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!

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Vice Munchies on Chef Daniel Godinez’s Modern Mexican makeover at Anepalco

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Vice Munchies‘ writer Javier Cabral penned a piece recently on Chef Daniel Godinez’s Modern Mexican restaurant Anepalco, calling it “One of the best Mexican restaurants I’ve dined at in recent memory.” Godinez recently unveiled his new menu, which eschews the French-Mexican fusion he is known for to delve headfirst into Modern Mexican cuisine.

Godinez uses the techniques of today’s kitchen to recreate traditional Mexican dishes including chilaquiles, mole and more, while Head Bartender Cesar Cerrudo pours drinks that are as impressive as the food coming out of the kitchen. Cabral’s reporting goes deep into the different styles of Mexican cuisine in this highly-informative read:

“This kind of Mexican restaurant—one that breaks the mold of a typical Mexican joint—is called acocina de autor, a restaurant style that originated in Mexico when native cooks refused to follow their fancy French predecessors in order to focus on redefining what Mexican food can be. The soft-spoken Godinez has successfully achieved this at Anepalco in a way that no other Mexico-born chef has done before—and of all places, in Orange, California, just a few steps from the Interstate 5 freeway.

This kind of approach is not to be confused with the other Mexican food movement currently building steam in Southern California, known as Alta California cuisine (a term that dates back to 1822, when California was the territory of Mexico). Alta California cuisine evolved into a mix of traditional Mexican food, American comfort food, and the flavors and produce of California made famous by USA-born Mexican-American chefs like Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria just a few miles away, Ray Garcia of Broken Spanish, Eddie Ruiz (formerly of Corazón y Miel), and Wesley Avila of Guerrilla Tacos.”

Click here to read Vice Munchies story on Anepalco in Orange.

Anepalco
3737 W. Chapman Ave.
Orange, Ca 92868

6 O.C. burgers that honor National Burger Day all year long

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If blood type were determined by what you ate, I’d probably be blood type cheeseburger, or cheeseburger/pizza (kinda like Type AB). Not saying it’s a good thing, just saying there’s something about a grilled/seared/charbroiled beef patty with gooey cheese, cradled between two pillowy buns that I just can’t get enough of.

In celebration of National Burger Day, here’s 6 burgers in Orange County that I could always go for, no matter the day! … Read more…

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…