Best Mexican Restaurant Orange County 2009 - Las Brisas de Apatzingan
Readers' Choice: Panama Joe's
This SanTana dive should also get an award for most beautiful restaurant name (the Breezes of Apatzingan, a beautiful colonial-era town in the Mexican state of Michoacán), but let's focus on the food: specialties from its hometown state that you can only find in this restaurant and households. Novelty alone isn't enough to impress, of course: The huchepos (small tamales prepared with corn masa so fresh it contains kernels, topped with Mexican sour cream, sweet cheese and a delicious green salsa) are perhaps the tastiest in la naranja, a combination of sour, tart, sweet and filling. Aporriallado takes dried beef, mixes the long strips with eggs, then douses the meal with a tomatillo salsa—a mestizo steak-and-eggs. But most non-michoacanos visit for the green pozole, technically a favorite of Guerrero, but who's arguing when before you lies a steaming bowl spiked with epazote, hominy and luscious pork, while on the side sits a plate of cabbage, diced onions, pumpkin seeds, chicharron pieces, an avocado slice, a cotija cheese-stuffed jalapeño and two potato taquitos waiting for a dunk? And all for eight bucks!