100 Favorite OC Dishes, #51: Tacos al Vapor at Tito's La Especial

Tito's La Especial in SanTana is best known for taking tacos for a steam bath. For the uninitiated, tacos al vapor are a special take on one of the world's most perfect foods. The cooks at Tito's steam their tacos for a good hour until ready. Don't worry: that's not how long the wait is, with the taqueria whipping them up fresh daily. Even if they weren't ready to order, they'd be well worth the exercise in patience!

Steaming the tacos turns the corn tortillas into an enticing shade of orange, a perfect Mexi meal tribute to this county of ours. And that's just upon first sight. Tito's La Especial offers up four choices: beef, potato, chicken and beans. First timers should give them all a try, but beef is the best! (Sorry, vegetarians). Free the tacos al vapor from their butcher-paper wrapping and enjoy the soft, succulent flavors that will make converts out of anyone. And that's just upon first bite.

Tito's La Especial tops the tacos with shredded lettuce. Pickled carrots, radishes, and jalapeños make for the perfect paper plate companions. But the real secret to taking the tacos al vapor experience higher are the plastic squeeze bottles of Tito's salsa. Dialing up the heat on the steamed tacos will make a sauna of stomachs, a pure gastro glow of contentment!

Tito's La Especial, 507 W. 17th St., Santa Ana, (714) 543-2900.

The List:

52. Knafeh at Knafeh Cafe 
53. Yakiudon Nikkei at Aji Limon
54. Yakitori at Electric City Butcher
55. Tsukemen at Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai 
56. Ten Zaru Soba at Tanakaya 
57. Pink Cloud Sandwich at Alicia's Cookery 
58. Homemade Super Nachos at Taqueria Los Santos
59. Strawberry Banana Croissant at Cream Pan 
60. Pla Duk Phat Phet at Vientiane Thai Laos Restaurant 
61. Risotto Con Burrata at Taverna 
62. Pineapple Float at Jollibee 
63. Szechuan Fries at Wok N Tandoor 
64. Banh Xeo at Quan Mii 
65. Chanko Nabe at Torizo 
66. Hamshuka from Hummus Bowl 
67. The Reuben at A Market 
68. Everything Cake from Slice Deli And Cakery 
69. Spicy Shrimp And Eggplant from Brio Tuscan Grille
70. Crawfish Mac & Cheese from The Wharf
71. Malasadas from Dough Doughs Hawaiian Cafe 
72. Salsas from Salsa Bandolera 
73. Chorizo Breakfast Bagel at Spigas Bakery and Cafe 
74. Whole Chicken Combo at Falafelo  
75. Toothpick Lamb at Sichuan Impression 
76. Hainan Chicken Rice at Baos Hog 
77. Fruit- and Ice Cream-Topped Waffles at Crave 
78. Garlic Shrimp Poke at Costco 
79. Chimichurri Fries at Piaggo on Wheels 
80. Torta Cubana at Cancun Juice 
81. Adobo Bowl at Irenia 
82. Garlic Noodles at Krave Asian Fusion 
83. Broccolini at SeaSalt WoodFire Grill 
84. Spicy Tuna Roll at Yard House 
85. Amber Roll at Orange Roll and Sushi 
86. Frito Chili Cheeseburger at Burger Parlor 
87. Maui Sunrise at The Original Banzai Bowls 
88. Meals from The Performance Kitchen 
89. Pizza-Sized Quesadilla at Los Sanchez
90. Filipino Brunch at EATS Kitchen And Bar
91. Mexican Chocolate at the Pie Hole 
92. Biscuits at James Republic 
93. Mushroom Flatbread with Kale and Kumquat Salad at Lemonade 
94. Mexican-Style Gelatins from Santa Ana's Gelatina Goddess 
95. Hot Pastrami Caesar Salad at Bruxie
96. Jalapeño Pupusas at Las Cazuelas
97. Meatball Sliders at Fresh Brothers
98. Buffalo Cauliflower at Mead's Green Door Cafe
99. Raindrop Cake at Sunmerry Bakery
100. Doughrito at Surfin' Donuts

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