Taco Mesa is a new treat in food village

October 11, 2002


A major treat for aficionados of authentic Mexican cuisine is the

emergence in Food Village of Taco Mesa.

Launched a few weeks ago as an instant replacement to La Fogata,

the popular Orange County venue came as a big surprise, especially to

locals familiar with the concept created in 1991 by brothers Marco,

Ivan and Sergio Calderon.


On my initial visit, some enthusiastic patrons revealed their

delight that this local facility will save frequent trips to Costa

Mesa, where they often drove to savor the high quality and affordable


Noting the incredibly extensive menu, we soon discovered that

everything is prepared to order using fresh ingredients assembled

every morning. "No lard, MSG, preservatives, coloring or additives,"

the menu says.

The first impression is from glance at the complimentary condiment

bar, a bountiful array of every conceivable embellishment to further

enhance the taste treats awaiting. Large and small containers are at

the ready to heap with freshly chopped cilantro, onions, crunchy

cabbage relish, lemon and lime wedges and hot to mild salsas of

avocado, tomatillo and roasted tomato.

Starting with "breakfast served all day," there is so much to

admire about the inventive recipes that account for this newest

success in the thriving quintet of Taco Mesas. Blackened calamari,

shrimp, fish and chicken add an interesting dimension to tacos,

burrotes (big burritos) tortas, quesadillas, nachos and tostadas.

These are priced from $2.69 to $5.99, most served with pinto beans

and rice.

A popular $5.99 combination offers a choice of two entrees -- a

taquito, enchilada, taco or tamale. Flavorful enhancements to various

dishes include such tastes as chile mayonnaise, sour cream sauce, a

blend of lightly crumbled cheeses, pico mesa relish and crisp pumpkin

seed pepitas.

A favorite specialty is the plump chili relleno, a large

egg-battered pasilla pepper bountifully blanketed with fresh chunky

"cadillo" tomato sauce. At $3.69 a la carte, this treat oozes a

volcano of spicy chili jack cheese when pierced.

Twin corn tacos bedding fried pork carnitas, marinated al pastor

pork and carne asada are $1.69; red and blue corn tortilla tacos

crowned with shredded beef, chicken or vegetables, $1.99. Blackened

shrimp, fish, calamari or chicken in what are billed as New Wave

tacos are all less than $3. These top a red and a blue tortilla with

chile mayonnaise, sour cream and a blend of cheeses.

Other a la carte creations are stuffed jalapenos, enchiladas and

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