The top 10 dishes of 2010 (in no particular order and not a list of the 10 best restaurants):
Café Grill (Fountain Valley): Sweet Potato Ravioli is a winner! Looking more like cannelloni, the toothsome pasta is wrapped around an exquisite sweet potato puree, whipped into a state of sublime creaminess with an astonishing depth of flavor. The nut-brown butter sauce with sage accents adds a whole other dimension of mouth-watering delight. The final fillip is the crispy, deep-fried sage leaves on top. Unbelievably, only $5!
Charlie Palmer (Costa Mesa): Truffle Fried Egg, Potato, Mojama and Salsa Tartufara is luscious. We'd never encountered mojama before. It's like prosciutto for pescetarians: thinly sliced, salted, dried tuna loin. Salsa tartufara is a mushroom truffle sauce. Transforming an American standard, this is bacon and eggs with hash browns gone to heaven. Stacked on top of the deeply flavored chopped mushrooms with truffle oil are slices of creamy fingerling potatoes, topped with a fried egg that oozes a golden glaze over everything. The salty tuna functions as the bacon. All the elements together make a compelling combination.