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Restaurants & Bars

Santa Maria- community barbecues have returned

Pius Avocado III | Feb 22, 201204:50 PM     3

A few years back the parking-lot barbecues lining Broadway had disappeared, "courtesy" of the SM health department, I believe.

This past weekend I was thrilled to discover there are at least 3 groups barbecuing on weekends centered around Broadway and Main (IIRC). There were none as recently as our last trip in early summer last year. We were once again able to drive 8-12 blocks down Broadway with the windows down and take in the smell of red oak barbecue heaven.

We noted 3 on the way out of town Sunday morning, including the Filipino Community Center one I remember from past visits. By the time we returned around 3:45, only one still had food. This was Soto BBQ, in the lot of a small Mexican grocer @ Broadway and Grant. Half chickens, beans, rice salsa and garlic bread were $8. The very friendly women working the table offered a second plate for $4, as they were trying to sell out and go home. I passed, having big dinner plans.

That was a mistake- I'd have gladly devoured that second plate the next day. Despite having sat over smoldering embers for perhaps quite some time, the chicken was succulent, juicy and heady with the flavor of oak. The salsa was not Santa Maria style; rather it was a spicier, thicker affair with cilantro that I'll call blender salsa as that's how a good friend of mine's abuelita always made a similar salsa. The beans (pinto) and rice were good as well.

I'll be back to hit up the other stands, hopefully earlier in the day on Saturday next time to see if there's more action.

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