Get Out of Town! - Havin' some Guac with the Governator
Head to Howdy's in Malibu for Celeb-approved Mexican Food
October, 2006 - Issue #24
I had lunch with the governor a while back. Yes, that governor. I'm not sure why he wanted to have lunch with me. I'm not a big campaign contributor, or even president of the Kindergarten Cop Fan Club.

He didn't actually invite me to dine with him. Come to think of it, we weren't even in the same restaurant. If you really want to know the truth, I didn't even see him. But his wife walked right by me, his motorcade of hulking black SUVs sped past the restaurant, and several people around us said he had been nearby.

But I did have lunch and the governor was in the vicinity, so Bill Clinton's lawyer told me it I could say truthfully I had lunch with the governor. How you interpret that is your business.

But what's not open to dispute is where I had lunch and the tastiness of the food. April and I visited Howdy's Taqueria in Malibu. I'm not making this up, honest. Before you give up on me altogether, let me assure you there really is a Mexican food place in Malibu named Howdy's. It is named after the owner, Howdy Kabrins, who founded the La Salsa chain of casual Mexican restaurants.

Head to Howdy's

Howdy's Taqueria is located at 3835 Cross Creek Road in Malibu, 90265. Call them directly at 310-456-6299.

From Santa Clarita, head south on the 405. Merge with Interstate 10 west, which turns into Pacific Coast Highway. Continue on PCH to Malibu. Turn right on Cross Creek Road. Howdy's is on your left. Parking is wherever you can find it.
The name sounds like it belongs to a barbecue place with sawdust on the floor and overall-wearing servers. There is no sawdust to be found at Howdy's, however, and I don't recall seeing anyone in overalls. The governor could have been wearing some, but again, I didn't actually see him.

Anyway, what Howdy's does have is that casual vibe you'd expect from a walk-up taco joint in Malibu just across Pacific Coast Highway from the beach. It's on Cross Creek Road, which holds a collection of retail centers near Malibu's Civic Center. There's plenty of outdoor seating and the hustle and bustle of locals, tourists, hungry students from nearby Pepperdine University and the rich and famous. Rumor has it that newlywed Pamela Anderson (or is it Pamela Anderson Rock?) is a Howdy's devotee and visits regularly. And no, I didn't see her either.

Regardless of their social standing, Howdy's customers come for the food. The menu is familiar, with offerings like tri-tip, grilled chicken, tacos, enchiladas, chile rellenos, quesadillas, fajitas, taquitos, rice, salads and salsas. But it isn't ordinary. It is excellent, especially the guacamole. And that's why the place is always packed with customers and the delivery staff is constantly hustling bags of take-out to their cars.

The skeptics will ask if it's really good enough to make the drive from Santa Clarita. The answer, of course, is yes. But what really makes it worthwhile is a chance to dine with the governor, or at least to have a carne asada burrito within 100 feet of his motorcade.


Eric Harnish is a Newhall resident.
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