Monday, February 11, 2019

A Funeral In Santa Barbara

Last Friday, we drove up to Santa Barbara to attend a family funeral.  We weren't even out of town when the adventures began.  To get on the 405, we took the Century Boulevard on-ramp to it.  And what should appear to my wandering eye but a homeless camp that stretched all the way underneath the freeway itself.  The camp was not visible as it was hidden behind drapes of a blue and white striped fabric stuck into the chain link fence separating camp from street.  It was cold and dark there,  But when the rains came later in the day, they at least had a shot at staying dry.

The media has provided us with frequent photos of these encampments, but this was my first personal view.  And this is America...

We lasted until Oxnard before thinking that a Quarter Pounder, small fries would be welcome.  There were no MacDonald's anywhere.  We were amazed.  On we drove, fruitlessly examining the  future scenery.

When we exited on Los Posas IN Santa Barbara we thought, "Well, surely they'll have a MacDonald's.  They didn't.  So we checked in to the hotel and asked.  "Oh, take State to the end and up the hill, you'll see the sign. You can't miss it"  Famous last phrase.  There it wasn't.

By now, ravenous, we turned around and trolled State Street where there is no street parking for a restaurant.  Plenty of those!  Little tables and chairs in front of each establishment.  When we spotted Carlitos with it's own parking lot out front, we whipped smartly in.

As you would guess by the name, it is a Mexican restaurant, all very white stucco and red tiled roof with an outdoor patio paved in red tile and an inside restaurant.  We opted for "inside" because the sun was moving away from a lovely front patio.

We opened the bidding with two Pacificos ($6 each) and an order of guacamole ($12) which came beautifully plated with a roasted red chili and chunked tomatoes with something new - a sort of wooden paddle to put a serving on your bread plate.

It's an extensive menu and we took our time going through it.  We settled on shrimp for me; chicken for Richie empanadas. ($14 each) It was our first ever empanada.  Wonderful crust - corn flour which gave a hint of texture and full flavor.
Carlito's, 1324 State Street, Santa Barbara. 

I later asked a bartender about MacDonald's and he explained that Santa Barbara really frowns on chain restaurants.  They want to maintain a quaint, old Mexico with real restaurants and none of this trashy American stuff.  "SO not Santa Barbara, dahling."  To which I might reply, "Well, lah di dah."

More tomorrow.

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