Get Away from L.A.
But wait! Before you do the Santa Barbara thing, I want to tell you that a little town just south of SB is just as worthy of your time. Carpinteria! Yep, I spent most of my elementary school days in this area and it has become quite charming and worth the stop and/or stay.
A must is getting off at the first Carpinteria exit, turning left over the bridge and walking what I know as "the bluffs". It's a beautiful walk along some cliffs lined with eucalyptus trees that drop down to the ocean and where the seals and pelicans share a little glimpse of their busy life with you. Be sure to cross the train tracks safely. :)
Foos wise, if you want a steak house, try The Palms. And I want to try the Chamomile Cafe, it's so, so cute! but is always closed when I am there. :(
I would say the thing you can do without.... is a little busy-bee cafe which is neat and fun to "bee" in. Even the waitress embodies the personality of a bee but, the breakfast food and service needs to step it up a noch. and Tony's, which I hate to say, was not very good. I grew up eating and getting spumoni after dinner there as a kid but, the waiter was disappointing and the food wasn't anything too special.
THE SPOT, and walked the beach.
And back we came to L.A. refreshed... for now.