Deeahna Arrieta, founder and chef of Adama Vegan Comfort Food Restaurant and Bakery in Santa Barbara, runs her business from her heart. She opened Adama (meaning “earth” in Hebrew) only two years ago and already it is attracting attention from vegans and nonvegans alike.
Twenty eight years ago, Deeahna founded a brownie company, “Mark’s Mother’s Brownies” which was successful until she decided to embrace the vegan lifestyle. For her it’s about nonviolence and saving animals.
Since baking had been her forte, she assiduously experimented with recipes and flours, to make offerings that would be considered awesome in themselves, vegan or not.
When a dear one suffered from gluten intolerance and she realized the importance to many people of eating gluten free. She started with some gluten free choices on the menu, but soon felt that when the two are together it could be too easy for someone, a waiter, or anyone to mix them up, and give a sensitive person something with gluten – and then she would feel too guilty. So the best thing was to be totally gluten free. This led to more experimentation in the kitchen.
All the dishes are original and sometimes after one has been offered to the public for a while she decides it still isn’t quite right, and goes back to the drawing board to improve it.
Deeahna’s most recent project is her vegetable garden right behind the restaurant which she started only a few months ago. It’s her “pride and joy.” In the near future the restaurant will also include a vegan ice cream parlor which will include liquored sorbets.
Deeahna is one of those amazing people whose creativity spills out in every direction. Besides her recipes, restaurant, garden and ice cream bar, plans to make a cookbook, she is also in the process of adopting a child and a dog!
Her restaurant speaks exactly to my needs. I am a vegan and also gluten sensitive. I often have issues with my stomach. But this past weekend when we ate every meal at Adama, I felt wonderful and so did my stomach!
On top of that, Adama has a lovely outdoor patio and is dog friendly! This is so welcome to people who like going places with their dogs and especially people who travel with their dogs. Many Angelinos drive up to Santa Barbara for a short vacation and like us, love to take their dogs to the lovely dog beaches and parks there. What a treat to also be able to take them to dinner with us as well. The location is about a block off of busy downtown State Street so it is lovely and quiet.
Every meal held surprises and offered dishes that were both more and less traditional. Breakfast offered many choices: everything from oatmeal with bananas, strawberries and walnuts, to the most heavenly pecan pumpkin pancakes with bananas and real maple syrup. They taste like great pumpkin pie!
And one morning I had the veggie skillet – an array of organic vegetable sauteed with homemade cashew cheese, avocado and rice tortillas…mmmm!
The club sandwich at lunch is delicious. It includes their own homemade “bacon” crumbles, tempeh, avocado, with onions, tomatoes and lettuce. So is the curried “chicken” salad. I am not usually big on fake meats but this chicken was really delicious.
Later we would try the chicken piccata at dinner, and that was definitely a winner as well. Lasagna with butternut squash and an amazing marinara sauce, and several Mexican inspired and Indian inspired dishes appear on the menu. A new item is due to soon appear: pot pie. Can’t wait to go back and try it.
Did I mention the desserts? The cupcakes and muffins and cookies—and you must try the apple cobbler pie. They also offer fake oreos with a vanilla cream filling better than the original.
All in all – with all the delights of visiting Santa Barbara, Adama Vegan Comfort Food Restaurant and Bakery ranks near the top of my list.
Georja Umano is an actress and animal advocate.
Adama Vegan Comfort Food Restaurant and Bakery
428 Chapala St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
805 560 1348
Open Tues. - Sun. 11-9
Sat. and Sun. - 8:30 -9
Closed daily from 3-5