No. 83, Bistec de Pollo at Mercado El Rey

No. 83, Bistec de Pollo at Mercado El Rey

It's perennially summer in Orange County, so it's important to never overlook one essential item on the cookout list: marinated meat. 

The carne asada at Carlos Market in Santa Ana gets a bath in sweet and citric Sunny Delight, and the Meat House's "house" seasoning is better than the Montreal stuff everyone loves so much, but the bistec de pollo from Mercado El Rey in Lake Forest earns the nickname "Mexican crack chicken" for a reason.

Never mind its strange neon yellow appearance, turned so after a thorough soak in salty-good "Chef Merito Chicken Seasoning," also sold in the market. Cilantro, sliced onion and who knows what else adds to the succulence of this gussied-up hen. 

It's a misnomer because there's no "beefsteak" on this chicken, but these dirt-cheap cuts of connected, deboned legs and thighs cook up as juicy as any cut of beef that's been on my grill.

Mercado El Rey, 23532 El Toro Rd., Lake Forest, (949) 380-0021.

The list so far:

84. The Rhino at Rancho a Go Go
85. Cabernet Brownies at Blackmarket Bakery
86. Cookie Monster at Lola Ice Cream and Deli
87. Polenta Board at CUCINA Enoteca
88. Falafel Taco at Taco Asylum
89. Wagon-Wheel Bread at THE RANCH Restaurant
90. Toothpick Tacos at Mexico Supermarket
91. Hoppin' John at Memphis at the Santora
92. Free Beans and Chips at Taqueria Zamora
93. Pig in a Blanket Waffle with Gringo Bandito at Cafe Calacas
94. "Pork Hash" at Huong Giang
95. Sweet Chili Chicken Quesadilla At Kogi
96. Licuados at Mil Jugos
97. Hawaiian Ahi Poke at California Fish Grill
98. Takoyaki at Takoyaki Tanota
99. Fiesta Noodles at Jollibee
100. Chilaquiles Verdes Con Huevos Estrellados at La Tablita California

Click here to view our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2010!
Click here to view our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2011!

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