mil jugos - venezuelan cuisine
318 W 5th Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701(714) 836-4601
i was watching diners, drive-ins and dives and they had a segment on venezuelan food and arepas and i just had to eat it! my dear friend annie and i were talking about it and she yelped and came up with mil jugos! hallelujah annie! what a great find! i told you, i'd drive anywhere to eat something good. at first i was a little nervous, because i wasn't quite sure where in santa ana this was...and since i was too impatient to wait for an eating partner (which we all know, never stopped me from eating anywhere) i just went! its near the court house and is in that business district i guess...parking is either in lots or metered. 20 minutes for a quarter! can't beat that! i totally lucked out! i still had 33 minutes on my meter so i just added a couple more quarters and i walked to my destination.
mil jugos...not sure what the mil is, but jugos is juice! so...yes, it is one of their specialties...fresh squeezed (juiced) juice. hey, i gotta do what the natives do...so i asked what was a great juice or popular juice to get. not that i don't know what i like...but i just wanted to hear what she had to say (this is before i knew her name). she said her favorite was...
fresh squeezed passion fruit juice...ahhhhh...i love passion fruit! how perfect!
really, if she said papaya i would've said, "hmm...ok, how nice...what would be your second favorite juice!" haha i don't like papaya...obviously.
anyhow, this was one of the freshest, most refreshing juice i've ever had! it was chilled all the way to the last drop! it was the perfect beverage to cool my mouth down from the spicy sauce. it wasn't overly tart and drinking this made me wish i was on a beautiful white sand beach or in a boat staring out at the sea...much like the pictures i was staring at from my seat on the wall in front of me. all taken in venezuela!
cachapa con queso blanco (sweet corn venezuelan pancake filled with queso fresco and fresh cream)...
the fresh cream was basically sour cream, but more like creme fraiche, really mild and not sour at all.
you could just taste the fresh sweet corn that was pureed and made into this incredible dish. every sweet bite filled my mouth with the taste of sweet corn, the creamy texture of the cream and the queso fresco. i loved eating this just by itself, with no sauce...but then when i added the guasacaca, original and picante...WHOA! that jolt of flavor filled with fresh herbs, garlic, sometimes a hint of vinegar or spicy chilies...so amazing. i had ordered to dishes to try, and even though i was getting really full, i could not put my fork down until i finished every single bite of that homemade goodness. i am definitely going back just to eat that!
you can get the corn pancake filled with ham or some other meats i believe, but i wanted to keep it simple so that no other flavors got in the way of my tasting the actual pancake. and let me just say, i am so glad i got it this way. excellent!
carne desmachada arepa (venezuelan grilled corn bread with lean beef)...
the beef is cooked with onions, tomatoes, garlic and red bellpeppers then shredded. the meat was very well seasoned...thank you solange and lorina. i asked norah to tell me a little bit more about the arepa (the corn bread) an how it is typically cooked. at their restaurant they grill it, but she said she loves it fried! hello! *hands raised high up in the air* me too!! but the grilled way is healthier of course...and i said...of course. but i'd rather have it grilled! we laughed...and i kept eating my grilled arepa.
now, you all know how much i love food to be seasoned well...i have asked many a time for people to use salt...too often really. you must think that i either have a dead palette or severely high blood pressure, actually, neither! to prove that things can be too salty for me, as i was eating the arepa, the meat was kind of salty for me. and when i added the guasacaca sauce to it, it got even saltier!!! at a certain point, i did have to stop eating though, but i nearly ate the whole thing. the juice really helped cut some of the saltiness on my tongue. i really did enjoy the arepa, but next time i'd like to try a different filling and see how that is. thought the meat really was delicious, it just got too salty for me.
guasacaca sauce - regular and picante
picante on the left, regular on the right
picante (left) - you can see all the fresh herbs sitting in the olive oil with bits of red chilies. this has a really nice kick of spice to it. this was good, but i actually liked the flavor of the regular guasacaca.
it i liked the texture...yes, it was creamy, and i really liked the hint of vinegar that they put in this sauce. do you want to know what would've been the perfect sauce for me? the smooth guasacaca but spicy. oh man! THAT would be freaking awesome! i think i will make it myself! yummy!!
mom, solange and daughter, norah
this is a family run business...both mother and daughter were so friendly and kind. norah really took the time to talk to me about the cuisine because i was pretty clueless and this was my first time eating it. i can tell that they truly love what they do and put a lot of time and effort into it.
the view from my seat...
see all the nice beachy looking pictures? ahhhhh....it just makes you wish you were some where far, far away. eating here definitely make me want to visit venezuela and try more of the cuisine. i can see the similarities in some of the sauces from the different latin american restaurants i have been trying recently. even though they are really quite simple, i think the flavors are so vibrant and "fresh" tasting and i would love these anytime on my grilled meats!
the cooks that make it happen
solange and her assistant lorina
lorina was telling me that they also cater to the Dodgers, who love their food! hmmm...sorry, they don't come in themselves...but they do enjoy eating it!
now my post is complete and yes, the sprinkler is working just fine...thanks for asking.
this is a little joint that i would love to frequent and bring more friends and family to share in this joyous eating experience. simple and good. what more can one ask for? i was a happy fat cat when i left.
many thanks again to norah, solange and lorina for their hospitality!
please make the trip out to santa ana...it is so worth it.
p.s. i have given you the correct zip code. the one listed on yelp is incorrect so please make note of this if you put it in your navi.