Fortune has always, rightfully smiled on Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen, which celebrated a decade in Old Towne Orange this year. The place has been slammed ever since it opened, and Chef Gabbi Patrick was a pioneer in OC in making eaters enjoy Mexican food beyond the combo plate. She and her husband are getting ready to open a second spot in Old Town Tustin next year. And, most importantly, the food has remained consistently great over the years—and the cocktails are finally great.
Gabbi’s margaritas were always fine, and the tequila selection remains one of OC’s best. But it was 2016 when her bartenders truly went craft, and the best offering is the chingón Oaxaca-groni.
As the name suggests, it’s a mezcal-based Negroni—but that’s like saying The Simpsons were based on All in the Family. The Mote Lobos mezcal tampers down the amaro and Campari—and is that a hint of chocolate mole bitters toward the end? Even better, the drink is stiff AND generous—a combo that’s unfortunately getting rarer in OC restaurants nowadays. Congrats on a decade, Gabbi—can’t wait for 2017!
Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen, 141 S. Glassell St., Orange, (714) 633-3038; gabbipatrick.com