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Orange county must eat

Technor Jul 22, 2012 06:12 AM

Spending a week ( aug 15-22) in laguna hills looking for outstanding hole in the wall Mexican or BBQ
Price isn't issue
Food is main goal
Where do you go?

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  1. c
    chewbacca RE: Technor Jul 22, 2012 06:59 AM

    Taco Loco in Laguna Beach!

    1. Tapeworm RE: Technor Jul 22, 2012 08:35 AM

      Baja Fish Tacos for their namesake.

      1. j
        josephnl RE: Technor Jul 22, 2012 03:11 PM

        Coyote Grill is a hole- in-the-wall Mexican that does terrific Mexican style breakfasts on deck with a bit of a view. It's in south Laguna on PCH.

        1. ocshooter RE: Technor Jul 24, 2012 03:21 PM

          I will second Coyote for fun Mexican, but it is hardly traditional. My favorite hole in the wall for fish tacos is Los Cotijas in Tustin. You want to go further north up the 5 into Santa Ana for other real Mexican options.

          If you want Cal-Mex, Taco Rosa in Irvine is good.

          As far as real BBQ, again I will point you north to Santa Ana and Burrell's BBQ.

          1. A5 KOBE RE: Technor Jul 24, 2012 03:47 PM

            A true hole in the wall is in Tustin called Carnitas Los Reyes. Get the chicharron and the refried beans. Best beans I have ever had and the chicharron is amazing. I also love the lengua and buche there. Chorizo is great but will put you to an early grave.

            1 Reply
            1. re: A5 KOBE
              Das Ubergeek RE: A5 KOBE Jul 26, 2012 09:07 AM

              It's actually on Tustin Street in Orange, though.

            2. j
              josephnl RE: Technor Jul 24, 2012 04:05 PM

              OC is hardly a Mecca for lovers of barbecue, but Blake's in Anaheim puts out a mighty tasty brisket or pulled pork sandwich. Suggest it for lunch. See: http://www.blakesplacebbq.com/

              1. m
                mlbartender RE: Technor Jul 24, 2012 10:50 PM

                For Mexican, I would travel to Santa Ana as they have a large, if not, the largest Mexican community in Orange County. Granted, it won't be as pearly as Laguna Hills. However, if you're looking for authentic tacos, especially al Pastor tacos with meat shaven off the shawarma/kebab grill, go to Taqueria 2 Guys. Here's a recent OC weekly article on the restaurant. http://www.ocweekly.com/2012-04-05/fo...

                Also, the prices are really reasonable from around $1.29 a taco. After 5pm, the al Pastor tacos are only a buck each. Be sure to look at the other reviews on the net. Their really spicy Jalapeno salsa is amazing! The following pics are their al Pastor Tacos along with their special (all-meat) buritto for only $1 more (approx $6 total) with meat of your choice.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mlbartender
                  Norm Man RE: mlbartender Jul 25, 2012 01:24 PM

                  If you are going to go to Santa Ana, you have to eat the Tacos Acorazados ("Battleship Tacos") at Alebrije's Grill Food Truck. Alebrije's Grill is the Pink Food Truck at the Northgate Gonzalez Market in Santa Ana and operates 7 days a week.

                  Review by Chowhound "Elmomonster:"


                  OC Weekly Review:


                  Alebrije's Grill Food Truck (Pink Truck).
                  Cubbon and Main St
                  at Northgate Gonzalez Market
                  Santa Ana
                  714 655-3253

                2. t
                  Technor RE: Technor Jul 25, 2012 02:26 AM

                  Thanks to all what wonderful suggestions
                  Any more great hole in the walls?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Technor
                    mlbartender RE: Technor Jul 25, 2012 09:51 AM

                    Hi there,
                    I know this other amazing hole in the wall restaurant if you're into sushi. At first when I started to live in Orange county, I was surprised how besides Mexican, Japanese and Vienamese cuisines are big in OC. The place I'm referring to is called Ikko in Costa Mesa. Besides some of their fusion dishes, they serve mostly traditional preparations of pre-seasoned sushi that calls for immediate eating when served and don't carry American-style rolls. They've even posted on their chalk board in the front where they would used to post specials saying that they don't serve these sort of rolls as many people would just flat out leave after looking at the menu. The first pic is a citrus vinaigrette carpaccio (must ask sushi chef directly for this as they've taken it off) with a fish imported from Kyushu, Japan called "chicken grant" (i know, weird name). Second pic: Maguro (tuna), Third: Albacore, Fourth: Toro (I think it's Chu-toro instead of the fatty O-toro). I've taken many friends to this place and they all love it. Even people who used to not like anything raw change their perspectives on sushi. Here's their address and reservations are highly reccommended: 735 Baker Street Costa Mesa, CA 92626
                    (714) 556-7822

                    1. re: mlbartender
                      Porthos RE: mlbartender Jul 25, 2012 11:14 AM

                      Japan called "chicken grant" (i know, weird name).
                      Izaki = chicken grunt. A bit chewy in texture.

                    2. re: Technor
                      crystaw RE: Technor Jul 25, 2012 03:00 PM

                      I recommend Mil Jugos (also in Santa Ana) for arepas-the green sauces in the squeeze bottles on each table are delicious with them. http://www.miljugos.com/

                    3. g
                      gator28 RE: Technor Jul 25, 2012 03:58 PM

                      Jan's in Huntington Beach is a great for sandwiches. Get the Surfer Special with avo & tuna.

                      1. WhereTheCopsEat RE: Technor Aug 1, 2012 04:59 PM

                        La Tiendita in San Clemente. They also have cheap bean burritos and quesadillas! If you get a combo they serve it up on a real plate too otherwise it's cheap paper plates. Love this family owned spot!

                        1. WhereTheCopsEat RE: Technor Aug 1, 2012 05:05 PM

                          One of our other favorite spots off the main street is Alta Coffee in Newport. Great Breakfast and small town feel. Go early for breakfast and parking is metered. The table service is spotty but you can always take your mug up to the counter for a refill if you get tired of waiting. Great poached eggs and french toast o the weekends!

                          1. s
                            saltybeard RE: Technor Jul 23, 2013 01:13 PM

                            tacos ensenada in lake forest on El Toro, some of the best authentic mexican food in orange county!!!

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: saltybeard
                              JAB RE: saltybeard Jul 23, 2013 01:23 PM

                              Welcome! I thought that I was the only hound who rec'd this place. Not worth going out of your way for but, in S OC...

                              1. re: saltybeard
                                Professor Salt RE: saltybeard Jul 23, 2013 11:09 PM

                                Tacos Ensenada is ok, but I think it's overpriced for what it is. In this area, I much prefer Taco Stop. Salsas are much better here.

                                As long as you overlook the photo menu board and look at the menu on top of the counter, you'll be ok. Stick with the tacos and tortas and you'll be better off than the #2 combo or the #-whatevers on the photo menu

                                For the OP - I go to Taco Stop at least once a week because it's close to work (and close to Laguna Hills) If you want a destination hole in the wall taqueria, I head to Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Orange or Anaheim.

                                1. re: Professor Salt
                                  JAB RE: Professor Salt Jul 24, 2013 06:16 AM

                                  I agree with Tacos Ensenada being overpriced for what it is. I'll give Taco Stop a try on your rec. I've been curious but, I received a bad review from my son who prefers Tacos Ensenada.

                                  1. re: JAB
                                    Professor Salt RE: JAB Jul 24, 2013 11:44 PM

                                    Taco Stop can be mediocre too when you order off the photo menu and the gabacho-combo dishes.

                                    Do tacos or tortas instead. I like the chewy torta milanesa here when I feel like eating a huge sandwich.

                                    Sample your way through their excellent salsas.If you like sweet heat, try the pineapple-onion-habanero condiment.

                                    Also - Taco Stop is open 24/7 in a city where nothing is open 24/7.

                                    1. re: Professor Salt
                                      JAB RE: Professor Salt Jul 25, 2013 05:56 AM

                                      I was just reminded yesterday that Sabatino's, from Newport, has opened up a branch on Muirlands and Ridge Route in Lake Forest. I haven't been yet but, the Newport location is a personal and board favorite.

                                      1. re: JAB
                                        Professor Salt RE: JAB Jul 25, 2013 06:44 PM

                                        I've been to the Lake Forest Sabatino's. The sausage sandwich was disappointing. I went for lunch, and they brought out a reheated, pre-cooked sausage on a meh bun.

                                        Maybe they think people care more about speedy service than freshly cooked awesome food, I don't know.

                                        Nothing like the griddled-to-order sausage platter I get when I'm at the shipyard location in Newport.

                                        1. re: Professor Salt
                                          JAB RE: Professor Salt Jul 25, 2013 07:17 PM

                                          Thanks for the report. I don't mind the drive to Lido.

                              2. r
                                revets2 RE: Technor Jul 25, 2013 10:34 AM

                                Stopped into the Buena Vista Market on Plaza in Dana Point for tacos. Surprisingly excellent lengua. Best barbacoa we've had in the OC. Chicharonnes were a tad salty, but made edible with lime.

                                Just a few tables inside the meat market.

                                The real deal.

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