Monday, January 22, 2024

Azul Elevates Modern Mexican Cuisine in Downtown Santa Barbara


(Photo: Anthony Cabrera, Lucha Media LLC)

Given the time it took for Azul Cocina Artesanal & Cantina to launch — it was first announced in November 2022 and didn’t open until a full year later, November 24, 2023 — you might imagine the operations team could be feeling a bit, uh, blue. But when I talked to co-owners Edgar and Maria Estrada, and Executive Chef Manny Diaz and his wife and restaurant GM, Veronica Tovalin-Diaz, nary a negative word was expressed.

“It’s been a learning experience for us,” Edgar Estrada said. “All the community has been so supportive, calling us to see how we’re doing. It’s amazing.” Azul serves modern Mexican cuisine. Read that as all the full flavors you would expect, but crafted from farm-to-table ingredients and prepared with elevated kitchen techniques. That means that at Azul, the mole is served over pan-roasted duck breast, not chicken, and that the chamorro de puerco en chile verde stars Kurobuta braised pork shanks, not some inexpensive Boston butt.

Care to read the rest then do so at the Independent's site.

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