#1 AKA The Best Dish in Orange County RIGHT NOW: Taco Acorazado at the the Two Alebrije's Grill

Photo by the Elmo Monster…

This is it, cabrones: the best dish in Orange County! Want the best restaurant? You'll have to pick up our Best of OC issue next Thursday. Gracias for all the comments, the criticisms and other randomness. 'Til next year, or the next mass list of something or other!

Some time ago, I asked Dave and Edwin to send me their top five dishes so we could alternate them for this list. We all had different choices save for one: on all our lists, the taco acorazado served by Alebrije's Grill (painted pink-Cadillac pink) popped up, a testament to the power of great food trumping all politics (HA!) and personal preferences.


Dave, Edwin and I (can't speak for Shuji right now) love this dish–a massive corn tortilla topped with rice, grilled cactus, breaded beef, onions, salsa, avocado, and probably love–so much that we've written multiple articles on the subject–indeed, Dave and Edwin's output beat mine, and the two of them regale me with stories of recent visits, while I haven't had the pleasure in a couple of months before this past week. You can listen to me babble about the taco acorazado on KCRW, or my original review, and actually ask you to do so to understand our obsession.

My remarks now will be very limited given our previous, and more of the news-gathering sense than anything. So many people have responded positively to our coverage that other loncheras in SanTana now hawk them, although none match the original made by Alebrije's Grill. And notice my weird headline? Alebrije's Grill on the corner of Main and Cubbon in SanTana, the one most frequented by foodies and the one that has appeared on Last Call with Carson Daly, is no longer part of the Alebrije's chain owned by taco-truck rights pioneer Roberto Guzmán. Guzmán isn't happy that the owner of that truck, Albert Hernandéz (who bought it off Guzmán), has decided to keep the Alebrije's name and gets all the foodie acclaim and spells out his frustration on his Facebook page in Spanish, in caps: “Don't get confused…We only have three locations: Sycamore and Pomona outside of Superior Market, Hemlock and Bristol next to the hospital, Saturdays and Sundays at the Cypress Swap Meet….. Don't let yourself get fooled…………” Hernandez's Facebook page, on the other hand, makes no such note.

Guzmán has told me in the past he's mulling legal options to get Hernández to change his truck's name. I respect Guzmán and Hernández immensely, and frequent the two of them. So should you. But know the naming dispute before diving into the finest Mexican creation since Bohemia. Controversy with food? Tha's life, Jake.

The more famous Alebrije's is on the corner of Main and Cubbon streets in SanTana; the original Alebrije's is on the corner of Sycamore and Pomona streets and Hemlock and Bristol streets in SanTana, and Saturdays and Sundays at the Cypress Swap Meet.

The whole list!

#100. Jerk Carnitas Torta at The Crosby
#99. Nem Nuong Cuon at Brodard
#98. Pork Chop Anything at Nice Time Deli
#97. Flying Saucer at Alberto's
#96. Frozen Custard at Marc Burger's in Macy's Signature Kitchen
#95. Collard Greens at Johnny Reb's
#94. Strawberry Shortcake from Job's Daughters
#93. Cuban Sandwich at DeSimone's Deli
#92. Lamb with Preserved Cabbage at Mas Islamic Chinese
#91. Baked Rice at Luc Dinh Ky
#90. Beans on Toast at The Olde Ship
#89. Midnight Al Pastor Burrito or Taco at Taqueria Tapatia
#88. Budino di Cioccolato, Pizzeria Ortica
#87. Beef Teriyaki Bowl, Teriyami
#86. Salmon Onigiri at Cream Pan
#85. Beef Fat Fries at SideDoor
#84. Silken Tofu N Thousand Year Old Egg at Asian Tapas
#83. Cambodian Beef Jerky at Sophy's
#82. Com Tam at Com Tam Tran Quy Cap
#81. Chipotle-Piloncillo Goat Cheese at SOL Cocina
#80. Nem Nuong Cuon at Au Lac Restaurant
#79. Blackened Mushroom N Tofu Burger at Taco Loco
#78. Fried Veggie Fish Fillet at Dong Phuong Tofu
#77. Tofu Vegetable Salad at BCD Tofu House
#76. Che Ba Mau at Thach Che Hien Khanh
#75. Barracuda Sushi at Ohshima
#74. Whole Lamb with Kabsa at Olive Tree
#73. 5 a.m. Chitterlings at Tri-Village
#72. Spinach Empanadas at El Gaucho #2
#71. Croissants at Molinos Bakery
#70. Beso de Monja at El Rincón del Sabor
#69. Fatteh at Kareem's
#68. Korean Beef Rib Sandwich at Kaffa
#67. Rice Flour Pupusas at Pupusería San Sivar
#66. The Hash Browns at Pop's Cafe
#65. Seven Courses of Beef at Thien An
#64. Baby Back Ribs at Blake's Place
#63. Fish and Chips at The Chippy
#62. Roasted Beef Marrow Bones at Brasserie Pascal
#61. The Lunch Buffet at Tandoor Cuisine of India
#60. Eggs, Charcuterie and Bread at Uyen Thy Bistro
#59. Wang Mandoo at Myung In
#58. Gobi Paratha at Traditions
#57. Kibbeh at Zait N Zaatar
#56. Chicago Dog at Portillo's
#55. Persian Buffet at Irvine's Wholesome Choice
#54. Anything at night at Joe's Italian Ice
#53. Salteñas at Rollie's Bakery
#52. Iskender Kabob at Doner G
#51. Secret Beer-Battered Fish Burrito at the OG Taco Adobe
#50. Bun Rieu at Kim Huong
#49. Truffle Fries at Andrei's
#48. Monday Night Pizza Special at Pizza Shack
#47. Corn Dog at Disneyland's The Little Red Wagon
#46. Linguini with Clams at Franco's Pasta Cucina
#45. Chamoyada at Natural
#44. Meatloaf at Memphis
#43. Paletas at Delicias de México
#42. Omakase at Sushi Shibucho
#41. Odessa Sandwich at Moscow Deli
#40. Tacos de Rajas con Queso at Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen
#39. Crepes con Caramel at Anepalco's Cafe
#38. “Cobra” Chicken Sandwich at Memphis at the Santora.
#37. Beef Shawerma Plate at Sahara Falafel
#36. Flan at Taleo Mexican Grill
#35. Ahi Poke at Fish Camp
#34. Chao Chow Rice Noodle Soup at Trieu Chau
#33. Sweet Corn Soup at Raya At The Ritz Carlton
#32. Reuben Sandwich at Harry's Deli
#31. Enchilada Combo at Baja Fish Tacos
#30. Torta Ahogada at Los Primos
#29. Beef Panang from Thai Nakorn
#28. Quesadilla de Huitlacoche from Los Chilangos
#27. Haven Burger from Haven Gastropub
#26. Vegetarian Combo Platter at Tana Ethiopian
#25. Pecan-Sea Salt Tarts at Old Vine Cafe
#24. Fish Burrito at Los Cotijas
#23. Quarter, Half, or Whole Chicken at the Surfin' Chicken
#22. Kheema Dosa at Dosa Place
#21. Falafels at Kareem's Restaurant
#20. Hakata Ramen at Shin-Sen-Gumi
#19. Sausage at Sabatino's
#18. Deep Fried Fish with Mango Salad at Thai Nakorn
#17. Mexican Teriyaki Bowl at Mos 2
#16. Tripas Tacos at Taco Pronto
#15. Grilled Steak and Lobster Mashed Potatoes at Mastro's
#14. Strawberry Croissant at Cream Pan
#13. Fresh Sangak at Wholesome Choice
#12. Banh It Kep Banh Ram at Ngu Binh
#11. Banana Blossom Salad at Xanh Bistro
#10. Any Ice Cream at Stricklands Ice Cream
#9. Two Tacos for a Buck and Free Pineapple Juice (Until it's Gone) at Tacos El Chavito
#8. Vietnamese Ceviche at S Fine Dining
#7. Menu Spontané at Marché Moderne
#6. The Whole Sha-bang Shrimp at Boiling Crab
#5. Coconut Sambol at Wadiya
#4. Kobe Beef at Tsuruhashi
#3. Smoked Salmon and Eggs at Break of Dawn
#2. Uni Spaghetti at Cafe Hiro

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