South Coast Plaza
To celebrate the annual Hatch Chile-Fest in New Mexico, Z'Tejas in South Coast Plaza is having their own version of Chile-Fest with a special, very limited-time menu that features all sorts of dishes with Hatch chiles. The special Chile-Fest menu runs from September 3rd to September 16th, 2013. $1 from each entree sold off of the special menu will benefit the Blind Children's Learning Center. The menu selection includes items from every category from cocktails, to appetizers, to entrees and desserts. I was luck enough to be invited down to sample some of the special chile items.
I started my night off with the Smokin' Margarita ($8.50) cocktail. I am a huge fan of margaritas, and I really love spicy stuff, so I thought this drink would be perfect. The drink is made with Herradura Anejo tequila, DeKuyper Peach, GRand Marnier, fresh lemon juice and what they call a "special kick." Well this "special kick" really was a "KICK!" The drink has a very potent, spicy sting that leaves your lips a little numb.
Next us was the appetizer of Fried Hatch Chiles and Onions ($6.95). Thin strips of Hatch chiles and onions were battered and fried to a crispy, golden-brown. The strings were served with a side of ranch dressing and BBQ sauce. I really enjoyed this dish, but really wished that there were more Hatch chiles. The dish consisted of about 80%-90% onions, and only a few strips of chile here and there.
Next up were the entrees. V ordered the Adobo Steak Relleno ($13.95) and I went for the Herb Chile Glazed Mahi Mahi ($16.95). V's Steak Relleno consisted of roasted Hatch chiles stuffed with seared beef tenderloin, jack cheese and caramelized onions. They were topped with a chipotle corn relish and server with Hatch chile rice and spicy red beans. V and I both agreed that this dish was very good, but we both wished it had more steak, as there were only around four tiny cubes of steak in the entire dish.
The Herb Chile Glazed Mahi Mahi was served with roasted vegetables, spicy red beans, Hatch chile rice and some small corn tortillas, so you could make your own fish tacos. This was also good, but I felt that it could have used more Hatch chiles. The plate was also served with a cool, creamy slaw that V enjoyed very much.
To finish off the night, we had a Hatch Chile Coconut Flan ($5.95). This cool and creamy dessert was absolutely perfect and my favorite dish of the night. The sweet custard flan was spiked with a nice punch of chile pepper that you could feel in the back of your throat. The more I ate of it, the more I liked it. It may sound a little weird to have chile peppers in your dessert, but trust me, it works.
This special menu only lasts for less than two weeks, so get it while you can. This does seem to be an annual even t for Z'Tejas though, so if you miss it this year, make sure to mark your calendar for next time!