”If you don’t love this industry [Food and Beverage] then don’t do it … the amount of time is overwhelming.” – Al Rojas
By Vaughn Lowery
Nearly twenty years ago, Al Rojas received some investment capital from his father (died from cancer 25 years ago) to become a restaurateur. After years of successfully running Santa Barbara’s widely popular Alcazar Tapas Bar, he commenced to sink his teeth into another endeavor – Milk & Honey Tapas [MHT]. This eclectic, snug cafe with curbside dining provides an array of mystical libations and mouth watering snacks for foodies.
Specialty cocktails are their strong suit; however, the drinks are so intoxicating that you’ll have to taste their menu. After one drink, we were buzzing like busy bees in the hive. Hence, we started with flash-fried kale chips topped with manchego cheese and an order of Prosciutto Bundles stuffed with goat cheese. Yummy. Next up, we ordered PB&J Sliders (sirloin sliders, peanut butter, raspberry jam, Applewood smoked bacon) and Honey Lamb Pops (char broiled lamb chops; teriyaki, honey, butter, shallot, brown sugar sauce) – yes, we licked both our fingers and the bones. One of the most intriguing indigenous dishes we tried was Por-Que Pig?! (pulled pork shoulder, creamed pasilla chiles, garlic cilantro rice, manchego cheese, fresh cilantro, tomato; tomatillo cream sauce). Definitely not one of the most attractive items on the menu, but it sure was the most delightful – we scraped our bowls. For dessert, we received their house funnel cake alongside of a dark cup of coffee.
Rojas boasts of being a globetrotter (Spain, France, UK, Grenada, Copenhagen, Montreal) and reminds us that his infused assortments were inspired by his travels. Adorning smart specs and possessing a charismatic personality, no wonder his wait staff is equally professional and attentive – his power to lead permeates the air. Something that his father instilled in him, “Treat everyone equally [no matter what their position in life may be].” Moreover, the fun-loving GM and crew kept the dimly lit dinner service packed like a can of sardines.
In short, this is one of the best tapas and sips we have put our lips on in a long time. In fact, Milk & Honey Tapas rivals some of the top restaurants in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. If you possess an appetite for tangy handcrafted concoctions paired with savory bites, then this place will literally blow your wig back.
Alcaraz Tapas Bar was established about 18 years ago and it’s Ginspiration Point cocktail was named the Official Drink of Santa Barbara.
Milk & Honey Tapas has been in business for over 11 years to date.
Al Rojas lends his name and support to
Community Counseling and Education Center (CCEC) of Santa Barbara: a non-profit which offers family counseling services for victims of domestic violence and addiction.