Santa Barbara Is Burrito Boomtown

Seven Days of $8 Burritos During the Santa Barbara Independent’s Third Annual Burrito Week

Santa Barbara Is
Burrito Boomtown

Seven Days of $8 Burritos
During the Santa Barbara Independent’s
Third Annual Burrito Week 

By Indy Staff | September 21, 2023

Credit: Ben Ciccati

For the next seven days, Santa Barbara shall be officially called “Burrito Boomtown.” 

From now through September 27, you’ll find more than 25 different burritos being served for just $8 at the 21 different establishments participating in our third annual Burrito Week. That’s more than double the options from last year, and the varieties of tortilla-wrapped treats continue to both embrace and stretch the traditional format in glorious ways. 

What follows is a guide composed by our own team of burrito explorers, featuring information about each restaurant, details on what’s inside every offering, and a list of restrictions that may apply. 

Tell us what you think and tag photos of your Burrito Week victories at #SBIndyBurritoWeek on Instagram. We’ll publish our favorite experiences in next week’s issue. You might even win a $25 gift card to a participating restaurant!

And make sure to tune into our Instagram @sbindependent this week, where we’ll be highlighting a few of these burritos with extra photos and videos every day. 

The Burrito Week Passport below has all 21 of our Santa Barbara restaurants! You won’t need this to participate in Burrito Week; it’s just for you to keep track of your progress. Feel free to print out your own and share on instagram how many places you make it to by marking them off and using the hashtag #sbindyburritoweek.

Bombazo Burritos:
Chile Verde Burrito

Credit: Ryan P. Cruz

Nearly 10 years ago, Chef Rene Herrera began selling homemade Mexican food — including his signature pork chile verde and chicken chipotle burritos — across town, setting up shop at SBCC during lunchtime and making daily deliveries. His jovial personality and killer food quickly made Bombazo Burritos a favorite for office parties and big gatherings.

In 2022, Bombazo Burritos began popping up in corner stores and gas stations across town, made fresh every morning and delivered to shops like Summit Gasoline on Milpas Street, the Carrillo Market & Deli, and the Harbor Market on the waterfront. When my local corner store began selling them a few months back, I realized right away that these were not your average gas-station burritos.

On the first bite, you can tell that the pork chile verde has been perfected over years. The process takes patience, said Herrera, who toasts the tomatillos and garlic before blending them with jalapeños, cilantro, and spices. The mixture is then poured over seared pork and onions to simmer together for a few more hours until it’s fall-apart tender.

Each burrito is stuffed with rice, beans, and that chile verde (or grilled chicken or chorizo), ready to heat and eat. Try browning the burrito in a pan for a bit to meld the flavors together. —Ryan P. Cruz

4-10 a.m. at 235 W. Montecito St. (former Neighborhood Bar); until midnight at Mission Mini Mart Gas Station, 402 W. Mission St.; 24 hours a day at Summit Gasoline, 8 S. Milpas St. See
@cateringbyrene on Instagram for more locations.

Corazón Comedor:
Comedor Break

Credit: Charlotte Smith

As a surfer, it’s routine to consume a burrito after a day of salty waves. After taking my first bite of Corazón Comedor’s breakfast burrito, I knew where my new post-surf meal must be.

The burrito’s savory aromas were the first to hit my senses, as the golden, crunchy tortilla hugged the delectable farmers’ market eggs, Oaxaca cheese, diced potatoes, pico de gallo, crema, and chorizo inside. Melted to perfection, the cheese stretched from my lips down to my plate, and every bite had delicious pieces of the best chorizo I’ve ever tasted. The side of avocado salsa splashed freshness into the otherwise rich meal, and I couldn’t help but do a little jig in my seat after every bite. 

Corazón Comedor, which sits on Victoria Street next to Ca’Dario, is owned by Ramon Valazquez, who discovered his love for cooking when spending time in his abuela’s kitchen in Guadalajara. Today, he brings her home into the kitchen by recreating the traditional dishes he loves. His own mother even adds a special touch to each dish, showing that food certainly tastes better when it is cooked from the soul. With or without waves, this is my new favorite Mexican restaurant in Santa Barbara. —Charlotte Smith

Available 9 a.m.-2 p.m. 29 E. Victoria St.; (805) 679-5397; 

Hook’d Bar & Grill:
Best Dam Burrito 

Credit: Matt Kettmann

Not that you need a new reason to visit Lake Cachuma, especially after last winter’s storms filled the reservoir, the marina replaced the ancient dock, and the allure of fishing, wildlife peeping, and even disc golf makes the half-hour drive a no-brainer every day. But Hook’d Bar & Grill continues to pump up the edible jams, and their Best Dam Burrito amplifies the traditional formula by throwing smoked brisket into the mix. 

Co-owner Craig Lingham, whose grandparents built the marina decades ago, trained as a chef in San Francisco before returning home to work, working at such restaurants as Succulent Café and Roost. With former commercial fisherman Dustin Farnum, he went back to his family roots in 2019 by opening Hook’d, where the sunny patio overlooks the lake; the well-stocked wooden bar is decorated with badger, bear, and boar heads; and the vibe is exponentially elevated above the usual campground café. 

Alongside that brisket, which Lingham smokes for three hours before slow-cooking all night, the Best Dam Burrito stuffs Mexican rice, black beans, chopped onion, cilantro, tomatillo, and avocado salsa into the flour tortilla. Mine came with multiple salsas, and I recommend trying them all. —Matt Kettmann

Lunch only. 116 Lakeview Dr., Lake Cachuma; (805) 350-8351;

Home Plate Grill:
Chili Colorado Mojado & Train Wreck

Credit: Sean Magruder

Tucked into a Goleta strip mall, the Home Plate Grill offers a potent dose of hometown Americana, Central Coast hot sauces — Pepper Plant, anyone? — and two Burrito Week specials, which happily accommodate both.

It’s a quintessential local diner, with Dos Pueblos varsity plaques on the wall, a trio of TVs tuned to live sports, a gumball machine, and stainless-steel syrup dispensers glinting like Christmas bells. Not to mention the intoxicating aromas of an open kitchen. 

Ken Johnston opened the Home Plate Grill in 2016 to join his brother Rusty, who ran the Roundin’ Third Sports Bar next door. Shortly thereafter, Rusty passed, but the combo of Sunday football and local energy effortlessly wafted into the Home Plate Grill. 

This year’s burritos are the Train Wreck — where eggs, tater tots, and homemade sausage gravy make for a creamy, addictive bite with extra texture from crispy bacon — and the brand-new Colorado Mojado. “We took it for a test drive to get some customer input,” said Johnston with a smile, noting the pork in red sauce with rice, beans, and cheddar and cotija cheese was amped up to a wet burrito with sour cream and crunchy red onion. This customer is satisfied, and stuffed. —Sean Magruder 

Available 8 a.m.-2 p.m. daily. 7398 Calle Real, Ste. C, Goleta; (805) 845-3323;

Los Arroyos:
The Runaway Burrito

Credit: Rebecca Horrigan

Preparing to celebrate its 25th anniversary next March, Los Arroyos is a mighty name in our Mexican food scene, thanks to a quarter-century of serving satisfying, original recipes with consistently high-quality ingredients. Though the restaurant now runs locations in Goleta and Montecito, among others, the bright, cheery, and bustling spot that’s tucked between a pizzeria and pastrami shop on West Figueroa Street remains my favorite. 

This week, at all three South Coast locations, they’re discounting the popular Runaway Burrito, which is packed with refried Peruano beans, addictive Mexican rice, shredded Jack cheese, homemade guacamole, and your choice of grilled chicken, steak, or pastor, all rolled into one fresh La Tolteca tortilla. 

“We rely on the quality of ingredients,” said Maria Arroyo, Los Arroyos’ brand ambassador and social media coordinator. This extends to their salsa bar, which features a spice level for all palates. The steak Runaway was my personal favorite, but you can’t go wrong with any of their perfectly tender proteins.

“It’s an easy-to-eat, grab-and-go, simple but delicious burrito,” Arroyo explained. In an ever-changing world, at the end of the day, isn’t that all we really want? —Rebecca Horrigan

14 W. Figueroa St., (805) 962-5541; 1280 Coast Village Rd., Montecito, (805) 969-9059; 5764 Calle Real, Goleta, (805) 770-8209;

Maíz Picante Taqueria:
Al Pastor Burrito & Carnitas Burrito

Credit: Leslie Dinaberg

When Maíz Picante opened up on De la Vina Street last spring, I have to admit, I was so enamored by the Papa Rellena — a mouthwatering combination of roasted potatoes topped with chipotle aioli, melted Monterey Jack cheese, and your choice of pastor, sirloin, chorizo, or chicken — that I’ve faithfully ordered it at least once a month ever since. Thus, even though I’m a faithful customer, their Burrito Week specials were my first Maíz Picante burritos, but they definitely won’t be my last. 

For both the Al Pastor Burrito and the Carnitas Burrito specials, Head Chef Paco starts with grated Monterey Jack cheese directly on the grill, followed minutes later with a flour tortilla on top, so the cheese melts in before the whole thing gets flipped and the meat and beans are added. While the base is identical for both burritos, and the meat in each one is pork, I was fascinated to taste, side by side, just how different the two flavors are. 

The carnitas, which is braised pork that’s been shredded (the Mexican version of pulled pork), has a distinct smoky piquancy to it. And although carnitas can sometimes be dry, the Maíz Picante version is succulent and delicious. Pair it with the tomatillo salsa for even more depth.

The al pastor, which is spit-roasted pork in a homemade adobo with notes of both heat and citrus, is incredibly tender and tasty but somehow manages to still taste clean and, dare I say it, light. Pair it with the jalapeño salsa for a delightful kick. —Leslie Dinaberg

Limit two burritos per customer. 2714 De la Vina St.; (805) 586-2272; 

S.B. Food Connection:
California Burrito

Credit: Jack Magargee

Though rather new to being a brick-and-mortar restaurant, having just opened in the summer of 2022, S.B. Food Connection is delivering the same level of homemade quality and comfortability that it started serving in 2012 as a food truck and catering operation. Located on the busy corner of Milpas and East Canon Perdido streets, the restaurant seems like it’s owned that block for decades, not just a year. 

While also serving a full slate of burgers, salads, and other Mexican specialties, the permanent location doesn’t miss a beat with its California Burrito, delivering the San Diego–developed classic while maintaining freshness and taste. They’ve taken all the ingredients — homemade guacamole, sour cream, beans, carne asada, and, yes, crunchy French fries — and found an equilibrium that works. The tortilla-wrapped mixture of flavors and texture feels familiar yet exciting; everything fits and interlays cohesively and without domination. 

S.B. Food Connection wants their guests to feel right at home, and this burrito is solid evidence: a comfortable, refreshing experience from a staple in our community that provides customers the care you’d expect from cooking at home. —Jack Magargee

Available Mon.-Fri., 1-7 p.m., and Sat, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. 900 N. Milpas St.; (805) 869-2007;

Taquería La Unica:
Quesebirria Burrito & Costra Rey Burrito

Credit: Leslie Dinaberg

The Los Agaves Group of restaurants is well known for its elevated Mexican food, and the Luna family’s newest spot, Taquería La Unica on upper State Street, is no exception. Though the counter-service style of the former Taco Bell and Dunkin’ Donuts location is a bit more stripped-down than, say, the Luna-owned Santo Mezcal and Flor de Maíz, the flavors are equally inventive. 

Their special Quesebirria Burrito offers comfort food of the highest order: The braised-beef birria, rice, and beans are wrapped in a warm blanket of tortilla and a second blanket of melted cheese, which you then dip, bite by delectable bite, into a warm bath of birria consomé, with savory notes of chili peppers, garlic, and spices. Yum!

Also on special for Burrito Week is the Costra Rey Burrito, a brighter, lighter combination that pairs the saltiness of pork al pastor — which Mexico City–born Chef Gerardo Marin called “the real cuisine and flavors of Mexico” — with the sweetness of pineapple chunks, for a unique texture. The whole thing is again wrapped “costra-style” in that unbeatable combo of flour tortilla with a crust of melted cheese. The novel flavors are more than enough on their own, but if you want another layer, I’m partial to the Salsa Puya, made with puya-dried chiles. —Leslie Dinaberg

Available 11 a.m.-5 p.m., dine-in only. 3771 State St.; (805) 689-5619;

Taquería Santa Barbara:
Al Pastor Burrito 

Credit: Jack Magargee

Taquería Santa Barbara is a restaurant that knows what it is and what the customers want. Having opened nearly four years ago across from The Granada Theatre, the restaurant draws a diverse crowd of customers, from construction workers to families to older Santa Barbarans. It is symbolic of Santa Barbara’s patient and uncomplicated beauty, reminiscent of Mexican flavors and culture that doesn’t waiver from its principles. And I must admit, anyone who tells you something simple can’t be spectacular clearly hasn’t gotten their Al Pastor Burrito. 

The house-marinated al pastor is wrapped comfortably inside a warmed and lightly toasted tortilla accompanied by beans, rice, cilantro, onions, and melted cheese that hugs and binds the ingredients together. The burrito itself isn’t overpowering, leaving you filled but not stuffed, and it carefully balances rich flavors while highlighting the al pastor, its crown jewel. If that doesn’t get your mouth watering, the accoutrement of creamy homemade pineapple salsa is smoky and sweet, kicking this burrito into high gear. 

Thirsty? Grab specialty cocktails, beer, or wine in a can, or try their homemade aguas frescas and horchatas, a fresh compliment to their delicious food. —Jack Magargee

1213 State St., Ste. A; (805) 869-6618;

Yellow Belly:
Mother Clucker Burrito

Credit: Matt Kettmann

It feels a little funny to be ordering a burrito at Yellow Belly, which opened about nine years ago on De la Vina Street and quickly grew a reputation for creative burgers that complement the ever-rotating beer list. But the Mother Clucker is worth the request, landing somewhere between American wraps and Mexican burritos with all the texture and flavor to satisfy fans of either. 

“We just tried to keep it YB,” said Chef Andrew Holmes of how they approached the burrito, which features fried chicken, cilantro rice, black beans, pickled onions, slaw, and Jack cheese in a flour tortilla with a side of house-made salsa verde that’s got just enough kick to require a slather on each bite. “Then we wondered, ‘What should we call this?’ ” explained Holmes. “The Mother Clucker!”

For the chicken, Holmes went with dark meat, which works better in the burritos than the breast meat he uses for his popular fried chicken and chipotle club sandos. Those breaded nuggets provide the savory crunch, the slaw and onions add snap and tang, and the cheesy rice and beans deliver that comforting, homey feel. Add a Central Coast–made draught beer, hit the patio (or just stay at the bar), and your scene is set. —Matt Kettmann

2611 De la Vina St.; (805) 770-5694;

The Andersen’s Danish Bakery & Restaurant:
Dessert Burrito

Credit: Richelle Boyd

A pastry burrito sounds exactly like something I dreamed up in a hunger craze, but The Andersen’s owners Charlotte and Birte Andersen deliver one better than I could have conjured. Not only did I feel like I was stepping onto the set of a tea party, but the Andersens themselves were in the kitchen crafting food for everyone! 

The mother-daughter duo behind this family-taught business developed a soft, sugary, almond-flour tortilla that pairs nicely with the fluffy, sweet chocolate mousse. It even fulfills the burrito crunch craving with crisp strawberries, kiwis, and chocolate chip pieces. I was pleasantly surprised that the vanilla glaze on top had a hint of lavender among the herbs in it, which complemented the burst of flavor from a caramelized jalapeño topping. To my further delight, it was gluten-free — Charlotte seems to get me. 

Come by as early as possible, because they can only hand-craft a limited number each morning. When they’re gone, they’re gone. —Richelle Boyd

Until sold out every morning. 1106 State St.; (805) 962-5085;

On the Alley:
Rise N Shine Burrito

Credit: Sarah Sinclair

Locals know that the best way to avoid a wait at Brophy Brothers in the Santa Barbara Harbor is to visit their casual sister location, On the Alley. The same award-winning clam chowder and fish and chips can be enjoyed in minutes at the picnic tables located around the corner and, well, on the adjacent alley. 

A better-kept secret is the fact that On the Alley opens at 6:30 every morning with a full breakfast menu, including the delicious Rise N Shine burrito. Scrambled eggs, your choice of grilled potatoes or tater tots, and your choice of cheese are folded into a gigantic flour tortilla with a hearty salsa fresca on the side to create a burrito experience that is definitely worthy of breakfast plus leftovers. 

I visited on an overcast morning to get the sunrise vibe, mingling with fishermen who were fortifying before heading out to sea. Enjoy your burrito at the restaurant or perched on the breakwater, with arguably the best view in town.

If you’re not an early riser, never fear: The Rise N Shine burrito is available from dawn ’til dusk both at the harbor and at their Goleta location. —Sarah Sinclair

117 Harbor Wy., (805) 962-6315,; 7038 Marketplace Dr., Goleta, (805) 845-8096,

Validation Ale:
All Wrapped Up

Credit: Anika Duncan

Hidden in the heart of the Funk Zone lives a breakfast burrito for the ages. I never guessed that an industrial-chic brewery run by two techies — Validation Ale — would serve one of the most scrumptious breakfast offerings in town, but there’s something about the spot that makes you want to kick your feet up. And isn’t that what we’re doing when we order a breakfast burrito?

It’s all there in the All Wrapped Up — tortilla, eggs, sausage, green pepper, onions, cheddar — and then some: the enjoyably surprising crunch of tater tots. Chef Matt Marsit, who co-owns the kitchen component of Validation, seasons this number to perfection, and you can amplify that with the homemade creamy chipotle salsa on the side. While the All Wrapped Up is usually only available during brunch on Sundays, satisfying the football crowds, Marsit will make it every day this week. 

This breakfast burrito isn’t for the timid — it’s a buttery, cheesy indulgence. Indulge I did, in between sips of lemonade, and I was walking a bit slower by the time I left. But you won’t have that luxury. Run. Sprint. Take an e-bike. Get there! —Anika Duncan

102 E. Yanonali St.; (805) 500-3111;

Padaro Beach Grill:
Nacho Burrito

Credit: Richelle Boyd

It’s finally back, the one we’ve waited for: the Nacho Burrito! This delicious trip begins with cheddar and Jack cheese melted onto the tortilla, which is further layered with fresh shredded cabbage, large scoops of guacamole and sour cream, and crispy tortilla chips. 

The kicker is the homemade chili con carne based on a recipe from owner Will Ransone. The blend of beans, meat, sauce, and spice adds a tasty flare as the entire thing melts in your mouth with each bite. This is everything a burrito needs, with a boost of extra crunch from those chips. 

And don’t forget that their grassy spread is lush with palms and flowering plants, a lulling beach playlist, and a sand pit area for kids. I jumped at the chance to have this burrito, and you should too. Maybe if we buy enough, they’ll give it a permanent menu placement. —Richelle Boyd

3765 Santa Claus Ln., Carpinteria; (805) 566-9800; 

Super Cucas:
Cucas Burrito

Credit: Don Brubaker

You’d be hard pressed to engage in a debate over Santa Barbara’s most prolific burrito establishments without someone proclaiming Cucas as the GOAT. And yes, their classic burrito — with choice of meat with rice, beans, onion, and cilantro — is a go-to for many. But as a faithful vegetarian — okay fine, pescatarian, lest those familiar with my affinity for sushi light me up in the comment section — I had my eyes on a different prize: a vegan one. 

It’s true: The same Santa Barbara institution that has been serving up tantalizing pastor and mouth-watering asada since 1991 now has my non-animal-product-consuming compatriots covered on the burrito front. Much credit is due to vegan innovator Dalan Moreno of Rascal’s, who proposed the new menu items to Cucas in 2019. 

I opted for the Vegan Burrito #2 with soya pastor, rice, beans, guacamole, potatoes, and grilled veggies, which included the crunch of finely chopped celery, a surprising albeit welcomed addition. Unmistakably Cucas, undeniably delicious; vegan folk rejoice. 

I know what you, the carnivorously minded reader, might be wondering: “Does it taste like meat?” And honestly, I don’t care if it does or it doesn’t. It. Tastes. Good. And when you’re looking for an elevated burrito-consuming experience, isn’t that what matters most? 

Regular and vegan burritos are both on the menu this Burrito Week, and the sheer mass of these tortilla-wrapped heavyweights may make them the best value of the Burrito Week bunch. —Don Brubaker

Available during normal hours. 626 W. Micheltorena St., (805) 962-4028; 2023 Cliff Dr., Ste. 1A, (805) 966-3863; 6527 Madrid Rd., (805) 770-3806;

Yona Redz:
Birria Burrito

Credit: Tyler Hayden

Jonathan Estrada cooks the way any great chef does — he makes what he likes. “It’s my favorite thing to eat,” he said of the irresistibly meaty-cheesy quesotacos he serves by the truckload at downtown’s Yona Redz. “And I made a business out of it.” 

Estrada brings the same successful personal formula to the Birria Burrito. “This combo is what I like in a burrito,” he explained. We like it too. A lot.

The restaurant’s signature beef birria — named best on the Central Coast at this year’s Latino Business Awards —  is stewed for so long in a deep-red broth of chilis and spices that it falls to pieces with just the tap of a cleaver. It’s tucked next to Peruano beans, Spanish rice, melty cheese, leaves of cilantro, and crunchy onions, all of it wrapped in a slightly toasted tortilla the color of saffron from being dipped in the same broth.

Sounds super heavy, right? Somehow, it’s not. Estrada ascribes that to the freshness of their ingredients and how the richness of the birria is offset by the tangy bite of onion and cilantro. But if you do want to push the limits of decency, you can order the burrito with a side of slightly-spicy beef consommé for dipping.

Or go the other way and check out Yona Redz’s veggie and potato options. There are plenty. Estrada enjoys those too. “I don’t look at it as work,” he said.  —Tyler Hayden

Available 5 p.m.-close, or until supplies run out. 532 State St.; (805) 324-4039;

El Zarape:
Pico de Gallo Nopalitos Breakfast Burrito

Credit: Tyler Hayden

Raul Gil wanted to do something different this year for Burrito Week. “Something with a little novelty,” said the owner of El Zarape, a San Andres staple for more than two decades. So Gil picked an ingredient common in Mexican cuisine but perhaps still unfamiliar to some: nopales, or cactus — specifically, the Mickey Mouse–ear-shaped pads of the prickly pear cactus.

El Zarape’s Pico de Gallo Nopalitos Breakfast Burrito is brimming with pieces of the grilled and diced cacti, which has a crisp, slightly tart taste and a texture close to a cooked green bean. They are ratioed perfectly with scrambled eggs, whole beans, and pico de gallo touched with jalapeño. There’s enough heat without it, but for those like me who like a lot of spice, a side of crushed habanero salsa is available. I went with a watermelon agua fresca to drink, which turned out to be the ideal pairing.

Gil sources his fresh nopales from a few different vendors in town, including his brother, Jose, who grows them on his ranch and operates another mainstay of Santa Barbara Mexican fare, El Sitio. In fact, Gil said, the region of Zacatecas, Mexico, where he and his brother were born and raised, is the country’s main producer of the vegetable, a popular food choice during Lent. 

Last year’s Burrito Week submission from El Zarape — another breakfast number with pasilla chiles and avocado — proved so tasty and popular that it overwhelmed the kitchen, Gil said. So this year they’re narrowing the sales window with a limit of two burritos per customer. —Tyler Hayden

Available 7-11 a.m., Mon.-Fri., and all day Sat.-Sun. 1435 San Andres St.; (805) 899-2711;

Los Agaves:
Garden, Pastor, Chicken, or Carnitas Burrito

Credit: Rebecca Horrigan

I’ve always had a soft spot for Los Agaves. They’re everything that’s beautiful about a family-owned Mexican restaurant: original recipes, warm hospitality, and handmade goodness paired with the efficiency, consistency, and the expansive menu of a much larger enterprise. There’s something for everyone, and their multiple Burrito Week specials follow suit. 

“At Los Agaves Restaurant, we’ve witnessed the incredible and enduring love affair that people have with burritos,” said owner Carlos Luna. “We’re always excited to participate in Burrito Week and celebrate the burrito obsession that unites us all. We take pride in being a go-to destination for every burrito craving.”

Meat lovers can choose from pastor, chicken, or carnitas rolled up in a flour tortilla with brown beans, rice, cheese, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, and fresh pico de gallo. Going meatless? Order their Garden Burrito loaded with a rainbow of grilled zucchini, bell pepper, carrots, beans, rice, Jack cheese, lettuce, sour cream, and pico de gallo. I can attest that every version is heavenly, and with three locations across town, there’s no excuse not to get your fix.  —Rebecca Horrigan

Available 11 a.m.-5 p.m. for dine-in only. 600 N. Milpas St.; 2911 De la Vina St.; 7024 Marketplace Dr., Goleta;

Beast Taqueria:
Chorizo and Egg Burrito

Credit: Xavier Pereyra

Within M. Special Brewery on State Street is where you can find — and slay — the Beast. Beast Taqueria, that is: the newest concept from Chef Ramon Velazquez and his chain of fresh, authentic Mexican-cuisine-inspired restaurants. 

Since opening this summer, Beast aims to match the fun, easygoing brewery vibe by featuring fresh vegetables from the farmers’ market, which is conveniently right outside their operation on State Street every Tuesday. The menu features traditional starters such as nachos and fresh ceviche and specialty tacos such as mulitas, fish, and quesa tacos, all served out of the vibrantly painted kitchen. 

Beast’s special offering for the next seven days is a hearty chorizo-and-egg breakfast burrito. I had the privilege to watch Chef Neri Velasco prepare my burrito from start to finish, layering the chorizo and eggs on a tortilla with crusted cheese from the plancha, along with pickled jalapeño, pico de gallo, and crisp tater tots. After wrapping the burrito, the chef placed it back onto the plancha for a perfectly crispy crunch. One bite into the flavorful breakfast burrito and my day had already been made. I’d recommend grabbing a friend and coming this Sunday morning to sip M. Special beer, chomp this Beast, and enjoy some football. —Xavier Pereyra

Sun.-Thu., noon-8:30 p.m., and Fri.-Sat., noon-10:30 p.m. 634 State St.;

Little Heart Cafecito:
Los Alamos Burrito 

Credit: Jackson Friedman

Situated right next to its big sis Corazón Cocina, Little Heart Cafecito has been quietly courting admirers since first opening in the Santa Barbara Public Market on Valentine’s Day in 2021. Using locally roasted coffee from Handlebar Coffee Roasters, Guadalajara-raised Chef Ramon Velazquez has crafted a drink menu that — in addition to traditional drip coffee and espresso-based drinks such as cappuccinos, macchiatos, and cortados — offers a variety of Mexico-inspired Especiales, including a Churro Latte, Oaxacan Mocha, and Dirty Horchata (a riff on a dirty chai), as well as four varieties of Mexican hot chocolate.

In addition to its delectable drinks, this little café also serves up some seriously satisfying Mexican breakfast fare, which ranges from the traditional (chilaquiles and migas) to the contemporary (breakfast tacos boasting everything from broccolini to short-rib birria). Sitting somewhere in between those categories are their breakfast burritos, including Little Heart Cafecito’s first-ever Burrito Week offering: the Los Alamos Burrito. Wrapped in a grilled-to-perfection, house-made flour tortilla, this classic breakfast burrito is filled with farmers’ market scrambled eggs, bacon, Jack cheese, pico de gallo, and tater tots. Bursting with flavor but not at the seams, the neatly packed Los Alamos Burrito is like a valentine to your stomach delivered straight from the heart. —Jackson Friedman

9 a.m.-2 p.m. S.B. Public Market, 38 W. Victoria St.; (805) 845-0282;

Bluewater Grill:
Firecracker Shrimp & Panko Chicken

Credit: Jean Yamamura

Among the seven locations for the Bluewater Grill in California is one at the trendy intersection of Helena Avenue and Cabrillo Boulevard, around the corner from Lighthouse Skate Shop and Wheel Fun bike rentals, at the edge of the Funk Zone and the Pacific Ocean.

Long the home of Castagnola’s Lobster House, owned and operated by the commercial fishing family that dates their time in Santa Barbara to 1896, the spot was renovated a decade or two ago to add a lighthouse structure and housed a Rusty’s Pizza Parlor before the Newport Beach–based restaurant arrived in 2016. The corporation’s renovations added a second story with an upstairs bar and a balcony overlooking Stearns Wharf and the boats docked at the Harbor beyond. The main floor has views of the base of Mission Creek, where ducks swim in the green waters.

Two burritos were specially composed for Burrito Week, when they’ll be served during happy hour only. One contains deep-fried shrimp marinated in firecracker sauce with coconut ginger rice flecked with pico de gallo and cheese. The deep-fried panko chicken burrito is lightly spiced with pico de gallo and Jack cheese that complement the chipotle dirty-rice filler. A tomatillo sauce adds grace to the plate. —Jean Yamamura

Available during happy hour, Mon.-Fri., 3-6 p.m. 15 E. Cabrillo Blvd.; (805) 845-5121;


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