Soup-suggestive weather continues in Orange County. Although for some (do I need to say like me?) soup seems to be hovering nearby no matter the temp.
During the warm weather of high corn season, one might be lucky enough to find the soup that our Orange Coast restaurant critic Gretchen Kurz had at Raya, the alta cocina restaurant in the Ritz Carlton Dana Point—her review detailed enriched fresh corn purée, poured tableside over various luxurious inclusions, including shellfish, and the notable flavor-layering of truffled masa dumplings and a touch of huitlacoche corn fungus. Not a winter menu item, however, in this seasonally responsive restaurant.
Turns out in winter Gretchen sometimes takes a right turn, soupwise, without leaving the corn family behind: Anita’s, the longtime New Mexican outpost in Fullerton, for posole. She counsels:
“Always accompanied by a plate of chopped onions, cabbage shreds and lime wedges to doctor up the spicy brew to my desire. I just love that long-simmered pork broth, laden with pork bits, chilies from New Mexico and the biggest hominy ever—the stuff I buy in cans doesn’t even come close to Anita’s puffy, white hominy. Plus, if you buy a bowl (cups are for wimps), it includes a fresh-from-the-fryer sopapilla with a squeeze bottle of honey. Spicy hot pig and fried dough! What’s not to like?
I eat it often. And always alone. With my Kindle and tissues for the chile-created runny nose.”
Spicy hot pig and fried dough covers a lot of good ground, doesn’t it? And that Kindle? Excellent cover! Onlookers might be allowed to assume it was a very sad e-book.
I love posole, and don’t make it nearly often enough—though my recipe, from a Mexican former neighbor who was a stupendous cook, is SO good. Perhaps it’s time to put it on the cooking docket— or stop at Anita’s.