100 Favorite OC Dishes, #48: Aguas Frescas at Mar and Terra

Photo by the Mexican

Jon Melendez's two concepts at 4th Street Market in SanTana, Mar and Terra, have impressed with his Primo-Mex take on seafood and burgers, respectively: mango-spiked poke, jalapeño-goat cheese burger (along with the return of his legendary chorizo steamed ham), and much more. But Melendez's greatest innovation so far is with a most-unlikely item: aguas frescas.

When people try to class up the beloved Mexican fruit drinks, they do little more than add chia seeds or some bizarre rim. Melendez, on the other hand, is a pinche alchemist. Guava lemonade is tart AF; the mango lemonade is almost custardy in its taste, just like its mother fruit. And then there's the black rice horchata and blood orange lemonades, the best aguas frescas in OC, period. Picking between the two of them is like picking between a Fleetline and a '59 Impala after you win Powerball and want to buy a classic car. Do you go for the sleekness and depth of the black rice horchata, or the unapologetic verve of the blood orange lemonade? Sweet, or sweeter? They're that delicious—and best of all, both Mar and Terra have them on tap until I finish one container or another.

Mar and Terra are at 4th Street Market, 201 E. 4th St Santa Ana, (714) 425-8233; www.terradtsa.com 

The List:

49. Bocatas at Olé! Spain Delishop 
50. Pan Con Pollo at El Divino Salvador Del Mundo 
51. Tacos al Vapor at Tito's La Especial 
52. Knafeh at Knafeh Cafe 
53. Yakiudon Nikkei at Aji Limon
54. Yakitori at Electric City Butcher
55. Tsukemen at Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai 
56. Ten Zaru Soba at Tanakaya 
57. Pink Cloud Sandwich at Alicia's Cookery 
58. Homemade Super Nachos at Taqueria Los Santos
59. Strawberry Banana Croissant at Cream Pan 
60. Pla Duk Phat Phet at Vientiane Thai Laos Restaurant 
61. Risotto Con Burrata at Taverna 
62. Pineapple Float at Jollibee 
63. Szechuan Fries at Wok N Tandoor 
64. Banh Xeo at Quan Mii 
65. Chanko Nabe at Torizo 
66. Hamshuka from Hummus Bowl 
67. The Reuben at A Market 
68. Everything Cake from Slice Deli And Cakery 
69. Spicy Shrimp And Eggplant from Brio Tuscan Grille
70. Crawfish Mac & Cheese from The Wharf
71. Malasadas from Dough Doughs Hawaiian Cafe 
72. Salsas from Salsa Bandolera 
73. Chorizo Breakfast Bagel at Spigas Bakery and Cafe 
74. Whole Chicken Combo at Falafelo  
75. Toothpick Lamb at Sichuan Impression 
76. Hainan Chicken Rice at Baos Hog 
77. Fruit- and Ice Cream-Topped Waffles at Crave 
78. Garlic Shrimp Poke at Costco 
79. Chimichurri Fries at Piaggo on Wheels 
80. Torta Cubana at Cancun Juice 
81. Adobo Bowl at Irenia 
82. Garlic Noodles at Krave Asian Fusion 
83. Broccolini at SeaSalt WoodFire Grill 
84. Spicy Tuna Roll at Yard House 
85. Amber Roll at Orange Roll and Sushi 
86. Frito Chili Cheeseburger at Burger Parlor 
87. Maui Sunrise at The Original Banzai Bowls 
88. Meals from The Performance Kitchen 
89. Pizza-Sized Quesadilla at Los Sanchez
90. Filipino Brunch at EATS Kitchen And Bar
91. Mexican Chocolate at the Pie Hole 
92. Biscuits at James Republic 
93. Mushroom Flatbread with Kale and Kumquat Salad at Lemonade 
94. Mexican-Style Gelatins from Santa Ana's Gelatina Goddess 
95. Hot Pastrami Caesar Salad at Bruxie
96. Jalapeño Pupusas at Las Cazuelas
97. Meatball Sliders at Fresh Brothers
98. Buffalo Cauliflower at Mead's Green Door Cafe
99. Raindrop Cake at Sunmerry Bakery
100. Doughrito at Surfin' Donuts

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