12. The Choco Taco (and Everything Else I Ate) at Playground 2.0
I still dream of this
Photo by Charles Lam
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So, after waiting way longer than I should've, I finally made it out to a Playground 2.0 dinner earlier this year, and I can honestly say it was objectively one of the best meals I've ever eaten. Much of the praise goes to Jason Quinn, of course, but that night -- Taco Fucking Tuesday -- the menu was planned and prepared by his wonderfully talented chef de cuisine, Mark Guiteirrez.
The final touch on that 11-course meal? That amazing Choco Taco up there.
By the time I had it, I was already in the drunken stupor of unlimited pairings, but I still remember the choco taco clear as sober. Earth-y mamey ice cream with chocolate sauce, roasted almonds, a dessert taco shell, and mole sugar. Biting into the thing was like biting into the sound rain makes when you're sitting inside next to a fire with some whiskey. The crisp of the shell, the soft creaminess of the ice cream, the crunch of the almonds and sugar overloaded my alcohol-addled mind to the point where I couldn't think for a few moments. The flavors, too, were comforting, a blend of familiar and just-familiar-enough that was so good I basically swallowed the entire thing whole even though I had been eating for two hours.
And to think, everything else I was served, from the beef tongue and fried jerky tacos to the Korean sliced radishes, was just as good. But man, who can't go for a Choco Taco?
And the menu!
Photo by Charles Lam
13. $3.95 Filipino Breakfast at Grill City 14. "Not Pa' Ella" at Anepalco 15. Trout at the North Left 16. Fatteh at Kareem's Restaurant 17. Charred Sous-Vide Octopus at Lola Gaspar 18. Strawberry Shortcake from Disneyland's Plaza Inn 19. Korean Funyuns at The Past Memories 20. Chicken Curry Sandwich at C'est Si Bon Bakery 21. Quail at Medii Kitchen 22. Pulled Pork Sliders at Big B's Barbecue 23. Beef Panaeng at Essential Thai Cuisine 24. Muhammara at Aleppo's Kitchen 25. Chicken 65 at Annapoorna 26. Protein-Style Lobster Roll at Slapfish 27. Nem Nuong Cuon at Brodard Restaurant 28. Coffee Eclair at La Petite Sourie 29. Mango Tango Joe Latti at Joe's Italian Ice 30. Chicken Wasabi Yakitori at Kappo Honda 31. Carrot Cake at Alta Coffee 32. Egg Tart at 85 Degrees Cafe Bakery 33. Fried Torn Baked Potatoes at Wagyu Chuck 34. Green Onion Pancake Beef Roll at 101 Noodle Express 35. Green Tea Snow at Snow Station 36. Plato's Salad Bowl At Falasophy 37. The Benedict Omelette at Egg Cracker 38. Fig & Burrata Tart at Driftwood Kitchen 39. Lemon Steam Cake at SideDoor 40. Frog Legs at Cafe Beau Soleil 41. Banh Khoai at Huong Vy 42. Bibimbap at Morangak 43. Salade Niçoise at Bistro Papillote 44. Poke at Bear Flag Fish Company 45. Tijuana-Style Carne Asada Tacos at Tío Flaco's 46. NM Style Enchiladas at Panxa Cocina 47. Pan-Fried Crispy Noodles With Shredded Pork at Phoenix Food Boutique 48. The Happy Hour Menu at TAPS 49. Pork Cutlet Curry at Cafe Hiro 50. Piadina at Piadina 51. Consomé de Barbacoa at El Torito Nuevo 52. Black Goat Casserole at Mirak 53. Wagon Wheel at French's Cupcake Bakery 54. Molletes at Taco Maria 55. That Awesome Hot Sauce at Akropolis 56. The Hermanator at Peter's Gourmade Grill 57. Bolsa Bao at Baos Hog 58. Full Moon Roll at Full Moon Sushi 59. Fried Chicken at Plaza Inn 60. Tonkotsu Spicy Ramen at Ramen Yamadaya 61. Three-Meat Combo at Robert Earl's BBQ 62. AYCE Sushi at Sake 2 Me 63. Yaki Dog at Burntzilla 64. Fruit Sorbet at the Playground 66. Dulce de Leche Walnut Shrimp Taco at Dos Chinos 65. Buñuelo Waffle at Waffles Inc 67. Cajun Seafood Pasta at The Big Catch 68. Belgian Fries at Wursthaus 69. Scoops x Contra Ice Cream Float at Scoops Ice Cream Santa Ana 70. Buttermilk Panna Cotta at Lola Gaspar 71. Hummus at Mick's Karma Bar 72. Savory Baked Goat Cheese Bread Pudding at Eat Chow 73. Sicilian Style Pepperoni Pizza at Perry's Pizza & Italian Restaurant 74. Kabocha Honey Nuts at Kabuki 75. Smashed Potatoes at Standing O 76. Dim Sum at Seafood Cove #2 77. Loco Moco at Bread Crumb Ohana Cafe 78. Bratwurst at Barley Forge 79. Beef Noodle Soup at (Wafting Fragrance) Noodle House 80. Taco de Nopal at Urban Cactus 81. Fried Chicken at Crazy Chi-Mac 82. Mole Tots at Amor y Tacos 83. Khao Soi at S.T. Noodle Bar 84. Chili Cone Queso at Cozy Cone Motel 85. Crispy Smelt at Big Catch Seafood 86. Teriyaki Chicken Plate at California Plate 87. Combo Plate at MasalaCraft 88. Cornbread Waffle & Chicken at Mrs. Bea's 89. Everything at Crispy Town 90. Kurobuta Pork Belly Bánh Mì at Mendocino Farms 91. Tostilocos at Tortas y Biónicos "Nice" 92. Milanesa at Delicias Peruanas 93. Super Nachos at Kelly's Korner Tavern 94. Tortas at Sliced and Diced Eatery 95. Seasonal Dumplings at Coconut Rabbit 96. Burrito de Birria de Res from Burritos La Palma 97. Bò Kho at Song Long Restaurant 98. Pancake Sandwich at Willowick Golf Course 99. Tahdig at Tanor Fresh Mediterranean Grill 100. Quatro Formaggi Panini at Old Vine Cafe
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