Santa Barbara has North America’s largest Moreton Bay fig tree, planted in 1877 at its current location. Its dimensions are so impressive that it is said that the canopy can shelter 1,000 people. It was somewhat difficult to find the tree, located on the corner of Chapala and Montecito Streets behind the railway station, but once we did, we were astonished with its immense size and spread.
A big reason we stopped here to have lunch was the praise that Julia Child heaped on La Super Rica, a taqueria on the outer edge of the Santa Barbara commercial district. It’s basically a stand on the corner of Milpas and N. Alphonse Streets, though the covered eating area makes it look bigger than it is. Long lines frequently form, so it’s best to arrive during off-peak hours. The menu is written on a blackboard which a newbie will study for a good while before deciding what to order. We did that and ordered The Super Rica Special (marinated pork with pasilla chile and cheese) and two kinds of tacos (pork adobado and chorizo).
The Super Rica Special suffered from an overload of cheese, sort of like American fast-food pizza. The pork flavor was fine and the chopped fresh pasilla chiles were interesting but the cheese glued everything together. It was an exercise in frustration to pry small pieces from the entreé without fighting long, stringy strands.
The tacos are served unadorned—the meat filling is simply piled on soft tortillas. The salsa bar lets you add whatever you want. Pork adobado tacos were greatly improved with the excellent (and spicy) pico de gallo.
The sausages in the chorizo tacos were very flavorful, but again salsa is required to give it extra dimension.
Overall, the experience at La Super Rica was above average. I have eaten at other taquerias in Southern California, especially in the LA area, that are better. Heck, even Taqueria Yungapeti in Walla Walla, WA, is a couple of rungs up the ladder.
La Super Rica
622 N Milpas St
Santa Barbara, CA 93103