La Rana is a Mexican restaurant in Aliso Viejo. It’s the best Mexican restaurant in South County, and the army of regulars—Mexican men wearing the T-shirts, sweat shirts and vests of local construction, gardening, plumbing and electrical companies—confirms it. The regular salsa is hot; the spicy one, puro paisa. The Negra Modelo flows, and there's even agua de naranja—watered-down orange juice that takes on the magical properties of Orange Bang! La Rana also makes a great cochinita pibil, down to the pickled purple onions and succulent pork as orange as a traffic cone.
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Sorry, South County, but your Mexican-food scene sucks. For a region so vast, with so much money and so many Mexican workers, you can count the restaurants worth driving down there for on one hand. There's the Surfin' Chicken in San...