My Italian chef boyfriend (I lucked out!) introduced me to El Gallo Giro in Santa Ana. Apparently they are a small chain. It's in a small strip mall off of Edinger and S. Bristol. We went on Sunday night, the place was packed. The place is open 24 hours and according to my bf, they are always very busy. There was a security guard inside the restaurant near the cash register, and another in the parking lot. Interesting!
I wish I had a camera with me, the restaurant gives you full view into the kitchen with all the work going on...it's dizzying to see, and very entertaining.
When you arrive in the restaurant, there are 2 lines: one for their prepared foods.. which all looked wonderful, and a separate line for Tortas. We stood in line to order the "Torta Cubana" ($6.99)a sandwich with bread from their bakery next door, which has: marinated pork leg, breaded beef, ham, head cheese, avocado, cheese, and beans and a chile. It was great! The place reminded me of that SNL comedy sketch where they say "Cheeseburger Cheeseburger Cheeseburger!". Except, here there was a guy saying, "Torta Torta Torta!".
The Torta Cubana was so big I couldn't finish it and that's saying A LOT. :) They also have "aguas frescas." I had the Tamarind drink and my boyfriend had the banana. Very nice! We waited 20 minutes in the Torta line, but it was well worth it. The place is mainly for carry-out, although there is a small strip of seats along the window.
Their bakery next door is incredible with the best pan dulce I've had in CA...soft, and made with cinnamon tea, and very inexpensive. I would recommend this to anyone wanting authentic Mexican food.