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The Gossiping Gourmet: Another hit for chef Deborah at Solita

January 29, 2014|By Terry Markowitz
  • The Perro Caliente 'Changa', a grilled Mexican style hot dog, at Solita Tacos in Huntington Beach.
The Perro Caliente 'Changa', a grilled Mexican… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

I have been a big fan of chef Deborah Schneider ever since she opened the wonderful Sol Cocina in Newport Beach, and have been eagerly awaiting her newest venture in Huntington called Solita Tacos.

Located in the newer end of the Bella Terra mall, this is a far cry from the usual taco joint. It is a large attractive space with a central bar and a large patio area. Features include a 7-foot-wide oak-fired Santa Maria-style grill, where the chefs cook whole chickens, among other items. The décor involves a lot of tequila bottles and beautiful old wood.

The staff is very friendly, and our waitress was especially nice. A basket of house-made chips and duros arrived along with excellent salsa. A staple of Mexican snack food, duros are puffy and crisp, shaped like wagon wheels, with a taste evocative of Cheetos. Don't fill up on them because more good stuff is yet to come.

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Rumor had it that the ceviche was very good, and I can now vouch for it as one of the best I've encountered. Titled Yellowtail Ceviche Tropicale, the dish includes pristine yellowtail tossed in fresh lime juice sparked with serrano chiles, bits of mango, cucumbers, avocado and salsa fresca. The mango added an intriguing and delicious note of sweetness to the excellent ceviche.

My favorite dinner date ordered Mexican lentil vegetable soup with a scattering of chorizo, cotixa cheese and scallions. The soup, thick and rich with flavor, was punctuated by salty, crunchy bits of the spicy sausage.

The most unusual and surprising entrée we had was Perro Caliente "Changa." Yes, that is the word for "dog," but in this case, it refers to a hot dog. But it isn't your usual ballpark variety. Rather it is an inspired creation that involves a fat juicy hot dog wrapped in bacon, smeared with light but very tasty cream cheese and onions and heated with pickled jalapenos, then rolled in a flour tortilla and deep fried.

To add another layer of decadence, it is topped with sour cream, lettuce, green onions and salsa fresco. A little crock of chipotle ketchup was served on the side. This is not for dieters, but it is oh so good. The accompanying beans and rice were also notable.

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