Monday, May 3, 2010

Mexican Restaurant Picks in South Orange County

With Cinco de Mayo on the horizon, I'm taking Monday afternoon's blog post to give you a few ideas on local Mexican restaurants in our neck of the woods. I understand the historical significance of this holiday, but what I struggle to understand is how we've adopted this day into our calendar of events when, for the most part, Mexico has brushed it aside. But, I can definitely appreciate that we just love to eat, and any excuse to finish off a pint of guacamole and demolish a bag of Tostitos 'Scoops' is a good excuse. Seriously, once you start you just can't stop. So here are 5 of my picks, in no particular order, to get you amped up for the 5th:

1.  Taqueria Y Tortilleria El Campeon - San Juan Capistrano
Cheap and delicious. Go here if you've got a taco craving but just can't bear to part with your flip-flops and gym shorts. This no-frills place is part restaurant, part bakery, part market. They offer fresh, authentic Mexican food like big, fat, stuffed tacos; traditional Mexican pastries (seriously large cookies); aguas fresca (fruit flavored water); horchata (my favorite); fresh baked tortillas and chips; and a side of pork rinds. Dine in, take out. Do it.
(949) 240-3141 or (949) 489-9767
31921 Camino Capistrano #15
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

 The tofu mushroom burger at Taco Loco is a big hit among locals.

2.  Taco Loco - Laguna Beach
Park yourself on a Paul Frank bar stool and dine roadside on PCH. Can you picture yourself with the sea breeze in your hair and a taco in your hand? This cozy, hippie-inspired place sets itself apart with a lot of vegetarian and vegan options. Try a potato taco. Yum! And, a major plus - they're open late.
(949) 497-1635
640 S Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

3.  La Tiendita - San Clemente
La Tiendita is an awesome little hole in the wall right near the beach, plus it's inexpensive and super tasty. Try their famous $1.99 breakfast burritos or a couple of crispy fried tacos.
(949) 366-2924
114 Avenida Victoria
San Clemente, CA 92672

4.  Las Golondrinas - San Juan Capistrano, Capistrano Beach, Laguna Niguel, San Clemente, and Mission Viejo
With locations all over south county, you'll be hard pressed to miss this place. Since 1984 the Galindo family has been serving up some of the freshest, and best tasting Mexican food in town. The OC Gazette staff are avid consumers of their horchata, fresh baked chips, fresh guacamole, and carne asada tacos. Visit on a Tuesday for half price tacos!
*visit their website for location information

5.  Rose Canyon Cantina & Grill - Trabuco Canyon
Located inside the windy canyon, Rose Canyon Cantina & Grill has a beautiful view and a super cute patio (fellas, take note that this place serves as a great date night spot). Order a tasty margarita and keep the chips and salsa coming! The ambiance is so serene; you won't be disappointed.
(949) 766-6939
20722 Rose Canyon Road
Trabuco Canyon, CA 92679
Let me know what your local faves are! Whatever you do on the 5th - just behave yourselves, and try not to do this:

- Sara
Watching this little beauty...

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