Lindo Michoacán #2: Fond of the Fonda
Here's the dirty secret about Mexicans in Orange County and Mexican food: most of us nos vale madre that so many regional treasures exist in these parts. If you're from Jalisco, you're rarely going to have a jones for Pueblan food; sinaloenses don't give a flying fuck about chilango cuisine. And if any Mexican not from the Yucatan enters a yucateco joint, they're going to immediately walk out and mumble that kibbeh and black beans aren't authentically Mexican.
So when we want Mexican food at a restaurant, we go to one of two spots: a taquería or a fonda, a genre of restaurant in Mexico that signifies the menu is a free-for-all, the type of place at which you can expect the food you'd eat at your mami's house and strolling musicians just might stop in to see if anyone needs to hear "El Ojo de Vidrio" while eating their chimichanga. Such restaurants have dominated Mexican dining in la naranja for decades, and each region has its titans—La Cocina de Ricardo in San Juan Capistrano, Taquería Zamora in SanTana, El Camino Real in North County. And in the past couple of years, Lindo Michoacán #2 has established itself as the to-go Mexican fonda in Anaheim, the place my parents, cousins and friends go for a Sunday brunch or weekday dinner.
The menu could have been carbon-copied from every third Mexican restaurant—tacos, burritos, combo plates that aren't of Tex-Mex extraction, but rather Mexican accommodations to gabacho expectations of Mexican food. What differentiates Lindo Michoacán #2, however, is the quality—and while I know that's a clichéd thing to say, that my siblings swear by this place is proof enough of its worth (trust me: I've invited them to eat Oaxacan food, and they dismiss it as not being Mexican). The tortas are gargantuan; the bisteck, juicy and not charred like carne asada (which is also great here). Weekends bring lines of mothers with pots in which they take menudo home to their children—again, the same scene you'll find in fondas across Orange County. The only real surprise is the tacos made from queso de puerco: honest-to-goodness headcheese, fatty and chewy and funky and great, one of the few such tacos in OC.
Is it the best Mexican restaurant in Orange County? No. Does it serve great Mexican food? Damn straight. Sometimes, all you want from life is a big ol' plate of meat, beans and rice. Oh, and where's Lindo Michoacán #1? It burned down a couple of years ago in SanTana and never reopened. Further proof that Anaheim values the good while SanTana lets it drift away . . . pendejos!
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