Nancy Puebla Restaurant Successful As Hell in Perris, Terribly Missed in Santa Ana

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Wish they were back in SanTana, but what are you going to do...

Out of the many restaurants that we've lost in the near-decade I've been the food editor at this infernal rag, few pained me more than the departure of Nancy Puebla Restaurant, a SanTana dive that was one of the first regional Mexican restaurants in the county to cross over to the mainstream. Its take on moles were legendary, as was its unique specialty on the little guys: godornices (Cornish game hen) and quilotes (quails). And best of all were the aguas frescas, which many a Mexi non-profit used for their fundraisers.

Then, around late 2007, Nancy Puebla just up and left. The owner told me he was moving to Perris, to take advantage of the housing boom at the time, and was relocating his restaurant with him. Perris? That tiny town off I-15, whose only claim to fame is it's not Menifee? I wished him well, but feared the move wouldn't work--after all, how many poblanos could possibly live in the Inland Empire?

There was never any reason for me to check up on Nancy Puebla--until this past Saturday.

The Perris Public Library invited me to speak, and I did so under condition I get treated to Nancy Puebla afterward, of which the nice librarians had never tried. After wowing a crowd of 10 with my rambles, the head guy and I went to Nancy Puebla.

First good thing: it was still open. Second good thing: open 24 hours. Third great point: they're located just outside the entrance to Lake Perris, ensuring business forever from 909ers looking for respite from the inferno that is living in the Inland Empire.

The meal started how I remembered it: freshly fried chips, served with a side of refried beans, queso fresco, and a pool of their spicy mole poblano. The librarian that treated me quickly lapped up the dish, loving each drop. He also enjoyed the mulita I suggested he order, prepared how I remembered them: fresh masa, fat, with gooey quesillo inside.

So many choices, so little time, so I went with something they didn't carry at their original SanTana location: a cemita poblana.

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Oh, how I love this legendary Pueblan sandwich, and oh, how so many people get it wrong. Not here: the toasted, challah-like bread, the expanse of crunchy milanesa, the splayed chipotle pepper, creamy quesillo, all of it. They even had pápalo, the metallic-tasting herb that connects all the flavors together and stays on your being for the rest of the afternoon.

Eating at Nancy Puebla made me miss the place terribly, and I don't plan on returning to Perris until next year. But if you're ever in the region, go pay your respects to one of the missed masters of Mexi cooking in SanTana...

Nancy Puebla Restaurant, 85 Ramona Expy., Perris, (951) 657-2704.

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17 comments
Dave
Dave

The only thing I don't like is the cluttered windows it takes the "class" level down. and not to inviting from a tourist or out of towner.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

I was out in Perris doing a consulting job today so I decided to drop-in.  Yup, the mole sauce is deliciously dark, sweet.  On your recommendation, ordered dos mulitas de barbacoa y carne asada plus rice/beans which were very good, but the star of the show is the tortilla.  I swear she could have put dog meat in there and it still would have been good. 

Also ordered the Semita[sic] Poblano Milanesa which was tasty; however, I could do without the papalo although I was happy to experience it -- in fact, I'm still experiencing it.  

If I had to do it all over again, I'd go for the mole.  Prices were reasonable.  $14 covered both orders.

JB
JB

There's another restaurant still located in Santa Ana called Nancy Luna...you eat there, and curiously, you regurgitate press releases..... 

Alberto Ulloa
Alberto Ulloa

Gustavo Arellano the city of Perris is located off the I-215 not I-15 and the area code for Riverside County is 951 not 909.  Please do some basic fact checking. 

mitch young
mitch young

Codorniz is quail -- at least in 99.9% of the Spanish speaking world.  I'd never heard of 'g'odorniz, but most of your fellow 'Cans seem to think it's a bastardization or cordoniz. 

http://mx.answers.yahoo.com/qu...

Bob
Bob

I was thinking the same thing but you said it first

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Glad you enjoyed it! Yeah, pápalo is definitely an acquired taste...

mitch young
mitch young

Also Perris does have a 'claim to fame' in that it is pretty much the skydiving center for SoCal --but hey, it's Gustavo, living proof that the cara dura will take you far in this life.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Sorry, Mitchie, but we're not all Castilians and ESPECIALLY don't have a hard-on for them like you do. Now, please go back to your usual trolling of nothing...

Fb
Fb

What would you have them do? after all its Perris for heavens sakes. It looks like everything else.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

And Lake Perris, too! For such a supposed Anglo, you sure didn't acquire your people's sense of subtlety...

mitch young
mitch young

Just concerned that you are sounding a little pocho, Gustavo. After all, look at the link. You're disagreeing with your beloved paisanos, and  El Nido down in Rosarito, for that matter. 

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Can't be too desperate, if they've been around all this time--plus, a bunch of Mexican restaurants have windows like this. Talk about not being able to see the burrito for the beans...

Dave
Dave

FB at lease set the bar higher, just because everyone else does it doesn't make it good. I'm just saying clean up the way it looks on the outside and the way it looks when you look out and it would improve the appeal. Even Denny's, I Hop, Marie Calenders are one clean sign as to who they are. I guess now that I think of it, it seen like they are desperate and are trying to lurer people in.

Dave
Dave

and Railway museum, AMA motocross, and of course that famous Potato festival Rods and Rails, Fair grounds......

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