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Friday, December 29, 2006

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen - Review #5

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen - Holiday Exterior

Appetizer: Chips and Salsa
Entree: Ensalada de Nopales
A la carte: Taco de Rajas
Drink: Horchata
Dessert: Chocolate Mayan Tart

On this, the first anniversary of the beginning of this "blog" (still not sure I like that word), I'm highlighting my other favorite place: Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen on the Circle in Old Towne Orange. There is still no sign out front but they get enough business that co-owner Ed Patrick (Gabbi's husband) feels they may never need one. The above picture should help you locate it though if you've never been before.

On this visit I finally tried an item from their menu I had eyed many times before, the Ensalada de Nopales, or "Cactus Salad" for us gringos. A nearby customer (I believe his name was Robert) asked what I had ordered and when i told him he said that he was a connosieur of nopalitos, having practically grown up on them in Texas. He said many Mexican restaurants in Texas serve nopalitos with scrambled eggs for breakfast.

According to the menu on their official site the Ensalada de Nopales is comprised of "Breaded cactus, diced chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, cotija cheese, avocado, romaine lettuce & chipotle ranch dressing."

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen - Ensalada de Nopales

On Ed's suggestion I rounded out my lunch with a Taco de Rajas (not pictured) on the side. Another item I've never had before, the Taco de Rajas are filled with "Melted Oaxaca cheese, roasted pasilla strips
& onions." I also found out today that they have a newly updated dessert menu and I love how all their menus come on a wooden board:

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen - Dessert Menu

I was tempted to try their new flan presentation (that'll have to wait for my next visit) but was even more tempted to try the Chocolate Mayan Tart, a pastry filled with a layer of ganache then topped with truffles made from Ibarra brand chocolate and resting in a cajeta (caramel) sauce, with a dollop of whipped cream and a mint sprig on the side:

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen - Chocolate Mayan Tart

When it was brought out to me my dessert was getting oohs and aahs from the other nearby patrons, with one of them (not Robert, somebody else) wanting to know what it was called. It was very good and very rich, probably a two-person dessert. I had to take half of it back with me, but every single bite transported me dreamily to Homer's Land of Chocolate:

Gabbi's easily maintains its five Speedy Gonzales rating:

Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales

Also see the review in Greer's OC (a site pointed out to me by Rafael, another customer I visited with earlier today while at Gabbi's).

Taco Rosa - Review #7

Date of Visit: December 26, 2006
Taco Rosa
2632 San Miguel Dr
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 720-0980

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Taco Rosa - Combinacion del Barrio

On this, the one year anniversary of the start of this blog, I present a quick review of the very first restaurant reviewed here: Taco Rosa. Once again I stopped at Taco Rosa on the day after Christmas, this time ordering their Combinacion del Barrio with a chicken enchilada, one of the few menu items there I haven't tried yet. This was accompanied by a mini tostada and escabeche as a complementary appetizer, cantaloupe aguas frescas to drink, and a baked cheesecake flan, this time it seemed to be resting in a strawberry cream sauce, and once again presented in a way I'd never seen before:

Taco Rosa - Cheesecake Flan

My latest information on their second location is that they are shooting for an opening day sometime in March. To read all our entries on Taco Rosa click on the following label:

Friday, December 22, 2006

Taleo Coupon

We are pleased to offer a coupon in conjunction with Taleo Mexican Grill in Irvine good for a complimentary appetizer or dessert item of your choice.

Before heading to Taleo be sure to check out our Deluxe Review giving an extensive rundown of their menu and environment.

Taleo Mexican Grill - Chips and Salsa

Taleo Mexican Grill - Outside Seating

Monday, December 18, 2006

Rancho del Zocalo - Review #1

Date of Visits: October 9 and December 21, 2006
Rancho del Zocalo
@ Disneyland Park

Official Site

Full Menu
Rancho del Zocalo - Signage

Working on a full-fledged review of Rancho del Zocalo inside Disneyland with plenty of pictures. For now I wanted to point out that they have the same holiday-themed pastel de tres leches cake that Cocina Cucamonga at Disney's California Adventure has except that here it looks more genuinely holiday-themed but is not promoted as much.

Rancho del Zocalo - Pastel de Tres Leches

Here's the rest of the pictures:

Rancho del Zocalo - Interior

Usually I'm pretty good at not putting up a review until it's really done. This review, however, is coming together piecemeal due to holidays, weddings in the family, etc. The first visit to Rancho del Zocalo for this review was on October 9 when I was at Disneyland with a couple of my brothers (Dave & Scottie, Lee & Lara and Emma & Eva & Ben and Ella, and Gary & Wendy) and their families and with Marissa, Avalon, Kobe, and Cashel who joined with us a little later in the day. It wasn't even me who suggested we eat Mexican food when it came time for dinner. It was Dave. Rancho del Zocalo is in Frontierland right next to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. It's hosted by Ortega (the people that make the canned salsa) and does the Mexican theme fairly well with a little imagery from the old American South-West thrown in.

The next visit was about two months later by which time I was a Disneyland Annual Passholder so I could do stuff like just go to Disneyland for lunch and take some pictures in the daytime (but I also rode Big Thunder Mountain just before leaving).

Rancho del Zocalo - Painting

I tried some of Marissa's citrus fire-grilled chicken which was surprisingly moist and tantalizingly flavorful:

Rancho del Zocalo - Grilled Citrus Chicken

For myself I ordered their Carne Asada/Red Enchilada Platter. The entrees are dished out for you when you order them.

Rancho del Zocalo - Carne Asada/Red Enchilada Platter

You can get kids' meals that are served on a dish shaped like the iconic Mickey Mouse ears:

Rancho del Zocalo - Kid's Meal

The most colorful tortilla soup I've ever seen:

Rancho del Zocalo - Tortilla Soup

Rancho del Zocalo - Red Enchilada Platter

Rancho del Zocalo - Rancho del Zocalo - Rancho del Zocalo -

Rancho del Zocalo - Exterior

Rancho del Zocalo - Exterior #2

I love this painting here:

Rancho del Zocalo - Cowboy Painting

When I went back the second time I got very creative and ordered the exact same entree I had ordered before, the Carne Asada/Red Enchilada Platter:

Rancho del Zocalo - Carne Asada/Red Enchilada Platter #2

Rancho del Zocalo - Old Mexican Door

Rancho del Zocalo - Fountain

Rancho del Zocalo - Patio

Just like Cocina Cucamonga in Disney's California Adventure and Tortilla Jo's in Downtown Disney, Rancho del Zocalo is not fantabulous but still a little better than you expect it'll be going in and therefore earns a four "Panchito" rating:

Panchito Panchito Panchito Panchito

Check out the complete photo album (30 photos so far) at flickr.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Hank's Mexican Food - Review #1

Date of Visit: December 12, 2006
Hank's Mexican Food
1087 Baker St
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 641-9222

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Hank's Mexican Food - Exterior

Shortest review ever: If you want good Huevos a la Mexicana go to Hank's. Hank's has been around since 1963 and in its current spot since 1984. Nice family run business.

Hank's Mexican Food - Tapestries

My brother ordered the cheese enchiladas:

Hank's Mexican Food - Enchiladas

They used to serve breakfast only at breakfast time but due to popular demand they now serve breakfast anytime. The Huevos a la Mexicana are "3 scrambled eggs fried with onions & tomatoes topped with salsa. Served with rice, beans & flour tortillas."

Hank's Mexican Food - Huevos a la Mexicana

Hank's Mexican Food earns a three and a half Speedy Gonzales rating:

Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales