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Friday, February 29, 2008

Tacos Ensenada Lake Forest

Tacos Ensenada Lake Forest
Tacos Ensenada
24601 Raymond Way
Lake Forest, CA 92630
(949) 583-7711

In OC, south of Santa Ana, Tacos Ensenada is probably as close to authentic Mexican food as you can get. When you walk through the doors of this place, you know you're in for an authentic Mexican experience because you'll notice that not only are all the signs in Spanish, but almost all of the people eating here are Mexican. If you don't speak any Spanish, and aren't very familiar with Mexican food, you may want to steer clear of this place. If not, you may find that you've ordered yourself a big bowl of stewed goat meat or a platter of octopus doused with lime. (Don't get me wrong, these things may be delicious, but if you're looking for stuff they sell at El Torito, you may as well leave). There are a wide variety of things to order here. They offer homemade soups, burritos, tacos, ceviches and more. I usually tend to stick with the tacos though.

I decided to order three tacos ($1.99 each). I got one carne asada(grilled steak), one chorizo(mexican cured pork sausage) and one lengua(cow tongue) taco. I grabbed my number, set it down on a table and made a trip to their extensive salsa bar. Their salsa bar has six different salsas ranging from mild to hot(and it's actually pretty hot). On the bar you will also find limes, onion, cilantro, crushed red pepper, toasted chile de arbol, pickled jalapenos with carrots and probably more stuff that I can't remember. Once again, a warning to those of you out there looking for a "La Salsa" type meal. You will not find any Americanized taco toppings on the salsa bar. No lettuce, no tomatoes, no cheese.
Tacos Ensenada salsa bar

I sat down and was immediately greeted by a gentleman bringing me a basket of fresh tortilla chips. I scarfed some of them down with their hottest salsa. My tongue was already on fire by the time the food arrived. The food arrived quickly. Six standard size corn tortillas (2 per taco) were topped with large mounds of meat. The tacos here are served completely plain, just meat and tortilla. This gives you the opportunity to completely customize your tacos with all the great stuff you grabbed from the salsa bar.
Tacos Ensenada chorizo, carne asada and lengua tacos

I covered my tacos with the standard combo of salsa, cilantro, onion and lime. The first lucky taco to enter my mouth was the lengua taco. The meat was juicy, tender and full of flavor. Lengua at its finest. The second taco, the chorizo, was even better. Upon eating this taco I kicked myself for not just ordering three chorizo tacos. The flavor was strong but delicious and the chorizo wasn't too greasy. It was absolutely fantastic. It reminded me of chorizo tacos that I got from a little dirt road stand in Guadalajara. The last taco, the carne asada, was good but nothing special. The grilled steak was lightly seasoned and fairly tender. It was good, but I would have much rather had another chorizo taco.

Tacos Ensenada on Urbanspoon

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