Snack food crack
Snack food crack
Anne Marie Panoringan

67. Chili Lime Popcorn From Green Tomato Grill

Behold the beginning of 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!

My first job was doing concessions in a movie theater. There, co-workers taught me a savory version of what is notoriously buttery. Take a plastic zip bag, fill with corn from the warmer, pump some mustard and shake it like a Polaroid. Umami, tart and darn messy, if not for our polyester penguin suits (everything washed off that vest/pants uniform). It was our unofficial lunch break hack.

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When I asked Kyle Markt about their popped corn, he mentioned that they were trying to come up with a healthy and tasty side to go with a rice bowl. They decided to go with popcorn because chips didn't match the concept. Using minimal oil, fresh lime juice and adobo seasoning (mild chili spices, paprika, onion, garlic, cinnamon, etc.) gave it a unique taste. Plans were for the kitchen to rotate flavors, but chili lime was so popular, they made it a permanent snack.

Not quite as tangy and less fussy, its hints of spice make me reach my hand for more. You can get a lunch bag full of the stuff for a buck. Thanks Kyle, for throwing me back to a time when my biggest worry was getting food stuck in my braces.

The List:

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

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