Thursday, August 5, 2010


So here we are in August already, and in Santa Barbara, August means one thing: beer and tacos. Wait, well actually, that's the whole year. Early August in Santa Barbara actually means that rich white people dress up like 19th century Spanish conquerors and enslavers of native peoples while eating Mexican food and drinking Mexican beer while the local Mexicans roll their eyes and fatten their wallets.......VIVA!

But it's yet another good excuse to gorge on some of our fine Mexican fare and at the same time ogle the gaggles of smoking hot chicks that get dressed up and parade around town in revealing outfits (did I say VIVA! yet?).

So let's start out yesterday at The Mercado, where the main festivities began. As usual, Mayo's held the primary taco stand slot right at the start of the action. At noon I was in line....a line that barely moved. I ordered 3 carnitas tacos (at $3 deals to be had at Fiesta), and 20 minutes later I realized why the line was moving so goddamn slow: the condiments were being put on inside the booth by a cook, NOT outside at the counter via "serve it yourself". No doubt this is due to some bullshit health code crap about having cilantro and salsa out in the open. Keeee-rist. First they herd all the beer drinkers into a cage far away from anything to fucking eat, and now they've deemed open condiment trays a health disaster.

The tacos were delicious, as is to be expected from a top-notch joint like Mayo's. The problem lay in the distribution of the condiments, which I'm partial to doing MYSELF.

Deb and I went back for dinner...back to Mayos for couple more tacos, then down to get an asada torta by the stage (just ok), then a fish taco from the Santa Barbara Fish Market guys that was pretty damn good and a shitload of food for 4 bones. And then we went home so I could finally have a fricking beer.

Deb hit the Mercado again for lunch tacos, I skipped it. Not wanting to fight the evening crowds at The Mercado again, we opted to keep the Fiesta spirit going for dinner and do something we almost never some Mexican food on Milpas Street. What a rare treat!

Altimarano it is.

It is astonishing to me that I haven't written up Altimarano yet and I actually thought that I had, but when flipping through the postings, well....I failed to do so. I've come here every once in while over the years, but only with in the last year or so have I really gotten psyched on this place, and mainly because of one dish: and that happens to be the absolute best chile verde in town. The verde sauce that Altimarano cooks up is so special it defies description...I can only say it's like an herb garden is sprouting in your mouth with every bite of deliciously covered pork. I've had chile verde everywhere in town and some of them are outstanding (particularly La Carreta in Goleta, long a favorite), but the new fave is without question, this one here. Deb had a veggie quesedilla, which was quite nice, but to me, this is a restaurant that specializes in out-of-this-world sauces....the red sauce, the verde sauce, and their superb mole, all rank as contenders (or rulers) of "best in town"...a proud achievement. VIVA!

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