Lunch with Louie at La Super-Rica
Santa Barbara food reviews with Louie the pessimist food critic
May 19, 9:32 AM (PT)
If Santa Barbara were a state, I have no doubt that La Super-Rica would be its capital. The most hyped-up Mexican restaurant ever is located in the heart of our Latino community at 622 North Milpas.
People traveling up and down the coast make it a point to stop in our town just to visit and eat at La Rica. On Tuesday, there were Japanese tourists snapping pictures of the place like maniacs. As usual, the line to order went out the door and made a left at the corner.
Sunset and West magazines just adore this place, and judging by the faces of the people in line, everybody loves La Super-Rica. Drooling with anticipation, they wait patiently while making comments like, “you just wait and see, it is wonderful and you will be back again, and you will tell your friends, and they will come and they will tell their friends, I am so happy we are here!” What’s up with that? You haven’t even tasted the food yet and you are about to go into an ecstasy-induced coma. There are no menus, just a board up on the wall above the ordering windows. There are two windows for ordering and one for picking up your food. When you get to the little sweet man who will take your order, you have already gone up and down the menu so many times your neck is stiff.
You have decided - and at the same time changed your mind - 67 times, but you are so happy you are going to eat at La Super-Rica, nothing else matters.
We ordered steak tacos, a dish called alambre de pollo, one order of guacamole and one of the daily specials called “arroz de la casa”, the house special rice. You get a number, and go into the dining area, a patio covered with canvas. On my way to the table, I passed the pick-up area and saw the size of the tacos, so I immediately ordered an extra chicken taco just in case. That was a good idea. No frills here; the place is fashionably decrepit and kind of falling apart, but it has been like this forever and nobody minds, not the customers for sure and evidently the owners seem to be content with the arrangements. Very low overhead y “mas platita para nosotros”. If you are the nervous and impatient type and like to play tambourine with your feet while you are waiting, it would be better if you stayed home.
Ed was playing drums with his feet on the wooden boards, and my chair and I were keeping rhythm by doing an involuntary rumba. Number 80 - that’s us! It was our order, but everybody was happy for us. Some elegant ladies were nodding their heads in approval. Stay out of my food, lady.
The alambre de pollo was delicious; tiny little pieces of grilled chicken with onions and peppers, so simple but exquisite. The steak taco came on the smallest paper plate I have ever seen, but the tiny morsels of meat were like precious keepsakes, so tender and tasty and the two tortillas that held them were a delight. The guacamole was outstanding, almost as good as my wife’s, and came without the usual dried up chips you get in every other Mexican place. It was just the guacamole sitting on a tortilla, ready for me to scoop up and place on top of my taco. The Rice Special was not very adventurous, but each grain of rice was like a tiny snowflake; light and precious, mixed delicately with tiny pieces of onions and potatoes. My extra chicken taco was ready just in time because everything in front of me was gone. I devoured it all in two bites; it was, of course, tiny but marvelous.
I was picking up my collection of little plates and piling them up very nicely to dispose of them. See, you don’t have to be a pig and leave a mess. I was feeling very happy with my meal, so I wasn’t bothered by the fact that there are no busboys and you have to clean up after yourself (“mas platita para los patrones”). I was so proud of my cleanup efforts and those of all who surrounded me. They were also very content and smiled at my efforts and nodded approvingly. Enough already, you are all getting on my nerves!
That’s when the mini Greek tragedy started. Well, you see my wife was home with the flu and for her not to go to work, she must really be feeling bad. She is one of those loyal and courageous people who will never miss that wonderful past time of work. I mentioned it to Ed and he was genuinely concerned. It also seems that while I was piling up my collection of tiny little plates and utensils for disposal, my fork accidentally appeared on Ed’s plate. I was immediately confronted with a major problem. “What’s your fork doing on my plate?” So in my customary, polite and diplomatic way, I answered, “And what the f--- is wrong with my fork?”
“You kissed your wife goodbye before you came here, right?”
Can you believe that? What, are we dealing with super germs that travel major distances in search of prey?
Well, we must not destroy this happy atmosphere that surrounded us, so we left it at that. But as God is my witness, he didn’t touch his plate of chicken alambre again. That was OK with me - I finished it with gusto.
Plates are small, the food is small, but the prices are also small. The whole thing cost $16.00, including a 7-Up. The food is done to order and with respect, and the results are great. We didn’t see any customers of Mexican ancestry, just a bunch of happy white folk. Maybe the portions are too small. Anyway, it was absolutely yummy.
Someday La Super-Rica will be the capital of Santa Barbara and rightfully so. On our way out we looked for the discount coupons for our next Prozac prescription but they had run out; instead we got a tiny little rain check. Just kidding. Happy happy happy.
“Give me a break! I was trying to use a little caution so I wouldn’t get sick. I even told you this BEFORE you threw your little tiny fork onto my plate in your cleaning frenzy. And furthermore, I didn’t finish my chicken alambre because it got boring - how much grilled onions and green peppers can a person eat?”
None at this time
The dedicated staff of edhat.com want to hear what you think about this review. Please send us your comments. Also, tell us if you want them posted on our site, and tell us how you would like you note to be signed.
The dedicated management of edhat.com provided this Lunch with Louie for the reading enjoyment of our subscribers. No malice is ever intended.