Entries in lily's tacos (1)


A Quick Walk Through Santa Barbara

State Street is the main artery of downtown Santa Barbara. Most of the action happens on the 15-block stretch of State between the Pacific and Micheltorena Street. At the ocean, State turns into a pier and runs out over the water for about 200 yards. Northeast passed Micheltorena, residential properties trump commercial storefronts and things quiet down.

But if you keep on, turn left on East Mission and walk to De La Vine, you'll come to McConnell's, what many locals consider the town's best choice for ice cream. There are scoops, cones, shakes, and malts. And with flavors like cookie dough, chocolate chip, Turkish coffee, and chocolate cappucino, the menu offers a fun mix of old and new.

Sea urchin roe (uni) is a local delicacy. It thrives in Santa Barbara's cool, salty water and much of the world's inventory comes from right off the coast. The best way to indulge is seaside, at the hands of a diver that will cut open the spiny orbs and scoop out the orange meat for you. If that can't be arranged, there's Arigato Sushi and Hungry Cat on State and Chapala (respectively). We ate at Arigato. Our meal was exceptional, cheap by New York standards, and enjoyed at the bar with an avocado farmer down from his ranch.

If the beaten path isn't you're thing, there's an abundance of killer tacos on Milpas northeast of State Street - El Bajio and La Super-Rica (pictured). Though our favorite were Lily's, closer to the water and just a stonesthrow from Highway 101 at the southern tail of Chapala. Lily's only does tacos. The options are beef, marinated pork, steamed beef, head, cheek, tongue, lip, and eye. They're $1.60 each and they're easily some of the best tacos we've ever had. We'll chat more about them, and our dinner at Arigato, when we get back to New York.

Our stay in Santa Barbara was short. Too short. We can still feel the warm air, cool wind, and easy vibe that blows in from the Pacific, bounces off the rigid mountainside, and hangs over town. We could stay for a long, long time, but it's off to L.A. for a day and then back on the road. Highway 1 driving, Big Sur camping, and a weekend in San Francisco await.