The Bristol Food Court in Santa Ana is a long hallway of stalls that face each other, with tables down the middle. These tables are packed with families from morning until night, each chomping on whatever they might want on a particular visit, and the Bristol Food Court is a microcosm of what Mexicans really want to eat. There’s Chinese food, of course, in the form of Hon’s Wok; it’s passable, although its pho beats any other dish not named orange chicken. May’s Ice Cream and Juice does sell what it title advertises, but it’s more accurately a Mexican snack shop, with most families ordering a bag of tostilocos, the nachos-on-steroids from Tijuana that’s slowly infiltrating Southern California. Mariscos El Camarón Loco sells seafood; Pacific Bakery stocks wedding and quinceañera cakes; South Coast Pizza has an outpost here. But you have to go to the stalls with Texcoco-style barbacoa, Acapulco banana leaf tamales, and even Turkish food.
Perhaps no shopping plaza in Orange County is more Mexican than the one occupying the southwest corner of Bristol Street and McFadden Avenue in Santa Ana. It's an area anchored by a Northgate González Market and chockablock with the businesses... More »