Tortilla Tuesday: Tortilleria Ruben's, Santa Ana

Our series looking for the best OC-made tortilla continues…tune in every Tuesday for the latest installment!

The only problem I see in doing this column is that it takes commitment: most packets of tortillas contain three dozen, and although I eat tortillas with nearly every homemade meal, I don't eat at home enough due to the responsibility of this job. So a couple of weeks ago, I kicked off the series with some mediocre tortillas, trying to whittle down the packet until finally tossing them; this time, I bought a pack from Tortilleria Ruben's.

I actually didn't visit Ruben's, which is located off McFadden and Standard avenues in SanTana–and if you know SanTana, you'll know that's one of the city's few bona fide sketchy areas. I don't care–stick your nose to yourself, and you'll be fine–but mention this only for those who do…and if you do, you can purchase Ruben's tortillas at any El Faro carniceria (there's one in Orange, another in SanTana, and still another in Costa Mesa).

I bought this packet at the Orange location, lost in a sea of Guerrero and Mission bags. The little charro next to the rainbow grabbed me, another sign of the Irish-Mexican connection–but could it stand the rigors of a comal? .

The tortilla cooked well, not so fast that you had to almost immediately flip it and thus have it not completely cooked, but also not so thick that it's unwieldy. The bag says the tortillas inside are “100 percent stone ground,” and they taste it: that earthy grittiness of masa that had a couple of turns on a well-worn metate that tortilla machines have just never been able to replicate. When cooked properly, Ruben's tortilla doesn't split, maintains integrity when you bend it, and crisps perfect.

A fine tortilla this one is, one worthy of traveling to Standard for…if you care about shit like that. If not? Buy up!

Grade: B+

Tortilleria Ruben's, 1222 E. McFadden, Santa Ana, (714) 835-7205.

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