Chile Peppers

  • Blogs

    August 12, 2014

    The "World's Hottest Chile" Served At Clay Oven in Irvine

    Remember a few years when the Bhut Jolokia (a.k.a. the Ghost Pepper) was purported to be the hottest chile in the world? Well not so much anymore. It's not even in the top 5 these days. Depending on what you read or who you believe, the current hottest chile pepper in the world is either the Trinida ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 3, 2013

    On The Line: Robert Schueller Of Melissa's Produce, Part One

    If you haven't figured it out, our team likes it hot. Sriracha, ghost peppers and flaming snacks rank high in the office. So it was good timing when we had the opportunity to head over to Melissa's Produce headquarters and discuss the business (and his love of Hatch chiles) with Robert Schueller. As ... More >>

  • Food

    August 8, 2013

    H2O Sushi & Izakaya Is Not for Sushi Snobs

    Hipster sushi at the Triangle in Costa Mesa

  • Blogs

    March 27, 2013

    Eat This Now: Mole Poblano Taco at Los Reyes de el Elote Asado

    Nowadays, in this Mexican-food nation of ours, mole poblano is the Will Smith of the mole world: someone who was super-big way back when, but receded in popularity once newer, better options became available and is now just there, still hanging around but now so unremarkable that you start wondering ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 31, 2013

    Make It Mexican With Roland: Pozole

    Pozole is a very simple, and relatively easy soup to make. It's hearty, but healthy, and when made correctly, can taste incredibly fresh.

  • Blogs

    December 28, 2012

    The Flaming P at Pitfire Pizza, Our Drink of the Week!

    Apparently there's a speakeasy in the back of the newly opened Pitfire Pizza in Costa Mesa, but you have to look in order to find it. I didn't know that, though, and I read the menu of cocktails available at the minuscule, no-seating bar up front. Then I looked at the garnish tray, which had mint, d ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 13, 2012

    Tacos El Poblano: How A Band of Taqueros From Izucar de Matamoros, Puebla Changed Baja California

    Baja California is one of the great surf-and-turf states of northern Mexico, renowned for its unique carne asada; in Mexicali, there's more of a Sonoran influence, and in Tijuana where an original style with a southern touch has spread down the peninsula all the way to Cabo, and has n ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 4, 2012

    Hatch Chiles Available at Albertsons in Irvine--Or Are They?

    One of the positive developments of the widening of the obsession with Hatch chile peppers is their availability to the normal, non-obsessed people via per-pound sales at normal markets. Such was the case when I stopped in for condoms and children's cough medicine (those purchases are COMPLETELY unr ... More >>

  • Food

    August 30, 2012

    Danger Dawgs: Bacon-Wrapped Bueno

    [Hole In the Wall] Kathy Hernandez runs this Costa Mesa cart solo

  • Blogs

    August 14, 2012

    On the Line: Arthur Gonzalez of Roe Restaurant & Fish Market, Part One

    A couple of chairs flipped right side up in the middle of a gutted dining space. That is how we roll with Chef Gonzalez in his unfinished room, also known as Phase Two in the grand scheme of things at Roe in Belmont Shore. Thanks to some dedicated parking spots, we start our session on time and with ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 18, 2012

    Recipe of the Week: Salsa Verde Soup

    Between getting back from Baja with Dave and Gustavo promoting Taco USA like he's Don Fucking King, I've been on a Mexican food binge. Asada, suadero, hongos con jamon y pina--I want it all.But you can only eat out so long before your body needs some home cookin' to give your arteries a break. I was ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 10, 2012

    Taco Kokopelli: Next Wave Chef Takes to the Streets in Tijuana

    In order for a parrilla to continue to burn, there must be some fresh mesquite added to ensure its vibrancy. And it's an apt metaphor when considering the current Baja cuisine renaissance. The much-celebrated trend has been spread by just a handful of chefs from Tijuana to Cabo, and it's been the Cu ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 5, 2012

    On the Line: Bob Brown of Spudrunners, Part Three

    While some luxe lonchera owners delve into cuisine normally reserved for white linens and table crumbers, Spudrunners keeps things classic and comfy. Whether cheesy or carblicious, Bob Brown and his team serve it up from their mobile kitchen. He's been so busy working on their next venture with Chro ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 13, 2012

    On the Line: 'Sushi Dave' Fernandez, of Sushi At the Venetian Gentlemen's Club, Part One

    ​Sitting down for lunch at Twisted Vine in downtown Fullerton, Dave Fernandez and I talked about family, restaurant reviews and great wines. It wasn't quite a business meeting, more like two friends sharing a bite to eat. Of course, he periodically checked his iPhone for incoming reservations, men ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 12, 2012

    The Toro Degollado, or Punching Yourself In the Liver With Capsaicin

    ​To the right is a picture of the cocktail I drank nearly every single night during the holidays. (On a related note, I may need to get over my horror of Bonobos or other stretchy-waist trousers.)I couldn't help it. I'm obsessed. I almost never drink cocktails with soda in them, but I've got a sec ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 22, 2011

    Scientists: The More Water a Chile Pepper Gets, the Spicier it Becomes

    ​There are many factors that go into the growing of a great chile pepper: terroir, climate, seeds, proper irrigation and the like. But it seems that the latter attribute is the most important.

  • Blogs

    December 19, 2011

    Meet Soho Taco's 'Red Crack'

    Dave Lieberman​There are a hell of a lot of salsas in Mexican cuisine; beyond the usual green salsa verde made with miltomates (tomatillos) and fresh chiles and the usual red salsa roja made with dried chiles, jitomates (tomatoes) and garlic, there's an array of smoky sauces and dips made from all ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 8, 2011

    On The Line: Alan Greeley Of The Golden Truffle, Part Three

    Photo by Meranda Carter​Hot and cold, yin and yang, soup and salad; balance is important when it comes to flavor, and Alan Greeley not only hands over a couple of solid recipes, he includes yet another for prepping the protein. If you'd like to backtrack, here are the links for parts one and two.A ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 24, 2011

    Eat This Now: 21st Century Veggie Chiles en Nogada from Anepalco's Cafe

    Should be eaten at Anepalco's, not a to-go box at work, but what are you gonna do....​Anepalco's Cafe in Orange has been hopping for the past couple of months, ever since chef-owner Danny Godinez veered from his legendary modernist chilaquiles and epic Spanish-style tortillas and began tweaking hi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 17, 2011

    Hatch Your Plans For Finding and Roasting Hatch Chiles in OC This Month

    Dave Lieberman​It's Hatch chile season! If you've never had the long, green, hot cousins of the Anaheim chile that grow in southeastern New Mexico, now's the time to try them. They make awesome green chile, of course, fantastic Ortega burgers and they're sublime stuffed with cheese, battered and d ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 11, 2011

    Five Things to Learn Before Writing About Mexican Food

    Flickr user icexmaker​This is a painful post to write.I am guilty, in my sordid past as a food writer, of all of these. I'm still no expert on Mexican food--part of its allure is that no matter how much I learn, there's still some abuelita in a forgotten rancho in a state all but ignored on signs ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 30, 2011

    How Disgusting is McDonald's Jalapeño Cheddar McChicken Sandwich?

    ​Before you dismiss me as a corporate-hating elitist...well, maybe I'm the former, for sure. But I do not reflexively hate McDonald's. I still maintain their ham Egg McMuffin is one of the great fast-food creations, one that spurs me to eat four in a sitting, while their small apple pies, gooey an ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 29, 2011

    Recipe of the Week: Spicy Pork Tacos

    ​There's just something about the combination of pork and pineapple that goes together. The Hawaiians know it, the Filipinos know it, even chain pizza restaurants know it. What the Mexicans have figured out better than nearly anyone else is that the best partner for fresh, sweet pineapple is not j ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 16, 2011

    Chemical Warfare in Food Form: The Most Effective Hot Sauce Ever

    Dave Lieberman​It's not exactly a secret that I love Thai Nakorn in Garden Grove and Stanton. My happiest lunches are when I open the menu to the page marked "Thai Nakorn Special", close my eyes, and point. Crispy catfish and shredded mango salad? Yes, please. Dry-fried, sausage-stuffed squid? YES ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 13, 2011

    Five Commonly Mispronounced Mexican Food Terms that Americans Shouldn't Mispronounce

    ​There was a time in our nation's history where Mexican restaurants--whether fast-food taco empires or El Torito Cal-Mex ambassadors--published pronunciation guides to aide customers in properly ordering their meals. Some of those places still exist, but you'd have to be an absolute pendejo in thi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 9, 2011

    On The Line: Dave Dennis of Matador Cantina, Part Three

    Photo by Amy Kaplan​Our final installment of On The Line this week has chef Dave Dennis filling us in on his chili relleno recipe. Deep fried and stuffed with cheese, this is almost as glorious as what an El Torito Grill might serve up.To catch up on previous days, you can click here and here.

  • Blogs

    June 7, 2011

    New Mexico Finally Getting Around to Defending Its Chiles from Imposters

    Green chile on fries at Blake's Lotaburger...​That legendary chronicler of the American Southwest, Charles Fletcher Lummis, liked to refer to New Mexico as the Land of Poco Tiempo, and while the term is really a bunch of fantasy-heritage hooey, there's a certain point behind it. Time in the Land o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 9, 2011

    Trader Joe's Baked Jalapeño Cheese Crunchies Rather Bland

    ​Trader Joe's is legendary for taking the ideas of other food producers, improving on the product, then selling them at its stores under the Trader Joe's name. So on a rare trip to the store, I figured the above snack would improve on Cheetos, not only in the health arena, but also in the flavor-- ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 22, 2011

    Mole Teloloapan in Santa Ana: A Great Mole Found In an Unlikely Place

    ​Deep, deep in the highlands of the Mexican state of Guerrero, a place known more for the cruise ships that ply the city of Acapulco and the silver stands of inland Taxco, lies one of the gastronomic destinations of Mexico: Teloloapan, the home of mole rojo guerrerense.

  • Blogs

    February 23, 2011

    Carl's Jr. Spicy Chicken Sandwich With Jalapeños: My Go-to Crap Comfort Food

    Michelle Woo​Whenever I'm stressed (I'm a journalist, so that's now), I turn to junk food, and most often, it's the 99-cent Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Carl's Jr. I always ask for jalapeños, and they add them for free without question.     Gustavo sees me eating these things a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 16, 2011

    Food Profiling: Ochoa's Chorizo

    ​ Thirty-five years ago, Aurora Ochoa was a wife and stay-at-home mother who wanted to do something while her husband was out working. She started making her own chorizo in their garage and gave it away to friends and family. Back then, she hand-cranked single meters of meat at a time with the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 11, 2011

    One Dollar for Five Pounds of Jalapeños at Freshia in Tustin!

    ​I've always been amazed at price disparities among local ethnic shops in my years of reviewing restaurants for this infernal rag. I've seen King's Market in Anaheim sell habaneros at half of what Northgate does, bought good onions at the Turkish market in Garden Grove's Little Karachi for cheap, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 19, 2011

    Bhut Jolokia, a.k.a the Ghost Pepper: The Most Overrated Chili Pepper on Earth

    Yesterday, I went to Taco Asylum, the current It place of OC dining. You'll have to wait for my review of it when I have the time to write it (probably tomorrow; editing Edwin's review for next week right now), but I did want to devote a separate post to one of the ingredients it's making a shitload ... More >>

  • Food

    January 13, 2011

    La Cemita Poblana Sells What It's Called

    [Hole In the Wall] Eat the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado of sandwiches at this Santa Ana restaurant

  • Blogs

    September 15, 2010

    Green Chile, or How to "Hatch" a Sauce

    Dave Lieberman​The season for Hatch chile roasts is just about over in Southern California, and judging by the speed with which sacks and cases of the New Mexican chile pepper disappeared from hastily constructed outdoor tents, many Orange Countians have stocks of the hot vegetable in their freeze ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 2, 2010

    ¡Ask a Comida Critic! How Can I Get Hatch Chiles in OC?

    ​Got this one from an amiga on Facebook:Where can I get Hatch chiles in Orange County? Not the canned stuff, but fresh from this year's harvest?The best option is to make the 12-hour trek to Hatch this weekend, when the Hatch Chile Festival will bring thousands to the tiny town and the scent of fr ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 22, 2010

    Forget Five Guys Burgers: Why Can't We Get a Blake's Lotaburger?

    In retrospect, I should've taken a better picture...​Finally got around to trying the much-hyped Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and the verdict Not meh: they make a good burger, better than the chains for the most part, but not as good as In-N-Out by any sense of the imagination. And defini ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 28, 2010

    Little Bull Sandwiches: Bocadillos de Toritos

    Dave Lieberman​I'm going to make a bold prediction here: I see toritos as the next appetizer to hit our Mexican restaurants, especially our finer-dining ones, in a big way. A torito, for those of you who've never ventured south of the border, is a chile güero (a yellow chile that looks like a mor ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 21, 2010

    The Good, The Bad, The Stereotypical, and the Strange About Eating a Burrito in Toronto

    ​A gig as the master of ceremonies for the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies annual convention took me to Canada last week--specifically, Toronto. Dave raved about the West Indian food there, and I've long known Toronto offers one of the world's great multicultural mixes--but I was resigned ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 14, 2010

    Mama Said Eat Your Flowers: Squash Blossom Quesadillas

    Ask a European what to do with squash blossoms and the answer will be nearly invariable: stuff them with cheese, batter them and deep fry them.Ask a chilango--a denizen of Mexico's capital region--and the answer will be just as invariable, but different: quesadillas de flor de calabaza, squash bloss ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 15, 2010

    Five Real Mexican Foods That Should Be More Common

    pbe @ CC BY-SA 2.0Pambazo: the illegitimate child of French toast and panini.​One of the foodie complaints about so-called "Mexican" restaurants in the United States is that the food on offer is not usually remotely like the food served in México. Mexicans at home don't eat burritos; t ... More >>

  • Food

    December 17, 2009
  • Food

    August 13, 2009
  • Food

    July 16, 2009
  • Blogs

    April 3, 2008

    Fast Food Review: Quizno's Prime Rib Ranchero

    My darling poblano pepper, Please forgive me for ignoring you all these many years. I'd heard your name spoken, but I'm afraid it meant little to me. We white boys can sometimes fear the spiciness of the unknown...even when I moved to Santa Ana, and saw you in my grocery store for the first time, I ... More >>

  • Food

    May 10, 2007

    Out of the Ashes

    The delectable saga of Thai Nakorn enters its third act

  • Blogs

    November 7, 2006

    Tan Nguyen Continues to Have Translation Problems

    Just came back from the Santiago Community College District headquarters, and it turns out the Tan Man wasn't interviewing voters, as a voter asserted earlier. Tan Man, in fact, was getting out the vote to the final, desperate hours. More to come, but first: Tan Man was handing out bilingual fliers- ... More >>

  • Food

    December 25, 2003

    Habanero Xanadu

    Red Rock Chilis Scorched Throat Policy

  • Food

    November 9, 2000

    God in a Plate of Chiles

    In search of the hot and sacred

  • Food

    September 30, 1999

    Southwestern Lives!

    The trend is dead, but the flavor remains

  • More >>