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Feb 15, 2007 08:25 PM

La Super Rica vs. Taco Temple... who wins?

Hey Hounds,

okay, so I didn't think this whole thing out, forgive me (I'm also planning a wedding while this goes on, and so I've probably posted a few too many topics... but you're helping me get a sense of what to wolf down while in your awesome state.

Day 4 is our much too packed adventure down to the central coast, stopping in Cayucos for the night. Day 5 we continue towards LA, stopping in Santa Monica/Venice to check things out there. My fiance loves Mexican food (she's part chicana, grew up in Dallas but doesn't just like "texmex" but all kinds of mexican food). Also, she's a pescatarian of the scales variety). Day 4 is most likely our only dinner alone for the trip, so I wanted to do something nice, tasty, and romantic, but I've noticed a lot of hounds RAVING about Taco Temple. If we move out at a decent pace on the morning of Day 5 (wednesday), we could do lunch at La Super Rica. I don't know that I could do two mexican meals back to back (with so much else to taste going on), so if you had a choice, which would choose and why? Either Taco Temple for Dinner, or La Super Rica for lunch?

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  1. Both are good, but neither has a romantic ambiance. The specials are worth checking out at TT, other threads have recs for favorites at LSR.

    This isn't what you asked, but if you are going to be in Cayucos, you might want to try Hoppe's for your romantic dinner on Day 4. We never miss a chance stop there. The food has always been very good and the room is nice--I think there is dining in the garden as well.

    Also recommended is Chef Rick's in Orcutt, near Santa Maria, if you have room for one more meal on Day 5.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Babette

      Just saw your other threads & realized you'll be in Cayucos when Hoppe's is closed, and La Super Rica will be closed the following day, simplifying your choices. (Windows on the Water should make you happy on Tuesday, though).

      I think Chef Rick would brighten your spirits after missing out on Hoppe's--but it's only about 1 hour past Taco Temple. Maybe have a little taste at Taco Temple followed by delicious choices and great service at Chef Rick's. We always try to stop there, even if we've been dining so well that we need to just split something.

    2. Personally I think La Super Rica is very good but over rated. You can tell that all their ingredients are very fresh and everything tastes great. However, there are many taco stands that have equivalently good food (there are two within a couple miles of where I live that are as good which is not Santa Barbara tho).

      If Julia Child had not made La Super Rica famous no one would make such a big deal out of it.

      3 Replies
      1. re: RBCal

        Julia Child, Rick Bayless, Martha Stewart and many other 'clueless' food professionals! And the 'mindless' masses that try it and keep returning for their overly hyped chow year after year. Yea, right! Thanks for helping to keep the line short!

        1. re: sel

          Yes, even the famous can be mindless sheep.

        2. re: RBCal

          Either that, or the delicious food...

        3. It's hard to say which is best because comparing Taco Temple to La Super Rica is kind of like comparing apples to oranges.

          Taco Temple is more of a fusion of California cuisine (whatever that is) and Mexican. Imagine Californian food heavily influenced by Mexican ingredients and preparations. You'll find fresh ingredients, interesting combinations of ingredients, like maybe (hypothetically) a fish taco with a vegetable salsa and an oil and vinegar dressing instead of the more typical red or green sauce and crema. It's Cal-Mex created for white people, and it's very yummy, and Babette is correct: no romantic ambiance.

          La Super Rica, on the other hand, is more like what I think of as traditional Mexican food. It's a taco stand kind of place. I hate to use the word "authentic" to describe it (since I don't think the word applies much to food anymore) but it's closer to what I think of as Mexican-American food that white folks have discovered. Also no romantic ambiance.

          Both are quirky, but it different ways.

          Hope to hear what you ultimately do/did.

          1. hello, indeed it's apples and oranges. Very little in common between the two menus except the vocabulary, and they go through a lot of tortillas (at super rica made on the spot as they serve). I've stuck to the fish at the temple because quality fresh fish simply prepared is as good as anything fussy/fancy, decent beer on tap and a wine selection at the temple, with significantly higher prices and more 'big plate' combinations compared to s.r .Have a safe trip

            3 Replies
            1. re: moto

              I agree with alanstotle and moto...If I ate the two meals back to back, I would not feel like I had two of the same types of food at all. La Super Rica is more heavy and rich (in a good way) and Taco Temple is lighter and more California-style cuisine. There is really very little Mexican about it. But it is good.

              1. re: Snackish

                You're absolutely right that TT is lighter, but why do I always leave so much heavier?

                1. re: PolarBear

                  One more difference that accounts for that full feeling (not that this is relevant anymore to the original inquiry): The portions at TT are LARGE (and more expensive). Of course, if you order enough, you can duplicate the quantity of food (and cost?) at LSR, but no booze there, and the traditional vs. nouvelle definitely applies. TT will run out of specials for later dinners and won't allow take out on items that they think don't travel well. LSR doesn't care about any of that.

            2. LA hound here, and took a day trip (with my visiting parents) up to Santa Barbara, and finally got to try La Super Rica and have to say I was a bit disappointed. I had heard about La Super Rica (from mentions on the LA Board), and definitely wanted to check it out. I had the Lomito Suizo, Quesadilla con Chorizo and Taco de Bistec. Upon initial inspection, the prices seemed a bit high (compared to what I am used to), but I expected excellent quality, so ignored it. The steak was pretty good quality, and plentiful - almost overfilling the taco, but it came un-dressed, ie, no onions or cilantro. The salsa bar only had pico and 2 salsas. I was happy with the taco overall though. The lomito suizo and the quesadilla were both underwhelming - too cheesy (granted, I normally stick to tacos, I wanted to try some different items), and haphazardly made. The chorizo seemed like it was supermarket bought (casing and all). I did like thee salsa roja though.

              Overall I thought it was solid, but nothing I couldn't get pretty much anywhere in LA.

              7 Replies
              1. re: mdpilam

                Well- you made the mistake of driving right past the bomb tamale/taco joint- El Bajio, 100 block of N Milpas. Instead of being sad, you'd be happy!

                1. re: JalamaMama

                  I'm anxious to try this place tomorrow on my visit to SB.
                  Any recommendation(s) @ El Bajio?
                  Thanks in advance.

                  1. re: latindancer

                    If we are talking Milpas street, well, Los Agaves rocks.
                    I did not have a great experience at El Bajio. Maybe it was just a one time thing, but none of us felt too great after eating there.
                    I love La Super Rica. I could not possibly pick a favorite between La Super Rica and Los Agaves because they are very different in style.
                    Just like Taco Temple and Super Rica are different

                    1. re: Enorah

                      "If we are talking Milpas street, well, Los Agaves rocks".

                      I listened to CH and went to Los Agaves....
                      I wasn't overly impressed with the food. It was okay, though. I did like the service, however, the manager or owner or whoever he was kept coming to my table to see how things were.

                    2. re: latindancer

                      El Bajio has superb tamales- I often compare the masa to couscous- as it is fluffy and moist. My favorite tamales are the rajas. The fish stew is fantastic. I love the aguas fresca- the hibiscus is always good! I find this place to be clean, quick and look behind the counter - organized. 2 tacos here are a reward for my child for good grades!

                      1. re: JalamaMama

                        Your description sounds worthy enough to get in my car and drive back to SB :)
                        Came back yesterday after having spent only one night and didn't have the time to stop and try El Bajio.
               week, though, I'll return now that you have me salivating for tamales and tacos.
                        Oh...and fish strew.