It's Lent right now, which means some of the best food in Orange County is popping up at Mexican restaurants every Friday, when faithful Catholics eschew meat. Out comes the seasonal specials: tortas de camarones (ground shrimp reconstituted as fritters), chile rellenos in a potato soup, potato tacos, and so many more. But the hallmark of Cuaresma cuisine--the bread pudding-esque sweet called capirotada--is strangely absent for reasons I've never quite understood. So thank the Santo Niño de Atocha for Taqueria Zamora for not only stocking it every Friday, but every day of the week during Lent.
I always describe Zamora to folks as the restaurant Mexican mothers take their family to when they tire of cooking, and the capirotada here comes straight from the kitchens of Mami: a slice of hardened bread (instead of the customary bolillo) soaked in a thick syrup spiked with everything from cloves to cinnamon to raisins. More raisins and coconut flakes decorate every slab, and while one serving seems small, it's as dense a dessert as you'll ever taste, with the once-tough bread liquefied into the divine--true transubstantiation here, folks! One of my all-time favorite desserts, you can only get it until Easter, so eat up and repent of your Hershey sins.