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SPECIAL TOPICS: Taco TuesdayDisneylandMenudo

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Disney's California Food & Wine Festival

I knew Disney's California Food & Wine Festival was coming up soon. They have one every year. But when the website for it went up this year I went to it to see if there would be any facet to it with a Mexican bent but I couldn't find anything. Then yesterday a neighbor of mine who is a cast member at Disneyland left a cast member reference guide for the festival on my doorstep. I rifled through it quickly expecting to confirm that there would be no Mexican food featured this time. But I found out that on Monday, April 27, at 11:00am there is going to be a Mexican cooking demonstration on the Chef's Showcase Stage at Sunshine Plaza. How fortuitous that I was already planning on being at Disneyland that day with a group so expect some pictures, or even try to make it there yourself.
Okay, so I went earlier today and watched the demonstration. Chef Francisco Origel from the Napa Rose restaurant at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel demonstrated how to make halibut ceviche.





The Festival continues through June 7 and I have found out there will be more Mexican cooking demonstrations.

During the Food & Wine Festival the Cocina Cucamonga restaurant at Disney's California Adventure is featuring two special items, Chicken Tamales and a Dulce de Leche Empanada with Tropical Fruit:



UPDATE (May 11, 2009):

Went back today for the Tortilla Jo's cooking demonstration. Chef Torr Kelso showed how to make huitlacoche flan:



Remaining Mexican-related cooking demos are:

  • May 20 @ 11am (Tex-Mex)
  • May 24 @ 2:30pm (Celebrate Mexico)
  • June 5 @ 12:30pm (Celebrate Mexico)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Knott's Fiesta Mexicana

"Knott's Berry Farm will be filled with the sights, sounds and delicious tastes of an authentic Mexican Fiesta with music, dance, activities, and foods honoring the rich culture of our Mexican communities during the weekends of April 25 through May 10. Amidst vibrant banners, colorful Mexican serapes and bright piƱatas, Knott's Fiesta Mexicana will offer a full day of entertainment and activities for the entire family."

Official Site (from 2008)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Alberto's Huntington Beach

Near Southeast Corner of Magnolia and Garfield
Huntington Beach, CA

Official Site
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After driving past this place a dozen times, getting an e-mail from somebody wondering when I'm going to cover it, having some employees at my optometrist ask if I was going to cover it, seeing that people have been searching for information on it, and getting a phone call from my cousin about it, I decided to finally go to the new Alberto's in Huntington Beach.


This location had been a Taco Bell since the early 1970's, possibly even earlier, up until around 2002 when it became a Subway and it just opened up a couple weeks ago as Alberto's. The building certainly makes more sense as an Alberto's than a Subway.



I met up with my cousin Scott for a very impromptu lunch. He got the carne asada torta:


And I got the camarones empanizado, breaded fried shrimp with tartar sauce, rice and beans, and pico de gallo:


For dessert they have plain, cream-filled, or strawberry-filled churros:


Oh, and they are open 24 hours.

Monday, April 13, 2009

El Chavito Tacos

Tacos El Chavito
Morgan Lane (Monday thru Friday)
Queens Lane (Saturday & Sunday)
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

No known official website.
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(This is NOT the only taco truck in OC we have covered. Click HERE or on the 'taco truck' label below for our complete coverage of Orange County taco trucks.)

El Chavito Tacos

Having been helping out Francisco's Automotive recently with their website venture I made a stop about a week ago at a nearby taco truck. You can see a satellite photo of this truck in the image above.


El Chavito's signature thing is selling two tacos for one dollar. They've got numerous kinds of meat to choose from, including "safe" (by gringo standards) meats and "adventurous" ones.


You give your order to the owner who is inside the truck who pokes his head out of the little window like the gatekeeper to the Emerald City of Oz.

Francisco himself got his usual carne asada torta:


I ordered a pescado, a buche, and an al pastor taco. Perhaps they are used to making tacos only in multiples of two because in addition to the three tacos I ordered they threw in a carne asada taco as well.


Made with tender, finely chopped meats, topped with fresh cilantro and onions and a red salsa and garnished with lime, carrots, and radishes these tacos are inexpensive yet flavorful, priced to satisfy any size appetite. I was fine with four tacos but could see some people getting six or eight or more.


Here's a picture from when I went back and got a lengua, a carne asada, a carnitas, and an al pastor taco and a pineapple agua fresca:


The grand total for it all was $2.

UPDATE (May 18, 2010):

El Chavito just debuted a new truck:




Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Taco Rosa April 2009 Specials
& Gabbi's Quick Stop #9

Okay, so I'm doing a bit of a mashup here but I've been to Taco Rosa and Gabbi's recently (what else is new?) so thought I'd mention some of their items that may only be available for a limited time.

Taco Rosa began a monthly specials program in September 2007 and I tried and chronicled pretty much everything they offered, with the vast majority of these items being brand new, while a few may have been briefly offered as daily specials before. When September 2008 came most of the monthly special items had been seen before and I still liked them all but didn't have much reason to mention them again here. Now that April 2009 has come along this is the first month in a while where all their special items are brand new.


First up is a Mayan white bean soup with spinach, carrot, plantains and potato chunks.




For entrees there is an excellent pork chop dish with a cilantro/pepita pesto sauce and roasted cactus strips and a caramelized apple taco (above) and duck enchiladas:



For dessert they are offering a spin on churros I'd never seen before. These churros are served with white chocolate mousse, dark chocolate chips and mint leaf shavings. I didn't know what to think about mint on churros but actually quite enjoyed a subtle hint of it.


I should mention that coupons for Taco Rosa have been appearing pretty regularly in The Orange County Register.

Still no sign at Gabbi's

Earlier tonight I met up with Jenn and Evan Vincent of the OC Arts and Culture website for dinner at Gabbi's. I wanted to talk with Gabbi and Ed (husband and wife co-owners of Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen) and introduce them to Evan and Jenn but found out they are on another one of their trips to Mexico conducting further culinary research. Looking forward to seeing what recipes they bring back.

I did get to try their special Kobe beef dish with amazingly tender meat, served with a side of guacamole, corn, nopales, and onions, along with Gabbi's excellent handmade tortillas:


Jenn and Evan shared the chocolate chili creme brulee which they thoroughly enjoyed:


While I got the capirotada (bread pudding) but had it presented in a way I had never seen before:


The encroaching darkness of the evening reduced the quality of my photos but here's a slideshow of other Gabbi's dishes in better light:

Roundup #19

This is earlier than I wanted to do another roundup entry but I have a number of little things to mention:
  1. A handful of Mexican restaurants will be participating in the 14th Annual Taste of Anaheim on May 14th at the GardenWalk. Official Site
  2. The OC Register's Fast Food Maven has a new blog entry about her visit with the CEO of Real Mex Restaurants.
  3. Not Mexican related but I did get an e-mail stating that the Irvine Spectrum is now offering Wi-Fi service; I think it works if you're at the Rubio's in their food court
  4. The 16th Annual Share Our Selves Wild and Crazy Taco Night will take place on Thursday, April 30. I'm hoping I'll be able to cover it. Official Site
  5. The current issue of Orange Coast has more info about local Mexican restaurants than usual, including some that have been covered here, some I've eaten at and need to write up the reviews for and some I'm hoping to get to soon.

Mexican restaurants I've eaten at for non-review purposes since the last roundup entry include: Tacos & Co., El Farolito, El Pollo Loco, Azteca's, Cocina Cucamonga, Sharky's, Taleo, Taco Rosa, Alexa's, Anita's, Molcajete Grill, Del Taco, La Sirena Grill, Ernie Jr.'s Taco House, Rubio's, El Torito Grill, Taco Bell, Wahoo's, Taco Factory. But when is an OC Mexican restaurant going to add this to their menu:

Speaking of adding things to menus La Salsa just added a Green Chile Chicken Burrito:

Non-Mexican restaurants I've eaten at since the last roundup entry include: Funashin, Chick-Fil-A, Rockin' Crepes, Duke's at the Pier, Go Roma, Ebisu, Bengal Barbecue, J&J's House of Subs, Dave & Buster's, Athens West, TGI Friday's, Panera Bread, Lucille's Smokehouse BBQ, StoneFire Grill, and The Chippy.

In the roundup entries I tend to put some of the funny Internet searches that people do that lead them to this site. Here is the latest batch:

  • "how to win a taco eating contest"
  • "abandoned warehouse in orange county ca"
  • "purple picked mexican food"
  • "does taco bell cater?"
In answer to the question, "Does Taco Bell Cater?" I would say, "No, but they do host weddings."

After watching the video you can read about Taco Bell's latest Crime of the Week at the OC Weekly.

Longtime readers may remember that I try to take April of each year off from going to Mexican restaurants for review purposes so I can (try to) tend to various maintenance issues on the blog and catch up on my backlog of reviews. This April is no different but rest assured there's plenty of new content coming. Thanks for your faithful readership.