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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day of the Dead at Rancho del Zocalo

Not a food post per se but if you are going to be at Disneyland sometime between now and early November be sure to check out the Day of the Dead-themed Zocalo Park adjacent to Disneyland's Mexican restaurant, Rancho del Zocalo.

According to the park's official press release: "The traditional Mexican 'Dia de los Muertos' is being observed [at] Zocalo Park in Frontierland Sept. 29 through Nov. 2 with banners, lanterns, floral displays, mariachi music, face painting and the 'calaca' skeleton figures that characterize the celebration." Sounds like a good place to eat your Mexican meal at.

Day of the Dead at Rancho del Zocalo Picture #1

Day of the Dead at Rancho del Zocalo Picture #2

Day of the Dead at Rancho del Zocalo Picture #3

flickr Slideshow

We now return you to our regularly scheduled food programming.

UPDATE: The Day of the Dead decorations will be up in 2010 as well through roughly the same date range as they were in 2007.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Taco Rosa Culinary Demonstration

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Ochoa's Chorizo Store

Ochoa's Chorizo Store
220 W. Warner Ave.
Santa Ana, CA 92707
(714) 850-0052

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This blog isn't just about Mexican restaurants in Orange County; it's also about Mexican food in Orange County, no matter what type of place it may come from. Reprinted here with permission is a review by Griffin Tamura of Griffin Eats OC and Griffin Sells OC of a store in Santa Ana that specializes in chorizo.

I was driving around Santa Ana recently when I saw a sign out of the corner of my eye. The sign read, "Ochoa's Chorizo Store. OC Best Homemade Style Chorizo" I wasn't able to turn my car into the parking lot fast enough. I went in the store and was amazed by what I saw. With the exception of a few bags of chips and packages of tortillas in the corner, this clean, little shop sells nothing but chorizo. I felt as if I had been transported to some kind of chorizo heaven. Racks and racks of fresh chorizo links were being made behind the counter.

(Photo from Yelp, used with permission from Ochoa's Chorizo)

Ochoa's Chorizo store offers 4 different kinds of chorizo. The 4 types are regular, spicy, chorizo verde (green) and chorizo de pollo (chicken). Other than the chorizo de pollo, all of the chorizo is made with ground pork. The chorizo is sold by the link or half link and ranges between $7.00-$7.50 per link. Each link is about 3 feet long and weighs about 1 1/2 lbs! On my first visit, I purchased some spicy chorizo. It was so good that I returned a week or two later and purchased about 6 lbs. of spicy and chorizo verde.

After my first visit, I came home and researched Ochoa's. Apparently the Ochoa family has been making fresh chorizo in Orange County for over 35 years. They used to sell the chorizo out of their home, but it became so popular that they needed to open a retail location. People apparently drive from all over Southern California to buy this chorizo in bulk. I don't blame them. This chorizo is so good that I would happily drive hours to buy some. Luckily though, it's only about a 15 minute drive from my house.

The chorizo from Ochoa's is not your typical grocery store chorizo that transforms into a neon orange, greasy mess when you cook it. This chorizo is made from lean ground pork. The chorizo crumbles and cooks up nicely, similar to lean ground beef.

(One link of chorizo verde, casing removed, cooking up in a pan.)

The flavor of the chorizo is absolutely amazing. If it's not the best chorizo I have ever had in my entire life, it's pretty darn close. Ochoa's will most likely be the only place I purchase my chorizo from now on. I highly encourage all of you to walk, run, drive or whatever down to Ochoa's as fast as you can to get this chorizo. Oh......and I know you all like to mix chorizo with eggs, but in my opinion this ruins it. Make yourself a burrito or some (corn tortilla) tacos with just chorizo, cilantro, diced onions, cotija cheese and your favorite hot sauce or salsa. It'll blow your mind.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Tortas Sinaloa

Tortas Sinaloa
701 S Harbor Blvd
Santa Ana, CA 92704
(714) 775-6000

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On the recommendation of Dave Lieberman (from the OC Weekly's Stick A Fork In It blog) I tried out Tortas Sinaloa in Santa Ana recently. I'd driven past it numerous times while traveling on Harbor but could only see its sign from the back, which made it look very bland and almost non-existent compared to the visually hard-to-miss Alberto's (or one of its spinoffs) nearby. When you enter from the front, however, and step inside you see that it's very festive. Jugs of aguas frescas abound and one of the employees seemed dedicated to keeping them all full. I loved the strawberries and cream agua fresca I got, also the carnitas taco with cilantro, onions, guacamole, and radishes. Of course if you go to a place called Tortas Sinaloa you have to try a torta and they have many to choose from. I got the "Fontana" torta with carne asada, panela cheese and avocado. The bun was huge and toasty and the pickled red onions added some zing. The red and green sauce helped too and when I got to the end of it I realized maybe I didn't need the taco I had started out with. It was still good and on future visits I want to try some of their other items such as their chorizo tortas and some of their other fruit drinks. Tortas Sinaloa earns a solid four Speedy Gonzales rating:

Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales