7. Meatballs from Pirozzi

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I'm pretty sure I've not had a meatball as scrumptious or as soft as the ones Alessandro Pirozzi is serving at Pirozzi, his new restaurant in Corona del Mar. And I don't know why it took me this long to try them. After all, I've been to all of his restaurants: Mare Culinary Lounge at the Laguna Beach Holiday Inn, Alessá in downtown Laguna, even Cucina Alessá in Huntington Beach, with which he's no longer affiliated. Perhaps I was too distracted by the cool-blue nightclub atmospherics at Mare or the overwhelmingly encyclopedic menu at Alessá to notice he's probably always made meatballs this good.


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These are delicate orbs whose structural integrity is retained only until touched. Nudge one with your fork, and it surrenders under just the slightest pressure, as though it's made of freshly packed snow. It's even better when you put it in your mouth, as it disintegrates into a hot, meaty pudding capable of invading every pore. As an appetizer, you get three of them draped in burrata cheese, oozing as though they're melted camp marshmallows, with an ambrosial ragù and sprinkles of basil. They're by far the most popular dish at Pirozzi. You see every table with an order. I had them as part of the spaghetti Mamma Mia entrée; for two bucks more than the appetizer price, the meatballs are served atop about six forkfuls of pasta.

As good and as properly cooked as it is, the spaghetti is a supporting co-star to these beefy beauts. Each piece that collapsed from the whole delivered warmness directly to my soul. If you want a heartier meal, Pirozzi also adds one meatball to his baked ziti–firm but tender pasta tubes oven-fused with a richly meaty Bolognese and the heady stink of three cheeses. But once you've had the spaghetti, the solitary meatball in the baked ziti dish will no longer be enough.

The List:

8. Ribeye from Selanne Steak Tavern
9. Barra Vieja from Anepalco's Cafe
10. Poki Bowl from PokiNometry
11. Soba Anything at Tanakaya
12. Secret Grilled-Cheese Sandwich from Old Vine Cafe
13. Strawberry Mochi at J. Sweet Bakery
14. Sushi from Del Sushi
15. Kibbeh at Aleppo's Kitchen
16. Cha Ca Thang Long at Vien Dong
17. Turkey Meatloaf Sandwich at Lucca Cafe
18. Catch-Style Carrot Cake at The Catch
19. Chicken, Broccoli and Mushroom Sandwich with Garlic Sauce from Le Diplomat
20. Vietnamese Baguette from Saigon Bakery
21. Whole Roasted Cauliflower from Lark Creek
22. Wagyu Loco Moco Skillet from Urban Seoul 2.0
23. Orange Blossom Honey from Massey Honey Co
24. Duck and Pork Cassoulet from Pinot Provence
25. Hash brown cake at Zov's
26. Poke at Bear Flag Fish Company
27. Avocado Ice Cream at à la minute
28. Icre at Dunarea
29. Milky Bun at Afters Ice Cream
30. Drunken Cow Pie at Pie Not
31. Chamorro al Guajillo at Sabroso!
32. Garbanzos at the North Left
33. Burger at Riders Club Cafe
34. Wraps at Kech Cafe
35. Pupusas de Frijol con Queso at Las Casuelas
36. Chicken Marsala at Aioli
37. Phnom Penh Noodle & Cha-Kwai at Little La Lune
38. Fried Chicken at Disneyland's Plaza Inn
39. Cookie Monster Ice Cream from B. Candy
40. Bento Box from California Gogi Korean Grill
41. Jasmine Milk Tea Ice Cream at Afters Ice Cream
42. 79 Special at Hapi Sushi
43. Chicken Nuggets at The North Left
44. Spicy Lemon Garlic Chicken at Chicken Maison
45. Surround Sound Burrito at the Secret Spot
46. Cheesecake Beignets At Scott's Restaurant
47. Spam and Egg Banh Mi From Tan Hoang Huong
48. Marianne's 10-20 Ice Cream At Ruby's Diner
49. Chile Relleno Pretzel Cheeseburger at OC Fair
50. Lunch at Big Thunder Ranch at Disneyland
51. Pescado A Lo Macho at Muelle Peruvian Cantina
52. Cemita de Milanesa at La Cemita Poblana
53. Meatballs and Polenta at 320 Main
54. Shellfish (Ốc) at Hien Vuong Da Kao
55. Basic Bol at Boldo Bol
56. Bang Bang Shrimp at Bonefish Grill
57. 10-Item Plate at Thuan Kieu Noodle & Grill
58. Leche Frita at Cafe Sevilla
59. Happy Hour Sushi at Ginzaya
60. Red Beans and Rice at Disneyland's French Market
61. Consommé from Tacos y Birria El Güero
62. Fried Chicken Biscuit Sandwich at Little Sparrow
63. Breakfast Taco at Sapphire Laguna
64. Husky Burger at Husky Boy Burgers
65. Love Bagel from Koffee Klatch
66. Kouign Amann From The Crema Cafe & Bakery
67. Chili Lime Popcorn From Green Tomato Grill
68. PB & J At Hopscotch
69. Takuwan Sushi from AnQi by Crustacean
70. Ube Ensaymadas from The Ensaymada Project
71. Pork Bánh Mì at the OC Poultry and Rotisserie Market
72. Tacos Gobernador from Mariscos Los Corales
73. Dutch Baby at the Original Pancake House
74. Doughnuts from Sidecar
75. Lengua Tacos at La Chonita
76. Oysters from Carlsbad Aquafarm at the Orange Homegrown Farmers Market
77. Lemon Miso Crab Melt at Umami Burger in Laguna Beach
78. Pani Puri from Adya
79. The Pocket at the Pocket Burger
80. Gyro Sandwich from Paul's Place
81. Slice of Heaven at Pie-Not
82. Taquitos at El Toro Bravo
83. Peanut Butter and Jelly Donut at the Donuttery
84. Dan Dan Mian at Wei-Shian Noodle
85. Beef Burger at Rider's Club Café
86. Smoked Trout at Provenance
87. Small Plates at A&J Restaurant
88. Corn Cheese at Zoomak Asian Bistro
89. Pumpkin Curry at Bhan Baitong
90. Poke at Costco Tustin II
91. Pambazo at Tacos Radioactivos
92. Beef Pho at Pho Crystal Noodle House
93. Breakfast Burrito from Cafe Calacas
94. Koobideh Plate from Grill Cafe
95. Tacos de Cecina from Alebrije's
97. Breakfast Sausage from Da-Le Ranch
98. Any Special Dinner by Old Vine Cafe's Mark McDonald
99. Tres Amigos Burrito from Piaggio on Wheels
100. Bacon-Wrapped Dates from Lola Gaspar

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