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!
As our Mexican-in-Chief accurately predicted early in Irenia’s run, “You see the makings of a great, bold restaurant: one that tackles an unappreciated cuisine, pushes it forward, yet doesn’t mess with the basics.” Steadfast, Chef Ryan Garlitos still isn’t holding back, taking the lunch game to the next level with his adobo rice bowl.
Succulent, slow-roasted tender pork belly caramelized in adobo au jus, creates a candied, vinegary crust for optimum Filipino savor. Paired with braised mustard greens, topped with aromatic green scallions, and served over a bed of steamed jasmine rice, it redeems the lunch bowl. Now, if only someone in DTSA could redeem my parking ticket…
400 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (657) 245-3466; www.ireniarestaurant.com
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
Cynthia Rebolledo covers anything and everything food, culture and spirits.