Umami Mart Sake
La Cantina Breakfast Burrito

It's no secret: I fucking hated college. Or at least the first two years of it. I was already pretty cynical to begin with, but with each day I spent at the gorgeous, sparkly, oceanfront campus of UC Santa Barbara, I just became more and more bitter. Like Daria bitter.

It was all that sun. And surf. And sand. I was never meant to live in a beachtown. Ever.

But there I was-- awkward me, in Santa Barbara. That first year I spent on campus was miserable. My roommate was a cokehead who would stumble home at all hours of the night with some new boy she had just met at a frat party. I didn't get it. My virgin ass was so traumatized.

Yoko knows all this well-- she spent her first year at UCSB too. We would meet up and exchange mixtapes and spend a few hours over dinner commiserating about how much we loathed the place. We both had radio shows on the AM college station, KJUC (pronounced K-JUICE), where she played lots of Pavement, and dreamt of one day becoming a rapper. I wanted to be just like PJ Harvey. We were the perfect pair.

Until she got the hell out of Santa Barbara and moved up north. What can I say? She was always smarter than me.

By the second year, I wore a lot of black, swore I needed prescription glasses, and well, started to look exactly like Daria. I desperately wanted to be in New York City, but instead moved to Isla Vista, a neighborhood just outside campus, brimming with UCSB students. The area boasts something like the most alcohol consumed in the U.S. per capita, or some ridiculous statistic like that. There's this strip called Del Playa, which is a street in front of the ocean, that turned into party central on Friday nights. People would come out from all over town, from colleges all over California even, to "cruise DP", where they could duck in and out of random houses and drink freely from the kegs in the back.

My roommates would insist I go out with them on these night, but I was not havin' it. Instead, I stayed home in my bathrobe, and watched Annie Hall while sipping Tequila Sunrises. Ha! WHO AM I?? But really, Woody Allen, and Señor Cuervo (don't judge me, Paystyle), saved me that year.

I drove into Isla Vista en route from LA last week, just for kicks. A stroll down memory lane. One of the only things about Isla Vista that I have a soft spot for is the breakfast burrito from Cantina. It is one of the best in town. Let me rephrase: the best, anywhere. Rice, eggs, and potatoes. I always add in sausage, and douse it with hot sauce and their red salsa.

La Cantina Breakfast Burrito

Isla Vista was just as I had left it, still EXACTLY the same. Kids making their way home from binge drinking the night before, doing the walk of shame. There was something so endearing and cute about them, that I regretted taking myself so seriously back then. Clearly I could have used a walk of shame, or two, of my own.

You'll never, to this day, see me in a pair of flip-flops, though. Ever!

CANTINA
966 Embarcadero Del Mar
Goleta, CA
T: 805.968.2862
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16 comments

  • I will be in SB this weekend and will DEFINITELY hit up a Cantina breakfast burrito…can’t wait!!

    erin on

  • That reminds me of the excellent breakfast burrito I had in Pismo Beach back in March. But they used yams instead of potatoes: http://twitpic.com/1yxe4k

    seri on

  • mmmmm, burrito! Looks so good.

    I heart Daria, I dressed up as her for Halloween Freshman year in college! Speaking of Halloween, one of these days we really do need to go as Woody and Soon-Yi.

    PS For your birthday I am getting you a pair of flip flops, but not the Matchpoint DVD cause that movie was lame lame lame.

    saaara on

  • Thanks Anders! You mean Ghost World, right? Cause actually, people tell me all the time that I remind them of that girl. Kinda uncanny.

    I’ve gotten rid of my glasses, for now, and do feel like I’m a nicer, less cynical person back in California though. Let’s see how long this lasts- it’s a bit of an existential crisis at the moment. Ha.

    I saw that you sent Yoko the DVD set of DARIA. I wanna borrow it!

    And come on, you must admit Woody’s MATCHPOINT was SO GOOD!!! Maybe one of his best films?

    kayoko on

  • Great post, Kayoko. You’re the altered version of Ghost Town, the comic book.

    Daria and Woody Allen have saved my life so far as well (but alas, they both stopped putting out good stuff, what is there to live for now…?)

    Anders on

  • Anders- I love talking about Woody! This is fun.

    I would hope that Javier Bardem without a shirt would turn you on, homosexual or otherwise. What a beautiful man.

    Oh yes, CRIMES is very good. Anjelica Houston is the best! I love that she’s in a few of Woody’s old flicks.

    I never thought of this before, but CRIMES is Woody’s precursor to MATCHPOINT, isn’t it. CRIMES is just the comedy version.

    I love Woody very much— he really got me through a lot of the awkward patches of my college years/20s. His films were actually in my top 3 reasons I moved to NYC. Ha. I read once that Woody is the only director that Haruki Murakami would allow to adapt one of his books.

    What are your favorite Woody movies of all time? Mine are ANNIE HALL, STARDUST MEMORIES and BANANAS.

    Confession: I really dislike MANHATTAN.

    kayoko on

  • Yes, I loved Vicky Christina as well, it was very erotic (and I’m pretty gay so that says a lot considering how much straight sex that movie contained).

    I watched Crimes & Misdemeanors the other day for the first time – and it rocked! Mia is so cool in that flick. I wish I were an intellectual indie filmmaker in 1970’s Manhattan.

    Anders on

  • Sara- OF COURSE you dressed up as Daria circa 1998. You are awesome.

    Have you given MATCHPOINT a second chance? The first time I saw it was at the theater in the East Village and I remember being totally stunned when coming out of the theater. I saw it again last year and it really is a great movie. Perfectly written.

    Can I be Woody? You can be Soon-Yi. HA! Actually, we should be Woody and Mia. They were the best. Or, even better, Alvy and Annie!

    And WAIT! Anders- did you see VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA?? Cause I loved that one!

    Time to break out ANNIE HALL for my monthly fix.

    kayoko on

  • What if I told you I was one of those girls???

    You would never believe me.

    Ha.

    kayoko on

  • Dang, I remember hitting up Cantina mad drunk one night with my friend Ab who went to UCSB. Despite an excellent burrito, the most memorable part of the night was a drunk dude in a Superman shirt who snatched up two chicks who happened to be with another dude!

    That unnamed individual has remained a legend in our eyes to this day!

    Paystyle on

  • Kayoko, sorry to hear that NYC wasn’t anywhere close to an intellectual Allen-esque Manhattan with a 1960’s jazz score… I hope Oakland will take you there instead.

    And yes you’re spot on with your view on Allen’s underlying point. Even with our greatest love next to us in bed, we’ll still shrivel up like an old cheesepop and get eaten by worms all alone in the darkness. Daria would love this talk by the way. I wonder if she is a Woody fan too.

    So, after I read your latest post I snatched up “Interiors” and “Scenes from a Mall”… I wondered why I hadn’t heard about them before and now I wonder no more. The end.
    But in spite of that I will check out your recommendations with no hesitation.

    PS: Yes, Yoko and I had a gay-o-time… consider yourself warned…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACgXr1BP6yA

    Anders on

  • Anders- I do love RADIO DAYS. No one captured that old-school bygone era of South Brooklyn like Woody did.

    I really really really wanted NYC to be like that, when I moved there in 2002! But alas, I moved to the shiny, post 9-11 era, post-Guiliani, current-Bloomberg-silver-highrise-fancy-pants NYC.

    Sigh. I’m kinda hoping that Oakland will be that 70s-80s NYC for me. The ghost of Basquiat must be around somewhere. Ha.

    I love your take on the theme of happenstance and luck in Woody’s films. I never really thought of it that way. But isn’t his point also that even IF you meet that Soul Mate, you’ll STILL be miserable and lonely for the rest of your life? Thus the ultimate loom and gloom of his films. They’re so fatalistic.

    You must watch BANANAS and STARDUST! The former is a ridiculous political satire where Woody plays a militant revolutionary in Cuba. Fucking hilarious. Probably his best comedy alongside SLEEPERS.

    STARDUST is a bit more high-brow, an homage to Fellini. It’s black and white and quite whimsical.

    YAY WOODY!

    PS- Yoko told me about the gay version of AMERICAN PIE you two watched? I need to put that on my summer list too!!!

    kayoko on

  • Kayoko: Oh jeez, picking a Top 3 is superhard. But I really like the very subtle, sad, jazzy stories with women and men in NYC.
    I really like Anne Hall, Mighty Aphrodite, Husbands & Wives, Deconstructing Harry, Radio Days – all because of their atmosphere and because of the impending gloom and looming fact that everything in life happens by accident, and if you happen not to go to that art reception at MOMA on that very day when your future soulmate to be attends with a friend, you’re fucked and you will never meet that person again and you’ll be lonely and miserable for the rest of your life.

    I haven’t seen Stardust memories or Bananas! It’s now on my To Do list for this summer!

    Anders on

  • Alyssa- Yes, you must! And if you venture out of IV, make sure to go to Brophy Bros on the harbor (for oysters), La Superika (for Mexican), the Minnow Cafe (for the other best bfast burrito), and Lily’s Tacos (for well, tacos). Pretty great food town, Santa Barbara.

    IV is gorgeous, no doubt. I do miss living near the ocean- I would go stick my feet into the water every day! WHAT A LIFE!

    kayoko on

  • I HAVE TO TRY THAT tomorrow morning! i live on del playa this year..can’t believe you didn’t love IV!

    alyssa on

  • Thanks for sharing your memories. I have to visit once there. I know about one other burrito lovers place and that is Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch. They serve burritos with different combination. For more information please visit http://sbchickenranch.com/menu/.

    David Smith on

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