Tag Archives: margaritas

Food: Cielito Restaurant in Santa Barbara

Vanilla bean cheesecake. SCREAMfmLondon

Aside from Los Angeles being cool in itself, there are a million cool places accessible for a weekend getaway. I headed up to Santa Barbara for a few days to do what I do best: shopping, eating delicious things and going to museums while everybody else is at the beach.

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Blackberry margarita. SCREAMfmLondon

One of our favorite dining spots turned out to be the Cielito Restaurant.

Cielito was awesome. It’s set back from State Street in a little courtyard with a little fountain full of little turtles. Very atmospheric. The vibe is super relaxing, the food is super flavorful, and the entire staff is super attractive. Nice work, Cielito.

I started with the blackberry margarita ($13), which is Peligroso Blanco Tequila, Leopold’s Rocky Mountain Blackberry liqueur and fresh lime juice with dashes of agave syrup. Fabulous! We also ordered some chips with salsa and guacamole to kick things off, which isn’t really necessary, but guacamole is always a good idea.

The pork belly quesadilla ($12) was delicious — just the right amount of spiciness and a beautiful presentation. It is served in four pieces on top of guacamole and filled with pork, cheeses, shaved cabbage, pickled onion and salsa. Although it’s a small plate, it’s quite filling, and every bite is filled with the perfect combination of flavors.

Also tasted the Huarache de Hongos ($15), which was also amazing. It’s a flatbread topped with mushrooms, oaxacan black beans, cheeses, salsa, white truffle oil and avocado. The taste of the truffle oil and mushrooms is strong and rich, and the creamy cheeses and avocado just make it completely delectable.

For dessert, we tried everything. (Not a hyperbole.)

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Pork belly quesadilla. SCREAMfmLondon

I loved the vanilla bean cheesecake ($9) with hazelnut crust that was smothered in fresh strawberries. It’s a small portion, but that makes it easier to try all of the desserts on the menu and still be able to leave the restaurant without exploding.

The chocolate caramel semifreddo ($10) is frozen chocolate mousse with salted peanut brittle ice cream in the center, and it tastes just like a fancy Snickers ice cream.

Also, be sure to ask about the signature dessert specials because our favorite dessert of the night was the caramel apple empanada with ice cream on top.

Altogether, Cielito will provide a sweet dining experience for your beachfront vacation. I ate pretty much everything there was to eat, and I would do it again.

Excellent meal; would dine again. And I was serious about the good-looking waitstaff, too. Sup.

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Food: Deep-fried everything at the OC Fair

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Deep-fried Doritos from Chicken Charlie’s at the Orange County Fair. SCREAMfmLondon

This is the kind of person I am: I made a list beforehand of all the deep-fried foods I wanted to try at the Orange County Fair last weekend so I could efficiently and strategically eat as many as possible. And this is what I know to be true: everything in heaven is deep-fried. Below is my rundown of the best foods I snacked on and the ones I’ll have to tackle next time.

Deep-fried cookie dough

I wanted to start the day with a cherry Pop Rocks donut from Texas Donuts, believe me, but I felt that it was unwise to eat that much fried dough and candy so early in the morning. It’s best to start off with a light meal to whet the appetite, I figured, so what could be lighter than Chicken Charlie’s deep-fried cookie dough? Such a good call. For $7.75, I walked away with three balls of moist, gooey chocolate chip cookie dough coated in a crispy deep-fried outer shell, drizzled with chocolate syrup and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Very chocolatey, and it would be cool if there were different cookie dough options (just imagine deep-fried peanut butter cookie dough with chocolate sauce on top!), but this is definitely a valuable way to begin the fair eating experience. All my breakfasts should be so satisfying.

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Deep-fried cookie dough from Chicken Charlie’s at the Orange County Fair. SCREAMfmLondon

Deep-fried Jack Daniel’s-infused, bacon-wrapped churro

Bacon-A-Fair offered up this treat with a side of whipped cream for $6.50, and it was not my thing. But I didn’t expect it to be. I am a vocal opponent of the savory-and-sweet combination in food, and I do not appreciate the trend of adding bacon to dessert. So, maybe I’m a traditionalist. Oh, well. These also weren’t served fresh, but I guess that’s to be expected on the last weekend of the fair. Still, I wouldn’t let this experience deter me. There were so many more deep-fried foodstuffs awaiting my arrival.

Deep-fried Doritos

After enough dessert, I needed something salty. I was ready for Chicken Charlie’s deep-fried Doritos. This was a new, must-try item at the fair this year. For $8.75, the basket of chips was served with a side of Ranch dressing for dipping. The frying process made the chips light and airy (kind of reminiscent of the Baked! Lay’s chips), but they lost a lot of the flavor in the process. I don’t think Ranch was the way to go — these chips should be served with nacho cheese, and then they’d be perfect.

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Deep-fried pineapple from Pineapple Express at the Orange County Fair. SCREAMfmLondon

Deep-fried pineapple

By the time I reached Pineapple Express, I was also two margaritas in, and I wasn’t sure I could eat any more fried food. But I still picked up an order of deep-fried pineapple for $6.75, because I’m no quitter. These fresh, juicy pineapple rings are battered and fried, then covered with chocolate syrup and coconut shavings. These were definitely my favorite OC Fair food item, and, look, I think everyone can agree that this is a very effective way to have a serving of fruit.

Sadly, I will have to wait until the next fair to finish off the rest of the items on my list, including: deep-fried chicken skin, deep-fried cheeseburgers and deep-fried cheesecake on a stick.