70. Ube Ensaymadas from The Ensaymada Project

Ube me!
Ube me!
Photo by Brekkie Fan

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!

Tucked in the corner of a large production kitchen in Tustin, I found solace in the form of dessert. Baker Chari Reyes was a pleasure to interview--speaking to her was like spending time with one of my favorite aunts.

Ensaymadas were a comforting part of my childhood. I'd even go so far as to say my livelihood. Chewy, squishy and mostly sweet, my Goldilocks versions had a ham and cheese persuasion. These days, ube rules.

For those not familiar with a pastry from The Ensaymada Project, you've probably encountered similar from other cultures (like how I equate an eggroll to lumpia). When I shared an order with co-workers, I described one as being comparable to a cinnamon roll.

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Each ensaymada is individually wrapped, its curious cream hue appearing more Easter egg treasure than exotic dessert. One bite, and doughy goodness takes over. This buttery baking project almost melts in my mouth. I inhale mine in barely a minute, after hesitating over the final chomp.

An episode of The Chew could be themed around this online-only (for now) business, but I digress.

For more info, visit www.ensaymadaproject.com

The List:

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: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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The Ensaymada Project

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Tustin, CA


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