As 2015 comes to an end, it's time to reflect on the Top 10 Best Bites of the year.
There were a lot of new openings in Orange County – mainly franchises – such as Sushi Roku, Pizza Nova, Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Krave Kobe Burger Grill, Slapfish, Mendocino Farms, El Cholo, Sweet Lady Jane Bakery, and more.
Some were great, and others mediocre, but this list isn't just about them.
Having opened this year or not, here are the best dishes from my favorite LA & OC dining experiences in 2015. (Listed in no particular order, other than the yummiest ones coming to mind.)
- perfectly chopped chunks of fruity 'n spicy meat with cream to cool it down, Dos Gringas Tacos with Spit-Roasted Pastor, Oaxaca Cheese, Onions, Cilantro, Yxta Salsa Brava, Avocado Salsa & Flour Tortillas $9
- so many flavors from sweet apple cinnamon to dirty Cajun peanut, Chicken & Waffles with Apple Cinnamon Compote, spicy Cajun Peanut Sauce, Pickled Cucumber & Onion $8
Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill - This one wins for the best spin on one of my favorite Japanese dishes, Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice.
- truly beautiful and innovative flavor combo, Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice with Avocado, Eel Sauce & Truffle Oil $22
Sidecar Doughnuts - I think I came here every other month to try each new seasonal "Raised Doughnut" flavor. You should too.
- whipped fluffy insanely deliciousness that's even better than pumpkin pie, Pumpkin Fool Raised Doughnut with House Made Pumpkin & Mascarpone Mousse, Whipped Sour Cream & Gingersnap Crumble $3.75
Patty Macs - This humble, neighborly spot wins for best variety of 10+ gourmet Mac 'N Cheeses. There Burger is outstanding, too.
- this baby's got plenty of kick, sweet nutmeg & clove meets hot pepper spice, Jerk Chicken Mac with Marinated Chicken in Jamaican Jerk Sauce & Three Cheese Blend $10.95
The Dock - I can't believe it's taken me so long to get here. The food and bay views are spectacular. #DateNight
- everything you ever wanted, hearty, cheesy 'n creamy, Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Potato Gratin, Swiss Chard, Petite Carrots & Mushroom Coulis $38
Ramos House Cafe - While this place has history, their menu keeps up with the Joneses. Try to sneak away on a weekday when there are fewer crowds.
- it's everything, hearty 'n filling, smokey, buttery 'n slightly sweet, Smoked Bacon Scramble with Wilted Rocket & Apple Fried Potatoes $16
- creamy, salty, fatty 'n everything else your heart desires, Mar y Montana Seared Pork Belly, Sea Scallops & Cauliflower Crema $14
Shuck Oyster Bar - Another winner from The Mix at SOCO with simple 'n clean flavors.
- beautiful texture, lots of seafood, sweet chunky tomato 'n tangy cheese, Seafood Stew with Mahi Mahi, Mussels, Clams, Shrimp, Parmesan, Parsley & Toasted French Bread Slices $14
Pizza Nova - You just can't beat friendly service, a fun 'n casual atmosphere, water views, and a modern twist on classic Pepperoni.
- spicy 'n creamy with super fluffy dough, Pepperoni White Woodfired Pizza with Fresh Garlic, Alfredo Sauce, Mozzarella, Fontina, Ricotta & Parmesan
Cheers to a Happy New Year!