My choice for the most underrated hole-in-the-wall in OC? Donde Adela in Orange. Not only does it serve Colombian food—a hefty yet subtle cuisine essentially unknown in la naranja even though Colombians make up the largest population of South Americans here—but the owner cares to introduce her dishes to the mainstream. In the past year, the restaurant underwent a massive remodel to make it shinier and more accessible than ever before. That said, Donde Adela also rewards paisas who need a bite of home, so they maintain a list of rotating specials. That’s how I found out about the aborrajado con bocadillo, a dish even my pal who’s married to a colombiana had never heard about.
It might be the seemingly simplest appetizer around: fried plantain stuffed with a sweet cheese and guava paste. But this isn’t dessert so much as the Trinity: savory, sweet, and salvation—just one is enough to even constitute a lunch. If it’s not on the menu when you visit, ask when they’ll offer aborrajado again—then order a dozen and watch your coworkers think better of you for once.
Donde Adela, 1707 W. Chapman Ave., Orange, (714) 940-1701; www.comidacolombianaoc.com