Winter holidays on the West Coast are always enjoyable. The weather is chilly but better than icy. The sun is out and the hellish traffic is light. There is the beach. There is the dessert. There is a plethora of things to do. The diversity of food options is endless.
We stumbled upon Descanso, a tacqeria in the Pine Brook Village center of Costa Mesa. Now, living in Austin for over a decade, my senses heightened. We are in California, home to some of the best Mexican cooking. This place will knock any Austinite taco in a matter of seconds. You would think!
The thing about Mexican cooking, as I have learned over the years, is that, like any country, each region ranges in style, spices, and tastes. Hours after eating there, I cannot tell if Descanso is styled on a region I am not used to, or they have failed to impress my Austin taco standards.
The waitress gave us chips, pork rinds, and salsa. The pork rinds were greasy. The chips were fresh out of the oven (a plus!), and the salsa had a nice kick to it. I ordered the Tres Quesos Quesadillas, which came with a side of refried beans. I was surprised when the quesadillas came to the table. It was tiny and looked more like a DIY broke girl pizza than a quesadilla. It wasn’t bad per say, just confusing. Let me rephrase that: it was not bad, it was confusing until you got a bite out of the chili. Then it just became over the top spicy. Apparently the staff at Descanso put spicy chili on the majority of their plates. My sisters got the Mahi Mahi tacos and the Pollo Asado tacos. The Mahi Mahi tacos, per my sister, were good. The fish was fresh and the Mexislaw added a nice texture component. The Pollo Asado, on the other hand, was not a big hit. My sisters have a high spice tolerance. The fact they were in tears from the amount of spice in the tacos tells you something: these people go crazy with the spice.
If you are into extremely spicy foods, then Descanso is your kind of place. As for me, I’ll stick to my Austinite tacos. Mi Madres anyone?
Descanso: A Modern Taqueria is located at 1555 Adams Ave. Ste. 103, Costa Mesa, CA 92626