Alebrije’s Grill: You Sank My Battleship (Taco)

Food Truck Orange County

Alebrije’s Grill is a pastel pink truck that serves prodigious tacos.

When a restaurant (or truck) is best known for a single dish, and you only have enough room for that specialty, it’s impossible to claim that establishment is an overall success. However, in the case of Alebrije’s Grill, their taco acorazado was so good that it pretty much demanded a post.

OC Weekly columnist Gustavo Arellano first mentioned the pink truck with “battleship tacos” at a Santa Ana book signing for Deep End Dining founder Eddie Lin. We soon set off for south Santa Ana to hit a Nayarit-style seafood truck. Unfortunately, we never found Alebrije’s Grill. We later learned that we fell a couple blocks short in our quest for the elusive pink truck, which at the time was beginning to look more like a white elephant. Over a month later, the United States Barista Championship brought me back within striking distance of Santa Ana, and this time, I would not be denied.

Mexico City native Rosa Lopez named her truck for the mythical (and colorful) creatures popular in Mexican folk art. Her brother Albert Hernandez is the chef and handles the morning shift, and Maria Jalisco runs the kitchen in afternoons. They park the pink truck in front of Gonzalez Northgate supermarket, and there seemed to be a light stream of curious shoppers.

Alebrije’s Grill primarily features various tacos, mulitas, tortas, huaraches, quesadillas and tostadas, which are loaded with ingredients like chorizo, suadero and buche. On weekends, they’ve got barbacoa and carnitas. Still, there was no getting past the Taco Acorazado ($4), which Hernandez says originated in Cuernevaca.

An eight-inch Styrofoam tray supported a buttery, fresh-grilled corn tortilla that could probably double as a tank tread.

Taco Orange County

They piled the tortilla with seasoned rice, fresh-cut avocado and tomato, expertly grilled nopales, sweet grilled onions, tangy pickled jalapeños and carrots, and crispy strips of thin, lightly breaded Milanesa. Salty cotija that played well against the rich beef provided the finishing touch.

Salsa Orange County

Lopez invited me to dress the stupefying “taco” with three different house-made salsas.

My favorite was the spicy green salsa crafted from avocado, tomatillo, jalapeño and cilantro that had a nice residual kick. A tangy red salsa made with tomatillo and chile de arbol was fairly mild, but the yellow salsa packed with tomatillo and jalapeno provided more punch.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

the best chilango food in orange county!!!!


Cool to hear you also like Alebrije’s. What would you recommend there?

great post as usual!

Holy Taco! I suppose a road trip is in my near future!

The Taco Acorazado looks awesome. Hope they’ll come out to westside sometime!

“Battleship taco” is right! That thing looks like it must be a monster to take down. I am a total taco fiendaholic but I have never seen or heard of anything like it around the westside of LA. Looks like I’ll be making a special trip to find this truck!!!

Chalk up another thing So. OC lacks and that is a decent food truck. Koji visited Laguna Niguel once I believe.

The pic/ description of the Taco Acorazado es incredible, and what delicious sounding salsas to accompany. Def needs a look at when I’m near Santa Ana.

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