Eat This Now: Piña Loca at El Pepino Loco

El Pepino Loco is a millenial’s take on the fruit cups of your Mexican childhood (and if you didn’t grow up paisa? Your loss!). Their namesake product is hollowed-out cucumbers filled with chili-powdered peanuts, tamarindo bits, and smothered in a house-made chamoy, the secret sauce that Mexicans put on their fruit everything. These spears are presented in either a fruit cup, a pineapple husk or a watermelon rind—whatever your choice, they come with sliced bits of their respective fruit and topped with Salsaghetti (spicy Gummi noodles—ah, raza!) and more peanuts, tamarind, and chamoy. A pair of tamarindo candy sticks jut out from the side as tasty afterthoughts, or as potential offerings to your cheapskate friends.

Lot of food! But the chamoy is the focal point of El Pepino Loco’s beauty. It’s the consistency of mango pulp and balances salty, sweet and tart flavors with chili. The crisp cucumber and just-ripe fruits ease the heat just long enough to lead you to the bottom of the bowl. But then the chamoy kicks up the heat after the last bite, and you start panting—but take it like a macho, and finish. The other option? Throw machismo out the window, grab a soda to cool off, and disappoint your father yet again.

El Pepino Loco, 2020 E. First St. SanTana, (657) 231-0683; Instagram: @elpepinoloco_714

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