Where to Eat This Week in Santa Barbara: The Blue Owl, Cuernavaca

There’s no shortage of incredible food and drinks in the Santa Barbara area. Whatever mood you’re in, whatever you like: it’s all here.

The Blue Owl.

5 W Canon Perdido, Santa Barbara.

These people know how to do a sandwich right. More specifically, they know how to turn traditional Asian dishes into something incredible — plus bread.

“Asian fusion” applies here. Call that banh mi “Vietnamese” or their beverages “Thai-inspired,” sure, but the size of portions here are thoroughly American.

Salads featuring seasonal, local produce with all the flair of the West Coast restaurant scene are sure to fill your stomach after a day of walking (or a day of snoozing on the beach). We would recommend the fried rice salad or the miso kale salad. At least, that’s what’s on offer right now.

This is where it gets good: California sourdough loaded with pickled onions and cilantro. And also any other vegetables or meat you can imagine. We’d recommend the banh mi (of course) and the kimchi grilled cheese. Also, quick shoutout to the lunch menu’s roasted eggplant. Oh, yeah, and always eat your sprouts.

Cuernavaca Taqueria.

201 W Carrillo Street, Santa Barbara.

It’ll be busy, definitely, but get here on the weekend. That’s when the weekend specials come out to play: carnitas, menudo, white pozole…. Who’s hungry? This is real, authentic, slow-cooked stuff.

Cuernavaca’s meats and salsas are the real heroes here. Get anything featuring pastor. They’ve got a huge menu, so just ask your server about the best way to consume. Another fan favorite is the torta cubana, an eight-dollar sandwich loaded with pork, ham, milanesa, refried beans, jack cheese, tomatoes, and avocado.

Vegetarian or vegan? You’re good. There are so many vegetables on this menu, and everything is easily customized. Just ask.

P.S. They’re open for breakfast and it’s amazing, but you didn’t hear that from us. Eating chilaquiles and burritos before noon? We didn’t say it was shameful, but…you know.

Let us know what you’re up to, okay?