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Jan 25, 2009 04:29 PM

Please... Florida Hound will be in Anaheim next week.

Forgive me, I'm not familiar enough with the area to do a search...

I'll be there a week and I'd like to live on local Mexican almost exclusively...
Hole-in-the-walls are fine...
I'll have a car and a navigator on my cell phone that'll get me to where I need to go...

I love Menudo, I want to experience what Mole is supposed to be, I want Fish Tacos, great tacos, etc... Big-time adventurous taste buds...

If you guys could come up with 3 or 4 places I should 'experience' I'd be very appreciative...

When I was there a few years ago I had to 'wing-it' and I did just OK...
I was begging motel workers and folks I came in contact for recommendations but there was never any enthusiasm on their part...

Thanks in advance...

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  1. If you're willing to drive an hour each way, head to Monte Alban in West LA for the Mole. And then over to Tacos Por Favor for tacos, in Santa Monica.

    But Anaheim is a vast wasteland of non-chowworthy restaurants. You will definitely need to drive - closest is probably Huntington Beach, hopefully someone will give OC answers.

    9 Replies
    1. re: yogachik

      Sorry, forgot the liinks:

      Monte Alban
      11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

      Tacos Por Favor
      1406 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

      1. re: yogachik

        Have you ever actually been to Anaheim? Or have you just been on the two miles of Harbor Blvd. that's all the tourist infrastructure? Because I've lived here for two years, having moved out of the Valley, and I can't believe how much awesome chow there is in this city. Do some research around these parts before you start knocking places you clearly don't know.

        To the OP: sorry for the above -- the "OMG OC IS A CHAIN RESTAURANT WASTELAND" people drive me crazy and occasionally it shows. But this isn't helping you get great Mexican food.

        I'm sending you a little further to get a big increase in quality:

        1. Mariscos Puerto Esperanza, on the southern intersection of Taft Ave. and Tustin St. in the city of Orange, which is about 10-15 minutes' drive from Disneyland [I assume you're staying near Disneyland, my apologies if you aren't.] Do a search on these boards for the restaurant and you will see glowing reviews. Not everything is great but the vast majority is truly excellent.

        2. For fish tacos, there are four places, ranked in order here, that I would go to. First would be Senor Baja, which is on the corner of Weir Canyon Road and Serrano Avenue in the Anaheim Hills section of Anaheim, in a plaza with a Ralphs market. The second is El Taco Nazo, just south of the corner of Beach Boulevard and La Habra Boulevard in the city of La Habra, north of Anaheim. The third is Los Cotijas, the closer of which is near the corner of Euclid Avenue and Chapman Avenue in the city of Garden Grove (beware -- there is a corner of Euclid and Chapman in the city of Fullerton, which is not the same place). And the fourth is Arriba! Baja Grill, in the plaza with the Barnes & Noble on the corner of Main Street and Town & Country Road in the city of Orange, across from the Santa Ana Mainplace mall. If you are into fried shrimp tacos, El Taco Nazo's are better; I give the nod to Senor Baja for the fish tacos, though.

        Mole: I'm hoping someone will come up with the recommendation in Santa Ana, because I really don't know very much about Santa Ana, but in the meantime if you can hack a somewhat housekeeping-unfriendly place, you can go get very good mole at El Fortin on Commonwealth Avenue between Lemon Street and Raymond Avenue in Fullerton. There is another El Fortin, in Stanton, but it is so dirty that even I won't eat there. However, where you really should take the time to go is La Huasteca, in Lynwood. It is ABSOLUTELY worth the 30-45 minutes it takes to get there from Anaheim (free hint: 5 north, 91 west, 710 north, 105 west, no matter what your navigator tells you to do)... many kinds of mole, including manchamanteles on occasion, great pipian -- and you can wander Plaza Mexico and it'll seem like you're in the Zona Rio in Tijuana.

        Tacos: Others can point you to taco trucks, but I love the al pastor tacos at El Farolito Jr., where East St. crosses the 91 freeway in Anaheim, about 10 minutes' drive from Disneyland. Only at night -- they usually set up the tacos and the trompo around 6 PM. I would call ahead to make sure they're going to have it. If I remember correctly the price has just gone up and I think tacos are $1.20 each now. And while others will decry this place as "Mexican lite", I love love LOVE the tacos alambre (steak, bacon, grilled chiles and onions, and Oaxaca cheese) at Taco Mesa, on Chapman Avenue and Prospect Street in the city of Orange, about 20 minutes from Disneyland.

        Post if you want other ethnic options -- Anaheim is home to "Little Gaza" and is in easy striking distance of Little Saigon and OC's two major Korean sections in Garden Grove and Buena Park/Stanton.

        Happy eating!!

        La Huasteca
        3150 E Imperial Hwy, Lynwood, CA 90262

        El Fortin
        700 E Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton, CA 92831

        Taco Mesa
        3533 E Chapman Ave Ste E, Orange, CA 92869

        El Farolito Jr
        1339 N East St, Anaheim, CA 92805

        Los Cotijas Taco Shop
        11951 Euclid St Garden, Grove, CA

        El Taco Nazo
        121 S Beach Blvd, La Habra, CA 90631

        Mariscos Puerto Esperanza
        1724 N Tustin St, Orange, CA 92865

        Senor Baja
        701 S Weir Canyon Rd, Anaheim, CA

        Arriba Baja Grill
        745 S Main St # 170, Orange, CA

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          thanks for sharing that la huasteca note, uebergeek, and a forty minute drive would also reach Moles La Tia, which for my palate had more nuanced black mole than Monte Alban. The main courses at LaTia also come with a very good, complimentary mushroom soup with a light, refreshing broth.

          1. re: moto

            If you try one place for mole in the greater LA area, Moles La Tia is THE place.Maybe 14 incredible moles on the menu, and everything is good.

          2. re: Das Ubergeek

            Oh, and if you're craving dessert, go to Natural, which is just north of Ball Road on State College Boulevard, about 5 minutes' drive from Disneyland. Get an escamocha (fresh fruit with yoghurt topping, granola and raisins), or maybe a Tres Marias sundae, or if you're into new flavour combinations, the chamoy and mango shake (licuado) is absolutely addictive -- a sweet shake made with real mangoes, in a cup drizzled with chamoy (a sweet-salty syrup made from preserved apricots). DEEEEEELICIOUS.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              Or that great Mexican-German ice-cream place -- Hans'. ;-) Actually, it's just fine ice cream and worth a detour to southern Santa Ana.

              Hans' Homemade Ice Cream
              3640 S Bristol St, Santa Ana, CA 92704

            2. re: Das Ubergeek

              Ubergeek, that's just solid gold----- I couldn't be more appreciative...
              I think we nailed it!

              Thanks to everybody, I think I'm gonna do better than I expected...

              I'll absolutely be able to get to these places...

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                Bill, I'll second DU's recommendations--particularly El Farolito (Sr, not Jr in Placential off Bradford St) for a casual sit-down, home-style Mexican and El Fortin for Oaxacan mole. And as for DU himself, he's a very reliable CH who always has great recommendations & very thorough reviews.

                1. re: OCAnn

                  El Farolito (in Placentia) has really good pork; their salsa is wimpy but can be kicked up with the hot sauces on the table.

                  El Farolito Jr. (in Anaheim) has way better tacos and the other item not to be missed on the menu is the chile relleno burrito.

                  I saw a place on Fairview (near 5th, I think) that was called something like "Casita Oaxaca" or something. I was on my way to Com Tam Tran Quy Cap or I would have stopped... it's on my list to investigate.

            3. Here's a nearby rec that's not to be missed. Mariscos Puerto Esperanza:

              1. I left----- my heaaaaaaaart, in Yorba Lindaaaaaaa....

                I'm really jealous of you guys, the whole place is a Mecca!

                I did pretty good I think...

                I had to spend time with my aunt who fell in the tub and hurt herself,
                but I still managed to get to:

                EL FAROLITI JR... Loved the Al Pastor and the Chile Relleno burrito...
                TACO MESA... Loved the Tacos Alambre! Unbelievably friendly staff...
                SENOR BAJA... Fish Tacos were wonderful... I drove from here right to Taco Nazo...

                EL TACO NAZO... Loved the Fish Tacos and Shrimp Tacos and the deep fried soft and juicy Jalapenos(?) on the condiment bar... They were white... Luscious...

                NATURAL... This place was very close to my hotel and I hit it three times...
                Two large Mango Shakes (LOVED) and one of those 'Chupacabra Licuados' Das Ubergeek recommended (Chamoyada)....
                After 3 sips I started to see dead relatives...
                They tell me I ran into the street and killed a hooker!
                Mother of God, a salty milkshake! SALTY!

                EL SUPER PICANTE on Ball near Beach... I had a big bowl of Birrio (goat soup) and a couple fish tacos... Loved it, loved it...
                Thick tortillas for the soup--- cool...

                I wanted to experience some of the variations on the fish taco and it seems I adore the combinations of shredded cabbage, fried or grilled fish, creamy component, and cheese...
                Wonderful things!

                Overall, a 99.5 miraculous foodie extravaganza... Thank youz...
                I can't WAIT to get back there!

                Of course I'm crushed I didn't get to El Fortin, La Huasteca, Hans, and Mariscos Puerto Esperanza...

                Thank you again...

                3 Replies
                  1. re: Mild Bill

                    I'm glad you reported back, and glad you got some good stuff in!!

                    Those peppers (they're called "chiles güeros" if you're interested) are addicting, right up until you get a really hot one. They're actually usually grilled, incidentally, and tossed in salt, pepper and lemon powder.

                    Natural -- I live walking distance and I love it. The chamoyada is the weirdest feeling ever the first time, but then after you're done, if you're like me, you start thinking about when you can reasonably go get your next one. Sweet, salty, spicy, sour... it's got it all.

                    Now, the most important question is -- who wins, El Taco Nazo or Senor Baja?

                    Hope your aunt is on the mend -- then you can take her with you next time and try twice as many things!!

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      "Chiles güeros", cool...
                      When I said deep-fried it was because it seemed they were cooked in a hot oil bath (not too hot) till soft and sweet--- they weren't floured or battered or anything...
                      The skins were wrinkly, without any contact marks... Man, did I love them!
                      I braced for heat, and got a soft sweetness... a lil' nice heat at the seed cluster...
                      Seems inevitable that eventually you'd get a blazer!

                      I'll be keeping my eyes out in the Latin markets here for chiles I can use for this and knock these out at home...
                      Your seasoning sounds right now that I think back... I thought Goya Adobo...

                      Also, thinking back, Senor Baja takes it...
                      Each component was more generously and clearly represented...

                      I told my aunt that even though I've been out there 4 or 5 times over the past 20 years, this was the first time I wanted to move there...
                      She was surprised... Seems she thinks it's bad for all the reasons I think it's spectacular!

                      Next visit I'll clean up my unfinished Mexican business, and I'll again inquire for other ethnic extravagonzo recommendations...

                      Gracias para todos!