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Mar 19, 2007 09:38 PM

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

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.

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  1. 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

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

    2. 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

      > 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

        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 aquĆ­ como en el D.F.".

        1. re: Eat_Nopal

          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

            > 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

              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

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