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In northern Santa Barbara county, a few miles west of Santa Maria, the historic town of Guadalupe sits along Coast Route One. Vegetable farms surround the town and semi trucks haul the area's lush produce from the packing house coolers to all points of the nation.
The old un-reinforced brick storefronts lining main street date from the first few decades of the last century; unfortunately buildings are shuttered due to prohibitive earthquake retrofitting costs. But venerable La Simpatia Spanish Restaurant has recently reopened after retrofitting, and is again serving Mexican and American dishes 5 days a week. (open from 11-ish to 7 ish Wed-Sunday)
The original style of the restaurant was kept unchanged, with original fittings reinstalled whereever possible. No digital anything here. Orders are written on paper tickets books, the cash register is circa 1960. The atmosphere is unhurried but service is acommodating and friendly. The open kitchen bustles with activity. The menu is classic mid-century fare with many house-made items--sauces, tamales, tortilla chips. Breakfast is served all day, and menudo is available every day. Prices are quite reasonable and they are family-friendly. Seating options are four, four-seat booths, a dozen-plus counter seats and one 5 person booth. Handicap accessible. There is a separate full-service bar facility with tables and room for large parties in a dining room behind the main cafe. Historic framed photos and newspaper articles line the walls.
This noon, Melanie Wong, Mr and Mrs Polar Bear, Glbtrtr and myself gathered there for a chowdown. We ordered a sampling of traditional dishes, and will each share our thoughts.
We ordered chili rellenos, chile verde, cheese and onion enchiladas, beef enchiladas, beef tostada, and tamales to share. (We were brought chicken enchiladas first by mistake, but not charged for them)
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