By Kiera Wright-Ruiz
By Cleo Tobbi
By Moss Perricone
By Anne Marie Panoringan
By Edwin Goei
By Edwin Goei
By Edwin Goei
The alambre at EL RINCON DEL SABOR ("Flavor's Corner" in Spanish) is as genius a meal as you'll find in Orange County, since it fulfills most needs of the human appetite:
DIY: The alambre is a smorgasboard of sautéed bell peppers, onions, ham, bacon and your choice of carne asada or meat fused together with a creamy, stretchy cheese. On the side are five double-decked tortillas, in which you'll stuff said smorgasboard and fold in half to create tacos.
GLUTTONY: Even after you've stuffed every tortilla to the brink of its irregular edges, there will still be enough of the meat-cheese-veggie blob to create at least three more tacos.
CHEAP PRICE: So, for the equivalent of eight tacos, you pay 5 pinche dollars—the best non-bánh mì meal deal in OC.
GREAT TASTE: Pork-on-pork-on-pork action: Only a Commie could possibly not enjoy this breathtaking effort (my Muslim and Jewish readers excepted, of course). All the meats remain juicy and retain their unique flavors (bacon toasty, ham springy, al pastor ruddy), while the cheese is nearly greaseless and the bell peppers perfectly tangy. The cooks grill the tortillas only slightly, enough to release an extra dash of masa bliss in each blackened bump. A complimentary salsa won't scorch but will provoke slight gasps. And the pickled onions you pile into a plastic bag? As vicious a kick as the most fermented kim chis.
CONVENIENCE: El Rincon del Sabor is a taco truck in a fortunate spot in Santa Ana, one near major thoroughfares, easy parking and far from idiot cholos. No chairs are available, but you can sit on the curb and enjoy the Mexican regional music blasted from strategically placed speakers.
THE PROMISE OF MORE: The alambre isn't even the self-proclaimed specialty of El Rincon del Sabor. They hawk various masa-based street foods from Mexico City, everything from open-faced mushroom quesadillas to mulitas, the half-gordita, half-quesadilla marvels of Mesoamerican cooking. Burritos and tacos aren't a surprise, but the tortas come in styles ranging from a Cuban media noche to the Hawaiiana (meat, cheese and pineapple) to the epic pambazo. In the latter, two fat slices of French bread get dipped in red salsa, then griddled so that the stove carbonizes the salsa into a crunchy, tasteful heat. A dollop of cream and queso fresco inside the bread sweetens the heat—quite the yummy experience.
RARITY: El Rincon del Sabor parks every day within the boundaries of Santa Ana's much-vaunted Renaissance Specific Plan (RSP), which seeks to "upgrade" (read: de-Mexicanize) its downtown. Visit while you can: The RSP states, "All business activities [within the RSP boundaries] shall be conducted and located within an enclosed building" and, "No sales shall be made directly from a building to persons on a public sidewalk."
EL RINCON DEL SABOR, MORTIMER ST. & SANTA ANA BLVD., SANTA ANA. NO PHONE NUMBER.