Niyaz’s Top 20 O.C. Dishes of 2016

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My top food moment of 2016 … Zov winning the Golden Foodie Award for 2016 Chef of the Year!

It’s been a great year for Orange County foodies.

We have Lobster Fries, Spaghetti Pizza and Churro Loops; Top Chefs in the kitchen and new openings at such a rapid pace it’s hard to keep up. There’s been a lot of delicious dishes to try, and while I couldn’t get to them all, I did manage to enjoy my fair share of awesome plates.

Here’s the 20 best things I ate and drank this year!

Read more…

Order Evan Kleiman’s holiday pies at Alta Baja Market + Bottomless Drinks with tacos THIS SUNDAY!

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If you’re looking for a delicious way to end your Thanksgiving feast, look no further than Alta Baja Market. That’s where Evan Kleiman, host of KCRW’s “Good Food,” will be selling some incredible pies for the holidays.

Alta Baja Market is the only place to get these pies, and you must call directly at 714-783-2252 to place an order. Pie orders will also be available for pickup Dec. 22-24.

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Available Varieties Include:
Brown Butter Sweet Potato with Gingersnap Crust … $28
Double Crust Apple … $36
Chocolate Espresso Pecan … $38

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CARLITO’S WAY BRUNCH: Every third Sunday of the month, this Nov. 20 being such a day, is also Carlito’s Way Brunch. That means bottomless mimosas/micheladas with and order of their incredible breakfast tacos for $24 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Check it out!

Alta Baja Market
inside of 4th Street Market
201 E. 4th Street
Santa Ana, Ca 92701
(714) 783-2252

3 Tacos to Get Your Hands on This #NationalTacoDay

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Today’s not just any Taco Tuesday, it’s National Taco (Tues)Day and for that we celebrate. The noble taco is always there to provide sustenance, a trusty fallback and often an equally trusty fall-forward if we can call it that. I just love tacos. And I’m pretty sure you do too.

In honor of the day, here’s 3 tacos to get your hands on this #NationalTacoDay:

Chorizo Breakfast Tacos at Alta Baja Market (above)
4th Street Market, 201 E. 4th St., Santa Ana
www.altabajamarket.com

Alta Baja Market’s menu is full of Southwestern inspiration. Especially so on the weekends when the brunch menu features sweet or savory versions of New Mexican blue corn waffles, plus some seriously overstuffed breakfast tacos.

ABM co-owner Delilah Snell’s kitchen features the best local ingredients. She makes her own preserves, pickles and other goodies, and she puts the same care into these amazing tacos by using the world’s most perfect flour tortillas from Burritos La Palma, chorizo (of the gods) by Electric City Butcher, delicious Gonestraw Farm Eggs and house made pico de gallo. Austin, we see you.


 

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Falafel Taco at Falasophy
Menu & Schedule: www.falasophy.com

No taco has been as unique to me this year as Rashad Moumneh’s Falafel Taco at Falasophy. His #FalafelChariot, aka the food truck he runs between OC and LA, doles out delicious twists on falafel and hummus to vegetarians, vegans and carnivores alike.

The taco’s components are well thought out: an El Metate flour tortilla cradling pineapple-juice pickled jalapenos for a mild bite, serrano chile crema for spicy-cool interplay and pickled cabbage for acidic crunch, all surrounding three golden, herbaceous falafels. The dish even landed at No. 33 on OC Weekly’s Top 100 Dishes of 2016, picked by “Taco USA” author and Editor-In Chief Gustavo Arellano. Quite the stamp of approval!


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Tahini Chicken Tacos at Zov’s
Locations throughout Orange County
www.zovs.com

2016 Golden Foodie Awards Chef of the Year Zov Karamardian is known for her blend of Mediterranean and French cuisines, but it’s her take on the chicken taco that had me swooning last year when I discovered these tasty bites on her Happy Hour menu in Anaheim.

The chicken is “spiced,” as it’s described on the menu, and I can’t really say what’s going on here except that it’s tasty and succulent. A mix of veggies, herbs and micro greens add a zip of freshness, with red pepper aioli and tahini providing a tasty sauce to tie all of the flavors together.

With the Ducks season about to start, these are a smart bet before the game, plus parking is validated for the entirety of the game so you can park and walk or Uber over. Tacos that basically pay for themselves … I’m in.

Baja day trip with Alta Baja Market & Anepalco

I recently signed both Alta Baja Market in Santa Ana and Anepalco in Orange to my client roster. Alta Baja Market, located inside of 4th Street Market in Santa Ana, is a brand new market and cafe from Natasha Monnereau and Delilah Snell that celebrates the bounty of goods, food and culture above and below the Southwestern border. Anepalco and Anepalco’s Cafe from Chef Daniel Godinez have elevated Mexican food in Orange County for nearly a decade.

Delilah, Daniel and I packed into his car last Monday and headed to Baja for the day on a search for glassware and goods for Alta Baja Market. Also, TACOS. Tacos … and ceviche … and cheese … and wine and wine and wine. We also had a half mole-half cochinita pibil pizza in Tijuana on the way out of town. How we didn’t explode, I’ll never know.

Check out the video above to see how we spent our day. Some of the dishes may become inspiration for their seasonal cafe menu, and you may eventually find some of the items on their shelves too. … Read more…