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jamessly
The World's Safest Beach, Carpinteria, California
A Chef/owner with forty-years experience and a passion for the restaurant business.
Recent Activity
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The holiday season is upon us, and while I’m sure that everyone is already being inundated with catalogs and circulars and wish lists and Muzak carols in every store, I wanted to remind you of a lesser-known but still very important holiday, at least to the cocktailians here at Sly’s: December 5th, the anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition. Being true patriots, we love our freedoms, and the restoration of the freedom to lift a glass with friends and loved ones without fear of jail time (at least, if one quaffs responsibly) bears celebration. To that end, we are pleased... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2016 at Sly'sBlog
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Well! We've finished Avocado Festival weekend and all that the Festival brings. We can get to back to the more quiet life we're used to. The big news this week is that we are now serving one of our favorite fixed price menus at Sly's - both ours and our customer. Our Basque menu, celebrating the Cuisine of the Basque Country on the south-west coast of France, contains some of our all time favorites dishes, and never fails to remind Annie and I of some of the great times we've spent in St. Jean de Luz, Bayonne, Biarritz, and up... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2016 at Sly'sBlog
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Julia Child, who gave America's cooks the gift of French food Last week, Monday, August 15th was Julia Child's birthday. We're celebrating a Fixed Price menu at Sly's featuring Julia's wonderful - and wonderfully precise - recipes. Boeuf Bourguignon? Of course that's on the menu, along with Veal Liver "Persillade" and silky Quenelles of Sole "Veloute", with a classic white wine fish cream. And three incredible desserts to choose from - including Crêpes Suzettes, Queen of Sheba Cake, and my own personal favorite, the upside down Apple Tarte Tatin covered in delicious caramel. If instead you want a bit of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2016 at Sly'sBlog
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Read about the Bizarre Rise and Fall of the Tiki Bar at wired.com We'll admit it. We didn't know what to think when Arianne proposed a Tiki menu for Repeal Day. Tiki? Really? While crimes have been committed in the name of the Tiki drink, I should have had faith in the skilled bar staff at Sly's. Long, hard work researching - and testing (love that testing) - means they have come up with a killer Tiki cocktail menu. As can be expected with a skilled staff like we have at Sly's. Not to mention the wealth of material that's... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2015 at Sly'sBlog
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Okay, friends, raise your hand if you’ve heard of the Volstead Act. For those of you who have, I expect to hear a round of booing and catcalls. The Volstead Act also known as the “National Prohibition Act”, became the 18th Amendment on October 28, 1919. It was a dark day in libational history, to be sure. So dark that we celebrate Repeal Day each and every December 5th here at Sly’s. Like this Saturday for example. President Woodrow Wilson (bless his bespectacled head), vetoed the bill, to no avail. The temperance movement was too strong, the conservative voices in... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2015 at Sly'sBlog
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photo from The French Chef Cookbook, photo credit Paul Child Halcyon Days in Santa Barbara August 13 marks Julia Child's Birthday. This year would be 103, if I'm not mistaken. Sadly, she left us in 2004, but her memory will be with us a long, long time. About 6 years after I first met Julia, when I had moved permanently to town to work at the bustling El Encanto Hotel, I remember sitting on the terrace of the hotel with Julia and her husband Paul. She said something to me that I've never forgotten: "What this town really needs is... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2015 at Sly'sBlog
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Vote for Sly's Hamburger Sandwich in the Costal View News Burger Madness Contest! You might be surprised to find a hamburger sandwich on the menu of a restaurant like Sly's, amid the aged USDA Prime steaks, French and Italian specialties, and so on - rest assured, the hamburger is a most important menu item for us. For starters, Chef James adores hamburgers. We think that Carpinteria deserves a truly great burger. And, when asked, James has been known to say that: "The hamburger might be one of the most complicated things we make at Sly's. After all, we buy a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2015 at Sly'sBlog
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A three course menu for $35. - $55. with two glasses of wine. We've just changed our 3-course fixed price French Menu at Sly's, and we think everyone will find something that they like on it. Typically, this menu from the Southwest of France is one of our customers' favorites when it rolls around. From the Roasted Beet & Watercress salad to the "Bras de Gitane" Rum Cake with Oranges with its strong Catalane influence (As does the extraordinary Creme Caramel), the cuisine of Languedoc Roussillon is a popular menu at Sly's. Bounded by Spain and Catalonia to the south,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2015 at Sly'sBlog
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Narsai David is someone we've always found to be an important person in the Californian culinary scene, was one of the true founders of our California Cuisine - alongside people like Alice Waters and others in the Bay Area. I have fond memories of sipping a 1949 Armagnac brandy with Chef Marc Chayette in Narsai's cool redwood bar. Quite the place, with an incomparable wine list, bar selection of Cognacs and Armagnacs, Sherries, and Ports, great and imaginative cuisine, and incomparable service. As it turns out, one of my dear friends Kurt Grasing, worked with Narsai and now partners with... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2015 at Sly'sBlog
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On Sunday, November 2nd, Sly's is featuring an old-fashioned "Sunday Gravy" in the best East Coast Tradition. "It's something that I've wanted to do for a while now, and with the urging of some of our home-sick Italian American customers, I've finally decided to do it this month". The single seating takes place at 5 pm, and begins with aperitivo and appetizers and a chance to mingle with some pretty interesting people. The family style first courses will include Crostini di fegatini, bruschetta with chicken livers, deep fried risotto "suppli", and sumptuous eggplant caponata The rich traditional main course will... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2014 at Sly'sBlog
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Well! We've finished Avocado Festival weeked and all that the Festival brings. We can get to back to the more quiet life we're used to. The big news this week is that one of our favorite fixed price menus at Sly's - both ours and our customers - is now being served. Our Basque menu, celebrating the Cuisine of the Basque Country on the south-west coast of France, contains some of our all time favorites dishes, and never fails to remind Annie and I of some of the great times we've spent in St. Jean de Luz, Bayonne, Biarritz, and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2014 at Sly'sBlog
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Our current 3 course fixed price menu at Sly’s. It’s still just $35., and only $55. with three glasses of French wine. (Sly's also offers 10% off any bottle of French wine on our list when you order the menu) As usual, this menu will run for about 6 weeks before we chance to another interesting region of France, idea, time or concept in French cooking. The French menu in America.You might say that in modern times, It started with the Kennedys - and Jacqueline Kennedy. A French Chef - in the White House, René Verdon. And it continued for... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2014 at Sly'sBlog
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A three course menu for $35. - $55. with two glasses of wine. We've just changed our 3-course fixed price French Menu at Sly's, and we think everyone will find something that they like on it. Typically, this menu is one of our customers' favorites when it rolls around. From the Roasted Beet and Watercress salad to the "Bras de Gitane" Rum Cake with Oranges with its strong Catalane influence, the cuisine of Languedoc Roussillon is a poplular menu at Sly's. Bounded by the Basque Country on the west, the pleasures of Provence on the east, and Bordeaux to the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2014 at Sly'sBlog
The far reaching effects of the drought emergency in California are here, and affecting all us. It was difficult to think of that this last week with the rain pouring down, but it's true none the less. We’re concerned for the the farmers we buy from at the farmer's market, and we’re concerned for the folks providing the pasture-raised beef at Watkins Cattle & Livestock. And, of course, water is an important thing when you operate a restaurant. Sly's is now following the Carpinteria Valley Water District’s guidelines on providing glasses of water only upon request. In spite of all... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2014 at Sly'sBlog
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From Sly's Manager Mandy Huffaker Chinn Here we are again, still feeling a bit full from Thanksgiving, with another celebration to be enjoyed! Certainly this season is full of the “big” holidays, but we here at Sly’s also celebrate another holiday this season: December 5th, the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. We call it Repeal Day, and we celebrate the 21st Amendment by creating a new, “super secret” cocktail menu every year. We have put together a roster of 12 cocktails this year, a couple of “forgotten” classics as well as new creations by our bar staff. In years... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2013 at Sly'sBlog
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The Official Nantucket Bay Scallops® logo We're excited this time of year at Sly's, and not just for our to-go Thanksgiving dinner, and everything we have to do for that - this is the time of year that the Nantucket Scalloping season opens up, and we start getting the best scallops in the world shipped fresh to Sly's from Nantucket Island. The tiny Nantucket bay scallops come to us from Glidden's Island Seafood , located mid island on Nantucket Island, 30 miles out at sea from Cape Cod. Annie and I worked on Nantucket waayyy back in 1984 and 1985... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2013 at Sly'sBlog
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Sometimes pairing wines with Thanksgiving dinner can be very tricky. Ok, all the time. The variety of flavors of the food served with the traditional spread run the gamut: rich, earthy, sweet, savory, sour (and whatever the heck the flavor profile of your Great Aunt Helen's green bean casserole is). You can look at this a pairing challenge, as wines that work with earthy and savory elements generally are not selected to pair with sweet things, like candied yams, or sour things, like cranberry relish. On the other hand, this challenge can be seen as an amazing opportunity to try... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2013 at Sly'sBlog
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Again this year Sly's is offering a complete traditional Thanksgiving Dinner, prepared at Sly’s and ready for you to carry-out for $275. We make it all, so your life get's easier. The ready-to-serve menu (generous portions for about 8 people) includes: • Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (two quarts) • A Certified Organic Range Grown Turkey, 14 to 16 pounds Prepared the best way we know how: brined, seasoned with fresh sage and butter, and slow roasted to perfection, ready for you to carve. (We don't care if you say you did it!) • Traditional sage and onion stuffing made from... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2013 at Sly'sBlog
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On Sunday, October 20th, Sly's is featuring an old-fashioned "Sunday Gravy" in the best East Coast Tradition. "It's something that I've wanted to do for a while now, and with the urging of some of our home-sick Italian American customers, I've finally decided to do it this month". The single seating takes place at 5 pm, and begins with aperitivo and appetizers and a chance to mingle with some pretty interesting people. The family style first courses will include Crostini di fegatini, bruschetta with chicken livers, deep fried risotto "suppli", and sumptuous eggplant caponata The rich traditional main course will... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2013 at Sly'sBlog
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Iceberg lettuce - come to the head of the class. We'll come right out and say it: "We like Iceberg Lettuce!" That's right - bland, no food value (sic) tasteless, plebian, ordinary Iceberg Lettuce. We like it on our hamburger, as a wedge with Roquefort dressing, as the crispness in tacos, we just plain like it. There, it's out on the table. For all to see. Let the naysayers and critics yell "Blasphemy!" at the top of their blogs. Come what may, we're going to stick with this one. The crisp crunch of Iceberg makes any number of things better... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2013 at Sly'sBlog
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A three course menu for $35. - $55. with two glasses of wine. This is going to be the last week for April's fixed price menu at Sly's. All good things must pass, I suppose, and this popular menu will no doubt be missed. From the Roasted Beet and Watercress salad to the "Bras de Gitane" Rum Cake with Oranges with its strong Catalane influence, this month's menu has been a poplular one. Bounded by the Basque Country on the west, the pleasures of Provence on the east, and Bordeaux to the north, it should come as no surprise that... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2013 at Sly'sBlog
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One question we often get asked at Sly's is, "Why are the pepper shakers almost empty?" (Or, I suppose if you're more optimistic type, "Why are the pepper shakers only partly full?" The answer is pretty straightforward and simple:We want the pepper to be fresh. So, we fill them up very little, so we can refill them more often and get the most aromatic and flavorful pepper we can. We think it makes a difference. We think that great quality pepper makes a difference everywhere, even when you want to add a little bit on your food at the table.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2013 at Sly'sBlog
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This hand made cask of lightly toasted Hungarian oak was selected to age some of Sly's classic Manhattans for the past five weeks. The goal? Making a smooth drink even smoother, "rounding off the edges". We cheated and tasted - it worked very, very well. Debut of the cask-aged Manhattan at Sly's is Repeal Day, Wednesday December 12, 2012. Come join us and celebrate the repeal of the Volstead Act in 1933. From Mixmistress Mandy at Sly's: The holiday season is upon us, and while I’m sure that everyone is already being inundated with catalogs and circulars and wish lists... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2012 at Sly'sBlog
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Image by Brett Leigh Dicks, Santa Barbara News Press We were pleased this morning to see a nice article by writer/photographer Brett Leigh Dicks in today's Santa Barbara News Press. Entitled "Star Power, Santa Barbara's chefs serve up their favorite ingredients", it features eight of Santa Barbara's leading chefs and asks the question, "What is the one ingredient you can't live without? --We'd link to the article, but that doesn't seem technically possible at this time. It was truly a pleasure to be included with the likes of the Alessandro Cartumini, of the Four Seasons Biltmore, Dario Furlati, of Ca'... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2012 at Sly'sBlog
Sly's is pleased to have been chosen for an article in today's (10-11-12)(!) Santa Barbara News Press, written by Marilyn McMahon. Entitled, "Best Seats in the House", the article features restaurants that have,"habitués who always sit at the same table or booth, which they consider the best seats in the house." At Sly's, Marilyn spoke with Andy and Dolly Granatelli, long time Sly's customers. Here's what they had to say, "We like it because we can park the car at the curb and I can walk the eight steps to the table", said Mr. Grantelli, 89. "It's also further back... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2012 at Sly'sBlog