#3. Smoked Salmon and Eggs at Break of DawnEXPAND
Dave Lieberman

#3. Smoked Salmon and Eggs at Break of Dawn

The final installments of our march to the Bridge on the River Calorie are coming your way. Make sure to pick up a copy of our Best of OC 2010 when it hits the newsstands next Thursday, October 14! Sometimes foods just dance through my mind. It can be as simple as a really amazing wood-roasted sweet potato I once ate in a creepy, dark alley in Kowloon, as luxurious as six plump oysters and a glass of Petit Chablis at a sunny bar on the Saône in Lyon, or as mind-altering as a plate of blood sausage mousse at a popular pop-up restaurant in Los Angeles.

Often these wispy memories are serendipitous finds or transient items and thus unobtainable; the plate of smoked salmon and eggs at Break of Dawn, however, is only twenty minutes away by car. It starts with a riff on polenta, savory oatmeal allowed to cool, then pan-fried until crispy. It's topped with smoked salmon (smoked on the premises, of course), two perfectly poached eggs, some pickled vegetables and a deep green herb sauce, heavy on the cilantro. Eaten component by component, they're well-prepared foods; piled together as a single bite, however, they form a whole much more than their constituent parts.

Pair this ethereal breakfast not with Champagne, but a cup of chef Dee Nguyen's outstanding Vietnamese iced coffee, and be transported.

Break of Dawn, 24351 Avenida de la Carlota, Laguna Hills; (949) 587-9418; www.breakofdawnrestaurant.com.

The rest of the list!

#100. Jerk Carnitas Torta at The Crosby
#99. Nem Nuong Cuon at Brodard
#98. Pork Chop Anything at Nice Time Deli
#97. Flying Saucer at Alberto's
#96. Frozen Custard at Marc Burger's in Macy's Signature Kitchen
#95. Collard Greens at Johnny Reb's
#94. Strawberry Shortcake from Job's Daughters
#93. Cuban Sandwich at DeSimone's Deli
#92. Lamb with Preserved Cabbage at Mas Islamic Chinese
#91. Baked Rice at Luc Dinh Ky
#90. Beans on Toast at The Olde Ship
#89. Midnight Al Pastor Burrito or Taco at Taqueria Tapatia
#88. Budino di Cioccolato, Pizzeria Ortica
#87. Beef Teriyaki Bowl, Teriyami
#86. Salmon Onigiri at Cream Pan
#85. Beef Fat Fries at SideDoor
#84. Silken Tofu & Thousand Year Old Egg at Asian Tapas
#83. Cambodian Beef Jerky at Sophy's
#82. Com Tam at Com Tam Tran Quy Cap
#81. Chipotle-Piloncillo Goat Cheese at SOL Cocina
#80. Nem Nuong Cuon at Au Lac Restaurant
#79. Blackened Mushroom & Tofu Burger at Taco Loco
#78. Fried Veggie Fish Fillet at Dong Phuong Tofu
#77. Tofu Vegetable Salad at BCD Tofu House
#76. Che Ba Mau at Thach Che Hien Khanh
#75. Barracuda Sushi at Ohshima
#74. Whole Lamb with Kabsa at Olive Tree
#73. 5 a.m. Chitterlings at Tri-Village
#72. Spinach Empanadas at El Gaucho #2
#71. Croissants at Molinos Bakery
#70. Beso de Monja at El Rincón del Sabor
#69. Fatteh at Kareem's
#68. Korean Beef Rib Sandwich at Kaffa
#67. Rice Flour Pupusas at Pupusería San Sivar
#66. The Hash Browns at Pop's Cafe
#65. Seven Courses of Beef at Thien An
#64. Baby Back Ribs at Blake's Place
#63. Fish and Chips at The Chippy
#62. Roasted Beef Marrow Bones at Brasserie Pascal
#61. The Lunch Buffet at Tandoor Cuisine of India
#60. Eggs, Charcuterie and Bread at Uyen Thy Bistro
#59. Wang Mandoo at Myung In
#58. Gobi Paratha at Traditions
#57. Kibbeh at Zait & Zaatar
#56. Chicago Dog at Portillo's
#55. Persian Buffet at Irvine's Wholesome Choice
#54. Anything at night at Joe's Italian Ice
#53. Salteñas at Rollie's Bakery
#52. Iskender Kabob at Doner G
#51. Secret Beer-Battered Fish Burrito at the OG Taco Adobe
#50. Bun Rieu at Kim Huong
#49. Truffle Fries at Andrei's
#48. Monday Night Pizza Special at Pizza Shack
#47. Corn Dog at Disneyland's The Little Red Wagon
#46. Linguini with Clams at Franco's Pasta Cucina
#45. Chamoyada at Natural
#44. Meatloaf at Memphis
#43. Paletas at Delicias de México
#42. Omakase at Sushi Shibucho
#41. Odessa Sandwich at Moscow Deli
#40. Tacos de Rajas con Queso at Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen
#39. Crepes con Caramel at Anepalco's Cafe
#38. "Cobra" Chicken Sandwich at Memphis at the Santora.
#37. Beef Shawerma Plate at Sahara Falafel
#36. Flan at Taleo Mexican Grill
#35. Ahi Poke at Fish Camp
#34. Chao Chow Rice Noodle Soup at Trieu Chau
#33. Sweet Corn Soup at Raya At The Ritz Carlton
#32. Reuben Sandwich at Harry's Deli
#31. Enchilada Combo at Baja Fish Tacos
#30. Torta Ahogada at Los Primos
#29. Beef Panang from Thai Nakorn
#28. Quesadilla de Huitlacoche from Los Chilangos
#27. Haven Burger from Haven Gastropub
#26. Vegetarian Combo Platter at Tana Ethiopian
#25. Pecan-Sea Salt Tarts at Old Vine Cafe
#24. Fish Burrito at Los Cotijas
#23. Quarter, Half, or Whole Chicken at the Surfin' Chicken
#22. Kheema Dosa at Dosa Place
#21. Falafels at Kareem's Restaurant
#20. Hakata Ramen at Shin-Sen-Gumi
#19. Sausage at Sabatino's
#18. Deep Fried Fish with Mango Salad at Thai Nakorn
#17. Mexican Teriyaki Bowl at Mos 2
#16. Tripas Tacos at Taco Pronto
#15. Grilled Steak and Lobster Mashed Potatoes at Mastro's
#14. Strawberry Croissant at Cream Pan
#13. Fresh Sangak at Wholesome Choice
#12. Banh It Kep Banh Ram at Ngu Binh
#11. Banana Blossom Salad at Xanh Bistro
#10. Any Ice Cream at Stricklands Ice Cream
#9. Two Tacos for a Buck and Free Pineapple Juice (Until it's Gone) at Tacos El Chavito
#8. Vietnamese Ceviche at S Fine Dining
#7. Menu Spontané at Marché Moderne
#6. The Whole Sha-bang Shrimp at Boiling Crab
#5. Coconut Sambol at Wadiya
#4. Kobe Beef at Tsuruhashi

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