Best Luxe Lonchera - 2012
What do you get when an Orange County boy comes home from the pipiris nice restaurant in Oakland where he was a pastry chef and takes up the reins of his ancestral cuisine? You get Mexican food out of a truck that beats 99 percent of the Mexican food served in OC restaurants. High-quality steak is grilled and mixed with bacon and grilled onions for a taco de arrachera; mole de pollo swims in a homemade sauce that'll make even Oaxacan abuelitas smile; vegetable tacos, strictly from seasonal, farmers' market offerings, could convert a die-hard carnivore. Even humble ezquites—corn cut off the cob—get the gourmet treatment, with fresh herbs, freshly made cream and lime juice. Pair all this with homemade agua fresca and simple yet delicious desserts such as farmers' cheese flan, and it's no wonder Carlos Salgado, the escuincle from Orange, is suddenly the golden boy of OC Mexican food.