From now until our Best Of issue, we are counting down our 100 favorite dishes of the past year. If you've missed some, we've included a linked list at the end.
#71. Croissants at Molinos Bakery
The best croissants in Orange County are not at some fancy boulangerie or pâtisserie tucked away in the well-heeled shores of Newport or Laguna; they're turned out not by a François, but a Mario.
That's right, don't call it a croissant, call it a cuernito, and get it at either branch of Molinos Bakery. Walk in to the Garden Grove branch in the morning around 7:30 a.m. (perfect for picking them up to bribe co-workers) and it looks like a typical Mexican bakery, with well-worn cabinets practically groaning with Mexican pastries: conchas, empanadas dulces, and all manner of other panes dulces.
Right in front of you, though, is the Holy Grail: a 7-foot-tall baker's rack full of pans of still-hot croissants. They're enormous, and they've got the most amazing egg-wash sheen I've ever seen. Break one apart and you'll see it's moist and flaky without being even slightly dry. They practically beg to be slathered with butter and maybe just a tiny bit of jam. One of these and a cup of café de olla ($1) and you'll be ready to face the day.
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The best part? The price. A dozen of these things, still practically steaming from the oven, is a whopping six dollars. You can't even pay for parking in Newport Beach for that.
Molinos Bakery, 13038 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove; (714) 750-1122.
Molinos Bakery, 2503 E. Ball Rd., Anaheim; (714) 817-0646.
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