No. 65: The Sputnik At Rick's Atomic Cafe

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Anne Marie Panoringan


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.

Favorites come in all forms, and this one doesn't contain any beef, chicken or other animal meat. Yet it is one of the tastiest lunches we've encountered in a long time. Unless you know your airport business parks, Rick's Atomic Cafe flies under the radar. Among other dishes (like our #91 entry, the egg breakfast), he has an invention for fulfilling your meatless inquiries. Its name: The Sputnik.

A homemade veggie patty made with lentils, cashews, leeks, onions and mushrooms, it satisfies like a typical burger. Contain it in yeasty sourdough for complexity, then counter the earthy flavors with a mild slice of mozzarella. After that, the toppings are very Five Guys, allowing as much of whatever they offer. This includes, but isn't limited to, alfalfa sprouts, cucumbers and cilantro. However, there is something about the unassuming patty that appeals to the typical carnivore.

The probability of being greeted or even served by owner Rick LeBlanc is high, as he is typically present. Our space cadet has an ideal demeanor of professionalism and calm that puts clientele at ease when they enter. They have nothing to hide, so being able to look right into the prep area and observe them at work is an unspoken reassurance. While the daily specials may sound enticing, vegetarians (and meat eaters) can rejoice at the prospect of ordering a solid entree.

Click here for our 100 faves from 2010! The list so far this time around:

No. 66: Corn Dog from Disney California Adventure's Corn Dog Palace
No. 67: Bacon Fried Rice at The Loft Hawaiian
No. 68: Charcuterie and Cheese at SideDoor
No. 69: Burger (With Duck Confit) at Watermarc
No. 70: Korokke Pan at Cream Pan
No. 71: Chorizo and Quail Egg on Toast at Sol del Sur
No. 72: Fried Brussels Sprouts at 320 Main
No. 73: G-Style Fries at G Burger
No. 74: Fried Cuttlefish at Benley
No. 75: Roti at Bangok Taste
No. 76: Wet Burrito at 301 Cafe
No. 77: Pork Curry at Miyabi-Tei
No. 78: Bánh Tieu at Bánh Mì So 1
No. 79: Any Sandwich at the Crosby
No. 80: Fish Pho at Pho Vinh Ky II
No. 81: Quesadilla Chilanga at Alebrije's Grill
No. 82: Lobster Roll at Lobsta Truck
No. 83: Nem Nuong Cuon at Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa
No. 84: Wild Boar Balinese Sausage at Valhalla Table
No. 85: Comida Corrida at Taquería La Raza
No. 86: Breakfast Burrito at Troy's Drive-In
No. 87: Mandoo at L&M Liquor and Deli
No. 88: Chicago Dog at Chicago Harv's
No. 89: Sweet Potato Tater Tots at Pee Wee's Famous
No. 90: Kaya-Stuffed French Toast at Chomp Chomp
No. 91: Egg Breakfast at Rick's Atomic Kitchen
No. 92: Sticky Rice With Chicken at Quan Hy
No. 93: Beef Koobideh at Hen House Grill
No. 94: $5 Fish Bento at Bentoss
No. 95: Milanesa Sandwich at Piaggio's Gourmet on Wheels
No. 96: Samurai Burrito at Wafu of Japan
No. 97: Carnitas Gordita at Bodega R Ranch Market
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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Rick's Atomic Cafe

3100 Airway Ave., Costa Mesa, CA

Category: Restaurant

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FYI - URL's to #74 & #75 on this list do not work.

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