Katie’s Munchies in Westminster Does High-End High School Food

There’s nothing subtle about the food at Katie’s Munchies, and why should there be? It looks and operates as if a bunch of seniors at La Quinta High School decided to break into the cafeteria and slap their favorite things together back at someone’s pad. Hash brown pork tacos are just that: crispy hash browns topped with char siu, a secret sauce and guac, all put inside tortillas—surprisingly good. An adovada burrito combines Filipino with Mexican in a way not seen since Manny Pacquiao’s glove met the face of the legendary Marco Antonio Barrera. And udon spaghetti with meatballs is a prep dream: thick noodles slicked with chile oil and cooked with enough garlic to permanently put a hole through your nasal cartilage.

Katie’s is fusion run amok, but it doesn’t aspire to the rarified tastes of Roy Choi—or even the Viet-bro stylings of Dos Chinos and the Afters guys. This is the food of third-generation Vietnamese-Americans, the kids who speak American fast food and converse in it with the Latinos and other Asians they’re still growing up with, the type who’ve already moved past Snapchat and are now into MySpace again. They seem to be the main customers, gathering in a tiny building whose patio is nearly as big as the restaurant itself, with an interior that resembles what happens when a dad tries to create a man cave but quits after smelling the Vienna sausage fried rice being cooked up. Although the owners and workers are Vietnamese, the closest you get to Vietnamese food here is chrysanthemum tea; everything else operates from a noodle/burger/taco/burrito base in which carbs are sacrificed in the name of big, tasty portions.

The meals don’t always work. The meatballs in the udon spaghetti are obviously store-bought, bland and as dry as sawdust. I liked the intent of the sea salt-spiked horchata, but the horchata itself had a flat flavor. And the cooks need to learn how to properly heat a tortilla in order to unlock all the flavor. But for a place where most of the dishes go for no more than $6, Katie’s does exactly what it advertises: munchies to the max. And the Spam wasabi roll? BRUHH . . .

Katie’s Munchies, 10051 McFadden Ave., Westminster, (714) 531-1300.

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