No. 98, Takoyaki at Takoyaki Tanota
Hey, don't ding us for listicles: Weekly DataLab studies show ustedes love this gimmick, launched in honor of our coming Best Of issue. Besides, it is rather fun to do this for us Forkers--an opportunity to highlight dishes from restaurants we'll never full review, or secrets from old standbys. Anyhoo, let the march continue...
Calling Takoyaki Tanota a food truck is too generous. It is a cart--nothing more than a propane powered griddle on wheels with a trailer hitch. But in its stripped down existence lies the hook. Essential to the experience is watching your takoyaki being prepared. If it were a truck, this wouldn't be possible.
On the cart, you see its birth from the beginning, starting from the batter. You witness the liquid being poured into the greased dimples, a nugget of cooked octopus meat dropped into the middle. And then you see them being coaxed and teased by an attendant equipped with nothing more than a sharp stick until they miraculously transform into perfect spheres.
The popovers are then drenched in a sticky-sweet glaze, showered with pulverized aonori (seaweed), squiggled with drizzles of Kewpie mayo and a fistful of chopped green onions.
You eat it right there, standing, within seconds of cooking, because the crispness of the outer layer is tenuous. If you're not huffing and puffing at how insanely scorching the custard-like interior is, then you've waited too long to let them cool. To eat them any other way than scalding is to miss the point of takoyaki.
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