The New Yorker this week has a brief but wonderful summary -- "Julia Child's Taqueria" -- of the author's special trip to the Super-Rica Taqueria in Santa Barbara, which became a legend because Julia Child liked it something like 30 years ago.
In my mind this little Mexican diner may defy any other cultural institution as the most overrated hole-in-the-wall in America, or maybe on the planet. But note I defined this to avoid including the Iowa caucuses, which deserve an overrated category all their own.
I'm glad someone has validated my impression, which is shared by many native Santa Barbarans that I know. The everlasting line out the Super-Rica's door -- that's been there, I think, since I first tried it in 1983, or was that 2003? -- is an eternal mystery, but people keep driving up there from everywhere. Last summer I found a taqueria at random that was better and had less waiting, though I admit that the tortillas weren't made fresh by hand as they were when I was at the Super-Rica. See this post for more about the taqueria I enjoyed.
The New Yorker's image (above/right) doesn't really show the line the way it usually looks -- it often goes out the door to the right and past the back door of the tiny kitchen. Last summer we stood in line for a while, still curious to see how the place was lasting, but the pretentious conversations all around us drove us out.