955 Embarcadero del Mar
Phone: (805) 845-4680
Sun. – Wed.: 12 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Thurs. – Sat.: 12 p.m. – 12 a.m.
In a world where frozen yogurt shops are growing as omnipresent as Starbucks, it takes a gem like Sweet Alley to make you remember why frozen yogurt became so popular in the first place.
With 10 different self-serve frozen yogurt flavors, 12 super premium ice creams, 30 different toppings and an expansive selection of bin candy, Sweet Alley has a variety of high-quality products, so anyone can concoct a delicious creation that will satisfy their own personal sweet tooth.
“There is just so much variety here that it makes it unique from other places,” Russell Bondi, a third-year global studies major at Santa Barbara City College and an employee at Sweet Alley, said.
Co-owner Geoffrey Friedman, who opened Sweet Alley with his wife, sampled a wide selection of frozen yogurts before deciding on three different brands: Rainbow’s End, with surprisingly creamy
flavors such as Peanut Butter Cup and Cookies n’ Cream, YoCream, which makes a sweet but tangy Blueberry Tart flavor and WowCow, which is known for being especially low in calories.
“I think these are the best flavors out there,” Friedman said.
For those who prefer the harder stuff, there is a stunning selection of ice creams as well. All of the flavors, except the Vanilla Soy, are from McConnells Super Premium brand of ice cream. The brand offers enticing flavors, including Brazilian Coffee, a delectable blend of coffee ice cream and chocolate.
Toppings include everything from cheesecake pieces to cereal to butterscotch sauce. But don’t underestimate the UCSB students’ ability to make healthy choices; the most popular topping is strawberries, according to Bondi.
Friedman’s personal favorite flavor combination is a bit more decadent and includes whipped cream, peanut butter, marshmallow, hot fudge and Oreo cookies atop cookies and cream or peanut butter yogurt.
With all of the exotic flavors and possible yogurt and topping combinations, it can be hard to resist filling that large cup to the brim every time, and at 40 cents per ounce, most people end up spending about $3.50-$4 per visit.
Sweet Alley is open from noon to midnight Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so students can pop in late for a sweet escape from hitting the books.
“It’s a really good dessert, and if you just want a little break from studying, Sweet Alley is perfect for that,” Bondi said.
6546 Pardall Rd.
Phone: (805) 845-5856
Sun. – Wed.: 10:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Thurs. – Sat.: 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 a.m.
If the chilly fall nights leave you nostalgic for a satisfying home-cooked meal, step into Pasta House and warm up with its delicious fresh baked pizzas, pastas, salads, soups or house wings.
Owner Michael Hassan, who also owns the I.V. Deli Mart, designed a menu that reflects his close relationship with Isla Vista.
“Each pizza has different toppings and different names for the streets. It’s something related to the community here,” Hassan said.
One of the most popular pizzas is the Cordoba, with barbeque sauce subbing in for the marinara and plenty of grilled all-white chicken, hickory-smoked bacon and fresh onion slices on top.
In homage to the police station, which used to occupy Pasta House’s current location, Hassan created a breakfast pizza called the IVFP, which comes with ham, bacon, eggs and cheese for a hearty way to start your day, whether you were patrolling the streets of I.V. or recovering from a night of carousing down those same roads.
The Chicken Alfredo is their most popular pasta dish, but all possible pasta preferences can be satisfied with the Build Your Own Pasta option. For just $7.99, you can choose one of their homemade sauces of marinara, alfredo or meat sauce and up to three ingredients from meat or vegetable toppings all, oven- baked. The Cheese Sticks, which Hassan warns are highly addictive, are topped with five different cheeses and can be dunked in a side of well-seasoned marinara sauce.
The pasta portions are extremely generous, weighing in at over a pound per serving, and every Tuesday,any pasta dish is $5.99.
Hassan can frequently be found cooking up something special behind the counter, giving Pasta House that homey feel that extends from the personalized meals and service to the openly visible kitchen where the food is prepared and served up with a smile.
948 Embarcadero del Norte
Phone: (805) 845-4612
Daily: 6 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Cajé Café’s business practices are as good for the environment as its selection of beverages and baked delights are to the taste buds. With an entirely organic and fair trade selection of coffee and teas, to-go cups made of paper or compostable corn-based plastic and an emphasis on local ingredients, Cajé’s eco-friendly stance is as integrated in the restaurant as the consistently delicious taste of their menu items.
Its award-winning roasters, the house-made vanilla and chocolate syrup, the finely-crafted latte art gracing the tops of the drinks, the strong attention to detail and quality ingredients set Cajé above the cacophony of coffee shops in Isla Vista.
The Vanilla Latte is its most popular drink, but all the beverages have something special to offer.
“Our ice blendeds have espresso shots in them, whereas anywhere else they use coffee concentrate,” owner Ryan Patronyk said.
Cajé appears to be one of the only cafes that makes cappuccinos Italian style — six ounces of paradiso made with two shots of espresso and equal parts steamed milk and thick foam for a taste that is strong but not bitter.
For those not quite ready for the caffeination sensation of Italian coffee, there is a lovely selection of fresh juices and smoothies.
“We juice oranges in house, and we get organic oranges that are grown in Ojai so our orange juice is really good,” Patronyk said.
This local approach extends to the fresh-baked pastries which come from D’Angelo’s bakery, the bagels that come from Jack’s Bistro & Famous Bagels and the honey, which comes from Santa Ynez.
“As many ingredients as we can get locally, we do,” Patronkyk said.
Cajé’s organic hempseed granola bowls — such as the popular Kona Bowl — includes granola, pineapple juice, strawberries, bananas and non-fat frozen yogurt topped with honey and shredded coconut for a mouth-watering mix of flavors and textures.
Open until 2 a.m. with free wi-fi and outlets at every indoor table, Cajé keeps the needs of the college student in mind while providing the outstanding service and fine fare of an expensive downtown café.