No. 7: Ají Verde at Inka Mama's

ajiresized.jpg
ProfessorSalt.com
Inka Mama's cracktacular green sauce
The Peruvian green sauce at Inka Mama's carries on the precedent set last year of including condiments in our annual parade of food-cravings.

The salsa de ají verde turns a small basket of ordinary bread into a dump truck for the spicy green sauce. When you run out of bread, you'll ask for more. When your bread doesn't come out fast enough, you'll start cooking ají in a spoon over a votive candle and look around for a sharpened swizzle-stick to jab into your veins like the desperate salsa junkie you've become.

That's how quickly the stuff hooks you.

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I can say with certainty that the salsa is a thick-bodied, almost creamy puree spiked with fresh green chiles. Beyond that, the ingredient candidates grow as murky as the indigo ink of a Magic 8 Ball. You might as well ask that kid's toy how Mama makes this magic condiment, because the staff isn't giving up any secrets.

This is the argument that happens inside my brain every time I eat at Mama's:

"Are the spicy top notes the mildly hot bell-pepper flavor of jalapeno? No, maybe it's the more piquant flavor of serranos. Or a blend of both. Is there a hint of imported aji amarillo in the mix?"

"What gives it that herbal body and thickness? Is it just cilantro, or is there some parsley in there? What? Lettuce leaves? Get out of town. And how about that creaminess in the flavor and color? Is there dairy in there? Mayo? Is it oil emulsified with bread crumbs? Peruvian marching powder?"

One can only imagine how many 5 gallon tubs of this stuff the restaurant makes every day, because nearly every table will drain the entire plastic squeeze bottle they are given. And while they will sell you some to take home, they know you'll be running back for lunch as soon as your supply is kicked.

26676 Portola Parkway #B, Lake Forest. 949-951-6262.
26741 Aliso Creek Road #E, Aliso Viejo. 949-360-6263.
and
3930 S. Bristol St #107, Santa Ana. 714-557-6262.
inkamamas.com



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9. Pickled Egg at C4 Deli: Cure for the Common
10. Fugazza at Pasta Connection
11. Cheese & Soujouk Manakeesh at Al Wadee Bakery & Restaurant
No. 12: Salpicon at Nancy's Pupuseria
13. Soulrito at Papa's Fish & Soul Food
14. Combination Grill Plate at Kareem's Restaurant
15. Ta Pin Lu at Pagolac
16. The Chicken at XA Sweet & Savory Cafe
17. Mashed Potatoes at Tender Greens
18. Twice-Baked Potato Purée at James Republic
19. Salmon at Tavern On The Coast
20. Omakase at Sushi Noguchi
21. Pescado Zarandeado at Mariscos Los Primos
22. Sausage Anything from Sabatino's
23. Cemita Poblana from El Camino Real Market
24. Champurrado and Pan Dulce from Las Tres Princesas
25. Grilled Watermelon Salad At XA Sweet & Savory Cafe
26. Beer Brat At LinX
27. Bloody Mary Brunch at Charlie Palmer
28. Pork Belly Slider From The Golden Truffle
29. Hot Chocolate at The Catch
30. 95% of the Menu at Confetti Italian Ice
31. Hu Tieu at Hu Tieu Thanh Xuan
32. Beef Salad (aka "The Bobby Special") at Sophy's Fine Thai & Cambodian Cuisine
33. "No Soup" Ramen at Santouka Ramen
34. Wild Mushroom Taco at Taco Asylum
35. Chivito at Puerto Madero/El Gaucho #2
36. Lamb Burger at Haven Gastropub
37. Breakfast Tacos at Chelas Mexican Grill
38. Grilled Brie With Apples And Fig Jam at Boudin SF
39. Fried Almond Shrimp Balls at Capital Seafood
40. Tulsa Potatoes At Tulsa Rib Company
41. Tiropites from Kentro Greek Kitchen
42. Pasta Salad from Crave
43. Chicken Plate at Surfin' Chicken
44. Rosemary Madeleine from Little Sparrow
45. Umeboshi Ochazuke at Kappo Suzumaru
46. Soft Tofu Soup at DooRei
47. Hitsumabushi at Sagami
48. The Fireball at Cortina's
49. Paint It Black Pie at Rebel Bite
50. Pidan Doufu at I-Tea Cafe
51. The Happy Hour Specials at Ahi Ahi Sushi Bar & Grill
52. Free Happy Hour Food at Gulliver's
53. Banh Tom at Van's Restaurant
54. Dinner at Marrakesh
55. Congee at Capital Seafood
56. Taquito Burrito at Cuca's Mexican Food
57. Clam Chowder at Billy's at the Beach
58. Volcan at Tacos Ruben y Mulitas
59. The Burger at ARC
60. Chocolate Chip Cookie at Crave
61. Lime Curd At Playground
62. Every Damn Thing at Mochi Cream
63. Most Things at Devilicious Donuts
64. Robiola Bosina at Provisions Market
65. Bite-Sized Stinky Tofu at Tofu King
66. Tacos Dorados at Tortas Ahogadas Los Primos
67. Tlacoyo at El Rincon Chilango
68. Whole Pig Roast at Haven Gastropub
69. Chingaderas at Smoqued BBQ
70. The Continuous Ramen Chronicles at The Playground
71. Shrimp & Grits at Slapfish
72. Bacon Cotton Candy at Biggy's Meat Market
73. Urban 3b at Urban Seoul
74. Waffles & Chicken from The Slummin' Gourmet & Waffles de Liege
75. Ahi Tuna Tartar at Nieuport 17
76. Chicken Wings at Hashigo Korean Kitchen
77. Brussels Sprouts Pizza at Pizzeria Mozza
78. Breakfast Sausage Hash at Thasos Greek Island Grille
79. Chocolate Doughnut with Jacobsen Sea Salt at Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee
80. Loco Moco Dog at Dogzilla
81. Fruit Tart at Le Croissant Dore
82. Daing Na Bangus (Marinated Milkfish) Silog Breakfast at Chowking
83. Strawberry Basil Lemonade at Mick's Karma Bar
84. Lemongrass Chicken Salad at Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop
85. Tofu Soup at Tasty Thai
86. Take-Out Dim Sum at Capital B.B.Q. and Dim Sum Express
87. Hodo Gwaja at Cocohodo
88. Popcorn Chicken Salad at Guppy House
89. Fried Okra at Memphis Soul Cafe & Bar
90. Salted Egg With Bitter Melon & Scrambled Egg at Tasty Noodle House
91. Boysenberry Lemonade from Bautista Creek Local Produce at SOCO Farmers' Market
92. Scallop Carpaccio with Curry Oil and Yuzu Vinaigrette from Cafe Hiro
93. White Board Specials at Taco Adobe
94. Coney Dog at LinX
95. Halal Pizzas from San Giovanni Pizzas
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97. Lunch Buffet at Dosa Express
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100. Bean-and-Cheese Burrito from Del Taco

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Inka Mama's

26676 Portola Parkway, Foothill Ranch, CA

Category: Restaurant

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