Behold the beginning of our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2016 listicle! Every day through the publication of our Best Of 2016 issue (and sometimes, twice a day), we’ll be bringing you our favorite dishes across Orange County, leading up to the best in the land. Enjoy!
If you haven’t noticed, Costco has become a significant player in the proliferation of poke in Orange County. But you should know that they started testing the waters in 2004, way before any of the current wave of copy-cat poke entrepreneurs even noticed that Pokinometry in Anaheim existed.
But because of the current craze, Costco, recognizing the frenzy, has also expanded their selection to other Costcos, even if only on the weekends. More importantly, they’ve also widened their poke offerings beyond just the ahi.
My favorite right now is the Garlic Shrimp Poke, which isn’t technically poke, but then that definition has been stretched so far these days that I think this now actually qualifies. It’s cooked shrimp, tossed with onion, scallions, sesame seeds, sesame oil, crushed kukui nuts, and garlic. It’s a delicious meal in and of itself, slicked with the nuttiness of sesame oil, permeated with the garlic—but even more perfect eaten cold on top of warm steamed white rice.
What I like about it is that it finally merges two distinct Hawaiian delicacies into one dish. What’s the other delicacy I’m talking about? Well, garlic shrimp from those garlic shrimp trucks, of course, which is the thing other than poke I crave as soon as I get off the plane in Hawaii.
79. Chimichurri Fries at Piaggo on Wheels
80. Torta Cubana at Cancun Juice
81. Adobo Bowl at Irenia
82. Garlic Noodles at Krave Asian Fusion
83. Broccolini at SeaSalt WoodFire Grill
84. Spicy Tuna Roll at Yard House
85. Amber Roll at Orange Roll and Sushi
86. Frito Chili Cheeseburger at Burger Parlor
87. Maui Sunrise at The Original Banzai Bowls
88. Meals from The Performance Kitchen
89. Pizza-Sized Quesadilla at Los Sanchez
90. Filipino Brunch at EATS Kitchen And Bar
91. Mexican Chocolate at the Pie Hole
92. Biscuits at James Republic
93. Mushroom Flatbread with Kale and Kumquat Salad at Lemonade
94. Mexican-Style Gelatins from Santa Ana’s Gelatina Goddess
95. Hot Pastrami Caesar Salad at Bruxie
96. Jalapeño Pupusas at Las Cazuelas
97. Meatball Sliders at Fresh Brothers
98. Buffalo Cauliflower at Mead’s Green Door Cafe
99. Raindrop Cake at Sunmerry Bakery
100. Doughrito at Surfin’ Donuts
Before becoming an award-winning restaurant critic for OC Weekly in 2007, Edwin Goei went by the alias “elmomonster” on his blog Monster Munching, in which he once wrote a whole review in haiku.