I've always enjoyed the shrimp and fish tacos at Baja Cachanilla in SanTana–each juicy, plump, on handmade tortillas and topped with one of the thicker, sweeter fish taco creams you'll find. It's better than Baja Fresh just a couple of blocks down Bristol, and Wahoo's a couple of blocks down further.
But I doubt I'll ever review this restaurant for This Hole-in-the-Wall Life, because its name pisses me off.
“Cachanilla” is a nickname for someone from Mexicali, and there are thousands of them living in Orange County. Besides being a border outpost, it's best known for its Chinatown, among the largest in Latin America and one that's nearly a century old. As a result, cachanilla cuisine sneaks in Chinese influences into its Mexican foodand vice versa, and I know a couple of Chinese restaurants owned by Mexicalians. Wonder why Mexicans love Chinese food? Read my other column–but honestly, Mexicali cuisine is wonderful.
But Baja Cachanilla offers no such regional specialties, other than its saltier-than-usual table salsa, recipient of a couple drops of soy sauce. The tacos, of course, are more common in the coastal regions of Baja California, not its desert. And the only distinctive dish on the menu–chilorio, a type of pork fried in chile–is from the state of Sinaloa and no longer offered. Sigh…
Baja Cachanilla, 1431 W. Warner Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 754-1990. Good shrimp tacos, though!