Taste of Santa Ana was a flavorful, gut-busting adventure

The admission to this event was provided by Taste of Santa Ana but the opinions expressed here are my own.

The 5th Annual Taste of Santa Ana was a great way to sample restaurants in and around Santa Ana from the convenience of one place. Tasting events are all about pacing yourself and being strategic. Sometimes when you get there, these helpful tips can go out the window because: a) you didn’t eat all day before the event started and/or b) your nose takes over and your taste buds tell you to eat everything in sight.

Here are some of my favorite bites:

The Pizza Press presented Ice Cream Sandwiches – a scoop of their ice cream sandwiched between two fresh baked cookies. The cookies were soft-baked, so it didn’t crumble when I bit into the sandwich. So good!

Boudin SF presented Turkey Havarti Sandwich – turkey breast, Havarti, tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo on a sourdough baguette. I love Boudin’s bread! It brings back memories for me – my first visit to San Francisco for a family reunion back in the 1980’s and my days working for WDI when the Boudin Factory was being built in the Pacific Wharf area of Disney’s California Adventure. At the Taste of Santa Ana, they gave a hefty sandwich portion and it was just so good. I love turkey and Havarti together and their sourdough bread made with mother dough (nurtured over 166 years) really brings it all together. That’s why their bread tastes the same no matter which location you go to.

Conchitas and More presented their Fruity Conchita – a smaller version of a concha (traditional Mexican sweet bread), hence conchita, filled with vanilla ice cream mixed with Fruity Pebbles. I first tasted these delicious desserts at Viva Los Tacos a few months ago and just fell in love with them. These also bring back memories of my childhood. My dad worked in Santa Ana. On weekends, he would bring home fresh Mexican breads and pastries. I always liked conchas with their shell-like swirly design on top that came in different colors like pink, white, and brown. Every time I see Conchitas and More, they bring a smile to my face!

Mustache Mike’s presented Da Bomb – cherry, lemon, blue razzberry swirled Italian ice. Mustache Mike’s was one of the first food trucks around when I started my food writing career almost 10 years ago. Da Bomb is my absolute favorite flavor. It is so pretty like the American Flag in a cup – the flavors are like fireworks in your mouth from the sweet cherry, the puckery lemon, and tart razzberry. Another vendor that always puts a smile on my face!

Ritter’s Steam Kettle Cooking presented Clam Chowder. It is hard to find a good New England Clam Chowder now days, especially when you’re 3,000 miles away from the Atlantic coast. My favorite place for it was Jimmy’s in Seal Beach, but they closed a few years ago. What makes a good clam chowder is a roux-thickened cream base, uniformly diced vegetables like potatoes, onions, and celery, herbaceous seasoning, and LOTS of clams. Ritter’s has the best clam chowder around Orange County. All I need is a sourdough bread boule from Boudin and I’m set!

Hopefully, the YouTube video and these photos make you hungry and plan for next year’s Taste of Santa Ana!

For more information:

Miguel’s Restaurants Kicks Off 45th Anniversary on Thursday, June 7, 2018

The menu items in this post were provided by Miguel’s Restaurants but the opinions expressed here are my own. 
Since May 2017, I have been a loyal fan of Miguel’s Jr. Our home restaurant is in Orange, but they have 15 locations throughout the Inland Empire and Orange County. 2018 marks the 45th anniversary of their first restaurant, Miguel’s, opened in Corona, CA. Two years later in 1975, their first fast food concept, Miguel’s Jr., opened just two miles away.

Miguel's Jr. in Huntington Beach, opened in August 2017
To kick off the celebration, Miguel’s and Miguel’s Jr. Restaurants invite the community to Corona’s Citrus Splash Zone on Thursday, June 7 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This area was made possible by a generous donation by Miguel’s Restaurant owners Mike and Mary Vasquez in 2008. They will also unveil recent renovations to Citrus Splash Zone and present a re-dedication to the City of Corona. The first 300 guests to arrive at the Citrus Splash Zone will receive a complimentary famous Miguel’s Jr. BRC (beans, rice, and cheese) burrito from the new Miguel’s Jr. food truck.

Miguel's Jr. in Norco, opened in January 2018
Here is a look at some of my favorite items from the Orange, Huntington Beach, and Norco locations:

My #1 favorite is the California Chile Burrito with added shredded beef. The burrito has a chile relleno (Anaheim chile in grilled egg batter stuffed with cheese), refried beans, Spanish rice, and cheddar cheese. I have loved chile rellenos since I was in Pre-School and Kindergarten. My dad would pick me from Montessori and we would stop at the 7-11 down the street. While I played Galaxian, my dad would purchase and warm up chile relleno burritos for us for lunch. I know I am dating myself, but this was a routine for me and my dad. Miguel’s Jr.’s version brings back all of these childhood memories and tastes far better than those microwaved burritos. It is full of flavor from the green chile, gooey cheese, hearty refried beans, eggy batter, and tender shredded beef. The hubby always asks what I want and 90% of the time, it’s the California Chile Burrito! Rating: 5/5

My #2 favorite is Miguel’s Jr. Nachos. It come with your choice of shredded chicken or beef atop tortilla chips with refried beans, Española sauce, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, guacamole, and sour cream. I love nachos in general and I love the nachos at Miguel’s Jr.’s even more because of that shredded beef. It just has a hearty, beefy flavor and just works well with very gooey cheese and refried beans. In addition, the guacamole and sour cream contribute a nice creamy flavor. You can share it as an appetizer or just have it as your meal. Rating: 5/5

If you are looking for great tasting fast food, Miguel’s Jr. is the place to go for quick Mexican food. Congratulations on your 45th Anniversary, Miguel’s!!!

Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars

For more information:
Miguel’s Jr.
1325 Tustin St.
Orange, CA 92867
Hours: Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Parking: Free parking
Seating: Interior and exterior

If you enjoyed this blog post, check out these:

Miguel's Jr. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Melissa’s Deluxe Pantry Box Recipe Series: Quinoa Cranberry Pudding Parfait

Melissa’s Deluxe Pantry Box in this post was provided by Melissa’s Produce but the opinions expressed here are my own.