Why Costa Mesa’s Taco Maria Doesn’t Plan to Serve Carne Asada Burritos

Originally Featured on Eater LA →
Flickr/T. Tseng
Flickr/T. Tseng

You may not know it just by looking at chef Carlos Salgado’s modern Mexican four-course menu at his Costa Mesa restaurant Taco Maria, but the fine dining chef’s biggest inspiration may well be a hole-in-the-wall taqueria in Orange. That restaurant — his parents — sparked a lifelong love of Mexican cuisine, cooking and Orange County itself.

After stints in the Bay Area as pastry chef at fine-dining spots like Commis in Oakland, Salgado returned to Orange County to start Taco Maria as a market-driven food truck, before eventually expanding into Costa Mesa’s hip OC Mix Mart. Now one year in at his wood-lined open kitchen restaurant, Salgado is blessed to have the eye of L.A. diners, and to be serving the kind of food (in exactly the kind of town) that he’s always wanted.

Farley Elliott is a food and travel writer living in Los Angeles. He is the Senior Editor at Eater LA, and has bylines everywhere from LA Weekly to Los Angeles Magazine to Thrillist to Tasting Table. He’s also the author of Los Angeles Street Food, a guidebook to LA’s amazing street food culture. Oh, and he’s that guy from that Tiny Hamster Eating Tiny Burritos video.