Hey, kids: guess what time is it? It's time to restart that Long March known as 100 Favorite Dishes (INSERT YEAR). YEAH!!!
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 begin...
La Tablita California in SanTana just might be the most unglamorous restaurant in Orange County: across the street from the DMV, down the street from no-tell motels, the kind of place where a drunk, a transvestite, and a cholo walking in isn't the start of a joke but the afternoon clientele.
The food ain't bad, though--and their chilaquiles verdes are wonderful.
It pleases both schools of thought on chilaquiles: some of the tortilla strips are crunchy, others soft. But where La Tablita differentiates itself is with the rest of the flavors. The salsa verde sings of tomatillos; the queso cotija isn't some weak powder but salty, assertive.
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But you gotta get it with the egg. The woman who runs this place is a Rodin of the yolk, cooking your eggs exactly to order. I always like my eggs on chilaquiles to be overeasy, to let the yolk harden on the chips, and she can do that, but ask for the hard-to-achieve medium--eggs over-easy, but with the yolk half hard-boiled, half-runny--and she knocks it out of the park the way Pujols was supposed to do it this year. A fine place to recover in after getting up at 7 a.m. and enduring the hell that is the SanTana DMV.
La Tablita California, 1327 E. First St., Santa Ana, (714) 541-9552.