There is a well-known and widely accepted phenomenon that food tastes better when you don’t have to pay full price for it. A UCSB alumnus, Stacey Anderson, is a firm believer of this theory. Her dedication to the cause is both admirable and beneficial to our community. Just a few months ago, Anderson created Santa Barbara Food and Culture, your newest go-to guide for the best deals around the area.
Anderson’s dedication to scoping out the greatest food and drinks for the most ideal prices is truly worthy of sainthood. After conducting a lot of research online, she found that there isn’t a forum for people to share their information and insight on Santa Barbara locales. Anderson comes “from a family who loves food, the dining experience, loves wine, trying new things [and] exploring,” all of which are factors that inspired her to create a social media platform that hadn’t existed before.
Like many others, she couldn’t resist the idyllic combination of city and country and decided to stay in the Santa Barbara County. Anderson assures that yes, it truly is possible “to love this town and be able to stay here and explore it and experience it and not have to pay a ton of money,” and no, this doesn’t mean scraping by in dive bars and hole-in-the-wall places. She gets it, “college students are [on a] limited income, you’re busy, you only go into Santa Barbara so often depending on your schedule,” but there is still a way to have your cocktail and drink it too. The whole idea is to give users a single interface that they can rely on for finding places to go and things to do. As astonishing as this sounds, Anderson tells magical stories of happy hours and BOGO deals at places within the “food and beer and wine scene” that are “fun and have a nice atmosphere” — a sort of adult fairytale that is actually real.
Local restaurants are even beginning to catch on and have started to bridge a relationship with these social media sites. By following Santa Barbara Food and Culture online, eateries have a means of “seeing what the public is looking for,” and are incited to “offer a happy hour from 4-6 or offer a daily special that people can go in for and not feel like they spent their whole paycheck.” Of course, the public is encouraged to also follow, give feedback and ask questions because Anderson really hopes to inspire the exploration process. She will gladly point you in the right direction of the best burrito and snazziest cocktail within the region.
The best part of it all? This project promises to always keep it real. Anderson never accepts any kind of payment or special deal to advertise any restaurant; major respect to the Queen of Deals for passing up that one. Her passion for the site means that if she isn’t completely stoked on the food at a certain spot, she simply won’t post it. Anderson reminds us that although “Isla Vista has everything you need for the most part, there is so much you can do in Santa Barbara that’s affordable and fun.” Rumor is, expert tips may start expanding to Goleta, Ventura and Carpinteria, which means more places to make your belly and wallet happy. Check out Santa Barbara Food and Culture on Facebook and Instagram to support a fellow Gaucho.