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Chick'n & waffles wow

Mix Mix Kitchen Bar's Duck and French Toast

Ralph Palumbo
Duck French Toast at Mix Mix Kitchen Bar

The best chefs are the ones with big ideas – innovative thinkers who infuse their menus with a spirit of creativity, start trends rather than chase them, and reject commonplace dishes. It’s not the easiest route to travel, but it sure is a fun way to cook.  

Ross Pangilinan is just this sort of chef. He’s an innovator and an artist. That’s why he couldn’t stay at Leatherby’s Café Rouge, where he led the kitchen for seven years. He needed to do his own thing, unfettered by the predictable dining habits of theatergoers. Now, after launching Mix Mix Kitchen Bar, he’s savoring the right to experiment, to tinker and to play. 

So far, the results have been spectacular. The food at Mix Mix is fully conceptualized. Just look at Pangilinan’s Duck and French Toast. It’s a new riff on everyone’s recent darling, chicken and waffles. The savory and sweet elements are there – with a fried bird sitting atop a breakfast classic – but the flavors are filtered through the chef’s unique viewpoint. 

The duck meat falls off the bone, the brioche slices are thick and rich with vanilla, and the blackberries add a nice burst of tartness. The real highlights are the maple syrup with Chinese five spice and the Szechuan pepper-cider jus. These two components tie the dish together and underscore that savory/sweet combo. They’re bold ideas, and fun ones too. 

Just the sort of inventiveness Pangilinan’s new restaurant is quickly becoming known for.

Cure Duck Legs

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup salt

1 knob ginger, sliced

Thyme sprigs

4 cloves garlic, sliced

Zest of 1 orange

8 duck legs

3 cups duck fat

2 cups water or chicken stock 

1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup corn starch mixed 

Oil for frying


Rub duck legs with cure mix, then place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours and maximum overnight.

Rinse duck and pat dry.

Place duck legs in duck fat and stock.

Place in 350-degree oven for 2 to 3 hours till tender; let cool.

Dredge duck in flour/corn starch mixture.

Deep fry at 350 degrees until golden brown and crispy. 

Mix Mix Kitchen Bar

300 N. Main St., Santa Ana 714.836.5158  :: mixmixkitchenbar.com 

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