Ask any Chef in Orange County what their favorite restaurant is and Taco Maria is clearly on their TOP 5 list.

I’ve bookmarked this SOCO | OC Mart Mix establishment for years now and finally got a chance to stop in and sample their prix-fixed brunch menu on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  Here’s what they’re cookin’ up at Taco Maria these days…

 

First Course

Molletes with grilled bread, refried beans, queso fresco, salsa tatemada, huitlacoche butter

I know what you’re thinking… refried bean spread??? While the beans hardly look appetizing, one crunchy gooey bite later and you’ll be hooked y’all.  The bread is just outta this world, crispy on the outside, warm and chewy on the inside.  Their salsa spits hot fiyah and you definitely need a dollop to take this dish to the next level.  Amazingly memorable.

Yogurt and Fruit with coconut-poppy seed granola, yogurt mousse, cherimoya jam

Not yo’ mama’s yogurt parfait guys.  The frothy milky whipped mousse is like biting into flavored air, so light, refreshing and perfectly anchored by the sweet yet tangy jam.  Omg I could eat this every morning for breakfast. So delish!

Second Course

Anson Mills oatmeal with ember-roasted strawberries, vanilla butter

While my diet has been low-carbs for a minute now, I devoured this entire bowl in one lick.  I never imagined I’d enjoy oatmeal so runny; however, now I feel like I’ve been making it wrong all these years! The gooey strawberries were the perfect complement with a hint of vanilla in every bite.

Meyer Lemon- Buttermilk Pancakes with whipped butter, winter citrus, thyme maple syrup

The pancakes were no larger than the palm of my hand, but the flavor was so densely packed you only need a tiny bite to determine the quality.  Good, not great because all the other menu items outweighed this dish in ingenuity and flavor combos.

Third Course

Chilaquiles with crispy tortilla, chile cascabel, queso cotija, fried egg (choice of chicken, hanger steak, or mushroom chorizo)

I tasted this dish with all 3 different proteins and my favorite would have to be the mushrooms.  So earthy and rich in flavor, you could literally split this dish 4 ways and still be satisfied with just a few bites.

Huevos pescador with dungeness crab, toasted brioche, poached egg, avocado, and shellfish hollandaise

So rich and creamy, the eatable stems were the perfect accompaniment for this bright and fresh dish.  Loved how the egg yolk just oozes over the entire plate, like bathing in sunlight! While my pick would be the chilaquiles over the pescador, it all comes down to preference.

 You get your choice of 1 of each course with 3 courses for a total of $36pp.   Not bad for brunch but expect to be super full by the time you’re dunzo. We even went one further and ordered the only 2 sides available for brunch:
Crispy potatoes, roasted onions, torreados, queso

Crispity, crunchity and well-seasoned when typical cast-iron skillet potatoes are wayyyy too salty (ahem, Arc!)

Twice-cooked bacon with piloncillo glaze

So tender you can fork this stringy braise down and add it to your chilaquiles for the added texture. Dynamite.

Taco Maria

Located at SOCO | Inside OC Mart Mix |  3313 Hyland Ave | Costa Mesa, CA 92626 | (714) 538-8444

Know Before You Go

Although we expected a full menu to dine from, this brunch teaser was enough for me to book another reservation for lunch or dinner.  I hear their tacos are AH-MAZINGGG!  Voted 101 BEST Restaurants on Jonathan Gold’s LA Times list (it was actually #2 of #101)!  Service was super attentive, the crowd was fairly chill so if you’re expecting a boisterous brunch, please note that you’ve gotta keep it down loves.   Definitely NOT easy for my fun bunch, but be forewarned so you don’t get stared down for the entire duration of your meal.  I’d say a perfect date spot, group dining, notsomuch.
Patio dining
Happy Friday y’all! Hope you’re eatin’ good in the hood!

Bon Appétit mes amis!

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