When you’re in Anaheim to spend a magical day at Disneyland, catch an Angels game or are simply looking for good food and drinks, make time to stop into Calaca Mamas Cantina.
Founded by second-generation restaurateurs and sisters Angela and Mariam El Haj, Calaca Mamas was created with family, real ingredients, sustainability, fun, a unique environment and delicious drinks in mind. To pay homage to Mexican culture, a beautiful celebration of life is practiced during Día de los Muertos and the cantina’s name itself is a nod to the sugar skulls commonly used for the festival.
Located walking distance from Disneyland, you’re treated to a perfect view of the fireworks when seated on the patio. Skipping the crowds in favor of a seat with a margarita is our ideal way to enjoy the Disneyland fireworks at the end of a long day! If you’re more of an early riser, enjoy breakfast favorites like huevos rancheros and breakfast burritos on the weekend. Calaca Mamas has a menu specifically for the little ones with tacos that even arrive on dinosaur-shaped taco stands. During our visit, the children behind us squealed with joy upon seeing their dinosaurs arrive at their table.
The kid in us was tempted to order some dinosaur tacos for ourselves but our adult side won out in favor of trying Calaca Mamas’ delicious cocktails. First, we ordered the Spice Up My Life and the Hen Chata. The Spice Up My Life is made with in-house infused arbol chile tequila and cucumbers that provides the perfect balance of cool and spicy. If you love horchata, you’ll love Calaca Mamas’ grown-up version spiked with Hennessy. For our second round, we tried the Tipsy Pomelo and La Flaca. The Tipsy Pomelo is crafted with a pineapple cordial, rosemary simple syrup (both the cordial and simple syrup are made in house), grapefruit liqueur and White Haven Sauvignon Blanc for an earthy yet sweet cocktail that was refreshing and unexpected. La Flaca is the eatery’s take on a skinny margarita that is completely satisfying without the hassle of extra calories.
If you’re looking for a large variety of appetizers, Calaca Mamas has you covered; we probably could have ordered our entire meal off the small bites section alone! With offerings like handmade guacamole, flautas, tlayuda (similar to a Mexican pizza or large tostada) and ceviche, it wasn’t an easy choice. We ultimately ordered the queso fundido, which was filled with flavor thanks to Oaxacan cheese, chile rajas and caramelized onions, and the outstanding aguachile. Similar to ceviche but spicier and made with shrimp, the aguachile also consists of cucumber, cilantro, avocado and a chile-lime broth. As we topped each chip with this bright mixture, each bite seemed to taste better than the last.
Calaca Mamas’ entrees include tacos, burritos, bowls, plates and even a taco served in a bag of Fritos chips. We settled on the chile relleno and the carnitas plate. The chile relleno is made with poblano chili, a blend of queso chihuahua, Chili Colorado, shredded beef, red chile sauce, cotija cheese and is topped with pepitas. Their take is traditional yet inventive with the addition of the pepitas. The carnitas are fried to crispy perfection and served with tomatillo salsa, cabbage, pickled red onion, cotija cheese and flour or corn tortillas to put it all together.
While you might be tempted to skip dessert on account of being too full, you simply must make room for a sweet treat. The margarita pie has the option of being topped with tequila whipped cream and you never can go wrong with fried ice cream, but we only had eyes for the churros. Served in the cutest tabletop cart you’ve ever seen, the churros arrive with a spectacular sparkler that immediately elicits oohs and ahhs from anyone who sees it. To accompany the churros, Calaca Mamas serves decadent chocolate and dulce de leche dipping sauces that will make any day feel like a celebration.
Calaca Mamas is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. For more information about Calaca Mamas Cantina, visit www.calacamamas.com.