Because ustedes gentle readers love lists, and we lazy scribes love easy hits, behold the latest entry in our Top 100 dishes list that continues until Best Of--at which point, we'll give you MORE lists! Now, on with the show...
I wouldn't be surprised if Edwin or Dave revisit Pizzeria Ortica for this list, because its pizzas--forget the silly debate about whether they're truly authentic or not; they're just damn good pies--offer a good, relatively affordable meal. But I did want to list Ortica's wonderful budino low on this list. Why the praise with one hand and a slap with the other?
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Simple: it blatantly rides the train of success that is Pizzeria Mozza's budino. Sure, Mozza advertises their dessert as butterscotch, and Ortica makes theirs with chocolate, but the experience remain the same: cream top, decadent chocolate middle, and dark custard manna on the bottom, with sprinkles of salt throughout to enliven the senses with a dissenting, magnificent note. This is one of the better desserts in Orange County, but seriously, Ortica: couldn't you make up your own sweet star? I say this as I plan to order five and eat them all at once, to leave this vale of tears on a sugar rush that would've awoken ol' Lazarus himself...
650 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa, (714) 445-4900; www.pizzeriaortica.com
The rest of the list:
#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