photos by Paul wellman •
illustrations by Joe Bluhm

Superlatively speaking, isn’t this town the best? Not too big
like that megalopolis to the south, or too teeny-tiny like the host
of little villages sprinkled between Buellton and Old Cuyama.
Surprisingly cultured for a town its size, with great museums,
lively stages, and resounding music halls and clubs, it’s also a
good place for eats, which comes as a result of its part-time job
as a tourist town. We’re well-educated as well, exposed to many
smart people from two colleges and a major university. It’s a land
of parks and beaches and mountain trails and sunsets over red
sails. But beyond all these generalizations is a town full of
individuals who go to work, keep their homes nice, barbecue, and
get out in the fresh air whenever they can. From those individuals
we gleaned a list of voted-upon preferences in 225 categories of
daily life here, in maybe a not perfect but definitely best of many
possible Southern California worlds.

Butchers to Bakers
, Bumper
to Bumper
Burgers to Bistro
Bells to Whistles
, Roses
to Rings
Highbrow to Get-Down
Rugrats to Kittycats
Caffeine to Cocktails
, Head
to Toe
, Jocks
to Rocks
, Roof
to Roots
, Wants
to Needs


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