#43. Paletas at Delicias de México

Our Best of Orange County is coming out in just a couple of months;
in the meantime, here are 100 dishes that we think make dining in OC the
happy experience it is.

Americans, it is time to wake up and deal with the Mexican threat. Our way of life depends on it. If we sit idly by and do nothing, we will be swept away on a tide of Mexican pride.

I'm talking, of course, about the proliferation of Mexican ice cream places. What did you think I was going on about? Mexican ice cream places, called neverías, are popping up all over Orange County, but the best of them has to be Nevería Delicias de México, wedged practically underneath the 22 freeway just a couple of miles from Disneyland.

While they've got awesome hand-scooped, homemade ice creams (try the beso de ángel, cherry-vanilla ice cream with coconut and chopped nuts), the go-to item here is the two unassuming freezer cases of paletas–Mexican ice pops. They come in two varieties: the milk kind (ice cream pops) and the water kind (sorbet pops). They come in an eye-crossing array of flavors, every single one of which I've ever tried (and I'm kind of a junkie) has worked beautifully: cucumber with chile, mango, coconut, walnut. My favorite, though, is a paleta de arroz: rice pudding in ice pop form, which will cool the fire of even the hottest torta ahogada with just a bite or two. All the pops are made by hand from only fresh ingredients, and (like most Mexican places) without any disgusting, unpronounceable additives. At under two bucks for a big pop, you can indulge and not feel too guilty.

Nevería Delicias de México, 13466 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove; (714) 590-0031.

Here are the previous contenders:

#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 & 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 & 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 & 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

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