Santa Barbara Sea Urchin à la Jean-Georges

Santa Barbara Sea Urchin à la Jean-Georges

 Santa Barbara Sea Urchin à la Jean-Georges
Black Bread, Butter, Jalapeño, Yuzu, Maldon Salt

I was sitting in the dining room of my virtual restaurant, the Borage & Basil Bistro, reading about Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Santa Barbara Sea Urchin.

“This dish is the perfect example of how uncluttered Jean-Georges’ cuisine is, as well as the volumes he can make his dishes speak. The bright iodine from the uni marries perfectly with the buttered pumpernickel toast. It’s just delicious from both a textural and flavorful standpoint,” said Chef Wylie Dufresne.

Contemplating getting on a plane to NYC to try this utterly sublime dish, it occurred to me how silly it would be to travel across the country from LA – to eat Santa Barbara uni! 

Not only is the uni local, we also have the rare yuzu tree (an important component of this dish) growing in our garden. So that is how Santa Barbara Sea Urchin à la Jean-Georges ended up as the appetizer on tonight’s dinner menu at the Borage & Basil Bistro, this summer’s virtual restaurant where all the menu items feature fresh snipped herbs, exotic ripe fruits, and edible flowers from our garden.

With its salty, clean ocean scent and hues of gold and deep orange, its sweet, exotic, haunting taste and creamy, buttery texture – the captivating sea urchin roe makes for an elegant appetizer, indeed.

Santa Barbara Sea Urchin à la Jean-Georges Recipe

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lacy pickled lotus root

pickled lotus root

lacy pickled lotus root

Just like the previous post on spicy pickled cucumber & wakame, lacy pickled lotus root is a unique summer side dish that offers a refreshing counterpoint to grilled meat, poultry or fish. In addition to its slightly crunchy texture and mildly sweet flavor, this aquatic vegetable graces the table with its circular stenciled patterns, a delight for the eye as well.

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Reuben Sandwich


Norms Restaurant
Grilled Reuben Sandwich $7.99
Deep-Fried Jalapeño $0.25

“Reuben, make me a sandwich, make it a combination, I’m so hungry I could eat a brick,” said actress Annette Seelos to Arnold Reuben, owner of Reuben’s Deli in NYC, circa 1914.

This is just one of the many legends on the invention of this sandwich.

A Reuben Sandwich: Corned Beef, Turkey or Pastrami? Cole Slaw or Sauerkraut? Russian Dressing or Thousand Island? Swiss Cheese or Jack Cheese? Toasted or Grilled? At least everyone agrees to serve it on Rye.


Across the street from the car dealership is Norms We Never Close. It’s a fun place (for a food blogger with a camera) to spend a few hours while getting an oil change and other automobile maintenance.

I’m making corned beef and cabbage in honor of St. Paddy, but since it takes about 50 minutes per pound, and my brisket is 4 1/2 pounds, it won’t be ready anytime soon. So I’m posting the Reuben Sandwich – Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!