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Friday, August 31, 2007

El Molino de Oro - Review #1

Date of Visit: August 25, 2007
El Molino de Oro
31886 Plaza Dr #D3
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 489-9230

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El Molino de Oro - Exterior

Following up on a recommendation made to me back in what seems like ancient times I finally went to check out El Molino de Oro in San Juan Capistrano last Saturday for a late lunch. The fact that it was solidly in between lunch and dinner didn't stop a steady stream of customers from coming to enjoy this authentic Mexican food.

El Molino de Oro - Warming Trays

The food is served cafeteria-style from warming trays but the food moved so fast they were always replenished with fresh supplies. There is nothing too surprising about the menu here: it might be described as "Mexican comfort food." I ordered a combo platter with two beef enchiladas and a carnitas chile relleno which they topped off with lettuce, tomato, salsa verde, and a drizzle of sour cream. I helped myself to a radish from a nearby bowl to add some potassium content to my meal:

El Molino de Oro - Combo Platter

They also have five flavors of aguas frescas on hand. When I was ready to pay for my food the girl ringing up my order asked if I wanted anything to drink. Paralyzed by the variety of choices but feeling the pressure of hungry people in line behind me I uninformatively blurted out, "Agua fresca." Having to guess what flavor I might be referring to the señorita asked, "Jamaíca?" (pronounced "huh-MY-kuh," not like the name of the country with the same spelling). I readily went with her suggestion and enjoyed the refreshing hibiscus-flavored "fresh water."

El Molino de Oro - Exterior

As an adjunct to the tortilleria they have a bakery next door that reminds me of the kind I learned of when little when mi padre took the family on culinary adventures in Los Angeles. There's all kinds of breads and pastries here. You can grab a pair of tongs and grab some goodies and load them on to a cafeteria-style tray and take them up to the register to have them rung up.

El Molino de Oro - Exterior

I went for one of my favorite treats from years past: a custard-filled "horn" pastry, a miniature dessert cornucopia which smoothly capped off my spicy meal:

El Molino de Oro - Horn Pastry

Even though I had never been there before my trip to El Molino de Oro felt like a visit to an old friend, one you always feel comfortable with, thereby earning a 4.25 Speedy Gonzales rating:

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Here's some additional photos:

El Molino de Oro - Bakery Exterior

El Molino de Oro - Exterior

El Molino de Oro - Exterior


Chubbypanda said...

Very nice. I like cafeteria-style restaurants. The food tends to be cheap and decent.

ChristianZ said...

Make sure to get the aguas frescas if you go. And some goodies from the bakery.

joy said...

Wow, *five* flavors of aguas frescas AND pastries? My kind of place, mmm.

ChristianZ said...

Yep, this is good stuff. A little gem in the SJC.

spike said...

Best Mexican food in South Orange County. The chili verde, chicken, breakfast burrito and salsa fresca are outstanding.

Rick Stein said...

Have been meaning to try this place. By the way, don't forget to review Las Golondrinas--a small family owned take out chain with one location in San Juan, one in Capo Beach, and I think they may have a couple of others. Authentic Mexican home cooking and cheap!

ChristianZ said...

Sorry, it took me forever to get to your comment. I'll definitely be covering Las Golondrinas sometime.