Ah, Dos Chinos. Could there be a luxe lonchera more emblematic of these fair orange acres? A fusion of Mexican, Vietnamese, Thai and Korean flavors, served from a truck that likes to haunt breweries. Gustavo tried them and liked them; even The New York Times weighed in with their typical bungee-reporting style of coverage of Orange County.
The menu is simple: Your choice of meat (there are no vegetarian
options) in taco or burrito form. The burrito form is the better choice,
especially for lunch on the go, and the best type was the pork belly,
alternating strips of crispy skin and soft belly with herbs and a green
salsa, wrapped up in the usual burrito tortilla. It's rare that a
burrito keeps my attention longer than halfway through; this did. My
only suggestion: Make the crispy skin pieces a little smaller; a couple
of them were overwhelming.
The carne asada burrito with
sweet-and-sour guacamole and red salsa was not quite as successful; the
flavors were more muted and the burrito itself had some temperature
issues. The Korean-Mexican (“Garden Grove”) short-rib taco had an
interesting marinade on the beef but felt underdressed.
fries–the simple ones, potatoes with cotija cheese on top–were
excellent and an inspired choice for a stop at a brewery. A huge portion
for $4 (but $3 if you buy an entrée), stacked so that the tiny sheen of
oil that came off the top portion fell onto the lower portions, keeping
them hot longer than expected. The fries were crispy on the outside
and tender inside, and the banana sauce (yes, banana sauce–like spicy,
banana-y ketchup) was a hit. I'd seek out Dos Chinos just for the fries.
drink selection is limited to bottles and cans kept in ice outside the
window–and ca phe sua da, the Black Hole of Caffeine. Vietnamese iced
coffee ($3 alone, $2.50 with a meal) ought to be sold from street-corner stands on hot days, a way for our inland denizens to be
refreshed. Since it's not, selling it from a truck is a great idea. It's
not as bitter as some Little Saigon brews, and not as tooth-achingly
sweet as Lee's coffee–it's a nice middle road. One suggestion to put it over
the top: Use crushed ice instead of cubed, which would let the
coffee soak in, producing a signature granita for Orange County.
best thing about Dos Chinos is the price. Whereas the price for lunch at
some of these luxe loncheras has climbed into the double digits, that
pork belly burrito can be had for $5.50, a price that puts it in
excellent competition with the local brick-and-mortar shops.