There are stupid politicians, and then there are the pendejos who make up the SanTana City Council. Last week, they heard a proposed ordnance that would effectively destroy the city's famous taco truck scene, declaring street food a threat to public safety and a bane to children. Did I mention the council is all Latino and Democrat?
To outlaw loncheras in SanTana is like banning firepits from the coast: NIMBYism at its worst, government meddling at its best, and something all Orange Countians, regardless of political affiliation, can rally against. So for the next month, as the SanTana council-chavalas deliberate what to do, I urge all of ustedes gentle readers to patronize the Golden City's taco trucks. Go to the classics: Alebrije's, Ruben's Mulitas, Mariscos Los Corales. Hang out with the new wave: Tacos Ayutla Oaxaca, Los Reyes del Elote Asado, El Zaga. And stop by La Carreta to enjoy one of the best aguas frescas in town—barley water?!
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Sí, señor. It's nutty, creamy and a great way to wash down any item on the eclectic menu. There is no fealty to a particular region: La Carreta nails specialties from Cuernavaca (expansive picaditas, cheesy beso de monja), Mexico City (giant quesadillas stuffed with huitlacoche or flor de calabaza), even Jalisco (the flautas de pollo are prepared fresh and have a crunch and golden shine like peanut brittle). Even the taco list sneaks in some specialties: choriqueso (greasy chorizo bound together by quesillo), trompa (pig snout—think pork belly meets Jell-O) and a taco de nopal that every vegan in OC should eat, if only so they can finally shut up about how there's no local vegan Mexican food.
La Carreta is good, honest food—but if the SanTana City Council has its way, it'd have to lose its scrolling marquee, park somewhere else, and not be able to restock while in business. Taco lovers of Orange County, unite! Order and order again at La Carreta and its peers. And remember what activists in Los Angeles (which recently legalized street vending) said a decade ago: Carne asada is not a crime.
La Carreta, 1155 W. Central Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 605-5575.