Santa Barbara has had a long history with Spain. The Spanish first came to Santa Barbara in the 18th century. Santa Barbara then became a part of Mexico following the Mexican War of Independence and then part of the United States in 1848 following the Mexican-American War. Santa Barbara was destroyed by earthquakes in 1812 and again in 1925 and when the city was rebuilt, it was modeled after the Spanish Colonial style.
Santa Barbara's newest restaurant is a love letter to the history of Santa Barbara. Loquita, which means "wild young girl", is the newest project from ACME Hospitality who own Les Marchands Wine Bar, The Lark, Lucky Penny, Santa Barbara Wine Collective, Helena Avenue Bakery and Notary Public Wines, all located in the Funk Zone. Loquita is conveniently located at the entrance to the Funk Zone, across the street from the train station in the downtown Waterfront District.
As you walk into Loquita, under the hand-forged iron awnings, you will begin to see the melding of Old Spanish Santa Barbara with the style of today. An long walnut bar lines one side of the restaurant and another stand-up counter flanked by white columns separates the bar from the dining room. Along the back of the restaurant is an open kitchen that is framed by a white brick-framed picture window. From the walnut dining tables and mid-century modern wooden chairs to the antique mirrors, hand-carved wood frames and the vintage brass light fixtures warmed with white globe glass shades, the restaurant invites you in.
Monday night may be the night you like to stay in. And, perhaps it is a good night for cooking at home as many restaurants are closed on Mondays. But, if you want to have that home-cooked meal and don't want to do the work, head to Smoke.Oil.Salt in West Hollywood.
Smoke.Oil.Salt is an authentic Spanish restaurant and wine bar known for its traditional Catalan dishes (paella, fideua, wood-grilled fish and seafoods). But, on Monday nights, Chef Perfecto Rocher is preparing a traditional stew from Valencia, a region south of Catalan.
At Smoke.Oil.Salt., Chef Rocher's Valencian Putxero is served on a “TV Dinner/School Cafeteria Tray” with the items in different sections. Traditional Valencian Putxero is a Spanish stew made with rice, lamb, beef, pork, pilotes (Valencian meatballs), chickpeas, potatoes and other vegetables. This stew may vary from household to household in Valencia but it always contains meat, vegetables and sometimes sausage with ingredients typical to the area where it is prepared.