Edwin Goei

No. 82, Taquitos at El Toro Bravo

Behold the beginning of our annual 100 Favorite Dishes countdown! Every day until the publication of our fantabulous Best Of Issue, we'll list our favorite meals this year in descending order. Enjoy, pass it on, and tune in daily!

Like most people of non-Mexican ancestry, I've been used to being offered one kind of taquito: whatever was already pre-rolled, frozen, and ready to be deep-fried. At El Toro Bravo, when I ordered four and the counterman asked me what kind of meat, I was kind of dumbfounded. "What? I can choose?"

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In front of me was a chafing tray array of meats that I thought was just for the tacos and burritos, and now all of them became filling possibilities for my taquitos, including al pastor, rotisserie chicken, and carne asada.

When I said chicken, he took a wad of chicken meat from the tray, chopped it up to bits with his cleaver, deposited them into a bowl, added a flurry of cheese and then mixed it up with his fingers. Then on it went onto discs of fresh corn tortillas before he rolled it up into fat cigars fastened shut by a toothpick. After that it was plop, plop, plop, plop into a deep fryer. Five minutes later, they were done--the best taquitos I've ever had.

Crunchy. Hot. Fresh. Bursting with meat. Best part: the errant strands of crispy burnt chicken meat that had turned to concentrated flavor morsels on the edges. Worth every cent of the buck each they charge.

The List:

83. Peanut Butter and Jelly Donut at the Donuttery 84. Dan Dan Mian at Wei-Shian Noodle 85. Beef Burger at Rider's Club Café 86. Smoked Trout at Provenance 87. Small Plates at A&J Restaurant 88. Corn Cheese at Zoomak Asian Bistro 89. Pumpkin Curry at Bhan Baitong 90. Poke at Costco Tustin II 91. Pambazo at Tacos Radioactivos 92. Beef Pho at Pho Crystal Noodle House 93. Breakfast Burrito from Cafe Calacas 94. Koobideh Plate from Grill Cafe 95. Tacos de Cecina from Alebrije's 97. Breakfast Sausage from Da-Le Ranch 99. Tres Amigos Burrito from Piaggio on Wheels 100. Bacon-Wrapped Dates from Lola Gaspar

Email: Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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