Santiago Vallejo has an impressive résumé: formerly at the Ritz, he left to open his own restaurant, Mariscos Puerto Esperanza, in a tiny shopping center in Orange. It caused an immediate sensation on the food boards (Chowhound, Yelp, etc.) and Edwin himself weighed in positively (his review is framed on the bar). Chef Santiago took a few minutes out of his day to answer our silly survey for this week's On the Line:
1. Dish you cook that most represents you.
Pescado zarandeado (Nayarit-style grilled fish). Even in this economy, we go through 40 pounds a week of it. We used to use local robalo (snook), but lately we've been getting it from Mexico, it's better there.
2. What was the last meal you had at home?
I think the last thing I made at home was barbacoa de chivo and consomé.
3. Your favorite restaurant (other than yours):
Besides my own? I think Maya Restaurant in Los Angeles and San Francisco. I love their tuna. I admire Charlie Trotter, too.
4. Fast food guilty pleasure:
I don't really eat fast food but I love Chinese food, just some noodles and kung pao chicken.
5. Complete this sentence: I would like to [verb] [Food Network star] with [noun]. (for example: "I would like to BEAT BOBBY FLAY with A STALE BAGUETTE." or "I would like to SHOWER GIADA DE LAURENTIIS with FLOWERS"):
I would like to cook with Bobby Flay, shrimp stuffed with smoked marlin and Oaxaca cheese.
6. Last meal of your life, what would it be?
I hope to live a long time [Sorry, chef, didn't mean to put the evil eye on you!] but the last thing, maybe pho.
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7. Items you always have in your refrigerator:
Tomatoes and cilantro. Always.
8. Your most indispensable kitchen tool or appliance:
I couldn't cook without my grill. I use it every day.