I love trying new restaurants – especially when I’m traveling. If you’ve followed me for at least a week or two, you know this already. And I’m probably preaching to the choir. But when I’m traveling, I often go to places I’ve heard of or a place with a good Yelp reviews. I was out shopping one afternoon in Santa Barbara with some girlfriends, when a serious fit of Hangry started coming on. Since we were in Cali, a taco was definitely in order. The girls were particularly interested in fish tacos. I was interested in any place as close as possible with some mention of vegetarian. So we googled “tacos.” Literally. That was it. And found the nearest place we could walk to. A look at the reviews and one person mentioned vegetables. I was sold.
We ended up at Cuernavaca Taqueria which is a totally nondescript restaurant just a few blocks from all the shopping. It definitely feels off the beaten path. But then again, I had no idea where I was or if I was on a path to begin with. Nevertheless, if we were searching for authenticity, I think we found it here! The menu was just plastered up on the wall above the ordering counter, and when we first got there the line was at least 12 people long. Which felt like a super long line in this tiny space. The menu had were some really crazy combination of meats I’ve never even heard of. Luckily, there were also a few vegetarian options. They all, of course, came with a heavy amount of cheese which, of course, I asked them to hold. I had them add avocado so I wouldn’t feel like I was missing out on anything, and that was a great move!
I have to pause and say: this is not going to be a long post. A nondescript location with about 0 atmousphere…not even any service to speak of. But the tacos. THE TACOS. So delicious. Perhaps one of the best tacos I’ve ever had. And yes, I live in NYC so my exposure to great tacos is probably limited. But this was not just my hangry talking. These were 110% delicious.
I ordered two kinds – and probably could have eaten 10 more. One was a mushroom and bean something and the other was potato and peppers. I’m sure it sounds really boring right? But there was something so flavorful about them both that it was impossible to not completely drool over them. The added avocado definitely made up for whatever cheese there was supposed to be in the original menu item, and there was an awesome salsa bar in the back of the restaurant with all different kinds of salsas, fresh cilantro, and limes. I mean, so many salsas. I’m drooling again just LOOKING at them!
Really, sometimes simplicity is the best thing you can get in a meal. And I can not recommend this place highly enough if you find yourself even slightly hungry wandering around Santa Barbara. My friends went for meat and shrimp tacos and they were raving about theirs as well. Though, I would only assume they were delicious — anyone who can make such a kick-ass veggie taco is bound to have meat down no problem.