Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen Happy Hour Spices Up OC’s Bedroom Community
Southern California is awash in Latin Cuisine; although, I can only recommend a handful of high-end Latin restaurants. One of my new favorite high-end Latin restaurants is Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen. It is located in downtown Brea and they definitely bring a little spice to the bedroom community. What I liked most about this restaurant is that they use high-quality ingredients and their chef’s execute sophisticated dishes.
Cha Cha’s Happy Hour
I recently attended a meet and greet to try out items on their happy hours menu, which was voted by OC Register as one of the best happy hours in Orange County. Happy Hour runs all day, Sunday – Thrusday. Friday and Saturday happy hours runs from 11:30am – 7:00pm. Happy hour available only in the lounge. Below are my favorite items at Cha Cha’s Happy Hour menu.
It is easy to make standard guacamole, but making great guacamole is an art. I like their Fresh Guacamole, as it had the right blend of soft Haas avocados, fresh lime juice and just a touch of Serrano chile. It comes with chips and two types of salsa, fire roasted tomato and tomatillo salsas. 7.95 / HH 5.95
Their Shrimp Ceviche is on the sweeter side of the ceviche spectrum, as it is made with fresh orange and lime juices. The shrimp is swimming in the juice mixtures along with Serrano chile, red onion, and Haas avocado. Even though they use Serrano chile, the dish is not spicy. If you like it hot, just let them know. Normal Price $11.95 / Happy Hour $8.95 .
I really liked their soft tacos, all made with organic corn tortillas, epazote black beans and salsa rice. They feature six different types of tacos which can be ordered, mix and match in quantities of 3 or 6. My favorite as the Carnitas with grilled pineapple and a chipotle salsa. My second favorite was the mahi-mahi taco with chipotle cabbage and pico de gallo. I am a big fish taco fan and I like chipotle, so double win! The other tacos were all very good. Other tacos on the menu included. 3 – Tacos 13.95 6 – Tacos 24.95
• Shrimp mango habanero salsa, chipotle cabbage
• Chicken fresh tomatillo salsa, lime cabbage
• Carne Asada home-made roasted guajillo salsa
• Portobello organic greens, cotija cheese
Cha Cha Fries
Perhaps one of the best dishes that I was surprised that I liked so much was their Cha Cha Fries, house made thick cut and fried thick with Yukon potatoes. The crispy papas are tossed with fresh garlic and herbs and tossed with chipotle aioli. I had a similar dish in Barcelona, and it was pretty darn close. Normal Price $6.95 / Happy Hour $4.95
Another nice surprise was their Manila Clams, which were sautéed with garlic, Spanish chorizo, fresh with fresh garlic and herbs, herbs, white wine, butter and smoked chipotle aioli. I love clams and chorizo, so I was in heaven for this. They cooked and seasoned the clams perfectly. Normal Price $9.95 / Happy Hour $7.95
“Wood-Fired” Queso Fundido
“Wood-Fired” Queso Fundido is made with traditional “cazuela” baked cheeses You have a choice of adding chorizo or Portabello mushrooms; ordering the chorizo is a must for flavor. This was my favorite dish of the entire menu. It was cheesy and overwhelmingly decadent. I was full, but I could not stop eating it.Normal Price $7.95 / Happy Hour $5.95
The Crisp Calamari was lightly coated in a cornmeal and infused with spices. When they come out of the frier they are golden brown and perfect with the lime-cilantro aioli. Normal Price $9.95 / Happy Hour $7.95
Nachos Cha Cha’s
Normally when I order nachos I expect a hot mess of soggy chips and uneven application of cheese and topping. Often there is the 1% guy at the table who gets all the cheese and meat, while I am stuck with the baren side with just chi -Crisp tortillas topped with epazote black beans, melted Mexican cheeses served with pico de gallo, jalapeno-escabeche, and sour cream. Normal Price $8.95 / Happy Hour $6.95
What I really liked about Cha Cha’s cocktails is their use of fresh fruits and premium alchools. Each cocktail was perfect for sitting on the patio on a hot summer day. As a bonus, I received extra anti-oxidants and vitamins ;). My favorite cocktail was the Fresh Watermellon Margarita, it was cool and refreshing. It is made with El Jimador 100% pure tequila, fresh watermelon, hibiscus juice, fresh lime and agave nectar. During their happy hour, they have cocktails starting at $5 and special discounts on their premium cocktails.
The Mango-Habanero Margarita was the most unique margarita and my second favorite. The flavor of this cocktail was sweet, tangy and had spicy notes. It is made with Pueblo Viejo, 100% blue agave, mango, fresh lime juice, habanero chili infusion. The classic Cha Cha’s Margarita was also delicious. It is made with Siete Leguas 100% blue agave, elder flower liqueur, fresh lime, ruby red grape fruit juice.
My Final Thoughts
Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen did a great job with their cocktails and happy hour menu and it is easy to see why they won best happy hour and margarita by the OC Register. If you are in the Brea area, consider yourself very lucky for having a high caliber Latin restaurant like Cha Cha’s in your neighborhood. I liked it so much, I am willing to drive 45 minutes to Brea to have their margarita and that yummy fundido.