Ask a Comida Critic: Best Chile Relleno in OC?

Someone actually asked this months ago, but it got lost in the pile along with my W-2 (eep!). Anyhoo, the query:

What's the best chile relleno in Orange County?

I must admit: I never order the dish. A chile relleno is never about subtlety; it's supposed be greasy, gooey, eggy, a glop to be mixed alongside refried beans and rice. It's probably the most Mexican-American of Mexican dishes, a meal a casual observer would place alongside the combo plate and nachos in the pantheon of Tex-Cal-Mex cuisine---but it's a wholly Mexican creation.

All this said, I never order the dish as prepared by most Mexican restaurants. Even with my dear mami, I get a towel to sop up the grease, and she makes them magnificently, using poblanos instead of the Anaheim peppers far too many restaurants use lest their gabacho customers gasp in heat.

I make exceptions for just two places.

One place, of course, is the Oaxacan standard El Fortín. It's a delicious mound, but the opposite of what we know as chile rellenos--ground beef instead of cheese on the inside, a light batter instead of the golden-brown pillow that usually encases it. Try it once, but you're better off getting their moles and tlayudas.

The only local chile relleno I swear by is the chile relleno burrito over at Celinda's in Rancho Santa Margarita. It's almost perfect: stuffed whole into their freshly made tortillas, oily but not so much that it spills out of its vessel. I wish it were bigger and cheaper. It's not the cylindrical god served over at Lucy's Drive-Inn in Los Angeles, but it does the job and makes Rancho Santa Margarita actually bearable, a small miracle unto itself.

Celinda's Mexican Deli, 29941 Aventura, Rancho Santa Margarita, (949) 589-0354; www.celindas.com.

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Location Info

Celinda's Mexican Deli

29941 Aventura, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

Category: Restaurant

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30 comments
Bruce9432
Bruce9432

Gabacho is a perjorative term for non-hispanics. So why the anger. Perhaps you should turn your efforts to sprinkler systems, that should be in your blood too. Why do you racists think that because you have a hispanic surname you have the market on what tastes authentic.

Matcohen
Matcohen

Tito's La Especial has a terrific traditional cheese stuffed relleno.

Itburns104
Itburns104

We love Celinda's & RSM, Goose. Please don't bag on our town - it is beneath you.

Kristina
Kristina

Seasons 52 in South Coast Plaza has a fabulous chicken chili relleno that they serve over a bed of warm pico de gallo. Delish!

Erika
Erika

Omg Gustavo, I think you better do a better search and taste for Chile Rellenos and give it the praise it deserves.

I can't believe you recommended a chile relleno on a tortilla?

Seriously, who are you and what have you done with Gustavo?

Erika
Erika

I'm disappointed Gustavo. Chile Relleno's aren't a greasy glob! What's wrong with you?!

Dwayne
Dwayne

I'm the one that asked the original question, and I'm a little underwhelmed by your answer of two non-traditional chile rellenos - one with ground beef and one in a burrito.

The reason I asked was I, too, find them gooey and gloppy. Unlike you, I love their cheesy deliciousness. However, not being of the Mexi-persuasion, I didn't grow up eating this dish and have no way to gauge what I'm eating as being "good" or "bad." I was hoping to get a recommendation for a restaurant where I could go calibrate my Relleno palate.

Thanks for the effort though.

DEPORTGUSTABO
DEPORTGUSTABO

if you want some really good chilie rellenos, GO BACK TO MEXICO!!!!!

Christian Z.
Christian Z.

There are some places that use poblanos for their chile rellenos.

Zhenglish33
Zhenglish33

Finally (48 hours) time limit to buy.

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Buy addresses---- tntn.usTips (48 hours after the special product is invalid)

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Man, I think we have the largest skinhead readership outside of Stormfront...

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Celinda's is great; your city, meh. But, hey: at least you're not Aliso Viejo...

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

I have actually eaten that relleno. It's okay, but I give it points for trying!

Sent from my pinche iPhone

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

HA! I appreciate the implied fan-dom, but as I put in my piece, restaurants just can't do chile rellenos right, just like I can't seem to find a memorable sope. Where do you recommend for good chile rellenos?

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Of course they are, as executed by so many restaurants!

Joseph
Joseph

Dwayne, "Good" would be if you like it. "Bad" would be if you do not.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Well, I'm blanking on the name of the Mexican cantina in DT Fullerton (not Revolución, the other one), but they have pretty decent chiles rellenos. So, too, does Lindo Michoacán on Anaheim Blvd. and Broadway.

OCLocal
OCLocal

I was thinking, I have never had a chile relleno in a tortilla. But I am not mexican either so I thought, maybe I have been eating it wrong!

John F.
John F.

Chili rellenos at La Choza on Edinger Ave in Huntington Beach.  Ignore their goofy, cartoonish sign and thank me later. 

Itburns104
Itburns104

I've been fortunate enough to raise two children here, and very pleased with the environment. I usually enjoy your work, perhaps in in the future there will be an article pointing out the error of my RSM ways. All the best to you, and yours, Mr. A !

Relleno_lover
Relleno_lover

Oddly enough the best sope I have ever had was in Connecticut at a small place called Ole Mole, they are amazing if you are ever there...also their Chile Arbol salsa is the best I have ever had...El Ranchito has a decent relleno, but best ever was at Mission Villa on Mission St at 21st in S.F.

Dwayne
Dwayne

Well, maybe that's not what I meant. Perhaps "authentic?"

I mean, I like Jack in the Box tacos, but I know that doesn't make them "good tacos."

DEPORTGUSTABO
DEPORTGUSTABO

idiot! mexico has the best chile rellenyos. go get some!

DON'T COME BACK.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

RSM has a few places—Rice and Spice is very, very good, and of course Pizza e Vino, and you've got Cismontane Brewery... but it's not exactly a destination for dining, mostly because people who don't live nearby seem to think it backs up onto Lake El Snore and is way way way far away.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Look at it this way: at least I'm not creating a nasty nickname ala my beloved anacrime!

Sent from my pinche iPhone

DubV
DubV

This is a food review CaCaCeSoS

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