It is that time of the year that Z'Tejas Southwestern Grill at South Coast Plaza puts a little spice back into your life. Z’Tejas is launching its annual Chile Fest, an homage to the famous Hatch, New Mexico festival. Z’Tejas will be featuring a special menu with each item on the menu containing some form of the chile pepper. The menu will run from September 3rd until September 16th and $1 from each entrée off the special menu will benefit the Blind Children’s Learning Center.
If you love spice and a wide variety of flavors, the Chile Fest was made for you. You literally can have chile pepper flavor from start to finish as you are dining and that includes dessert and cocktails. Z’Tejas will kick off your chile dining experience with a little twist on typical onion rings. The chile onion rings have taken Hatch New Mexico chiles and thinly sliced them and then give them a very thin breading and they do the same with onions, providing a great pairing. The entire dish is then topped with some rich cotija cheese and cilantro and you also get an incredibly rich Hatch chile sauce. After tasting the chile onion rings you will be left wishing that they were on the appetizer menu year-round.
When it comes to the main course, nothing sums up this Chile experience quite like the adobo steak relleno. Z’Tejas found some beautiful and large Hatch chiles, they then roasted them to bring out even more flavor and then the flavor of this dish really takes off. They stuff the chiles with tender seared beef tenderloin, Jack cheese and caramelized onions. Finally they top them with a chipotlecorn relish and you are served on the side Hatch chile rice, spicy red beans and red chile sauce. There is a lot going on with this dish and amazingly it all comes together with each bite, you get the full heat of the chile but the combination of all of the other flavors brings it down enough to allow you to take in all of the flavors.
This menu is clearly about the chile and heat that it brings, but one dish that took on the flavor but was not overly hot was the herb chile glazed mahi mahi. You will most definitely get a feel for the Hatch chile, but it won’t overpower you and the mahi mahi is prepared perfectly, moist, delicate and has that great grilled flavor to it. You are given all of the ingredients to make your own perfect fish tacos with the mahi mahi if you so choose.
If you really like your chile there a few menu items that are going to wow you as they are going to bring the heat from unexpected sources. The skinny smokin’ margarita is about as good as it gets if you like a cocktail that brings all of the intensity of a chile. Created with Herradura Anejo tequila, DeKuyper Peach, Grand Marnier, fresh lemon juice, agave nectar and what feels like a whole lot of Hatch chile, from the first drink you will know if you like this cocktail or not. It certainly packs a punch. If you are looking for a little more subdued of a cocktail but still with the chile flavor, try the Skinny Z’ Smash. Also prepared with Herradura Anejo tequila and Hatch chile, the bite to it is taken off slightly by the addition of fresh oranges and lemons, mint and agave nectar, a great cocktail for a warm Southern California evening.
If hot and spicy is what gets your palate going then Z'Tejas Chile Fest was made for you! Just make sure you don't waste any time making your way over to Z'Tejas as the menu will not be around long and you will probably want to visit a few times to get to taste everything that the chile has to offer.
Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill is located on the east side of South Coast Plaza (3333 S. Bristol Street, Costa Mesa).
For more information, call (714) 979-7469 or visit: visit www.ztejas.com