From now until our Best Of issue, we are counting down our 100
favorite dishes of the past year. If you've missed some, we've included a
linked list at the end.
#71. Croissants at Molinos Bakery
The best croissants in Orange County are not at some fancy boulangerie or pâtisserie tucked away in the well-heeled shores of Newport or Laguna; they're turned out not by a François, but a Mario.
That's right, don't call it a croissant, call it a cuernito, and get it at either branch of Molinos Bakery. Walk in to the Garden Grove branch in the morning around 7:30 a.m. (perfect for picking them up to bribe co-workers) and it looks like a typical Mexican bakery, with well-worn cabinets practically groaning with Mexican pastries: conchas, empanadas dulces, and all manner of other panes dulces.
Right in front of you, though, is the Holy Grail: a 7-foot-tall baker's rack full of pans of still-hot croissants. They're enormous, and they've got the most amazing egg-wash sheen I've ever seen. Break one apart and you'll see it's moist and flaky without being even slightly dry. They practically beg to be slathered with butter and maybe just a tiny bit of jam. One of these and a cup of café de olla ($1) and you'll be ready to face the day.
The best part? The price. A dozen of these things, still practically steaming from the oven, is a whopping six dollars. You can't even pay for parking in Newport Beach for that.
Molinos Bakery, 13038 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove; (714) 750-1122.
Molinos Bakery, 2503 E. Ball Rd., Anaheim; (714) 817-0646.
The list so far:
Jerk Carnitas Torta at The Crosby
Nem Nuong Cuon at Brodard
Pork Chop Anything at Nice Time Deli
Flying Saucer at Alberto's
Frozen Custard at Marc Burger's in Macy's Signature Kitchen
Collard Greens at Johnny Reb's
Strawberry Shortcake from Job's Daughters
Cuban Sandwich at DeSimone's Deli
Lamb with Preserved Cabbage at Mas Islamic Chinese
Baked Rice at Luc Dinh Ky
Beans on Toast at The Olde Ship
Midnight Al Pastor Burrito or Taco at Taqueria Tapatia
Budino di Cioccolato, Pizzeria Ortica
Beef Teriyaki Bowl, Teriyami
Salmon Onigiri at Cream Pan
Beef Fat Fries at SideDoor
Silken Tofu & Thousand Year Old Egg at Asian Tapas
Cambodian Beef Jerky at Sophy's
Com Tam at Com Tam Tran Quy Cap
Chipotle-Piloncillo Goat Cheese at SOL Cocina
Nem Nuong Cuon at Au Lac Restaurant
Blackened Mushroom & Tofu Burger at Taco Loco
Fried Veggie Fish Fillet at Dong Phuong Tofu
Tofu Vegetable Salad at BCD Tofu House
Che Ba Mau at Thach Che Hien Khanh
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