We're reaching the halfway point of 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!
What is a piadina? The easy answer is that it's a sandwich, since it technically has a bread-like substance "sandwiching" meat, cheese and veg. But then, it's just as easy to say that it's anything but a sandwich, since it can taste like a cross between a pizza, a calzone, a wrap, a burrito, a quesadilla, and a Chinese-style beef roll, all at the same time.
This is what happens when you order one at the new Piadina in Tustin. A ball of dough is compressed into a thin disc in a gigantic vice, the same kind of contraption you've probably seen at most of those new make-your-own-pizza joints of late. Then the dough disc gets slapped onto an griddle where it toasts as though it were a tortilla. After it gets mottled with brown spots on both sides, the flatbread is transferred to the filling station.
Since it's all one price, I choose the one that had the longest list of components. This would be the one called "Reggio", with "Prosciutto, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Mozzarella, Mushrooms, Arugula, Tomato, Tartar Sauce, and Tabasco." But ultimately, it wasn't the fillings that mattered; it's that flatbread.
It crackled crisply like the best Chinese onion pancake, but sans all the grease and thinner by half. And it remained crispy from my first bite to my last–this despite the smears of sauce, the moisture from the mushrooms, and the two kinds melting cheese.
So what is a piadina, really? It's delicious–one of the best sandwiches/non-sandwiches I've eaten in a while.
Piadina, 2933 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92782. (714) 417-9660; italianpiadina.com
51. Consomé de Barbacoa at El Torito Nuevo
52. Black Goat Casserole at Mirak
53. Wagon Wheel at French's Cupcake Bakery
54. Molletes at Taco Maria
55. That Awesome Hot Sauce at Akropolis
56. The Hermanator at Peter's Gourmade Grill
57. Bolsa Bao at Baos Hog
58. Full Moon Roll at Full Moon Sushi
59. Fried Chicken at Plaza Inn
60. Tonkotsu Spicy Ramen at Ramen Yamadaya
61. Three-Meat Combo at Robert Earl's BBQ
62. AYCE Sushi at Sake 2 Me
63. Yaki Dog at Burntzilla
64. Fruit Sorbet at the Playground
66. Dulce de Leche Walnut Shrimp Taco at Dos Chinos
65. Buñuelo Waffle at Waffles Inc
67. Cajun Seafood Pasta at The Big Catch
68. Belgian Fries at Wursthaus
69. Scoops x Contra Ice Cream Float at Scoops Ice Cream Santa Ana
70. Buttermilk Panna Cotta at Lola Gaspar
71. Hummus at Mick's Karma Bar
72. Savory Baked Goat Cheese Bread Pudding at Eat Chow
73. Sicilian Style Pepperoni Pizza at Perry's Pizza N Italian Restaurant
74. Kabocha Honey Nuts at Kabuki
75. Smashed Potatoes at Standing O
76. Dim Sum at Seafood Cove #2
77. Loco Moco at Bread Crumb Ohana Cafe
78. Bratwurst at Barley Forge
79. Beef Noodle Soup at (Wafting Fragrance) Noodle House
80. Taco de Nopal at Urban Cactus
81. Fried Chicken at Crazy Chi-Mac
82. Mole Tots at Amor y Tacos
83. Khao Soi at S.T. Noodle Bar
84. Chili Cone Queso at Cozy Cone Motel
85. Crispy Smelt at Big Catch Seafood
86. Teriyaki Chicken Plate at California Plate
87. Combo Plate at MasalaCraft
88. Cornbread Waffle N Chicken at Mrs. Bea's
89. Everything at Crispy Town
90. Kurobuta Pork Belly Bánh Mì at Mendocino Farms
91. Tostilocos at Tortas y Biónicos "Nice"
92. Milanesa at Delicias Peruanas
93. Super Nachos at Kelly's Korner Tavern
94. Tortas at Sliced and Diced Eatery
95. Seasonal Dumplings at Coconut Rabbit
96. Burrito de Birria de Res from Burritos La Palma
97. Bò Kho at Song Long Restaurant
98. Pancake Sandwich at Willowick Golf Course
99. Tahdig at Tanor Fresh Mediterranean Grill
100. Quatro Formaggi Panini at Old Vine Cafe