Ask a Comida Critic: Best Chile Relleno in OC?

Someone actually asked this months ago, but it got lost in the pile along with my W-2 (eep!). Anyhoo, the query:

What's the best chile relleno in Orange County?

I must admit: I never order the dish. A chile relleno is never about subtlety; it's supposed be greasy, gooey, eggy, a glop to be mixed alongside refried beans and rice. It's probably the most Mexican-American of Mexican dishes, a meal a casual observer would place alongside the combo plate and nachos in the pantheon of Tex-Cal-Mex cuisine---but it's a wholly Mexican creation.

All this said, I never order the dish as prepared by most Mexican restaurants. Even with my dear mami, I get a towel to sop up the grease, and she makes them magnificently, using poblanos instead of the Anaheim peppers far too many restaurants use lest their gabacho customers gasp in heat.

Upcoming Events

I make exceptions for just two places.

One place, of course, is the Oaxacan standard El Fortín. It's a delicious mound, but the opposite of what we know as chile rellenos--ground beef instead of cheese on the inside, a light batter instead of the golden-brown pillow that usually encases it. Try it once, but you're better off getting their moles and tlayudas.

The only local chile relleno I swear by is the chile relleno burrito over at Celinda's in Rancho Santa Margarita. It's almost perfect: stuffed whole into their freshly made tortillas, oily but not so much that it spills out of its vessel. I wish it were bigger and cheaper. It's not the cylindrical god served over at Lucy's Drive-Inn in Los Angeles, but it does the job and makes Rancho Santa Margarita actually bearable, a small miracle unto itself.

Celinda's Mexican Deli, 29941 Aventura, Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 589-0354; www.celindas.com.

Got a spicy question for the Comida Critic? Ask him!

Follow Stick a Fork in it on Twitter @ocweeklyfood or on Facebook!

Use Current Location

Related Location

miles
Celinda's Mexican Deli

29941 Aventura
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

949-589-0354


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >