10 Great Chilaquiles in Orange County

The best in the world: Those made by my mami
The best in the world: Those made by my mami
Photo by The Mexican

Screw breakfast burritos, breakfast sandwiches--all of breakfast, really, except chilaquiles. This is the greatest Mexican desayuno of them all, a deceptively simple dish that'S fiendishly difficult to master. Most places think chilaquiles gives them a license to chop up some stale Guerrero corn tortillas, lightly fry them, then splash some trashy red or green salsa, creating something softer than mush but not as tasty.

No. Chilaquiles is a fugue: the interplay between the crispy edges and somewhat soft center, the sharp notes of a great salsa that doesn't sog everything up, the crispness of the cheese tying everything together. It's one of my all-time favorite meals, and here are 10 great versions in OC.

10. Chaparosa Grill

Colorful!
Colorful!
OC Weekly archives

One of the few reasons to stop in Laguna Niguel (unless you're going to the sex dungeon of folks at the Nellie Gail Ranch), Chaparosa Grill is as good a South County Mexican restaurant as you'll find. Their chilaquiles run toward the crispier part of the spectrum--just how I like 'em. 30271 Golden Lantern St., Laguna Niguel, (949) 363-9888; www.chaparosa.com

9. Amorelia Cafe

They're somewhere in there...
They're somewhere in there...
Photo by The Mexican

Am glad this place is still around long after it became a Chowhound (see how old it is?) obsession. From my review long ago: "It's a big plate, with big portions of each--look at that fluffy, perfect mound of scrambled eggs. But the actual chips in the tortilla section achieve the impossible--a meeting between the just-hardened-and-fried pieces of my mom's chilaquiles and the softness of Zamora's. And the sauce--a tomato-based condiment that nevertheless sneaks up on unsuspecting sinuses--is as intricate as a harp." 2200 Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa, (949) 646-1422; www.mexicancafecostamesa.com

8. Pizza del Perro Negro

Hamburger - Buffalo ¡Hoy mis templos están abiertos!

Posted by Pizza Del Perro Negro on Monday, November 16, 2015

I wish I had a picture of the chilaquiles pizza that this Mexican pizzeria on the Balboa Peninsula makes, so you'll just have to take my word that their take makes a deep-dish pizza taste as dense as water--and is far tastier.

2233 W Balboa Blvd #102, Newport, CA 92663 Phone:(949) 873-5190

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