We're reaching the halfway point of 100 Favorite Dishes countdown! Every day until the publication of our fantabulous Best Of Issue, we'll list our favorite meals this year in descending order. Enjoy, pass it on, and tune in daily!
I'm sure you're going to see Taco Maria a couple of times on this list, and rightfully so: it remains the best restaurant in OC for many reasons, with the molletes being one of them. It's a seemingly ridiculously easy meal: just a toasted bolillo, refried beans, queso fresco, and salsa. But that's when Chef Carlos Salgado brings on the 100 and does his magic.
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The salsa is tatemada, a fancy way of saying "smoky," and is as fragrant yet bright as an amazing tomato sauce. But the kicker is the butter, made from huitlacoche. Salgado elevates what's essentially a Mexican bean sandwich into the realm of the cosmos with the butter--sweet, with a musky back kick that makes the most expensive truffles seem as luxurious as Splenda. Get on it!
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