Behold the beginning of our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2016 listicle! Every day through the publication of our Best Of 2016 issue (and sometimes, twice a day), we'll be bringing you our favorite dishes across Orange County, leading up to the best in the land. Enjoy!
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The eternal struggle for Salvadoran restaurants in Orange County is to appeal to la naranja's Mexican super-majority. Las Cazuelas, in downtown SanTana, mastered that game long ago. It has a counter where paisas can drown their hard day of labor with Modelo and the like, and weekends bring out the karaoke machine. But the most delicious diversity effort is in the restaurant's jalapeño pupusas.
Las Cazuelas' pupusa game has always been strong, with their take of the Salvadoran staple sturdy, crispy, cheesy and filling. But throw in some jalapeños, and you're now in a different league. They judiciously spread jalapeño slices inside the pupusas, ensuring you get some heat but not an inferno. Wash it down with Salvadoran horchata (far better than the dreck us Mexicans offer), and next time they have karaoke, offer to sing "La Bala" by Los Hermanos Flores—TRUST ME...
Las Cazuelas, 312 N. Bush St. Santa Ana, (714) 835-9952