Handlebar’s Sandra Adu Zelli on the 5 best ingredients for a kickass winter salad

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People in Santa Barbara aren’t used to standing in line. The one exception may be Handlebar Coffee Roasters, where it’s common to see cyclists and hipsters waiting out the door.

You can now add foodies to that line.

The new Handlebar location on upper De La Vina Street is serving up seasonal salads, galettes, avocado toast, plus local kombucha, beer and wine in addition to coffee and pastries.

“We’re doing hearty, seasonal salads using local ingredients with big flavors,” said Handlebar’s new chef Sandra Adu Zelli, who worked in restaurants in London before coming to Santa Barbara 10 years ago. Since then, she’s worked as a private chef in Montecito, a pastry chef at Cielito and a bakery manager at Jeanine’s.

KCRW met up with her at the farmers market to see what she’s putting in her shopping basket.

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Chef Sandra Adu Zelli tastes strawberries from John Givens Farm at the market. “I see what’s good and what’s in season. We’re in November and their strawberries still taste amazing,” she says. (Kathryn Barnes/KCRW)

Adu Zelli’s top 5 best ingredients for a winter salad:

  • Pumpkin/Squash
  • Rainbow Swiss Chard
  • Broccoli/Broccolini
  • Sunchokes
  • Green Beans

“They all have the ability to make for delicious eating and salad making,” she said.

Adu Zelli compares what she’s doing at Handlebar to foodie hot spots like Gjusta in Venice, “places that are really showcasing vegetables.”

Right now, her salads include roasted butternut squash dressed with tahini, seeds and basil leaves, and charred broccoli tossed with chili, lemon and garlic.

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Photos: Kiabad Meza

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