Thanks for everyones great suggestion on this board, last weekend I experienced a great first trip to Santa Barbara! I cant wait to go back and try more chow! :)
We started our day in grand style with a visit to Brophy Brothers to try their amazing clam chowder It was as good as I expected, SUPER fresh and rich. Every element was perfect and worked well together. The clams were fresh not chewy, the broth thick but not starchy, the potatoes perfectly done, not crumbly. BF who is a native New Englander even gave it a thumbs up (Despite being served with Nabisco Oyster crackers!)
After our little mugs of chowder and taking a look at some fresh caught spiny lobster and crab, we headed back to Stearns pier and had lunch with friends at the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company. Some of the gang ordered their clam chowder, which was proclaimed salty. Others ordered Oyster Poor Boys (Which were HUGE!!), Raw oysters (Not a fan of the raw stuff, perhaps Liane can elaborate on that!), and finally BF and I ordered Fried Calamari, Shrimps and Oyster plate and finally a lb of beer boiled local Santa Barbara Shrimp
The fried plate was just okay. The best part being the Oysters, which were large and very fresh. While they dont beat the panko goodness of the fired oysters of R-23, they still were some of the best Ive had. The best part of the meal though was the local shrimp. Small with a very STONEY shell (be careful peeling these suckers!) It had a great meaty taste and wonderful texture. I probably could have eaten the lb by myself .
Yes, we had eaten too much already, but we walked it off with a bit of shopping on State Street! :) After a short while we decided to step to the challenge of a meal at La Super Rica!!
But first, we went off to search for the awesome tamales at La Tolteca on Haley. And just as instructed, we went Down the street and around the corner from La Super Rica and were heartbroken to find them closed for renovations!! ACK!!!!!
And so we went back to La Super Rica to meet the rest of the gang. This was my first time visiting the little blue taco shack and I was VERY excited about going!! I knew exactly what to order too The Rajas and Alambre of Chicken! I also ordered a veggie Tamale and others ordered Squash with Chorizo. To drink we had Horchata, Jamaica and Café de Olla.
The drinks were great. the Horchata, was perfect. The spices and flavors just BLENDED together beautifully. Only the one at Guelagetza is better because they include actual nuts and prickly pear syrup with theirs. The Jamaica was very sweet, but clean tasting, to be honest though, Ive had better at La Taquiza. And the Café de Olla was sufficiently flavorful, although the ones from Mexico City and La Huasteca have a more balanced flavor of the spices working with the coffee But honestly all the drinks were not bad for coming out of a little shack
As for the food, the Rajas were SPECTACULAR. A charbroiled pasilla pepper, mixed with cheese. So were the Calabacitas and Chorizo. The chorizo was perfect, not too greasy and very fresh tasting. Both rolled up in their fresh made tortillas (Be sure to order extra!!), on first bite I knew exactly why people raved about this place. Sadly, it went down hill from there. The tamale had no defining flavor, it all sorta of blended to Bleh! especially with the cheesy white sauce poured over it. The Alambre was nothing like the one I miss so much from Las Ruinas. It was very fajita like with hardly any spicing at all. The salsas didnt make it any better too as they too were rather insipid and lacked any REAL spice or heat. In the end, my expectations of La Super Rica were met. I kinda knew that they are about preparing beautiful and free food. But kinda like I feared, in the pursuit, have forgotten some of the soul behind that food (Namely the spicing and herbs that make real stand out Mexican food) Its kinda like BBQing the most perfect, melt in your mouth rack of ribs and forgetting the rub and sauce. So while it was great, my king of the fresh made tortilla tacos remains Luz Del Dia
With the sun setting after our Mexican meal, we headed up towards El Encanto for a glass of great California Wine. We saw the sun setting over the city and ocean while swinging in one of their iconic swing benches. Horribly beautiful and romantic. We then went into the lobby, which was a lot smaller than I imagined. But still, we managed to find a spot to sit and we enjoyed various great wines, coffees and teas. But as the night wore on, our conversation once again headed towards chow, namely Dessert!!
And so off we went to McConells, the Santa Barbara Ice Cream institution. To be honest, the branch we went to had the atmosphere of you local Baskin Robbins but the selection of ice cream was top notch After debating a few flavors, I decided to get the Macadamia nut, which was creamy and buttery. VERY good. BF had Pumpkin, which was spicy and very yammy. We had them on possibly the best waffle cone Ive ever had, fresh, crispy, tasty but not too sweet It really made the dessert!!
And so we ended the day like we began STUFFED and looking forward to our next trip up the 101! :)
Santa Barbara Shell Fish Company Meeting Place
230 Stearns Wharf,
La Super-Rica Taqueria Rajas! Pozole! Order from right side of menu only!
622 N Milpas St
La Tolteca Tom Swift Tamales
616 E Haley St
El Encanto Hotel & Garden Villas Drinks and View
1900 Lasuen Rd, Santa Barbara
Brophy Brothers - Clam Chowder
119 Harbor Way
McConnell's Ice Cream
201 W Mission St