Taco & Meat
Photo by Jessica CalkinsDiós
: The most popular order by Mexicans and gabachosalike. At Taquería El Granjenal (the finest taquería in the county, btw) carne asada is the best bet, blackened-but-juicy mountains of flank steak doused with liquid-fire salsa. 899 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 645-4964.Carnitas: Pork boiled in its own fat. Not recommended for those who have something to live for. For the rest of us, die at Carnitas Uruapán, named after the Michoacán city where carnitas reaches its apotheosis. 1150 N. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 535-7723.Tripitas: Most non-Mexicans shudder at the mere mention of menudo, the stomach 'n' intestine soup slobbered over throughout Mexico. At Tacos Arandas, however, guts come via a taco container, the pale, fatty innards as chewy as Wrigley's Spearmint but with double the pleasure. 305 S. Brookhurst, Anaheim, (714) 520-7935.Cabeza: Not brains, but the flesh of a cow's cheeks. Squishy like veal, richer than steak. At El Toro Meat Market, they snatch it straight from a steer's skull. Can't you just savor the decapitation? 1340 W. First St., Santa Ana, (714) 836-1393.Lengua:Taquería de Anda steams its beef tongue so exquisitely you'll want to confess to your priest that you thought for a fleeting moment you were Frenching a cow and liked it. 308 W. Valencia Dr., Fullerton, (714) 871-4211.Sesos:Otherwise known as the "People eat brains?" order. Like egg but with a wicked after-kick. The pride and joy of Taco Boy in Anaheim. Become a zombie today. 725 N. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 491-7156.Buche:Not stomach, but the meat immediately surrounding the stomach. More popular than it should be, buche is as close to lunching on rubber as sanitarily possible. At least Taquería Mexico softens your Goodyear taco somewhat. 108 W. Katella Ave., Orange, (714) 538-5772.Adovada:Roasted, watery pork. Better than it sounds at Q Tortas. 220 S. Bradford Ave., Placentia, (714) 993-3270.Chorizo: At Tacos Jalisco, they chop the chorizo so fine that you could snuff up the granulated pork through your nose. 480 N. Tustin Ave., Orange, (714) 771-5819.Al Pastor: Al pastor (spiced pork spun on a spit) is the name of the juego at Tacos Neza, a particularly divey taquería down the street from the Orange County Register'soffices. Marinated in the manner of Texcoco—ain't diversity great? Now we have Mexican restaurants that specialize in the food of Mexican city neighborhoods—it's orange with pork grease, spicy with salsa, and just saliva-inducing. 1320 N. Grand Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 834-1292.Al Vapor:Tito's La Especial is the master of the tacos al vapor format, the gloriously fatty style that steams tortillas and shredded beef together until it's almost like an ice cream sandwich. Ignore the drunks outside the nearby bar in the Harbor location, and they'll ignore you back. 503 W. 17th, Santa Ana, (714) 543-2900; also 701 N. Harbor Blvd., Ste. D, Santa Ana, (714) 554-9871.Barbacoa:Taquería del Amigo only roasts its barbacoa (barbecued lamb) on weekends, and even then, they're out of it by midday. But each teeny-tiny barbacoa taco is worth the seven-day wait—stringy, juicy throughout, and embellished Hidalgo-style, meaning the taco men follow the renowned barbacoa tradition of the central Mexican state by roasting their ewe with maguey leaves (the plant from which tequila is distilled) that contribute an intoxicating glow to the lamb's mellow charm. 11915 Euclid, Garden Grove, (714) 537-8740.Suadero: It was an adventure trying to find a taquería that hawked suadero (fried pork breastbone meat) tacos even five years ago. But now with half of Mexico living in these environs, any taquería that wants to survive lists it on its menu. Get yours at Taquería Guadalajara. 305 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana, (714) 953-1191; also 520 N. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 758-1370. never meant for tacos to contain anything other than meat—fuck the potato or beans 'n' rice variety that too many health-conscious grubbers swear by nowadays. And when I say meat, I refer to cow and pork, and occasionally lamb and goat, which can be prepared in ways more numerous than the hairs in Vicente Fox's mustache. The following choices are gospel in the taquería business, and the restaurants mentioned are la naranja's best places to find each.
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