From now until OC Weekly's Best Of issue comes out, Stick a
Fork In It will be counting down one hundred of our favorite dishes in
the county–one dish we think you should be eating each day until the
magnum opus is published.
Battered, fried fish; French fries. It should be the simplest meal to prepare in the world. British people, whose accents developed because they needed a way to communicate without opening their mouths due to the risk of old-fashioned British food getting in, managed to perfect it, but somehow the art dies on this side of the pond.
So it is that there are dozens of places in Orange County that make attempts. Nearly all of them suck. It doesn't matter if it's a pub or a shop dedicated to this dish, they're all unsatisfying in some way or another. Some are greasy from being fried in oil that's too cold; most are desperately overcooked and require gobs of sauce to eat; some are pretty much breadcrumb-dipped frozen fish sticks.
Then there's Slapfish, which recently swam upstream on Beach Boulevard to spawn a bricks-and-mortar restaurant. Their fish and chips is pretty much piscine-potato perfection. Two absolutely enormous fillets of whitefish are dipped in batter and fried until the fish is still moist and the outside is crunchy. The fries, while slightly salty, are both crunchy and tender and go perfectly with the vinegar kept at the counter. It's expensive, because they only use sustainable fish and that costs more, but honestly, add a small salad and it's a meal for two.
The list so far:
76. Fries at Playground
77. Carne en Su Jugo at La Cocina de Mi Abuelita
78. S'mores at Ti Amo Biscotti & More
79. Broken Rice at Dat Thanh
80. Bulgogi and Potato Pizza at Chicken & Pizza Love Letter
81. Braised Bacon at Break of Dawn
82. Cake Donut at Cream Pan
83. Bistec de Pollo at Mercado El Rey
84. The Rhino at Rancho a Go Go
85. Cabernet Brownies at Blackmarket Bakery
86. Cookie Monster at Lola Ice Cream and Deli
87. Polenta Board at CUCINA Enoteca
88. Falafel Taco at Taco Asylum
89. Wagon-Wheel Bread at THE RANCH Restaurant
90. Toothpick Tacos at Mexico Supermarket
91. Hoppin' John at Memphis at the Santora
92. Free Beans and Chips at Taqueria Zamora
93. Pig in a Blanket Waffle with Gringo Bandito at Cafe Calacas
94. “Pork Hash” at Huong Giang
95. Sweet Chili Chicken Quesadilla At Kogi
96. Licuados at Mil Jugos
97. Hawaiian Ahi Poke at California Fish Grill
98. Takoyaki at Takoyaki Tanota
99. Fiesta Noodles at Jollibee
100. Chilaquiles Verdes Con Huevos Estrellados at La Tablita California