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Where Santa Ana's Segregationists Can Eat Mexican Food in Peace

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Cute, little, quaint Floral Park in SanTana--the place that holds segregated Halloweens and where a mansion gate states "Tara"--has its own Mexican restaurant: El Pico de Gallo Grill. It's located right at the entrance of the neighborhood--or rather, where the northbound entrance would be except that it's illegal to enter on Flower Street coming north. It's a big place, with a massive menu, but guess what? Pico de Gallo Grill ain't great.

It's not just gabachos who eat here, although they remain the majority 'cause Floral Park is an isle of white in a sea of brown, and don't you forget that! But some acknowledgements are made to the most-Mexican big city in America. The green salsa in the salsa bar burns, almost as much as the bottle of El Yucateco on each table. Their homemade green salsa is actually one of the better salsas in Orange County. My advice: order an ovepriced, okay taco here, and load up on the green salsa to take home.

But the food. I ordered their enchilada trio: enchiladas individually covered in red, green, and mole sauce. There wasn't enough green sauce on one, the mole option was so-so, but the biggest sin was the red sauce. I tend not to order enchiladas at non-Oaxacan joints because almost all rely on canned enchilada sauce, one of the greatest travesties to the Mexican nation since the homo-hating Eduardo Verastegui. Such sauces--even the best ones--tend to exhibit a underlying smoky bitterness that gets more pronounced and disgusting with each bite (hint from Mami: mix in chiles or your own salsa in the sauce to mask the nasty overtones). El Pico de Gallo, alas, doesn't. And the Monterey Jack they used for a cheese not only wasn't melted, it wasn't good.

El Pico de Gallo Grill, 901 W. 17th St., Santa Ana, (714) 953-7448. Pictured: Henry W. Head, SanTana hero.

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