You could make a meal out of nothing but antojitos, the masa-based street snacks central to the kind of Mexican cooking found at roving loncheras and backyard pop-ups. The best of them might be the huarache, a ball of masa that’s pressed and formed into an oblong slab about the size of a shoe (huarache means sandal), then layered with beans and scattered with all manner of toppings.
Huaraches reach their full snack potential at Cancun Juice, the fast-growing local chain known for its range of Mexican-style fresh-pressed juices. Order its healthy vampiro, a crimson cup of carrot, beet, celery, orange, strawberry, banana, cantaloupe, apple, and pineapple juices, and pair it with one of the chorizo huaraches, which forgoes the lettuce and tomato and doubles up on beans and onion instead.
Eager fans chase Alebrije’s Grill, the famed pink taco truck that stalks the streets of Santa Ana, for its Taco Acorazado—and rightly so. But its huaraches are grand. The slab of fried masa is crisp yet remarkably tender, an almost fluffy foundation for the meat of your choice, plus lettuce, tomato, cheese, and crema. Opt for the surtido and you’ll get the best of the pig, carnitas cooked from fatty belly, crisp skin, and more. If you like to shop and lunch, Alebrije’s is one of the regular (and premier) vendors at the weekend Cypress College Swap Meet.
Mexico City is perhaps the country’s street food capital, and El Chilango No. 2 brings the flavors of the Distrito Federal. These huaraches have it all: a salad’s worth of lettuce and tomato, creamy avocado, a slick of beans, and crumbles of cheese, all atop crisp, pliable masa.
SWEET ENDING Cancun Juice is all about the fruit. It offers awesome Mexican fruit salads loaded with an entire farmers-market worth of produce, but you also can drink your dessert with one of the restaurant’s smoothies. Try the Chillyone for ultimate refreshment: a blend of watermelon, lime, pineapple, and cucumber.
locations in Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Santa Ana, and Tustin cancunjuice.net
multiple food truck stops, including weekends at Cypress College Swap Meet, 9200 Valley View St., Cypress
El Chilango No. 2
9828 Katella Ave., Anaheim