A Fine Cemita Poblana (But No Pápalo Yet) At Taquería la Poblana

Categories: Mexi Meals

After years of not being able to support a single place that sold food from the Mexican state of Puebla outside of too many sickly sweet interpretations of mole poblano, Orange County is suddenly awash in a Pueblan invasion, specifically of the cemita poblana variety. The epic sandwich--half-cheeseburger, half-schnitzel sandwich, all heft and spice--is the main dish at La Cemita Poblana in Santa Ana, the star of La Poblanita in Anacrime, and the only reason to visit Taquería la Poblana in Orange.

Taquería la Poblana does have mole poblano on the menu, a good version, but the majority of the menu lists typical taquería fare: tacos, of course, menudo on the weekends, and some platillos of various Mexican combinations (as opposed to the Mexican-American combo plate). The owners are nice, but honestly, just visit for the cemita.

It's a great one, for sure: crunchy, slightly sweet bread, with vines of quesillo wrapping around a finely fried cut of milanesa. Chipotle adds smokiness; the house salsa puts on the burn. And it's okay that the taquería doesn't have pápalo, the metallic herb that completes the dish; it's not pápalo season yet. I still prefer the two aforementioned restaurants over La Poblana, but that's like settling for Chris Bosh over Lebron and Dwayne. This cemita, fat and filling and complex and wonderful? A must-eat.

Taquería la Poblana, 2018 N. Tustin St., Orange, (714) 283-3478.

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Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

They have pápalo at La Poblanita in Anaheim... but you have to watch who's cooking. Some people make hot messes of the cemitas, and some make sublime perfection.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Maybe they have magical pápalo greenhouses in Baja they get it from? I had a cemita from La Poblanita last week and there is no mistaking that coppery funk.

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