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Taco Maria Perfects the Mexican American Brunch

Taco Maria, Orange County’s newest high-end Mexican American restaurant, combines traditional Mexican dishes with American classics.. Two weeks ago my partner and I indulged in the delectable brunch menu. Chef Carlos Salgado, who was recently nominated for a James Beard Foundation award, has crafted a brunch experience so exclusive – we made sure to get there one hour before opening to get the first table. On the weekend Taco Maria offers a prefix three course menu with two choices. After ordering our mimosas we asked for one of everything!

First Course

For the first course we had molletes and a fresh fruit and yogurt parfait. Molletes are staple in Mexican American kitchens, who doesn’t love toasted birotes with a thin spread of refried beans and queso freso, plus a side of homemade huitlacoche butter. Yes, butter whipped with scarce Mexican truffle so hard to find that it gets made into a delicate butter. Taco Maria loves to use the whipped setting on their blender because the yogurt was also whipped into a perfect mousse topped with coconut poppyseed granola.

Molletes from Taco Maria which are open faced sandwiches with refried bean spread topped with queso freso Second Course

Next up were buttermilk pancakes and Anson Mills oatmeal. The pancakes were topped with blueberries and thyme map syrup – this earthy flavor balanced the sweetness of the pancakes. And you might be thinking why would I pay for someone to serve me oatmeal? But hear me out this hearty bowl of grains was unforgettable. Made with grains from Anson Mills, a South Carolina family farm know for their heirloom grains, the oatmeal was surrounded by vanilla milk and ember-roasted strawberry jam. Brunch has never tasted so deliciously healthy before. I would come back for the ember-roasted jam alone.

Third Course

Finally, the Mexican staple breakfast dish – chilaquiles! We ended up getting two orders of these because we each wanted to enjoy the dish fully. And I’m so glad we did because they weren’t just regular chilaquiles. Taco Maria serves their chilaquiles in mole sauce – the sauce reserved for gods! The mole was dark, sweet and smoky. Topped with a sunny side up egg, pickled purple onions and scallions , I savored each bite and wiped the plate clean. Chilaquiles at Taco Maria featured a sunny side egg, pickled purple onions and scallions. I loved how Taco Maria combined the tastes of Mexican foods with traditional American breakfast foods. Self-identifying as alta cocina or high kitchen, Taco Maria is out to prove Mexican food can be upscale. My heart and stomach were happy!
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What and Where to Eat at AT&T Park

There is nothing like visiting one of the most beautiful ballparks in America and watching the 3-time World Series champions SF Giants play some exciting baseball. What better way to take in a baseball game than to do so with some of the best ballpark food you’ve ever tasted? Ballpark food is notoriously expensive, and AT&T Park is no exception. However, if you’re going to shell out money for food, you might as well buy the best this ballpark has to offer. As a lifelong fan, I have made many visits to AT&T Park, and I have had the opportunity to try a large variety of the foods they offer. Time and time again, I’ve gone back to my favorite foods, and so through experience, I’ve compiled a brief list of what I consider to be the top 5 AT&T Park foods, listed below in no particular order.
  1. Garlic Fries ($8.50): The famous garlic fries are a must when visiting AT&T Park! You can’t avoid smelling like garlic when you enter the ballpark so you might as well enjoy it! Garlic fries can be found on all three levels at either Gilroy Garlic stands or Derby Diner stands. Also available on the side with hamburgers or chicken tenders.
  2. Crazy Crab’z Sandwich ($16.75): Named after the former mascot of the SF Giants, this delicious crab sandwich is a growing favorite among park goers. At a steep $17 though, it can be difficult to shell out the money for a rather small sandwich. However, I definitely recommend trying it at least once. For its size, they do not skimp on the crab, and the garlic buttered bread adds to the overall flavorful sandwich. The crab sandwich can only be found by the bleachers and on the club level.
  3. Cha Cha Bowl ($11): Sometimes when you visit the ballpark, you just want something a tad bit healthier (aka not fried). Introducing the Cha Cha Bowl, a classic go-to all around meal. Portions are generous, and you get a little bit of everything: beans, rice, jerk chicken, and vegetables. Think a compact version of the Chipotle burrito bowl, but just as filling with these four ingredients. The Cha Cha Bowl can be found at Orlando’s Caribbean BBQ on the promenade and view reserve levels.
  4. Tres Nachos ($10.50): Tres Kitchen is my favorite place to get nachos at the ballpark, and they are generous with their portions. For $10.50, they glob on the cheese, meat, and jalapenos over a ton of nacho chips, keeping you satisfied for several innings. I recommend the nachos with pork, since they use shredded pork that is moist and flavorful.
  5. Caramel Corn ($6.50): A delicious dessert to top off your visit with! Sometimes it gets too cold for ice cream at night games, yet you still want something sweet. Satisfy that sweet tooth with a cup of caramel corn, delicious sweet and salty popcorn mixed with caramel. Pick up a cup of caramel corn from select Doggy Diners or the club level.
  What are some of your favorite must-eats at AT&T Park?
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