A Mexican beacon in a sea of look-alikes.
For anyone who lives in Orange County, Santa Ana is known to be a battleground for home style Mexican Cuisine. From the outside, Taqueria Zamora looks to be no different, but after years of patronage, I can easily say this communal eatery offers some truly special cuisine within its brick and mortar borders. Inside you will find an array of locals enjoying a taste of home: soccer fans cheering on their home team, nuclear families taking a break from making dinner, the occasional enlightened gringo (that’s me), and male comrades enjoying a bucket of Modelo. Taqueria Zamora isn’t worried about alienating if you aren’t familiar with their culture. The jukebox blares when a coin is donated, Chiclets are sold on the black market, a mariachi band regularly makes their rounds, and, best of all, the food doesn’t hold back one bit.
Every bit of food on your table will be packed to the brim with flavor. You can see in the picture above, the deep red broth of the menudo is so saturated with goodness that it clings to the edge of the bowl. Also, if you look closely at the verde salsa in the back left, its rustically blended peppers create black blemishes on its forest green base leaving some seeds as a forewarning to proceed with caution.
I usually order a wet burrito packed with carne asada pastor (you heard that correctly! I’ll get to it in a sec). For me, this is the best representation of what Taqueria Zamora specializes in, massive fresh flour tortillas, one-of-a-kind meat covered in full-bodied salsa and a generous helping of jack cheese. Dunking each bite into sour cream on the side and your sent straight to heaven. Now you’ve learned how Lord Carnitas’ secret to properly enjoying a wet burrito, use this information wisely.
Now, as mentioned before, the carne asada pastor is truly special. I still, to this day, have not found anything like it in all the restaurants I’ve been to. Feel free to comment if you find another place, I’m dying to know. Basically the name says it all, it’s carne asade marinated and cooked as if it was al pastor, which for the unaccustomed visitor is pork based. It’s just the best, and that’s all there is to say about it. I’m sad I don’t live near it anymore, so I write this to pass on my little treasure to all travelers passing through, this is definitely one you don’t want to miss.
For more information and a few more choice words about Taqueria Zamora, check out the review page on OC Weekly.