Our 100 Favorite Dishes for 2012: No. 100, Chilaquiles Verdes Con Huevos Estrellados at La Tablita California

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Hey, kids: guess what time is it? It's time to restart that Long March known as 100 Favorite Dishes (INSERT YEAR). YEAH!!!

Hey, don't ding us for listicles: Weekly DataLab studies show ustedes love this gimmick, launched in honor of our coming Best Of issue. Besides, it is rather fun to do this for us Forkers--an opportunity to highlight dishes from restaurants we'll never full review, or secrets from old standbys. Anyhoo, let the march begin..
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La Tablita California in SanTana just might be the most unglamorous restaurant in Orange County: across the street from the DMV, down the street from no-tell motels, the kind of place where a drunk, a transvestite, and a cholo walking in isn't the start of a joke but the afternoon clientele.

The food ain't bad, though--and their chilaquiles verdes are wonderful.

It pleases both schools of thought on chilaquiles: some of the tortilla strips are crunchy, others soft. But where La Tablita differentiates itself is with the rest of the flavors. The salsa verde sings of tomatillos; the queso cotija isn't some weak powder but salty, assertive.

But you gotta get it with the egg. The woman who runs this place is a Rodin of the yolk, cooking your eggs exactly to order. I always like my eggs on chilaquiles to be overeasy, to let the yolk harden on the chips, and she can do that, but ask for the hard-to-achieve medium--eggs over-easy, but with the yolk half hard-boiled, half-runny--and she knocks it out of the park the way Pujols was supposed to do it this year. A fine place to recover in after getting up at 7 a.m. and enduring the hell that is the SanTana DMV.

Click here to view our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2010!
Click here to view our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2011!

La Tablita California, 1327 E. First St., Santa Ana, (714) 541-9552.

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6 comments
John
John

Gustavo, I attempted to go here for chilaquiles and I found the restaurant was closed and did not look like they were going to reopen.  There is an official looking notice on the door that the tenants had not paid their rent.  Since I was not able to have the chilaquiles I ventured down to Las Brisas de Apatzingan on Flower to have their delicious huchepos.

JB
JB

I couldn't disagree more...............that the Santa Ana DMV is "hell." 

It's actually the best kept secret (until now) of our fair orange acres.    ..I've never gone in with an appointment, yet never waited more than about 10 or 15 minutes, and usually much less.  More importantly, I find the civil servants there to be efficient and friendly and, er, civil.   ..Seriously, those numbers at this DMV get called out very, very fast.  I don't even have time to yell, "Keno!"

909Jeff
909Jeff

I'm stoked this column is back! 

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Not even close! Ain't going to disclose my secret DMV to prove the point, though...

wallbangr
wallbangr

Did you know you can check wait times at the DMV online?  I've done it the few times I've had the misfortune of having to go down there and I have to agree with JB that at the Santa Ana location I've never had to wait longer than 10 minutes as a walk-in. 

Kwelch29
Kwelch29

Thanks for the PSA.  Jesus.

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