Photo from Rollie's website
Photo from Rollie's website

#53. Salteñas at Rollie's Bakery

Because ustedes gentle readers love lists, behold the latest entry in our Top 100 dishes list that continues until Best Of--at which point, we'll give you MORE lists! Now, on with the show...

I once had a Bolivian friend tell me that the salteña, the country's epic empanada, said more about the Bolivian character than any other foodstuff. 

Her reasoning went like this: the salteña is a seemingly humble meal that contained treasure no one would ever expect: hard-boiled eggs, peas, potatoes, olives, ground beef, even raisin, all sauteed with cinnamon and other amazing spices. Bolivians, she said, also weren't thought of much in South America, yet their hardy character had persevered.

But that wasn't the main reason why she loved the salteña so.

"We stole it from Argentina, you know," she whispered to me. She was partly right.

Salteñas do derive their name from the Argentine province of Salta, just south of Bolivia. But if the Bolivians did steal the salteña, this wonderful meal, from the Argies, those


would be up in arms over it--say, like, the Falklands. Their lack of anger over the salteña signifies that Bolivians don't have to worry about a thing other than this still doesn't remove the popular perception that they're the Mexicans of South America (another interesting point she made: in

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

, when Paul Newman and Robert Redford decide to escape civilization, they head to Bolivia. Fascinating...).

Long aside to get to the best local rendition of the salteña: at Rollie's, one of the county's precious few Bolivian eateries. They make them fresh every morning, sell them cheap, and feature a golden crust that encases a steaming pile of bueno. Eat many, and don't steal them like the stereotype may insist...

Rollie's Bakery, 14071 Newport Ave., Tustin, (714) 669-8300;

The rest of the list--so far...

#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


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