Friday, January 20, 2012

Santa Barbara's Newest Hot Spot

Cielito's has only been open a few weeks and already been visited by many stars including Katy Perry and Andrew Firestone. Cielito definitely has a lively ambiance and along with the high ceilings and beautiful craftsmanship all around you really feel like you are on a night out on the town! The Cielito margarita, a classic one, is officially addictive - nice and sour with the perfect proportions of ingredients.
Perched at one of the two high tops in the main dining area, Caroline and I enjoyed all the people watching and the fact that though it was quite crowded, we could still hear each other over the chatter of other tables and the bar. We began our meal with the trio of ceviches: Coctel de Atun Tropical- Yellow-fin tuna, mango-grapefruit salsa, citrus broth. Ceviche Verde- Local halibut, olives, avocado, red onion, pickled cabbage, tomatillo-serrano sauce, plaintain chips. Ceviche Peruano- Sea bass, aji amarillo pepper, red onion, red jalapeno, cucumber, crispy choclo, sweet potato, lime-ginger sauce. All equally delicious.
Caroline then enjoyed the Tortilla soup which was poured in the bowl at the table so as to keep the crunch of the tortilla slivers. The broth was full of flavor and the entire dish very satisfying.
Perhaps not the choice I should have made with such a wonderful menu in front of me, but sometimes you just feel like a little green... I found this salad just alright. Ensalada de Invierno - Roasted beet carpaccio, pomegranates, goat cheese, piloncillo candied walnuts, grilled winter fruit, honey-pomegranate vinaigrette.
Seen below is the Tamal de Requeson y Acelgas - Two corn tamales steamed in corn husks, fresh Ricotta cheese, Swiss chard, thick cream, roasted tomatillo sauce. I consider this one of those dishes you end up right good.
Next...Cazuela de Calabacitas - roasted poblano, corn succotash, fresh cream, fresh cheese, cilantro. Once again, delicious. I love how this is a unique dish and how all the flavors marry so wonderfully. The poblano can be a bit hot for my weak heat tolerance, but I kept eating it anyhow as the flavors drew me back in for more.
Bravo Cielito! The service was stellar, the ambiance alive and welcoming, and the food original and full of wonderful flavors...I'll be back for more! And one of your margaritas...or two...

Cielito is located at 1114 State Street in La Arcada (and has a taqueria too open at lunch...)

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