Where: 3811 Santa Claus Lane, 745-5505, thegardenmarkets.com.
What: A casual stop between the 101 freeway and the ocean for a scone, salad, sandwich, or smoothie.
How Much: Sandwiches, $8.75-$10.
The Dish: Carpinteria’s eclectic Santa Claus Lane is home to this sweetly sophisticated little dining gem and shop. Order inside at the counter and sit indoors or out among the constant swirl of sandy beachgoers. Garden dining provides idyllic charm with the soothing lull of running water and breeze. While waiting, browse the shop for gifts or a bottle of local wine from their thoughtful collection. Sip organic espresso, cool down with a juicy smoothie, share a bottle of wine, or indulge in a hearty breakfast or gourmet deli sandwich. The tri-tip sandwich speaks of place (Santa Maria, of course) with its thick slices, red onion, and arugula on sourdough with zesty horseradish spread. Add prosciutto to an organic baby arugula salad, or get creative with the “salad topped salad”—a scoop of Greek, chicken, or tuna salad on a bed of organic baby greens. Vegan variants are available for all smoothies, including the tropical Papaya Ole—papaya, pineapple juice, strawberries, and organic banana.
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