One of my favorite restaurants for modern Mexican restaurants is Sol Cocina, which made it on Tom’s Foodie Blog’s Best Food in Orange County list. Sol Cocina spins up modern interpretations of traditional Baja cuisine with a penchant for the gourmet. The restaurant is known for their use of fresh ingredients and bold flavors. You will find items like their Vampiro taco, which is made with carne asada, chipotle salsa and cotixa cheese; this is the dish that got me hooked on Sol Cocina. The Sol kitchen is led by Mexican food veteran Deborah Schneider who has published award winning cookbooks including the James Beard nominated Season at Rancho La Puerta and The Mexican Slow Cooker. Sol Cocina constantly refreshes their menu with new a seasonal items. This post will two new items on their menu, their Viper taco and a super fancy single barrel. After tasting both of these items, I was inspired to publish this blog post. For you my readers, I sacrifice my waistline to bring you coverage of the best food in Southern California.
Ghost Chili Taco Viper
This taco was developed for eaters “who like serious heat”; although, I discovered its flavor stole the show from its spicy bite. I was warned that this taco was really hot, so I strategically placed a margarita nearby in case I needed to secretly cool down my tongue. Although as I chomped down, I found that the taco was moderate in heat, but spicy in flavor. Although my mouth was feeling the pleasant bite of the ghost chili, I wasn’t looking for tequila-based pain reliever.
The Viper taco is served on a corn tortilla, melted cheese, grilled chicken, “Viper Salsa”, and topped with a fresh avocado wedge. The black “Viper” salsa is made with dried chipotle meco, Indian ghost chili, caramelized onion, agave and blanco tequila. Chef Deborah Schneider’s recipe nailed the execution by providing a nice balance between heat and spicy flavors. I found the Viper Taco to be interesting, complex and just the right amount of spicy, just like me. I would definitely order a platter of these again.
This is a fun Guacamole perfect for the heat of the Summer. “Verano” means summer in Spanish and the summer reminds me of eating cool berries in the heat. You may be having the same reaction that I had when I heard of this dish, “What? Raspberries on Guacamole?” Although I was pleasantly surprised that this combination was perfect! Guacamole is topped with sweet raspberries, dusted with a tart chili con limon and spicy serrano chiles, toasted almond slivers and cotixa enchilada cheese. I liked the complexity of the guacamole with its sweet, tart and spicy layers. There is no onion or garlic in this guac.
Casa Noble Estate Single Barrel #259 Tequila.
Sol Cocina recently partnered with a craft tequila producer in Mexico called Casa Noble Estate. They were the first producer in the world to craft a single barrel respasado tequila. This craft practice is rare and imparts a unique flavor provided by being aged in a single French oak barrel for 365 days. Just like wine, this type of single barrel tequila is a snapshot of the regions soil and weather. Sol purchased one of these barrels for their restaurant, resulting only 360 bottles that will be poured to customers. The flavor of the tequila was smooth on the first sip, with a balanced flavors. I was able to taste subtle notes of toasted caramel and chocolate. Although the single barrel Casa Noble estate tequila made a wonderful margarita, I liked it best served neat in its pure form.
If you like tequila or margaritas, check out Sol on Thursday from 6-8; they will be providing complimentary samples of tequila from the library of top shelf and collectible tequilas. If you like what you tasted, the featured tequilas can be purchased at the bar for half-off the normal price. If you are in the bar area for the margaritas, try out some of their tacos; you will not be disappointed. Sol is located on the Balboa Marina overlooking the water, so you will enjoy libations, food and a view. Click here to see their tequila tasting schedule.
For hours and menu, check out their website: http://www.solcocina.com/
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