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Eating my way through Mexico in Santa Ana: Part Tres - Becoming a Chilango

kare_raisu Mar 19, 2007 09:38 PM

El Rincon Chilango has to be the most colorful restaurant I have ever seen. You cannot miss it driving down 17th St. Stripes and every color in the rainbow.

But what stopped me dead in my tracks was a sign advertising "Tlacoyos." This has been the first time I have ever seen these on a menu. I had first read about them in A Kennedy book - I forget which. Apparently it is a speciality of Mexico City and condsider a Antojito Chilango

It is a long oval shaped masa snack that is cooked with a filling inside and a salsa is poured ovver with some salty cheese and cilantro and minced onion.

I had never had flor de calabaza or squash blossom before (next time Im trying the haba) so I ordered that.

There is a indoor seating area on one half sife of the restaurant with table service. Every table was filled with families eating together on Sunday -eyes affixed on TV Azteca playing up above.

After a bit of a wait, sipping on my horchata the plate arrived. Its a pretty unique dish. The masa was made from Maseca but it was crisp and warm. The salsa verde was one of the best I have had - extremely bright and flavorful, interspersed with salty queso fresco. The flor was likely from a can - just ok.

This may be one of the only Mexico City style restaurants in the area and has some unique dishes I plan to work my way through, esp. tacos de canasta and the borrego the guy next to me had.

http://flickr.com/photos/98128783@N00/

  1. Eat_Nopal Dec 5, 2007 12:45 PM

    I hit Rincon Chilango today... great job scoping out KR... & thanks. When I looked at the menu I almost shed a tear... they have a quite a variety of so many Antojitos that are hard to find....

    Antojito Forms:
    > Mexico City Style Griddled Quesadillas (handmade from corn masa)
    > Tacos
    > Tlacoyos
    > Huaraches
    > Gorditas
    > Sopes
    > Tacos de Canasta (Steamed "Basket" Tacos... folded corn tortilla, slightly filled then bundled up so they steam with each others heat & hopefully become like dumplings)
    > Sincronizadas (Two Tortilla Quesadillas with Ham)
    > Pambazos
    > Pork Feet Tostadas
    > Tortas... Very Big Tortas

    Fillings:
    > Pressed Chicharron
    > Queso Fresco
    > Asada
    > Beef Tinga
    > Musrooms
    > Huitlacoche
    > Squash Blossoms
    > Al Pastor
    > Carnitas
    > Chorizo
    > Suadero
    > Tilapia
    > Chitlins
    > Beans
    > Favas
    > Potatoes
    > Shredded Chicken in thin red sauce
    > Shrimp
    > Cecina
    > Fried Egg
    > Milanesa
    > Roast Pork
    > Ham
    > Head Cheese

    They also have licuados & agua frescas with the following flavors:

    > Guava
    > Papaya
    > Mango
    > Pecan
    > Granola
    > Rompope
    > Mamey
    > Strawberry
    > Chocolate
    > Banana
    > Guanabana
    > Horchata
    > Jamaica
    > Tamarind
    > Pineapple
    > Coconut
    > Canteloupe
    > Watermelon

    Juices... Orange, Carrot, Beet, Celery

    Other interesting things include Esquites (stir fried corn kernels with onion & epazote, stinky cheese & piquin pepper flakes)... sauteed Nopales.

    Oh yeah... all this represents about half the menu items.

    For my rating... I will provide two...
    1) Compared to other D.F. Style Places in California
    2) Compared to Mexico City

    Boiled Tomatillo, Arbol & Chopped Onion Salsa
    >>> California.... Outstanding... probably best version I've had
    >>> Mexico City... Outstanding

    Huitlacoche Quesadilla
    >>> California.... Average (doesn't rise above other versions)
    >>> Mexico City... Substantially Sub Par

    Shredded Chicken Canasta Taco with Mole Verde
    >>> California.... Outstanding
    >>> Mexico City.... Solid

    Whole Beans, Pungently Seasoned Canasta Taco
    >>> California.... Very Good
    >>> Mexico City... Solid

    Nopales A La Plancha
    >>> California... Very Good
    >>> Mexico City.... a little bit disappointing

    Mamey & Coconut Licuado
    >>> California... Very Good
    >>> Mexico City... a little bit below average

    5 Replies
    1. re: Eat_Nopal
      Das Ubergeek Dec 5, 2007 04:30 PM

      Hm... I'm trying to think of the name of the place I went to on Bristol. I just remember it was more toward South Coast Metro ("we're not in Santa Ana, we're not, we're not!") and the sign says, "Comer aquí como en el D.F.".

      1. re: Eat_Nopal
        kare_raisu Dec 6, 2007 07:30 AM

        Great Report and I enjoyed seeing the dichotomy of where each dish stands in CA & DF.

        Regarding the Tacos de Canasta:
        -Did they come 3 to an order and are they soused with a salsa much like tacos mineros? (Three styles?: Canasta, sudado, minero?)
        - What kind of beans did they use and what do you suspect they seasoned them with?

        -Were the Nopales left whole?

        1. re: kare_raisu
          Eat_Nopal Dec 6, 2007 09:58 AM

          > Tacos de Canasta were sold individual for a buck... they had 5 different kinds, and not sauced.

          > Beans were plain old Pintos.... seasoning was roasted garlic, sauteed onion, I believe epazote... and good quality rendered lard.

          > Nopales were in long slices... if I go back this week, I would probably order the Nopales again... ask for a side of Mole Rojo (just sauce), Chicken Tinga, an agua based licuado and some handmade tortillas.

          1. re: Eat_Nopal
            kare_raisu Dec 6, 2007 10:10 AM

            I was going to say check out the borrego too - but it may be a weekend only thing.

            There is a great museum in Santa Ana - i forgot the name of that you should check out if you have time.

            1. re: kare_raisu
              Eat_Nopal Dec 6, 2007 11:41 AM

              Yup... Barbacoa on the weekends... as well as Pozole & something else. They had a full seafood menu & other things as well.

      2. rworange Mar 21, 2007 08:16 PM

        Eating Mexican food is always an adventure for me I saw then 'tla' and just assumed tlayudas until I saw the picture. I'm going to have to try a place in my neck of the woods that has them.

        What is haba?

        1 Reply
        1. re: rworange
          kare_raisu Mar 21, 2007 09:43 PM

          I believe it is the dried fava bean thay turn into refritos. I havent seen it very often.

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