So when I was half way through my previous posting on Anthony Bourdain, and watching my daily dose of No Reservations online, I got a little craving for TACOS! And not just any kind of taco; not your run of the mill, chain restaurant flour tortilla taco. O no, no, no, I wanted a taco that hit a little closer to real deal. (Plus I'm an advocate of corn tortilla anyways...)
It really is a shame that there aren't street food vendor's on American streets. I think the closest thing we get to street food would be taco trucks...and believe me it's a lot better than your local taco bell...A LOT BETTER and it's affordable! And let's face it, half the fun of eating at a taco truck comes from sitting curb-side with maize tortillas filled with lengua (cow tongue) or whatever kind of meat you like, salsa verde, onions, cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and a side of radish for a buck twenty five each to brighten up your day. Yes folks, I did say "a buck twenty five", did your jaw drop or what!? And this place that some friends of mine discovered on a late night snack run (yes, it's open 24 hours) has tacos that are reminiscent of taco trucks and worth the travel.
I decided to take a little 4 mile drive to one of the best taqueria places I've had since I've been living in Orange County. Taqueria De Anda in Santa Ana. YUMMMM!!! Now, I grew up with taco trucks in San Francisco and if you love taco truck tacos, man is this the place for you. Sure Taqueria De Anda looks a little drab on the outside...and sure, it's definitely not your five star restaurant on the inside either, BUT C'MON it's a taqueria for Pete's sake and all that's on my mind when my stomach is roaring "TACOS!" is this place.
Nestled just beyond a set of railroad tracks in Santa Ana California, this place serves some of the most authentic tacos I've had thus far. The large dark beige building with a children's play train at the far right of the building makes it look somewhat like a McDonalds, and the interior isn't that far from it either. The large white trimmed windows light up the red tile floors and the plastic booths and tables inside the dining area. The lengua, cabesa, pollo, and carne esada are put in metal tubs that are heated with boiling water beneath it; similar to the way food is kept warm at a buffet. Each taco is made with two small maize tortillas and stuffed with meat, cilantro, onions, and salsa. Nothing fancy, nothing frilly; strictly practical. To the left of the cash register is a salad bar with two different types of salsa, radishes, key lime wedges, cilantro, and onions (I myself, opt for a TON of limes) And as a refreshment order up a nice big 'ole cup of Horchata (rice milk).
Taqueria De Anda I would say is more of a Mexican food "joint" rather than a "restaurant". I know, I know, "joint"? YES! That's right. A food "joint". Although the word makes this establishment sound unreliable and disgusting (and it may seem so when you walk in) I believe you have to EARN the title of a food "joint". I associate the word with "authenticity" and "deliciousness"not to mention "affordability". When a taqueria serves lengua and cabesa (tongue and head, usually of a cow) and cooks it properly, it's worthy of five stars from me, and this place has go it!
The picture I supplied isn't of a taco from Taqueria De Anda, I nabbed it from http://www.bunrab.com/dailyfeed/dailyfeed_images_feb-07/df07_02-19_tongueo.jpg.
Disappointing I know. It looks similar, a little more dressy and styled than the real thing, but I was already 3/4 of the way done with my last taco before it even occurred to me that I should take a picture...but next time I go...I'll make it a point to remember!