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Taco Maria Recommended by Travel Leisure


Another recognition for our favorite Taco place:

Heirloom-Blue-Corn Tacos: Taco María, Costa Mesa, California

Mall food conjures visions of bad stir-fry and soft pretzels. That is definitely not what Carlos Salgado, who trained at Coi and Commis, is doing at his Chicano restaurant inside Orange County’s shopping mecca, the OC Mix. He sources heirloom blue corn from Mexico, hand-presses tortillas, and stuffs them with everything from stone fruits and pork cheeks to chicken in ancho-almond mole. From $13.

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OC Register: Taco Maria in Best Places to Eat and Drink for Cinco de Mayo!

From left, Mango-Habernero, Prickly Pear Margarita, La Pina, Platinum Mojito and Cha Cha Margarita are some of the fresh California-Latin cocktails served at Cha Cha's Tacos and Tequila, Brea.    //ADDITIONAL INFO: A food review on the new gourmet Mexican restaurant Cha Cha in Brea. tres leche cake, flan with kahlua cream, salmon vera cruz, enchiladas combo trio, chicken flautas, chips and salsa and the mango margarita.  CINDY YAMANAKA, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER - CQ's

Check out Slide 30 Right Here!

Let’s be clear: Cinco de Mayo is not a major holiday south of the border.

Years ago, margarita-thirsty Americans took Mexico’s military victory over the French – the Battle of Puebla in 1862 – and turned it into an excuse for celebrating with tequila and tacos in the United States.

The event is now such a cash cow, non-Mexican restaurants want a piece of the action. I’ve seen vegan eateries and gastropubs hawking specials this year.

OC Register: 10 Best OC Restaurants To Celebrate a Significant Life Event


Taco Maria

Taco Maria is the finest fine-dining Mexican restaurant in Costa Mesa right now. A local boy who eventually became the pastry chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant called Commis in Oakland, chef and owner Carlos Salgado returned to OC a few years ago to sling tacos and burritos out of a lonchera he named after his mom, Maria. But the truck, as great as it was, turned out to be just warm-up to this brick-and-mortar. At his now nationally-acclaimed restaurant, also called Taco Maria, Salgado has traded tacos for the sophisticated Mexican of alta cocina. A meal here will come at a leisurely two-hour pace, each course served with its own set of utensils. With a small crew and working in a kitchen in full view of his customers at the OC Mix, you can see Salgado is where he was always meant to be. He prepares only eight dishes, each of them thoughtful and flawless, served four per person for about $75 a head. The thing to do, of course, is to bring a friend, have them order the other four dishes, and then share each one.

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Portola & Taco Maria featured as Orange County’s 21 Hottest Restaurants!

portola-theoremThe Los Angeles Eater gives high praise to two of our spots!

Orange County’s dining scene continues to improve, with year-over-year growth at both the high-end and in those often overlooked strip mall finds. From fine dining steakhouses with award-winning wine lists to casual import ramen shops and New York City street food franchies, here’s the best of what to eat in Orange County, right now.

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