For this Santa Ana Mexican Cuisine reconnaissance (My last trip: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/328646 ) , my primary source was Arellano’s Food writing in the OC weekly. Take some time to read his work and it is not hard to notice that his passion for regional Mexican cooking really shines through.
Having long been fascinated and intrigued by Dommy!’s extraordinary posts on the enigmatic cuisine of her ancestry - the Yucatan and in addition having recently recorded Bayless’s special on PBS, my palate was sufficiently whetted for some masa-based Yucatec snacks. (not to mention the Chichen Itza coverage).
So Conde’s Cakes - presumably OC’s only Yucatec ‘restaurant’ (its really more of a panaderia) - was my first stop for breakfast. Several other patrons were already seated inside on this chilly overcast morning enjoying pan dulce and coffee or steaming hot tamales.
Opting for a light breakfast (in anticipation of the day ahead), I ordered a Panucho which is a fried corn tortilla filled with black bean paste topped with achiote tinged turkey shreds, pickled red onions, and a light cucumber salad. In essence, it is a Yucatecan tostada.
This dish was wonderful. So many different textures: crunchy tortilla, smooth bean paste, crisp cucumber and pickled onion, dense turkey meat – and flavors: earthy corn – its flavor heightened through frying, rich black beans, and sparks of vinegary onions. A great culinary experience for me - through and through. :)
My sweet was a slice of the Yucatecan Pan de Nata – almost like a bundt cake – supple, buttery, and a gentle texture, it is awesome with coffee.
To go, I made sure I had an order each of Vaporicito and Colado Tamales. I have not eaten these yet but will report back tomorrow. I also purchased a Barley Soda from the Yucatan – haven’t tried this yet either.
Also available was Conchinita Pibil which I did not try.
Talking with the owner, Omar (Husband and wife team with a little girl) – he plans to make much more Comida Yucateca available in the coming months. Offerings will possibly include Kibbe (Yuc twist on vestige of Leb. Immigrants), Salbutes, Queso Relleno (Picadillo stuffed Edam cheese [Dutch trading legacy]) etc.
I inquired after Recado Negro and an advertised Yucatan Chile Habanero fresh Salsa but alas they were sold out.
From the Pan Dulce, I brought home some Pan Yucateco: a comote and coconut, powdered sugar dusted Empanada (delicious), a long butter cream filled roll, and Dommy’s Hojalandra (Ham and Cheese croissant) - not tried yet.
Conde’s Cakes is a great little spot for some unique snacks and great pan dulce and I can’t wait to go back.
Conde Cakes & Bakery
2050 N Grand Ave
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Pictures will be posted on my flickr site soon! Will update.