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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Chili Pepper - Review #1

Date of Visit: December 30, 2006
The Chili Pepper
167 S Main St
Orange, CA 92868
(714) 639-2840

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(This is just our first review of The Chili Pepper. Click the "chili pepper" label at the end of this entry to read even more.)

Chili Pepper -

The Chili Pepper in Orange was one of a handful of places that made me realize I needed to start this blog and I finally made a trip for review purposes more than a year later. This place is decorated to the hilt. I'm talking full sensory overload . . . even the parking lot is decorated:

Chili Pepper -

And it's decorated even more when it's Christmastime:

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Just don't park next to the yellow cactus:

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This nice plate of fruit is the free appetizer when you go for Saturday or Sunday brunch:

Chili Pepper -

Of course, there's also chips and salsa:

Chili Pepper - Chips and Salsa

And the Nutcracker brigade was out in full force:

Chili Pepper - Nutcrackers

The pozole soup was excellent:

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But the shrimp on the fish kabob skewers was even better. Peppery, lemony, buttery, rich and tender and every other good adjective:

Chili Pepper - Fish Kabob

Chris, my carnitas loving friend, changed things up a little by getting a machaca plate . . . with carnitas in it!

Chili Pepper - Machaca with Carnitas

Every patron also gets a free little dessert with their meal. We got burritos with a cream cheese filling that tasted more like Bavarian creme. The one other time I've been there we got burritos with an apple/cinnamon filling that were also very good. I have heard that children also get free balloons when they eat at The Chili Pepper.

Chili Pepper -

You definitely have to see this place first-hand to fully appreciate it. The Chili Pepper earns a four and a half Speedy Gonzales rating:

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(Contrary to popular belief The Chili Pepper is in Orange, not in Santa Ana.)


Anonymous said...


We've been going to this place for years. Somewhat pathetically for us, it's so good, we go there several times a month. Most of the waitstaff know us by name and vice-versa. I say pathetically because there are so many other great places out there and we do quite a bit of "surveying," but this is the place we always come back to.

Why? It's just a fun place with great food and atmosphere. Plus, we have two kids and this place really caters to families.

One of our favorites is when they are serving one of their soups. From the Chile Fresno to the black bean soup, all are excellent. Someone back in the kitchen knows what they are doing!

The food is really very good, but the people there are fantastic. Even when the place is wall-to-wall people, the waitstaff really know how to keep everyone happy. They are really nice people.

Maybe this is why we keep going back.

Great place!

Chubbypanda said...

I wanna go!

- Chubbypanda

ChristianZ said...

Thanks for your comment, Craig. The amount of traffic this blog gets is not enormous but is enough to suggest that more comments should be being posted than actually are. Comments like yours supplement what (little) I wrote and help future readers.

CP, I wanna go back! Anybody know how I can clone myself?

Aron said...

I grew up in Santa Ana and used to go there before their most recent remodel (10 years ago).

The food hasn't changed and that is the best part. As a youngster I was afraid of all the "spicy foods" so it was un hamburgesa for me.

As I grew older I experimented across the menu. I'm happy to report the food is great and the recipes haven't changed in 20 years.

As a kid and adult they've catered to my palate.

Muchas Gracias Chili Pepper

ChristianZ said...

Thanks for the comment, Aron. Good to hear from somebody who's been going there for a long time.

Anonymous said...

Chili Pepper is my favorite Mexican place in OC (although Juanita's taco stand in Leucadia/Encinitas ranks first overall).

Johnny Automatic said...

The thing about this place that no one has mentioned is the size of the menu. It is as big and varied as the decor. it is one of the hardest places for me to order. I keep going, "oh maybe i'll have this".

Johnny Automatic said...

A party of eight of us went for the Sunday brunch today. Everyone enjoyed there entrées. I had the enchiladas El Paso with chorizo and scrambled egg filling. Enjoyed it very much. My wife had the enchiladas carnitas "al diabla". She says they were very good with heat being right at her threshold. This place really does have something for everyone - including Italian food if you don't want Mexican! Besides the menu there are always 3-4 table tents with more items and a specials board when you come in. When we walked out just after noon the waiting area was packed!

Anonymous said...

this is the best place ever. My favorite dish is their fajitas chicken CHIMICHANGA, they're bigger than my face and super delicious! The atmosphere and the service make eating there a wonderful experience. I love knowing I can go there either with friends or family and it is my choice for celebrating special events.

ChristianZ said...

Thanks for the comment. Did you see our other entry on them?

Anonymous said...

i LOVE this place. the food is authentic, so one shouldn't be off-put by the kitschy decor. the menu is huge, and everything i've ever had there has been awesome. the prices are so ridiculously cheap that i don't know how they make a profit! every time my mom visits me from new york she insists we go there. i just feel bad when entertaining guests who want to see l.a. that i can't think of a place up there that's nearly as good.

ChristianZ said...

Thanks for the comment. Did you see our other review on them?

Anonymous said...

This place was excellent! Not only was it the best Mexican food I have had in Orange County, but it is also not expensive!

ChristianZ said...

Glad you liked it. Sounds like maybe you went after reading about it here. Did you see our other entry on them?