Day 316: Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato Basil Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Tomato Basil Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Another cold-weather craving has been satisfied. My wife whipped up a batch of her genius-level tomato basil soup in the slow cooker tonight. I had a big ol’ bowl of it, along with two grilled cheese sandwiches.

I never ate tomato soup when I was a kid, but this tastes like comfort food to me. And dunking the grilled cheese sandwich in it just feels right.

Day 299: Taste of Santa Barbara

The Habit's Charburger, Santa Barbara Style.

The Habit’s Charburger, Santa Barbara Style (double charburger served on toasted sourdough with avocado).

When I was a student at UC Santa Barbara, In-N-Out had yet to invade the area. Thankfully, The Habit was around to take care of my hamburger cravings. So was Cal Taco, another fast-food joint that served a charburger that tasted like The Habit’s signature burger. I’m not sure which came first, but The Habit was the restaurant that went on to expand locally and then nationally.

The original Habit was located a few miles from UCSB and students and locals love eating there. The charburgers were consistently delicious and made for a filling lunch or dinner. Rumor has it that the original restaurant still serves its delicious chili as an off-menu item. I used to devour their chili cheese fries on a regular basis. Not surprisingly, I weighed more back then.

While I don’t think The Habit has taken the throne of best fast-food burger from In-N-Out, they’re up there. I definitely prefer them over Six Guys and other contenders for In-N-Out’s best burger crown.

It’s nice having more Habits pop up around Southern California, though, since I can now enjoy a taste of Santa Barbara closer to home.

Day 248: Cuteness Overload

Lazy Bear's jumbo crab stir-fried curry.

Lazy Bear’s jumbo crab stir-fried curry.

I was back at the 626 Night Market tonight representing the Yelp brand. My wife joined me this time and along with our fellow Yelpers Jennifer and Wayne, we spread some Yelp love for a few hours.

Just like at the event I did last month, I enjoyed meeting so many Yelp users and fans. People genuinely like using the app and a few of them were kind enough to share stories with us.

My wife and I had a lot of fun handing out the Yelp swag. During the downtime she picked up our dinner (pictured above) from the Lazy Bear booth. It’s the cutest thing I’ve eaten in a while.

The cutest overload of the food didn’t stop me from going all Hannibal Lechter on it, though; it was delicious, even without fava beans and a nice chianti.

Day 220: Yelp Street Team

I Love Yelp

I Love Yelp

I volunteered for the Yelp Street Team tonight, representing the brand at the 626 Night Market. It was a lot of fun handing out Yelp swag to the attendees and in my three hours at the Yelp Booth, I noticed one thing: people LOVE Yelp.

Actually, I noticed two things. In addition to the Yelp love fest, I saw how ginormous the 626 Night Market has grown. I was here in 2013 and thought it was big then, but tonight was nearly overwhelming. So much food, so many people, and plenty of good vibes. When you have an event centered around food, it seems to produce a less hostile crowd than, say, a Dodgers-Giants game in the middle of a heatwave.

Most people already had the Yelp app on their phones, so it was easy to get them to check-in and claim their free tote bag or drink koozie. My fellow street teamers Tiffany and Ruth gave out free high fives upon request, as did my stepdaughter, who helped out for an hour. We even posed for photos with a few people who made us feel like rock stars.

My favorite part of tonight? Talking to other enthusiastic users of Yelp. There were a lot of them, including several who stopped by the booth just to say how much they loved Yelp.

I told them I knew exactly how they felt.