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What's Cookin' Behind the Curtain - A "Mil"from the Heart

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Every Friday, LAist is taking you on a trip down to Orange County to uncover the unique dining experiences that await adventurous eaters willing to explore beyond the county line.

Here in LA, we are blessed with embarrassing riches when it comes to Latin American food. Just about every country is represented by at least a couple of places that truly embody the cuisine and spirit of the local culture. Venezuela is no different. While authentic Venezuelan restaurants are sparse in the Southland, they do exist. Coupa Café in Beverly Hills offers the upscale option, with fresh-brewed coffee, high-end food items, and some traditional dishes. But down in Santa Ana, Mil Jugos brings Venezuelan cuisine to the everyman.

Mil Jugos is a tiny shop in downtown Santa Ana, neighboring the Civic Center and Artists Village. Owned and operated by a Venezuelan mother-daughter tandem, the café contains only five tables but packs the soul of a nation within its walls. With brightly colored walls, scores of pictures of friends and family, and little wall ornaments depicting various incarnations of homes, Mil Jugos feels like one is taking a glimpse into the lives of its proprietors.