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Photo by The Mexican

63. Breakfast Taco at Sapphire Laguna

Behold our annual 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!

"A breakfast taco at Sapphire?" I mumbled when I saw the breakfast options at Sapphire Laguna, the excellent farm-to-table restaurant of Chef Azmin Ghahreman. The place has always cut the difference between tourist-friendly offerings and Ghahreman's ambitions, and a breakfast taco--a trend slowly trickling in from Texas--seemed out of place here.

The dish came. "That's not a breakfast taco," I groaned. Indeed, if you look at it, it's more like a huarache--two tortillas on which a bed of scrambled eggs, pico de gallo, and cheese sit. And so pretty! I was ready to dismiss it as Laguna pomposity...and then I bit into it.

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It's what Rick Bayless wish he could offer in OC: traditional Mexican food that's actually good. Sapphire's cuisine has always been delicate and nuanced, and that's what their breakfast taco is about: the fluffiness of the eggs, the tartness of the salsa, the savory quesillo on the bottom. You have a choice of avocado, bacon or turkey chili for the protein portion; I went with the chili, and it was good enough for Terlingua.

Was this a breakfast taco? Not even close. Was it delicious? Damn straight. The List:

64. Husky Burger at Husky Boy Burgers 65. Love Bagel from Koffee Klatch 66. Kouign Amann From The Crema Cafe & Bakery 67. Chili Lime Popcorn From Green Tomato Grill 68. PB & J At Hopscotch 69. Takuwan Sushi from AnQi by Crustacean 70. Ube Ensaymadas from The Ensaymada Project 71. Pork Bánh Mì at the OC Poultry and Rotisserie Market 72. Tacos Gobernador from Mariscos Los Corales 73. Dutch Baby at the Original Pancake House 74. Doughnuts from Sidecar 75. Lengua Tacos at La Chonita 76. Oysters from Carlsbad Aquafarm at the Orange Homegrown Farmers Market 77. Lemon Miso Crab Melt at Umami Burger in Laguna Beach 78. Pani Puri from Adya 79. The Pocket at the Pocket Burger 80. Gyro Sandwich from Paul's Place 81. Slice of Heaven at Pie-Not 82. Taquitos at El Toro Bravo 83. Peanut Butter and Jelly Donut at the Donuttery 84. Dan Dan Mian at Wei-Shian Noodle 85. Beef Burger at Rider's Club Café 86. Smoked Trout at Provenance 87. Small Plates at A&J Restaurant 88. Corn Cheese at Zoomak Asian Bistro 89. Pumpkin Curry at Bhan Baitong 90. Poke at Costco Tustin II 91. Pambazo at Tacos Radioactivos 92. Beef Pho at Pho Crystal Noodle House 93. Breakfast Burrito from Cafe Calacas 94. Koobideh Plate from Grill Cafe 95. Tacos de Cecina from Alebrije's 96. Jajangmyeong from Ching Chinese Express 97. Breakfast Sausage from Da-Le Ranch 98. Any Special Dinner by Old Vine Cafe's Mark McDonald 99. Tres Amigos Burrito from Piaggio on Wheels 100. Bacon-Wrapped Dates from Lola Gaspar

Email: Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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