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Joe's Cafe, Santa Barbara, California

If you're a Santa Barbara local, you have enjoyed an Omaha at Joe's Cafe. And even if you're just visiting, you should. I wish I was eating an Omaha right now, but I'm in Phoenix.

When I lived in Santa Barbara, back in the '80s, I went there often. And since Santa Barbara is a touristy kind of place, I made a point of asking the locals where to go to eat, and Joe's Cafe was at the top of the list.

No, they don't pay me to say this, and I don't care. I went back there a couple of years ago and it just made me so happy! Since I know that businesses can only thrive if people continue to go there, and I can't get back as often as I'd like, hopefully you will be able to. Here are a few suggestions:

• Park in a parking garage, or a lot. State Street, like all of Santa Barbara, is a beautiful place to walk. Joe's is on the southeast corner of State and Cota, and there is a lot of parking to the east and west of State Street. If it were me, I would park far enough away so that I could take a nice stroll on State Street, one of the most beautiful places on earth.

• Order an Omaha. Unless, of course, you're vegan. It's an open-faced sandwich with thick slices of prime rib. You eat it with a knife and fork. It's what locals order. The last time I went there, the menu didn't give any description, just Omaha. Just say, "Omaha, medium" or well done, or rare, as you prefer. Yes, you can order anything you want, just don't tell me, it will break my heart!

• If you order a drink, only have one, and take your time. Unless the bartenders' wrists have gotten weak in recent years, Joe's drinks have always been way too strong. I suppose in the 1950s, it would have been funny to be "over served", but not now.

So, go get an Omaha! I'm jealous.

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