Everyone in SanTana knows that the best al pastor in the city (and therefore, Orange County) is at Ruben’s Tacos y Mulitas, the lonchera that parks on the corner of Bishop and Main streets during the day, then do-si-does over to Main and Walnut streets at night. But a couple of weeks ago, Ruben’s decided to put up a stand-alone al pastor spit in front of their storage facility near their Bishop/Main spot, and it’s become a scene unto its own.
Outdoor taco grilling has become a trend among Orange County taquerías for the past year, with restaurants trying to replicate the feel of Tijuana down to popup tents, buckets for seats, and even jars of homemade pulque (we won’t tell you where that one is…yet). But Ruben’s has it down to a science. Their menu is bare bones: just a couple of meats that you can get as a burrito or taco (no mulitas here) and sodas. But really, you want the al pastor: all succulence and charred sweetness, beneficiary of its slow pirouette on the spit. Each order gets sliced right there and then; you decorate with Ruben’s incendiary salsas. It’s best to eat when the sun has left, and all that illuminates the parking lot are two floodlights that bathe everything in halogen—just like Mexico!
Ruben’s only does their al pastor popups Thursday through Sunday, and until the meat is gone. Get there early—but then again, get there around 10, when the line is a good half hour and all of SanTana unites for their sacrament.
Ruben’s Tacos y Mulitas, on the corner of Bishop and Main streets, SanTana. No phone number.