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!
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I was able to visit Old Vine Cafe for the first time in a while, recently, and I love that Chef Mark McDonald and his executive chef, Carli Savedra, not only continue to push the boundaries of the charming bistro, but they also know to keep the oldies-but-goodies. You're going to see Old Vine again on this list, but I had to give a shout-out to one of my standards here: the quattro formaggi panini
It's deceptively simple: Mozzarella, Gruyere, Pecorino, and Soledad goats cheese make up the fromage; shitake mushrooms and slightly fried arugula give bottom; a pomadoro sauce on the side is meant for dipping but is so sweet and tangy, you almost want to drink it. I've been ordering this dish now since being one of the first customers at Old Vine so long ago, and I'll continue to order it for decades to come. Definitely try McDonald and Savedra's adventurous side, but if you ever just want to grub, the quattro formaggi is as fine a quick sandwich as there is in OC