Mercado Corona is a market in Laguna Hills. At first, the tiny storefront resembles the dozen or so small Mexican markets that thrive in South County, from the money-transfer booth near the aguas frescas to the bottles of Tapatío on all the tables in the dining room to the menu above the counter: quick-service Mexican standards such as chilaquiles, tacos, tortas and burritos. But once it’s your turn to order, you start seeing hints of another reality. Next to the soda fountain are papers advertising Argentine empanadas. Colombian candies. Brazilian health supplements. Then you hear the lilting Argentine Spanish emerging from the meat counter and take a glance at the aisles, each devoted to a Latin American country, each groaning with goodies.
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When someone finally does a history of non-Mexican Latinos in Orange County, restaurants must get a shout-out. For sure, there would be Regina's in Garden Grove, which has long served as a gathering spot for homesick Argentines want...