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No. 97: Carnitas Gordita at Bodega R Ranch Market

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Welcome to the Weekly's list of our 100 Favorite Dishes for 2011! Tune in every day until we get to número uno! Now, on to the latest entry. . . .

I grew up with gorditas, so I'm always surprised at their relative paucity in Orange County restaurants--really, just loncheras and a couple of Mexican restaurants serve passable gorditas. All bow down to the one above, found at an unlikely location: the Bodega R Ranch Market in Tustin.

If Northgate Gonzalez Supermarket is the Ralphs of Latino grocery stores, then Bodega R Ranch is the Piggly Wiggly, a rundown, grimy place found only in the most economically desolate areas. There are just two Bodegas in Orange County, one off the no-man's land that is McFadden Avenue near Bristol Street in Santa Ana and another in Tustin's barrio.

I only visit for the carnitas gordita, a behemoth of masa and wonderfully baked pork, stringy and strong, topped with all the fixings: sharp cotija cheese, crema fresca, spicy-relishy salsa and crisp lettuce. Best of all, however, is the gordita itself: Look at those char marks! The earthiness of corn, the freshness of the salsa, a size about the girth of a torta--it's worth the trip to the depressing Bodega R Ranch alone.

If it's so delicious, why is it so relatively low on this list? Because of its preparation method: left under heat lamps next to the chicharrones. It doesn't affect the taste or the freshness of the gordita, but the resultant pooled juices of the carnitas, combined with the salsa, disintegrate the gordita's bottom half, leading to a mess of masa. If it only corrected this problem, I could see this gordita in the 30s, if not low 20s of this list. But we must be demanding of our grub.

Bodega R Ranch Market, 1112 Walnut Ave., Tustin, (714) 573-1182.

The list so far:

No. 98: Spam Musubi at k'ya Street Fare
No. 99: Tortilla Andorra at Anepalco's
No. 100: Lemongrass Chicken, Extra Spicy at Vietnam's Pearl

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4 comments
yahoo-TSDH74UEQNUNN7C5AN7CF2DGDU
yahoo-TSDH74UEQNUNN7C5AN7CF2DGDU like.author.displayName 1 Like

Tried the gordita today and it sucks. They are to big (about the size of a corn tortilla) and thick and most of the inside is masa cruda. Come on Gus, you know better than that. A gordita should be no bigger than 4.5" and 1/4 thick with the inside just slightly crisp.

Cochinoracing
Cochinoracing

This is one of the best places to find great tasting food, made with love and pride. When I go to the beach for a day trip, I always pick up a couple plates of Tacos, Carnitas and Bollios.R-Ranch Market in Tustin and in Santa Ana on Mc Fadden.Cochino Racingcochinoracing@msn.com  Off Road, Off Shore Adventures

Marijina106
Marijina106

Doesn't this "Cochinoracing" person work as the Executive Director of this grocery store, and has for over 15 years?  and his best friend is the owner?  Also... this same person, has nothing to do with racing, he's just an old POSER!!!  SHAME SHAME MR. RODRIGUEZ.

Newportblue65
Newportblue65

I shop and eat there often.......The deli is just plain GOOD.......Real Mexican counter food sold here. .......Stop by and try some if you are in the area!!!!!!!!......

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