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Posts Tagged ‘santa barbara’

Road Trip Hit: Taqueria Cuernavaca (Ventura, CA)

Posted by Caveman Cooking on November 1, 2015

Taqueria CuernavacaRoad Trip Hits. Taking a page from Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, this ongoing series features some of those little known paragons of road-trip rations.

While the beautiful city of Cuernavaca, Mexico is known as the “City of Eternal Spring”, the much more geographically friendly Taqueria Cuernavaca (1117 N. Ventura Avenue, Ventura, California 93001 (805) 653-8052) should be known as the “Restaurant of Eternal Yum”. Located on “The Avenue” in the old section of town, it is a nice departure from the tourist-rich Main Street district of revitalized downtown Ventura. While there are two other locations (Santa Barbara and Oxnard), this one screams of a quaint south-of-the-border hole-in-the-wall.

Taqueria CuernavacaThough, many patrons opt for take-out, there are still 11 tables available for full wait-service. One of the first things you’ll notice is the self-serve salsa bar, loaded with 4 varieties of the Latin sauce plus several types of hispanic condiments like marinated carrots, seared Serrano peppers, onions, cilantro, etc. Also eye-catching is the cold case filled with a wide array of domestic and Mexican beer and soft drinks … including my favorite Jarrtios Mandarin.

Of course, the menu is filled with the usual tacos, burritos, and the like. Taqueria Cuernavaca also offers a breakfast menu (served all day) featuring the customary Huevos Rancheros (fried eggs on fried totillas), Huevos con Chorizo (egss with Mexican sausage), and breakfast burritos. However, once you see the Chilaquiles (tortilla chips topped with eggs and green sauce), sopas (tostada meets a sandwich), tortas (Mexican sandwich), Alambres (grilled meats, bell pepper, onion, and melted cheese, served with corn tortillas), and Pozole (a staple Cuernavacan soup), you realize this is not your usual Mexican fare.

Alambres El Fortachon at Taqueria CuernavacaOn a recent visit to Taqueria Cuernavaca with the Caveboy and his Grandpa, I opted for the Alambre known as El Fortachon – usually served with Carne Asada (steak), Al Pastor (marinated pork), Chorizo, Jamon (ham), melted cheese, onion, bell peppers a generous portion of sliced fresh avocado on top, and a wad of fresh corn tortillas. Though, I asked for no ham (extra Pastor) and no bell peppers. Meanwhile, my Father-in-law went for the same platter with no changes, and the Caveboy chose his favorite as of late: bean and cheese burrito.

Bean & Cheese Burrito at Taqueria CuernavacaWhen the grub arrived, I quickly grabbed one of the warm tortillas and loaded it up with the grilled meat and cheese mixture, topped it with a slice of avo, and drizzled some of the spicy rojo salsa over it all. The first bite was bursting with flavor heaven, as was each mouthful that followed. My father-in-law eagerly agreed … it was “amazing”! My bean and cheese burrito expert readily exclaimed that it was the best one he’d ever had (and he’s had quite a few over the last year). On a previous visit the Cavewoman and Cavegirl had the potato tacos and cheese enchiladas, and both had similar reactions.

Needless to say, Taqueria Cuernavaca has become one of our favorite spots to munch when we are in the Ventura area. We’ve also tried the new location in Oxnard. However, while we found the food to be equally phenomenal, it just doesn’t have that “dive” ambiance of the original location and does not offer full wait-service. We plan on visiting the Santa Barbara location soon. If you find yourself near any of these locations, and you are in the mood for something deliciously different from our neighbors to the South, do yourself a favor and give Cuernavaca a go!

©2015 Caution: Caveman Cooking/UHearMe, Inc. All rights reserved. This originally appeared on the Caution: Caveman Cooking blog at http://cavemancooking.net authored by Caveman. This may be shared and reprinted as long as this entire copyright message accompanies it.

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Santa Barbara Fun

Posted by Caveman Cooking on April 14, 2010

The line at La Super Rica

The line at La Super Rica

Before I begin this post, I must apologize. We went on this fabulous jaunt I am about to describe, yet somehow forgot our cameras. I had to resort to the phone camera, which will be obvious by the lack of photo quality, especially on the food shots. But, the gist ought to be the same. I promise to try and be a bit less of a gel-head in the future! 😉
Now, for the post.
If you have never been to Santa Barbara, you are missing out on a true oasis. It is an old Spanish Mission town, situated on one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline the Pacific has to offer, and contains more delectable eateries per capita than perhaps any other city. A community small enough that you can’t go far with out knowing someone on the street, yet big enough to attract major name talent at it’s various performance venues. It is even a city with enough size to have it’s own zoo. Granted, it pales in proportion to the more well known San Diego zoo. But, it offers an amazing array of animals housed in quite spacious and natural confines.
Fresh Tortillas on the Grill

Fresh Tortillas on the Grill


So, with the Cavekids out of school, we decided to make the 50 minute drive North and spend the day strolling past Elephants, Lions, Giraffes, Gibbons, Gorillas and more. But, before we walked close enough to become a quick zoo-resident meal, save for the safety barriers, we had to stop at one of my favorite dives for Mexican fare … La Super Rica. A regular stop for SB locals, you are likely to encounter a relatively lengthy line even during “off” hours. The wait, however, is well worth it! Cooked to order, authentic south-of-the-border food accompanied by freshly made tortillas, offered at incredibly reasonable prices, make this a worthy destination.
Tamale de Verduras

Tamale de Verduras

When we finally had our turn to order, we went with Carne Asada tacos for the short-people, a Tamale de Verduras (vegetable tamale with corn, poblano chiles, and a special cheese sauce) for the herbivore Cavewoman, Chorizo (Mexican Sausage) and Chuleta (grilled pork) tacos for me, and an order of Guacamole for the table. Add drinks, and our order still came in under $20! Best of all, it was delicious!!
When we had cleaned our plates we made the short jaunt over to the SB Zoo. There we met up with some old friends from my radio daze (sic) in the seaside town. James Taylor (no, he’s not the singer … though, he is the voice of the animated Johnny Test, amongst many others), his lovely wife Allison, and their exquisite daughter Lydia. The kids, as you can see, hit it off immediately. And, it was so nice seeing friends who I wished we got to see more often. We “Oooohed” and “Ahhhhhed” at the various animals, had a blast taking the train ride around the zoo, and laughed as we slid down the little astroturf hill in the kids play area. The only disappointment was that our timing wasn’t right for feeding the Giraffes, an act that takes steady nerves when their 2 foot long tongue wraps around the hand holding the treat.
Chorizo & Chuleta Tacos

Chorizo & Chuleta Tacos


Our day of zoological fun came to an end too quickly for all concerned, but our time together was far from over. James and Allison insisted on taking us to one of their favorite restaurants in town. A vegetarian and vegan friendly establishment, that still offers plenty for the carni-crowd, called Spiritland Bistro. The diverse menu is made from locally sourced, organic ingredients and served in a nouveau cuisine presentation.
I was having too hard of a time deciding what I was going to have to pay attention to the rest of what was ordered by those at the table, which now included another friend from the “old days” … Cathy “Zookeeper” (no, she doesn’t work at the zoo). After much internal debate I settled on the Japanese Crusted Halibut – Wild Pacific Halibut crusted with toasted Nori and Gomasio, served on Wasabi Mashed Potatoes with Baby Bok Choy and Citrus-Tamari sauce. All I can say is “YUMMMMMMM!” The flavors and textures blended perfectly to create a distinctly California-style dish that still paid homage to it’s Asian origins.
Spiritland Bistro

Spiritland Bistro


For dessert, the Cavewoman and I “split” the Apple-Berry Crisp (Thinly sliced Fuji apples and mixed berries layered on a spiced granola crust served a la mode with Vanilla Bean ice cream). I put the word “split” in quotes because I only got a few bites before I looked down to see it was gone! You snooze, you lose!! 😉
Japanese Crusted Halibut

Japanese Crusted Halibut

We said goodbyes that took half an hour, finally loaded up the truck, and headed back to the cave. On the drive home I reflected on our stellar day realizing how much I miss the town in which I spent the first eight years of my adult life and launched my career, the top-notch friends I made there, and the unique lifestyle I left behind. Yet, I was quite comforted by the fact that all of it is now less than an hour’s drive from our new digs. In the infamous words of the Governator, “I’ll be back!”.

©2010 Caution: Caveman Cooking/UHearMe, Inc. All rights reserved. This originally appeared on the Caution: Caveman Cooking blog at http://cavemancooking.net authored by Caveman. This may be shared and reprinted as long as this entire copyright message accompanies it.

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