When most of us dream of huitlacoche — that earthy purple corn fungus found seasonally in Mexican cooking — it’s smashed among ribbons of gooey Oaxacan cheese between the folds of a hand-patted, bruise-blue corn tortilla.
When Danny Godinez dreams of those same huitlacoche quesadillas — a staple on the street in Mexico City — he instead sees a dessert. This is how the brain of O.C.’s O.G. modern Mexican chef works, taking the French cooking traditions honed in a decade in fine-dining kitchens and using them to make molecular magic out of deconstructed homestyle dishes.
A new addition to the menu at his 4-year-old dinner spot on Chapman Ave. in Orange, is the huitlacoche ice cream — creative in all the ways for which Godinez is known: dark, funky ice cream melts atop a dense piece of sweet pan de elote sprinkled with crunchy caramel corn.
Start here before going to El Mercado, his latest restaurant, which tours you through all of Mexico’s 31 states, Godinez-style.
Anepalco is at 3737 W Chapman Ave., Orange. For more information, call 714-456-9642 or visit anepalco.com.
SARAH BENNETT is a freelance journalist covering food, drink, music, culture and more. She is the former food editor at L.A. Weekly and a founding editor of Beer Paper L.A. Follow her on Twitter @thesarahbennett.