El Gallo Giro gets rightfully praised for their gargantuan tortas, their big tacos, their good made-in-store tortillas, massive panadería, and open-24-hours philosophy, but they get overlooked in the aguas fresca department. Not that the chain hides them: at their SanTana location, they have a full station serving as a bridge between the panadería and the bakery, with massive jugs of aguas frescas sweating with condensation, the actual drink frosty due to hosting a Bering Strait of ice cubes. Their horchata is fabulous, milky and redolent of cinnamon; the jamaica and tamarindo, great.
But where El Gallo Giro distinguishes itself from every other Mexican restaurant in la naranja is in the rare aguas frescas. A raspberry version is tarter than Clara Bow; a cactus drink sounds like a Mother's Market nightmare but is sweet and healthy; a agua de chia (made from chia seeds) has a surprising toastiness. But the most legendary of the chain's seasonal aguas frescas is agua de plátano, a drink made with sweetened milk, and honest-to-goodness chunks of banana sieved so that you get only the occasional strand.
Sí, this is a column about food; yes, our Drink of the Week column is for beverages. But this agua de plátano is as hearty as a meal, almost as thick as a milkshake, but with a consistency closer to liquid than froth that makes it easy going down but filling once it's inside your panza. The flavor is unadulterated banana, all about a creamy, almost-Bananas Foster aftertaste. And since a small drink at El Gallo Giro is as large as a Big Gulp, you can drink this for lunch and stay satiated the rest of the day. Be warned, though: El Gallo Giro pulls its specialty aguas with little notice, just to keep you coming every day until it's gone–Mexican viral marketing