[This Hole-In-the-Wall Life] Zucchini, Zucchini, Zucchini at A's Ace Burgers


Though the restaurant for this week's review is called A'S ACE BURGERS, skip the namesake product. It might be tasty, but it's also small, no different from any other you've had, and a bit expensive considering its size and so-so state. That it's the best non-In-N-Out burger in South County shows how sad culinary affairs are in God's Country—and it's divine Providence that placed an In-N-Out within walking distance of A's.

Instead, visit this dive for two products: fried zucchini and breakfast burritos. For just a dime more than a cheeseburger, you're rewarded with a bag filled with the slightly greasy squash. The fatty batter hardens into a sweet shell that breaks into shards, not crumbs, when you bite into a length. This golden-brown layer doesn't cleave to the zucchini inside, meaning you can conceivably extract the zucchini and enjoy two separate meals, although I'm not sure why anyone would ever do that considering the scalding your fingers will suffer. The vegetable is cooked as intended: enough so that its flesh is soft and sweet, but not to the consistency of apple sauce. Buy $10 worth of A's fried zucchini, and you can feed your next Super Bowl party without relying on Frito-Lay. Only one rip-off with this meal: The customary ranch-dressing dipping sauce costs an extra 75 cents.

The fried zucchini makes a perfect stuffing for the breakfast burrito. No matter when I've visited the A's in San Juan Capistrano—whether early in the morning before making the trek to Tijuana, or in the late afternoon for a snack on the way back—every fourth person seems to order these monsters of flour. Again, the best in South County—no match for Nick's in Seal Beach or Buena Park's Athenian Burgers #2, but the kind that do warrant a drive even in these gas-guzzling times. Whether you order it with steak, sausage, bacon, chorizo or ham, all the burritos are alike: flour tortilla crisped just so, steaming-hot meat, luscious hash browns, and eggs with the slightest hint of yolk flavor. Make sure to drizzle on some of the excellent house salsa.

Since A's exists in that strange South County nexus where Mexicans aren't just laborers, there's also a limited Mexican menu: tacos, quesadillas and steak picado—a dish so authentic I had to look it up in a Tex-Mex dictionary before ordering it. Succulent, cheap, and coming with tortillas and fries—you truly are in God's Country.


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