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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Cafe El Cholo - Review #1

Date of Visit: July 31, 2007
Cafe El Cholo
840 E Whittier Blvd
La Habra, CA 90631
(562) 691-4618

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Cafe El Cholo - Sign

This may have been one of the longest excursions I have taken just to review a Mexican restaurant for this blog. Went out to La Habra the other day, the far north corner of the county (so far north in fact that it's telephone number is in the 562 area code), and met up with Nancy Luna and Cynthia Furey of The Orange County Register for lunch at Cafe El Cholo, part of the El Cholo chain that began in Los Angeles in the 1920s and currently has two locations in Orange County. This particular location has been around since 1962 which easily makes it one of the oldest Mexican restaurants in the county.

Cafe El Cholo - Interior

We all went for some type of enchilada platter. Cynthia ordered a chicken enchilada platter from the lunch specials menu:

Cafe El Cholo - Queso Fresco Chicken Enchiladas

Nancy ordered the Blue Corn Enchiladas: "Marinated Breast of Chicken Enchiladas wrapped with Blue Corn Tortillas, Tomatillo Sauce, Sour Cream, and Avocado Garnish. Served with Black Beans and Rice."

Cafe El Cholo - Blue Corn Enchiladas

And I ordered the Annie's Early California Enchilada: "Garden Fresh Vegetables, Spinach, Sauteed Mushrooms, and Jack Cheese, Corn and Tomato Salsa." These were excellent vegetarian enchiladas that made me forget I was eating vegetarian food.

Cafe El Cholo - Annie's Early California Enchilada

An interesting feature about Cafe El Cholo's website is that their online menu tells you when each item was introduced.

For dessert Cynthia and Nancy shared a pecan praline sundae (the photo doesn't do it justice):

Cafe El Cholo - Pecan Praline Sundae

While I ordered the deep-fried ice cream, which was good and filled the dessert role just right but wasn't so heavy that it made me feel guilty of gluttony:

Cafe El Cholo - Deep-fried Ice Cream

As with the Irvine location each member of the party gets a pecan praline cookie when the check comes:

Cafe El Cholo - Pecan Praline Cookies

I think you might actually be able to bags of these cookies before you leave. The El Cholo chain is getting ready to open a third restaurant in Orange County, a venture into the fast casual realm. Read an advance report on it at Nancy's blog, and you can bet it will be covered in full here when it opens. For now, Cafe El Cholo earns a four Speedy Gonzales rating:

Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales

Here's some extra photos:

Cafe El Cholo - Parking Lot

Cafe El Cholo - Front Patio

Cafe El Cholo - Bird

Cafe El Cholo -

Cafe El Cholo - Door

Click on the 'el cholo' label to read our complete coverage of the El Cholo chain in Orange County (we have a separate review for each of their locations):

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