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Wednesday, December 19 , 2018, 1:49 am | Fair 46º


Joe Hafner: Talking Food and More with Chef Jason Paluska of The Lark

Word of Mouth sent out our “20 Questions” survey to Chef Jason Paluska of The Lark in the revitalized Funk Zone, and he fills us in on a few of his favorite eats.

So far, so good. With three visits under our belt, The Lark is doing something right, and Paluska is leading the charge. It must be the coffee! (See below.)

20 Questions with Chef Jason Paluska of The Lark

Q: Tell us a little bit about what importance food holds in your life.

A: Food defines me and gives me identity. Creating dishes that are my own, having food interests that are my own and sharing that identity with others is incredibly valuable.

Q: What did you eat growing up, and what special importance does it hold for you now?

A: I grew up eating a lot of authentic Mexican food, and super obvious Tex-Mex stuff. The poblano chile will always have a place in my heart.

Q: What is your greatest food memory or meal? Why?

A: I can’t say I have one technically that outshines the others. But I can say that over the years, nothing takes me back to Brazoria, Texas, as an 8-year-old kid at my grandparents’ house like poached eggs over grits with a ton of butter and bacon.

Q: What is your favorite food?

A: Carnitas, or a peanut butter milkshake.

Q: What is your favorite late-night snack?

A: A gnarly three-pound burrito stuffed with a deep-fried, cheese-stuffed chile relleno, slathered in sour cream, refried beans, Mexican rice, cilantro, fresh chiles, lots of lime juice and tons of avocado.

Q: Do you have a food or snack that gets you through the day?

A: Coffee.

Q: Do you cook at home? Who cooks at home?

A: Hardly. I don’t spend a lot of time at home, really.

Q: What is your favorite wine/cocktail/spirit, and why?

A: Negroni. It tastes like bitter oranges, and it takes me back to hanging with one of my good friends in San Francisco in North Beach.

Q: Where do you eat in Santa Barbara?

A: El Bajio

Q: What are your go-to spots for the following and why? Breakfast?

A: I sleep through it.

Q: Lunch?

A: Coffee.

Q: Dinner?

A: Beer and chips. Probably some tequila or fernet. I eat a terrible diet of whatever is in front of me or random food on everybody’s stations in the kitchen.

Q: What would your last meal be? Describe with who and where/music/wine/who would cook it (you, famous chef, family member).

A: My last meal would be spent with my family in Texas eating Mexican food, drinking super salty limey Tecates, listening to Ben Kweller albums. As far as who is cooking, I would totally get that catered by Chuy’s Famous Tex-Mex because there is no way I’m working on my last day on Earth!

Q: What is your favorite food item from Santa Barbara?

A: Tamales at El Bajio.

Q: Do you shop at the farmers market? What do you like there?

A: When I can, yeah. Whatever stands out with the most vitality.

Q: Do you grow any veggies or food at home?

A: No. Apartment life ...

Q: What do you think Santa Barbara needs as part of the food scene?

A: More late-night food.

— Chef Joe Hafner writes the weekly Noozhawk column Word of Mouth and can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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