It's April Fool's Day so if you expected an "always out for a few yucks" practical joker like me to have a headline today like, "El Buen Gusto Sucks" or "I Hate Beer" or "Taqueria El Bajio Lowered Their Prices and also Made a Meal That Didn't Taste Like Shit", well, you're dead wrong.
With the one and only Steve Edwards visiting, the last few nights have been awash in some of the finest Santa Barbara Mexican food. Los Agaves on Tuesday night followed by a second visit in 4 days to Palapa last night. Sidetracking.......I was reading some online reviews of Los Agaves and it seems there's a lot of negativity recently. Starting with the usual "It used to be better" which is most assuredly not true...it's just as good as it was in the beginning, I should know, because since the day they opened up I've visited VERY regularly. To go along with "the service is bad", often true, and has always been true, but who fucking cares? They've got it set up as a quasi-taqueria and not as a Wine Cask for a reason dumbass. Another thing I read a few times was "too expensive", which is incredibly dumb if you've ever been to a number of the truly spendy places with lesser food (Super Rica, Carlito's, Cava, or Los Arroyos come to mind). But the most hyper-stupid thing I read was "portions are too small". Only a babbling fat bastard from Nebraska who is used to eating 4 fried chickens and a gallon of mashed potatoes sopped with thick, drooping gravy would say something so moronic. I can pile food on pretty good, and I have NEVER left Los Agaves either hungry or feeling ripped off.
As far as Palapa last night, well, it was dreamy as usual and I knocked down a gigantic pile of carnitas and a few micheladas. Actually, the pile of carnitas was so huge that I brought half of it home to enjoy for lunches. Anyways, tasty stuff and it was heartening to see a couple Super Asada readers in there, no doubt encouraged by my posting and Micah's seconding the accolades. Hopefully you guys had a great meal.
Let's get on to tonight's feast, Pepe 's in Goleta, sort of the Rose Cafe of the Goodland, having been there since 1958 or so. I love this place and it's the thing I miss most about my couple of years living in Goleta, where I spent a fair amount of time saddled behind the bar swilling Dos Equis draughts and chowing on some classic grub.
I haven't been here in quite a while, so Deb and I ordered up two of my absolute old favorites, the Rajas con Pollo and the Chingadera. The rajas con pollo is exactly what it sounds like, rajas (roasted chile with onions, cheese and chicken). If it doesn't sound delicious, well trust me, it is. Just as good today as ever. Perfect combo of onions and chile.
The chingadera is simple perfection and one of my true faves in town (have I said this before?...yeah, probably). With a name like that, what is it you ask? Basically it combines three of the greatest ingredients on the planet: pork, jalapenos, and beer, and puts them heated up on a tortilla over beans and chile verde sauce, with either a big dollop of guacamole (my choice) or sour cream. Granted, you have to buy the beer separately, but if there is one dish in town that is so perfectly complemented by a frosting mug filled with golden brown Dos Equis draught, this is it. I'd damn near move back to Goleta just to go back to the days of eating this twice a week. Heaven.