El Picante

1610 S. Standard Ave.
Santa Ana, CA 92707-2406
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  • Reservations Accepted
El Picante is a Mexican place in Santa Ana. Its trick is twofold: It specializes in the food of Michoacán, and most of the dish are guisados: stews made every morning and kept bubbling throughout the day. Here is where you find chicharrón simmered down to a mass so fatty it makes pork belly seem as rich as a pencil. Huilotas (squab) come bathed in a bright tomatillo salsa; birria arrives in a bubbling bowl or dry, the better to put inside tortillas so fresh that when you bite into them, the inside of the thick beauties can scald you. The chavindecas (here, spelled Michoacán-style as “chividenkas”) are stuffed quesadillas with your choice of meat and those amazing tortillas. Even better is the aporreadillo, the best huevos rancheros ever: The meat is cecina (dried, salted beef that’s like jerky but sweeter), and it’s in a red salsa that will burn you if you’re not careful.

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