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Oct 15, 2008 04:59 PM

Seeking Outstanding Chili Rellenos in Santa Maria

I am a big fan and seldom find them done well.
Any proven hits in the greater Santa Maria area?
Had a couple terrific ones in Monterey and Salinas
but none in SLO or local places.

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  1. Run, do not walk, to La Simpatia in Guadalpue.

    RUN! The very best. GO for a nice walk at Oso Flaco first to work up a appetite and a little thirst- and sit at the bar- you'll be so glad you did.

    The afternoon cooks are superior to the evening cooks IMO.

    5 Replies
    1. re: JalamaMama

      I can't think of another readily available Mexican dish with greater variability than the chile relleno. They can go from perfectly terrible tasteless, all to uniform puffed up wads of egg with no discernable chile to the far rarer delicately fried, generously stuffed fragrant chile with piquant saucing.

      My best memory are ones found in Riverside a long time ago in Brockton Center, and I have no loyalties of similar strength to anything I have found so far in SB, but I can easily indulge in the ones at Rudy's take out - though I do think they are made up ahead of time and often unevenly heated up, but they make a sound ala carte Mexican food fix.

      Thanks for the Guadalupe recommendation.

      1. re: glbtrtr

        La Simpatia is like the Ferrari of mexican food, so far superior to what SB goes nuts for, only because Julia Child said so. WHO CARES?

        Try the pork specials here. Try the burger here- they pull the meat fresh from the bag and knead it on the counter. The prices will blow you away.

        Watching from the counter seating means you get to see a proffessional at work, not some Wolfgang Puck wantabee who has watched too many episodes of Emeril. The whole shebang is made right in front of you- the egg beater is my personal favorite utensil in their kitchen.

      2. re: JalamaMama

        TRIP REPORT: Thank you for this recommendation - all of it. Drove up to La Simpatia in Guadalupe after an abortive attempt to get chile rellenos at the also mentioned taco truck on East Betteravia Road, south of Santa Maria. Very nice ladies but they only serve tacos and torta - very sorry but no chile rellenos but promised if I came back a few days later she could make some.

        So then it was on to La Simpatia in down town Guadalupe, a few doors south of the Far Western Tavern on the main street (Hwy 1), in the early afternoon - delightful spot, old fashioned counters with stools and booths, sparkling clean floors and a wonderful retro diner feel.

        Very pleasant service and baskets of thick, fried chips and light, fresh, thin salsa to keep us happy until we got the rellenos. They were perfection. I ordered ala carte with a tamale and both came out with the same sauce which was lightly complex, mild, and did not compete with the rest of the flavors.

        Nice chunks of meat in the tamale and the relleno passed every test, including using this same sauce also dressing it as well as the tamale. The batter was both light and eggy and flavorfully sauteed. The chilie was soft and piquant, stuffed nicely with soft, creamy white cheese. Perfection.

        Partner also had a taco which he claimed was the best he ever had, flavorful meat, crisp thinly sliced lettuce, crisp shell and a medley of flavors and textures that put it in a class by itself. And another round of rave reviews for the chile relleno from him as well.

        Then it was on to See Canyon for Fuji apples, some pears, applesauce and a Halloween pumpkin from Gopher Glen Farms, up the prettieset country road in all of the county. A perfect dining-driving adventure day.

        Oh yes, it also included the beautiful walk at Osso Flaco Lake - $4 parking fee for seniors, can't use the Golden Eagle Pass, but a lovely path and boardwalk across the lake and on to the Pacific Ocean and miles of sand dunes. All sorts of wild flowers still out this late September. A beautiful, remote spot to savor and a great way to walk off the extra chips at La Simpatia.

        Chowhounding at its best - thank you again for all the field work and letting us know what to go looking for in this still remote corner of the world between SF and LA.

        1. re: glbtrtr

          Glad you enjoyed La Simpatia- isn't it unique? I love how they leave the cash drawer open, t he murals, the art work, the lady cooks- it is the real deal!

          Oso Flaco- isn't that a gem? We go there at least once every 6 weeks if we can- it is always fun- during the week is best- the noise from the 4 wheelers can get loud on the busy days....I have a 6 yr old, and with her and a gaggle of pals- it can also get noisy- but who cares?? Birding here is great!

          Glad you had a great day- I assume the weather was perfect too? I hope so!

        2. re: JalamaMama

          Isla Vista super cucas (sp?) Best chili rellenos in santa barbara area..who knew ..ucsb college town.

        3. Thank you for the suggestion. I've tried their Huevos Ranchero, but the rellenos are next soon.

          1. Can't say about SM, but have you tried them at Chapala in Morro Bay? Fresh roasted chiles and stuffed with cotija rather than Jack. Medium thick batter. They have spoiled me for jack-filled rellenos.

            Thanks for the tip about La Simpatia cook shifts, JM.

            edit for Santa Maria:
            --on 2nd thought! Last time I was at Tichita's loncheria truck out on East Betteravia, a fellow was eating a plate of rellenos and he said they were the best in the whole of SM. I have yet to try them, as I'm always getting my lengua fix there from Rosa. She's there M-Sat 10:30 to about 2:30. She also makes dynamite posole among other things.

            7 Replies
            1. re: toodie jane

              Would that be east of 101, TJ? About how far? TIA. Also thanks for the tip about Chapala, have had other great things there will have to try the rellenos next time.

              1. re: PolarBear

                East of 101 about 2 miles (?) just past Rosemary Rd which comes in on the left. The truck is parked at the juction of 2 fields, near a utility pole. The first field is open crops, the 2nd is strawberries bounded by a black tarp windbreak. You can't miss her, just watch out for the barrelin' Union Asphalt trucks (paid-by-the-load Parnelli's). As the season winds down, her hours may be shorter, especially on Sat. She is positioned to get the lunch crowd of drivers and field crews. Rosa and her sister are so sunny and always giving free tastes.

                1. re: toodie jane

                  Thanks TJ, can't wait to give it a try. BTW, Google maps puts Rosemary @ 1 mi east of 101, so muy conveniente when we're traveling through.

                  1. re: PolarBear

                    yeah, I've never checked the odometer, just about 2-3 minutes east of 101 at 55-60 mph. Amazing how many times I find errands that need to be run to that end of town.

              2. re: toodie jane

                I'll have to try Chapala soon, much closer.

                1. re: toodie jane

                  Sorry to report but these very pleasant ladies at Tichita's truck (we clocked it a 1.0 miles from the 101 turnoff this last Tuesday) said no they did not make chile rellenos. The menu listed tacos and tortas. She said if I came back on Friday she would try to make some. I explained she was famous for her chile rellenos, and she just smiled and shyly laughed but did not know why this was the case. The name was on the truck and the locati on and time checked out. What gives? Good news is it is only a short drive the westward direction on Betteravia Road to get to La Simpatia in Guadalupe for the real things.

                  1. re: glbtrtr

                    So sorry--I was going on a recommendation from someone who eats there regularly. Dang!

                    I was having trouble with a viral infection that plugged my ears--that and the roar of hte trucks--maybe I heard wrong? Sorry you were dissapointed in the CR search! I will continue my SM CR search and report back but will verify by sampling myself! ;-) I have heard that Tacos La Unica on So Broadway (Food Max /FoodsCo? center) makes excellent CR.

                    At Tichita's Rosa and her sister make all kinds of things besides tacos and tortas. Soups, posole, quesadillas, gorditas, etc. Perhaps it is just the whim of the cook as to what's offered on any particular day. Last time I was there there was no real menu on the truck as is commonly found. The food has always been excellent. They use the commissary of La Mia, just off No. Broadway. I have eaten there as well and the flavors are complex , prices are excellent. Family style seating.