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!
#86. Salmon Onigiri at Cream Pan
Yes, Cream Pan is a bakery, a damned good one, but here's an item that you should get along with the breads: the salmon onigiri. Loosely translated onigiri is just "rice ball"; but that's slightly inaccurate as most are triangular, not spherical. There's also almost always nori involved, whose utility is twofold: It adds flavor and a place to grip without getting your fingers sticky. They're often filled with things like plum, fish eggs, or best of all, cooked salmon.
Cream Pan's not the only place you can get onigiri. Mitsuwa Market has it (as do other restaurants and markets), but theirs has rice making up most of its volume and a teeny-tiny, marble-sized portion of salmon in the center--a smidgen's worth.
But Cream Pan? They mix the salmon meat into the rice before sculpting. The result is salmon and rice in every bite--every mouthful a perfectly proportioned ratio of the two ingredients, salty and satisfyingly salmon-y. The first chomp is as wonderful as the last: a squar...um, triangular meal onto itself for about $2.
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Cream Pan, 602 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92780, (714) 665-8239
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