2014 has proved quite an eventful year. The world has gone through some significant changes that allow us to say that we have lived through history. 2014 has proved itself a rocky year for me personally – uncertainty of occupations, a better camera, event opportunities, and new foods all arrived at my doorstep this year. Although I have lost count of all the amazing new foods I have tried this year, the following five foods have truly cemented their legacy into my mind and heart.
5. Pop’s Cafe‘s Deep-Fried French Toast
Most people recognize French toast as thick bread soaked in an egg wash and then grilled. Pop’s Cafe in Santa Ana reinvents French toast by deep-frying it instead. I would not recommend this to anyone on a diet – basically, each bite feels like biting into a warm stick of butter. As if that does not sound fattening enough, the Deep-Fried French Toast comes with a dollop of butter and syrup. Perhaps if you had a long night out drinking, this may sound delicious. As disgusting as this made me feel after eating it, I will never forget that this exists.
4. Pizzanista!‘s Macaroni & Cheese Pizza
What do you get when you combine two very popular comfort foods? You get a Macaroni & Cheese Pizza of course! The artsy folks at Pizzanista! in the arts district of Downtown Los Angeles come up with strange yet unique combinations of toppings, which lends well to the name of the business. On Sundays only, visitors can snag this carb mountain known as the Macaroni & Cheese Pizza, which has tomato sauce, elbow macaroni, and four cheeses: asiago, fontina, cheddar, and grana padano. Order a slice for $4, or take home a whole pie for $28. Either way, after eating this, you will probably feel like running a marathon to burn off all those carbs.
3. Pellicola Pizzeria‘s Nutella Pie
Since a young age, I often favored sweet toppings over the desserts themselves. Examples include condensed milk (Lechera), peanut butter, and hazelnut spread (Nutella). Although the public sees Nutella as children’s food, many adults still appreciate the chocolatey spread, albeit it contains no real nutritional value. The creators at Pellicola Pizzeria in Downtown Los Angeles love Nutella so much that they adapted in into their menu with a Nutella Pie. Resembling a quesadilla more so than a pie, this slice of heaven contains sliced almonds and a generous amount of Nutella, and gets topped with powdered sugar and more Nutella. Munch into a slice for $3.50, or take home a whole pie to save for later or to share – a medium pie costs $13, while a large pie costs $17.
2. The Compass‘ Cast Iron Baked Macaroni & Cheese w/ Braised Beef Short Rib
Despite the excessive carb count, macaroni and cheese holds a dear spot in the hearts of many. Even my sister, a fitness fanatic who abstains from carbs, cannot resist a succulent mac & cheese. So when I discovered what The Compass in Carlsbad had on their menu, I knew right away I had to broadcast the fact. Their menu contains standard gastropub faire, but something else about their Cast Iron Baked Macaroni & Cheese jumped out to my eyes: the option to add Braised Beef Short Rib. This one addition alone turned this dish up to one past ten. Sadly, this costs so much for a small serving, but when you focus on quality over quantity, you can splurge yourself once in a while.
1. Sarita’s Pupuseria‘s Pupusas
Until I discovered Vchos Truck, I had never heard of a Pupusa in my entire life. Once I tried a pupusa from that truck, I retained that taste in the back of my mind until the day I could find the best authentic pupusa ever. My search landed me at Sarita’s Pupuseria in the heart of Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles. I have tried many pupusas all over Southern California, but none other compares to these ones. The customer favorite, revueltas, contains pork, beans, and cheese. As a purist, I go for just pork in my pupusas, as the beans and cheese can interfere with the savoriness of the pork. You do not even need any sauce – the fillings contain so much flavor that you will want to get right back in line and order more to eat right there and take home the rest.