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The Hit List: Olé

Cinco de Mayo may have passed, but you can still continue the celebration with a culinary trek through O.C. for gourmet south-of-the-border tastes. Here are our top five places to visit.

Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen

1. Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen
You’ll be wowed by Executive Chef Gabbi Patrick’s eco-gastronomic specialties, like gorditas de pancita—a crispy masa cake with kurobuta pork belly. 141 S. Glassell St., Orange, 714.633.3038, gabbipatrick.com

2. Sol Cocina
Executive Chef Deborah Schneider dishes out delish takes on Baja-style cuisine seasonally, like the guacamole verano, with raspberries, serrano chiles, toasted almonds and cotixa enchilada cheese. Wash it down with a fresh fruit margarita handcrafted with one of 70-plus tequilas. 251 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Beach, 949.675.9800, solcocina.com

3. El Cholo
Head to this O.C. institution to gobble up tasty aged-cheddar nachos (a secret recipe introduced by server Carmen Rocha in the 1950s). Then imbibe a refreshing spiked L.A. Lemonade (named in honor of the SoCal chain’s roots), mixed with top-shelf tequilas like 1800, Sauza Conmemorativo, Herradura Silver and Cointreau. 5465 Alton Parkway, Irvine, 949.451.0044, elcholo.com

4. Asada Laguna
We love all of the food at this Mexican steakhouse and tequila bar, but the signature bacon-wrapped jalapeños are to die for. 480 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, 949.715.5533, asadalaguna.com

5. Javier’s Crystal Cove
This dining desto serves up luscious homestyle Mexican dishes, and it’s got one of the area’s largest selections of premium tequilas. 7832 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Beach, 949.494.1239, javiers-cantina.com