The Chili Pepper in Orange is a Mexican restaurant probably most famous for its colorful exterior and a parking lot where ceramic cacti pop out of nowhere—that’s why it’s always packed. Inside, it’s the same party with parrots, palm trees, and more ceramic pots than the line to get back into the United States from Tijuana. And the food is Cal-Mex at its biggest, with huge combo plates, bigger margaritas, and drinks that masquerade as punch but which pack a bunch better than the right haymaker of Julio Cesar Chavez. Make sure to get the specials that have no name but involve a fried flour tortilla bigger than a surfboard. They also make a very good chile colorado, and a a chimichanga that’s as flaky as a chicharrón. The tacos are epic, the wet burritos sopping good—why are you still reading this? Go right now—and take a designated driver.
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