We continue to countdown our 100 favorite dishes at local restaurants. We'll be sharing these with you every weekday until our annual Best Of Issue comes out. Enjoy!
#81. Chipotle-Piloncillo Goat Cheese at SOL Cocina
How to describe SOL Cocina's chipotle-piloncillo goat cheese? It inhabits the restaurant's antojito section of the menu. Yet, I can't honestly say it's an appetizer, though it is certainly appetizing. It is not a dessert, though it is certainly sweet. What it definitely is is amazing.
The dish blends the salty, the rich, the sugary, the sticky and the stickier. It's kind of like cream cheese eaten with brown sugar, but then, it's absolutely nothing like that. It's got cilantro as a garnish, and the flavor gets slightly fiery on the aftertaste. And you use it as a dip, scooping it up with a crunchy tostada disc that you break apart into shards.
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Piloncillo, that raw, unprocessed Mexican sugar they sell in cones, is the star of the dish. It's melted down to syrup, to be used as sauce, but it's also the plate's life-giver, lifting the dense scoop of the goat cheese's gob of salty richness to heights unknown to chips & salsa or anything else that should call itself "appetizer".
SOL Cocina at 251 Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, (949) 675-9800; www.solcocina.com
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