvadorean, and fill up on Mexican food that delivers a star-studded performance (according to fans' out-of-this-world, lip-smacking reviews).
Enjoy a drink with your dinner — this restaurant has a full bar to serve up a glass of wine, beer, or more.
Let the kids come too! Little ones love the food and atmosphere at this restaurant just as much as their parents do.
Spruce up your look...but not too much! Las Comadres Salvadorean's style is business casual, so formal wear should be left on the hanger.
For those in a rush, the restaurant lets you take your food to go.
Catering makes it easier to organize any event, and Las Comadres Salvadorean will ensure that it is delicious.
Score a close parking spot at Las Comadres Salvadorean.
Las Comadres Salvadorean's diners can store their bikes safely at the rack around the corner.
With food so tasty, you'll want to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner here...and you can go right ahead as Las Comadres Salvadorean serves three meals a day.
Sample some of the highest rated Mexican dishes around when you stop in for a meal at Las Comadres Salvadorean.
Spice up your every day with delicious Mexican food at Las Comadres Salvadorean.
When you need a quick and tasty lunch or dinner, make your way over to the highly-rated Las Comadres Salvadorean for a tasty Mexican meal.
Siu mai: small pork dumplings. Each has a thin wrapper that needs to be delicately pleated by hand. Easily, they’re one of the most labor-intensive items at Phoenix Restaurant in Chicago, where each weekend this Chinese restaurant serves 80 different varieties of classic dim sum snacks.
This little fact about the siu mai is one of many surprising stories I learn from Eddy, the chef at Phoenix, where he also handles a million other tasks to keep the restaurant running smoothly. When I first came in, he was waving at a group of regulars while on the phone haggling with a seafood vendor.
“What we are serving in this restaurant is what we are eating in Hong Kong. ... It’s very typical,” Eddy says.
In 1996, Phoenix was one of the first restaurants to introduce dim sum to Chicago. Its customer base has grown over the years, and today, even with other dim sum restaurants up and down the block, you’ll find long lines winding out the door on any given Sunday.
Sound intimidating? It doesn't have to be.
Here's our guide to dim-sum dining, with a few tips from Eddy.
On the weekend: order dim sum off a cart
On weekends and special holidays, the wait staff winds traditional dim sum carts around tables, lifting lids off stacked steamer baskets to reveal the enticing contents. Should you see something you like, they leave the basket on your table and put a checkmark on your bill (it’s tallied at the end).
Phoenix is one of the only dim-sum restaurants in Chicago that still uses these carts. When I ask Eddy why they keep them, he says “tradition.” Not only to impress the tourists who come in, but also to let Chinese-American customers share this bit of culture with their kids.
Hot tip: if you want to experience the pushcarts without the crowds, head over on a Saturday, which tends to be less busy than Sundays, Eddy says.
On a weekday: order dim sum off the menu
Cartless weekdays offer a quiet, more peaceful atmosphere for ordering off the paper menu, which you can find near the hostess stand. Don't be intimidated—the menu has pictures; it has numbers; it has names written in both Chinese and English. And best of all, you need only point to what you want to have it brought out from the kitchen.
So what should you get?
“Everyone has their favorites,” Eddy says. The most popular dishes with Westerners are ha gao (shrimp dumplings) and siu mai (pork dumplings mentioned above). Kids gravitate toward the crunchy, easy-to-grip shrimp rolls and sweeter fare, from mango pudding (pictured above) to custard rolls.
Foreign travelers, especially those from Latin America, and adventurous eaters alike seem to love the chicken feet (pictured at bottom-right of top photo), a more exotic dish consisting of skin and tendons. While all these dishes are traditional, the chefs can tweak the recipes to accommodate for special diets or food allergies.
When diners are new to dim sum, Eddy encourages them to experiment. He’ll point out a few of the more popular dishes; if there’s something they don’t end up liking, it can easily be swapped out for something else. This way, by the second or third visit, diners will have a better idea of what they like.
And don't forget the tea
At dim sum, the tea is equally important to the food. Phoenix serves three different types: green tea, white tea, and brown tea. “Each one has its own usage,” Eddy says. While we talk, we drink jasmine tea, which is good for getting rid of toxins.
You can show your dim sum know-how by obeying proper tea etiquette. When your teapot is out of water, prop the lid off to the side. This signals to the wait staff that you need more hot water.
Eddy pours more tea and tells me to tap my fingers lightly against the table when the cup is nearly full. “When your friend or host fills your tea, this means ‘thank you’,” he says. “It’s part of the custom.”
Photos by Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon
I had no idea what to expect upon arriving at Elizabeth, the Michelin Star winner from Chef Iliana Regan. But an unmarked, unremarkable storefront between a tire shop and a sporting-goods store certainly wasn’t it. With few exceptions (Schwa, most notably), Chicago’s upper-echelon restaurants boast exteriors that match their illustrious River North and Restaurant Row addresses.
But as it turns out, Regan has no taste for that sort of superficial flash. She dons no chef’s whites. She displays no awards. She does not raise her voice to the Gordon Ramsay–level roar or even the Rachael Ray-ish rollick that TV cameras eat up.
Instead, this northwest Indiana native quietly built her reputation as someone who hunts for frogs and spears them herself. Someone who has suffered tick bites and poison-ivy rashes foraging for wild flora. Someone who has penned an essay on intensity for Lucky Peach and once themed an Elizabeth tasting menu after those violent and visceral A Song of Ice and Fire novels.
So yeah, I was kinda terrified to eat her food.
I’d never done a tasting menu before. And I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as a picky eater, but I’m not a particularly adventurous one either, particularly when it comes to meat. (I can barely look at plated octopus without shivering.) I’d heard that Regan once served edible ants. Which are, like, bugs.
My nerves were calmed upon walking into Elizabeth, though. Austere yet charming, the whitewashed space was accented by light fixtures made from bare tree branches; dining chairs draped with faux-fur slipcovers; a chef’s counter armed with Elder Scrolls and Vikings Funko Pop! dolls. It was all in support of the season’s menu theme: vikings.
There were two options: land or sea. Or, as the first in a delightful succession of servers explained it, “Imagine a viking ship has reached the shore. One group goes on land to look for food, the other into the sea.” My friend Erin and I opted to order one of each to share and, despite my trepidation of certain meats, placed no restrictions on what we would eat. (You can arrange for some allergies and dietary needs in advance.) We wanted to go all in.
After the amuse-bouche—a surprisingly complex roasted whey carrot dressed with goat’s-milk cheese and edible flowers—came our first courses. The land dish was … a bowl of rocks. The server assured me the top “rock” was actually a baked potato coated in edible clay. But it was very convincing as a rock, so I bit in with trepidation. As Erin ate the rest, dipping it into the cheese and butter puddings it was served with, I forked into her langoustine with lingonberries. (Pro tip: don’t try to tear off the claw without looking. You will stab your finger on a spine.) So far, so very good.
As the servers continued to weave their culinary narrative, I realized there was an unmentioned character in their tale—Elizabeth itself. The restaurant is small, seating about 16 or so, and the kitchen is wide open. It was impossible not to get caught up in what was happening back there, particularly when sous chefs were wielding brûlée torches and “plating” on gorgeous pieces of handmade pottery. And the line between front and back of house was practically nonexistent. One moment, you’d see someone in the kitchen stirring and slicing; the next they’d be presenting your next course or clearing your table. (Chef Regan included.)
This created an unexpected intimacy, one that removed any hesitation when asking about a particular dish. It’s clear the teammates take a deep yet quiet pride in their collective work. They spoke warmly about where ingredients came from, excitedly about the preparation techniques used. They always used “we” or “our,” never “me” or “Chef Regan.” (Again, Chef Regan included.)
Over the next few courses, there were so many charms. An herb-rolled, soft-boiled quail egg served in an actual nest; impossibly chewy seaweed bread darkened by squid ink; a cauliflower-mushroom soup that Erin about died over. I was particularly fond of a course called Barnyard: headcheese dusted with beet powder, paired with a collage of root vegetables and flavored puddings reminiscent of something out of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing.
And that’s the thing. Never in my life would I have thought that I’d be fond of headcheese. I would have probably never eaten it if it weren’t for this meal. But it was fun to break out of my culinary comfort zone.
The other surprising thing? How full we were, considering it was a tasting menu. By the time we were served the entree courses—rare lamb medallions wrapped in swiss chard and pickled fish in a sauce of its own bones—we were taking deep breaths between bites. I’m pretty sure they were the only two plates we didn’t completely clean.
We managed to buck up for our “one-and-a-half” dessert courses, as the server put it. (The “half” was a palate-cleansing sorbet.) Our favorite was Under the Sea, a spongy coral-seaweed cake so realistic looking it prompted me to ask the server just how much of it we could eat. “All of it,” she said. We complied.
Maybe, as a writer, I’m just a sucker for a good story. But I was enchanted by Elizabeth, both in backstory and in not knowing what was coming next throughout the culinary adventure. And while I probably won’t be buying headcheese any time soon, I’m excited to see what Chef Regan has up her non-chef’s-whites sleeves next season.
Shop Chef Iliana Regan's tasting-menu experience at Elizabeth Restaurant:
Watch her explain her approach to fine dining:
As useful as WD40 and much more edible, coconut oil is a powerhouse. In fact, just one jar of the stuff can replace several household staples, from kitchen ingredients to baby wipes. Here’s how to substitute it for 16 total items in 3 rooms of the home:
1. Coffee: Coconut oil is a reputed energy booster. Swallowing a spoonful or two in the afternoon can be a healthful alternative to a cuppa.2. Coffee creamer: Emulsified and poured into coffee, it’s much tastier than (and probably just as nutritious as) that bulletproof stuff.3. Butter or oil (when sautéing): Coconut oil’s high smoke point makes it great for cooking on the stovetop, especially at high heat. Try swapping it in when making stir-fries, scrambled eggs, or pancakes, especially if you like a very mild coconut flavor.4. Oil (when baking): The oil imparts a delicious je ne sais quoi to baked goods—even boxed ones. Use it to give from-the-box brownies an upgrade, and you’ll dream about them for days.5. Condiments: Drop it into quinoa or oatmeal for added nutrients and healthy fats. You can also put it on top of sweet potatoes instead of butter!
6. Moisturizer: It works on your body and your face. It’s naturally SPF 4, so it offers a bit of protection from UV rays, too.7. Leave-in conditioner and anti-static agent: Rub a small amount between your hands and smooth them over your hair to control flyaways.8. Lip balm: It soothes sore, chapped lips, and other skin irritations.9. Eye-makeup remover: Rub it between your fingers until it liquefies, smear it on your lids, and wipe it off with a cotton pad.10. Face wash: Add a little water and rub it in your hands until it foams.11. Hand and foot cream: Massage it into cracked knuckles, or slather it onto your soles and stick them into socks for an overnight soak.12. Shaving cream: It’ll give you a smooth shave, plus additional moisture for your skin.
13. Ouchie ointment: Dab it on cuts and scrapes, which will benefit from its antimicrobial properties.14. Anti-itch cream: Coconut oil reduces itching from bug bites, and helps to calm sunburn, eczema, and cradle cap.15. Diaper cream: A layer on baby’s bottom guards against (and soothes) diaper rash flare-ups.16. Baby wipes: Simply mix it with hot water and pour it over a stack of paper towels that you’ve cut in half. Keep the towels in an airtight container so they stay moist.
Check out more coconut-oil coverage:
Oil Pulling Whitens Your Teeth and (Maybe) Makes You Invincible
The Five Best Uses for Coconut Oil You’ve Never Heard Of