Eat This Now: Pambazo Ahi Crudo at Anepalco's Off Chapman
So I know all of you go to Anepalco's off Main Street in Orange, the first branch of Danny Godinez's coming empire of alta cocina Mexican food. But not enough of you have yet made the trek to the second Anepalco's, the one off Chapman Avenue kitty-korner from UCI Medical Center. That one gets a good lunch and dinner crowd, but still nowhere near the lines that Anepalquito's (Godinez's personal nickname for his original location) enjoys. And it's a shame, because the newer restaurant is where Godinez is experimenting with Mexican food like a culinary Cafe Tacuba.
He just debuted a new menu, one with a panoply of exciting dishes--a steak within chile negro, frog legs surrounded by a fabulous pico de gallo, a tropical crepe. But the best dish is a stunning pambazo, Godinez's take on the iconic Mexico City sandwich that finds cooks getting a bolillo, soaking it in red salsa, and toasting the results.
Having ahi accompanied by toasted bread is virtually heretical, but Godinez has never subscribed to ideologies--he just does his thing. He puts the sushi-grade ahi between the pambazo, adds serrano and radish slivers on top, slathers the slice with avocado puree, then drizzles everything in lime juice. Results? Tart, spicy, crunchy, soft, brilliant--kind of like Cafe Tacuba's Re. And if you don't know what I'm referring to, get with the Reconquista--and get thee to Anepalco's.
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