Duet of desmadre...
Duet of desmadre...
Photo by Jack Gould

#89. Midnight Al Pastor Burrito or Taco, Taqueria Tapatia

Because ustedes gentle readers love lists, and we lazy scribes love easy hits, behold the latest entry in our Top 100 dishes list that continues until Best Of--at which point, we'll give you MORE lists! Now, on with the show...

I have called Taqueria Tapatia in SanTana the county's best taquería, and I still largely stand by that assertion, given the better ones in the county stupidly close at 10 p.m. or earlier, given the perfect time for a taco or burrito is the witching hour. The county's Mexis know this, which is why you'll always see Taqueria Tapatia and its late-night rival, Taqueria de Anda, busiest around midnight--the right time for an al pastor burrito or taco from the former.

Theirs is not a burrito of grace, but rather one of slow-roasted pork dripping with a day's worth of juices, of a flour tortilla cooked so it's stretchier than it is crispy--usually a violation of my burrito commandments but acceptable here because it keeps the juices from dripping all over your table. The tacos are similarly spartan, dressed up only with onions and cilantro, and one of the last places remaining in Orange County where they cost less than a dollar (though just barely, and the price has increased this year...). In both, the al pastor is tender, vaguely possessing pineapple and citrus flavors, and partners well with beans and rice--or, if you want it, shines on its own.

Taquería Tapatía's midnight al pastor burritos and tacos are available all day, but it's that dark-time business that has seen it grown from a tiny shack to one where it must keep two locations down the street from each other (one open until 2 a.m., the other open las 24 horas) to accommodate all comers. Hop in line, cabrones, and never again visit the Taquería de Anda heresy, even if their lines feature more trannies...

Taquería Tapatía, 202 S. Bristol, SanTana, (714) 972-9115; also at 1118 W. First St., SanTana, (714) 835-8168.

#100. Jerk Carnitas Torta at The Crosby
#99. Nem Nuong Cuon at Brodard
#98. Pork Chop Anything at Nice Time Deli
#97. Flying Saucer at Alberto's
#96. Frozen Custard at Marc Burger's in Macy's Signature Kitchen
#95. Collard Greens at Johnny Reb's
#94. Strawberry Shortcake from Job's Daughters
#93. Cuban Sandwich at DeSimone's Deli
#92. Lamb with Preserved Cabbage at Mas Islamic Chinese
#91. Baked Rice at Luc Dinh Ky
#90. Beans on Toast at The Olde Ship


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