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Monday, February 23, 2009

El Gallo Giro - Review #2

El Gallo Giro
1442 S Bristol St, #A
Santa Ana, CA 92704
(714) 549-2011

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When it was time for me to get lunch earlier today I decided to drive down a stretch of Edinger that has quite a few Mexican restaurants and see which one I ended up at. This stretch is roughly between Jamboree and Bristol. On the way I saw six or seven restaurants I've been to before but I realized the one I've been away from the longest is El Gallo Giro.

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Part bakery/panaderia, part restaurant, part butcher shop/carniceria, and part juice bar, El Gallo Giro (Spanish for "The Blond Cock," or "The Blond Rooster"; UPDATE: Gustavo has left a comment saying it actually translates as "The Fighting Cock.") attracts a lot of local business. While I'm a big believer that it's hard to define exactly what "authentic" means when it comes to Mexican food I still think it'd be hard to see this place as being anything other than 100% authentic.

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I'm only going to scratch the surface in this review and cover more about them later but for this visit I saw a sticker on their carniceria sneeze guard advertising Sopa de Fideo con Pollo. To order, I placed my order in one spot, paid for it at their aguas frescas bar, and picked it up at another spot. I only figured out how it worked with help from the one English-speaking employee there and am not sure how I would've figured out the process otherwise. When I related this to somebody who called me on my cell on the way back they said, "It sounds like the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld."


Maybe it is like that but not because any employee there acts like a Nazi, but just because you're not likely to know how the line mechanism works without somebody explaining it to you.

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When you order your food they don't ask if you want it "for here or to go;" they just bag it up and if you want to you can open it up there and eat it at their very minimal counter space. I wanted to eat there but due to the crowd I took it back home with me. My soup had the little noodles in it that characterize Mexican fideo soup, a whole leg of chicken, and plenty of cubes of zucchini in a hearty tomato based broth. It also came with three potato taquitos and lime wedges and avocado slices. Made a perfect light lunch for a day that I already had an early dinner planned. Expect more El Gallo Giro coverage later...

14 comments:

Captain said...

There's one here in Fontana. It's not near as tightly run as the ones I've been to in OC and ELA. It can be hit or miss on the food.

Also, non-Spanish speakers can be lost in the shuffle, which is another way of saying intimidated. At least that's what a few non-Spanish speakers have told me.

ChristianZ said...

Yeah, I was surprised to a see a Caucasian, English-speaking girl working there.

Diamond Dog said...

This is place is one of the best Taquerias in OC and very authentic. Their fresh juices are amazing. They are open 24 hours. I love this place!

I heard their Cubana Torta is amazing but I have not had it. All the other stuff is good, but I would not say amazing. But they make up for it by being open 24/7 and by the variety you can get. The carnitas at Carnitas Los Reyes is better and Cheaper ($1.15 for a huge taco)

As far as non Spanish speaking people feeling lost in there, its not different than just about any other place you go to in Santa Ana now.

ChristianZ said...

The problem with me and not knowing very much Spanish was not so much with ordering my food but trying to figure out who could explain to me how the line, or lack thereof, worked.

Captain said...

My comment about non-Spanish speakers applied to the Fontana store.

melissa said...

Looks like a must try. I thought I had it bookmarked, but no... I just added it to my list. I imagine everything is very authentic here. Anita really likes it too and I tend to agree with her on Mexican food.

ChristianZ said...

I'll definitely be going back and trying more stuff and getting better pictures of the interior.

Griffin said...

I heart this place. I like to get their meats by the pound with a big package of their fresh tortillas.

ChristianZ said...

Yeah, they've got lots of good stuff there and I've yet to explore it all.

Gustavo Arellano said...

Christian, I don't know what Spanish-English translator you use, but a gallo giro is "fighting rooster." What you're thinking of is a gallo güero—and güero means "light-skinned," not blond.

ChristianZ said...

That's why this blog allows comments, so people can leave feedback and corrections. Thanks for the correction. I'd read somebody else saying it meant blond and on El Gallo Giro's takeout bag the coloration used for the rooster seemed to support that idea. But the correction is duly noted. Thanks.

Jackie Perez said...

I love going to El Gallo Giro! hands down it is THE most authentic Mexican food restaurant in town. Their food is great and they are often open late because they have customers at all hours!

ChristianZ said...

Thanks for the comment, Jackie. Yeah, this place has some good stuff.

Anonymous said...

well the food there is great!
but the customer service is poor. the cashiers always seem so irritated kinda kills your buzz.