Somehow mexican food with multicolored stickers and spiderman doesn't seem to converge very often, but it does, it does it with great style, wonderful taste and presents you with an "in your face" Southern California moment. Eclectic, eccentric, brilliant and shocking in the experience. Particularly in Costa Mesa, the home of where surf, sun, and art collide and terrific thing happen.
Taco Mesa (Costa Mesa) is the place we start. One first sees this brilliant blue building covered in illustration with an outdoor area enclosed by a fence. Even before you get in the building the visual excitement is high with very vertical surface covered in promotional stickers for local skate, surf shops and ancillary lifestyle stuff like bands, radio stations, screenprinters, sticker makers and all round general "make your mark" types of graphics. When you go inside, the fun just begins. There are a zillion things on the menu--all good with fresh salsas and escabeche offered free with the food. There are generally 3 acqua frescas (flavored cold drinks) on ice ready to be doled out. And when the wonderful food and choices seem to overwhelm you in happiness, then the visual barrage (such as the holiday decorations Iwith these insane stars with Marvel or Disney characters --pinata technology, and the liberal application of stickers everywhere. My favorite application being the soda machine. We had the opportunity to meet Ivan Calderon, one of the founders, a friend of Aunty Baby--a lovely man that has his hands full with a multitude of restaurants and the high expectations the world has for the Taco Mesa restaurants.
OC WEEKLY - 1998 Best of OC
Winner - Best Mexican Restaurant
& Best Way to Enjoy Taco Mesa “Know the rules”:
Other regions can have their cheese steaks and crab cakes because when it comes to Mexican food, OC is king. And with such selection, we are a county of taqueria nomads, constantly searching for the most flavorful asada and the tenderest tamale . This truth begs a question: Is it possible for one restaurant to meet our complex individual comida cravings? Ivan and Marco Calderon have done it with Taco Mesa, according to your vote, and I second that, carnales .
Orange Coast Magazine - A Taste of Mexico
"Tell us how you like it and we'll prepare it your way," is the promise on the menu, reflecting Taco Mesa's philosophy of wanting to please the customers. Dishes represent traditional Mexican recipes coupled with European cooking techniques. Specials such as lobster enchilada with a roasted serrano tomatillo cream sauce or sweet corn tamalito with mango butter and papaya relish supplement the core menu of enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, and tortas.
And to our delight in Aunty Baby's cleverness, we are to have tamales for Christmas made my none other than the Costa Mesa, Taco Mesa. To Baby's mind, the tamale is the turkey...you know, the Christmas turkey and there is absolutely no choice in having anything but tamales for this festive holiday.
We say, bring it on!
Back to the stickers. I mentioned I would get the true source for stickers in O.C. And, thanks to the Costa Mesa, Taco Mesa, we have it. It is the House of Stickers . Here's the deal. House of Stickers instead of pricing quantities, tells you what you can get for a price, their starting price being $375. Assuming we are working one color, you can get 29,259 stickers if it's a .75" circle. Or more reasonably, 3" circle--3,000 stickers or 4" circle 1500 stickers up to a 18" circle 62 pieces. Their tee shirts are a good price--dirt cheap to my estimation. I will not try to explain their financial table.. Maybe you can do that for me?
Another great resource is a cool, very fashionable teeshirt one can screenprint called Alternative Apparel They are a bit thinner with some stretch--perfect for girls. Prices are a bit higher, but I think one could get more for them as they are so nice. And the cuts, designs and color are far more hip. They even have some cool bags and hats that the dopes in our area wouldn't have the sense to have. So, I think there might be some cool stuff made for Memento Mori in the near future.
More later on the candy colored world of surf and skate>>