Maybe the Best Value in OC, Mexi-Casa.
Since the 1960’s or thereabouts, Mexi-Casa restaurant in Anaheim has been serving up generously portioned meals at pauper’s prices in what was once an area with few Mexican eateries unless of course Taco Bell is considered real Mexican food. They’ve been doing it long before anyone in OC could even pronounce the word ta·que·ría. It started out humbly enough 40+ years ago down a dark industrial street in a small shack of a restaurant with a close-up view of Interstate 5. More recently Mexi-Casa moved, continuing it’s humble journey down to West Lincoln Avenue. Yeah, this is Americanized Mexican food but it’s consistently tasty and an EXCELLENT value or dare I say cheap? It would be doing a disservice to this not often talked about institution to call it cheap food. Mexi-Casa has been quietly feeding hungry families and college students since LBJ and the Beatles.
Mexi-Casa’s loyal following shows up every day whether it’s faded neon sign happens to be lit or not. This is the type of neighborhood place that I wish were everywhere but then again if it were, it would be called El Tor-eat-oh. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy eating at some corporate dining establishments, but my heart, soul and stomach rumbles for neighborhood joints. Mexi-Casa has “that” character and is a great value, those are two attributes that any hound can admire.
Some Menu Highlights include (Prices are from memory and are approximate):
*Combination Lunch $3-$4 most are two items with rice and beans. The price, I kid you not!
*Combination Dinner $4-$5 most are two items with rice and beans.
*Cheese Chips- Roasted in the oven to a toasty bubbly perfection. $2.50-$3.25
*Chili Relleno- Cheesy saucy good. $2.75
Guacamole- Just plain old Hass avocados. $2.25-$3.00
Albondigas soup- Mild and soothing. $1.75-$2.75
Side Salad- with homemade blue cheese dressing. (Request that the lettuce is well drained or you’ll get a soupy mess) $1.75
Chile Verde with tortillas- Mmmmm, clear my sinuses. $4.00
Beef Tacos- Shell and meat are deep fried together for a meaty roasted flavor. $1.75
Bean Tostada- Large, simply a tortilla overpiled (if that’s a word) with lettuce cheese and salsa. $2.25
Meat Tostada- Same as bean tostada (or meat & bean) $3.25
Chowhounder’s note: The mild salsa is like a mildly spicy and slightly chunky V-8 juice. The hot salsa is a chunkier hotter version. Neither will be mistaken for salsa fresca or pico de gallo but they accompany the food well.
1778 W. Lincoln Avenue (just west of Euclid)
Elmo, The "Chips with cheese" as it's called on the menu are great! I couldn't believe that a Chowhound Search didn't come up with any mention of this restaurant. Whenever I go to the Disneyland area it's one of my "go to" places, right up the street from the Chicken Pie Shop. Quite a few of the ala carte selections are meal sized portions like the tostadas. My girlfriend and I frequently will get out the door for only $11-14 (for two people!) including tax and a generous 25-30% tip (with prices so low the poor waitresses wouldn't get anything if we tipped 15%-20%). In any Hound's book this is a find.
Thanks, Grindz! I was there last year. Another thing I love about that place is that I still laugh when I get the bill! Coming home for Xmas this year and can't wait. What else is going on in the OC Mex food scene -- are there any other must-trys I should check out while I'm home?
MichelinStarChaser, getting the bill at Mexicasa is always a kick! There are so many great taquerias in OC now and most have pretty decent food.
There is a small chain, Taqueria De Anda, that's good. There is one on the corner of Euclid and Ball in Anaheim. Both the beans and rice are aromatic and nutty at the other locations I've been to (haven't been to the Anaheim location). The al pastor and carnitas are especially good. I like the al pastor burrito with extra everything: onions, cilantro and green sauce. I think most people like red sauce with al pastor, but I like how the crunchy onions and tangy tomatillo sauce compliment the meat, beans and rice.
If you haven't ventured to Little Saigon, I would highly recommend it. It's kind of like traveling without the long flight. Brodard's spring rolls are terrific and the Vietnamese/French bakeries are excellent and cheap. Elmomonster has a food blog with a nice review of Brodard (see his post above). Anyway good to hear from a fellow long time Mexicasa fan.
"The al pastor and carnitas are especially good. I like the al pastor burrito with extra everything: onions, cilantro and green sauce. I think most people like red sauce with al pastor, but I like how the crunchy onions and tangy tomatillo sauce compliment the meat, beans and rice."
You have a good palette. Avocado-Tomatillo salsa is the default pairing for Al Pastor & Chipotle flavored foods throughout Central & Eastern Mexico (the most developed of Mexico's Culinary Regions).
Thanks for the tips, Grindz! I'll check out the place at Ball and Euclid -- not too far away from my old 'hood!
I guess I'll look around Santa Ana and go up to LA as well. Where I live now there's a sizeable Chinatown with a growing Vietnamese population so I can get good pho, bahn mi, spring rolls, etc., but what I don't have much of here and I'm always craving is good Mexican good. In any case, if I have time I'll check out Brodard -- sounds delish. Hmmm, maybe I'll go to Mexicasa straight from the airport...
Eat_Nopal, thanks for the compliment. I wish I knew more about the different Mexican regional differences, but it's good to know that my personal tastes aren't so weird, lol.