SOL Cocina Executive Chef Deborah Schneider introduces a new winter dishes to her widely celebrated menu of Baja-inspired cuisine.
The new menu features the season’s freshest ingredients highlighted in Chef Deborah’s bold, modern interpretations of traditional Coastal Mexican cuisine.
The menu stands out from other Mexican menus due to her use of fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains and sustainable proteins packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Orange County has come to know her style of scratch cooking, rather than utilizing packaged, processed ingredients – an approach to Mexican cuisine that accommodates a variety of dietary restrictions, including vegan, vegetarian and wheat-free lifestyles.
“My philosophy is simple in that great flavor comes from great fresh ingredients, so we start with the best quality and build from there,” says Chef Deborah, who oversees the kitchens at four SOL Cocina locations in the country, as well as two locations for its sister concept, solita Tacos & Margaritas.
“Our new Winter Menu presents the season’s best ingredients in bold and satisfying dishes, many of which come from my own cookbooks.”
Among the new items featured on the SOL Winter Menu:
Shrimp Taquitos – a popular Mexican street food, also made by home cooks. Buttery shrimp and Mexican cheeses are rolled up in corn tortillas and fried until golden and crisp. Served with lettuce, guacamole and pico de gallo, and drizzled with Chipotle Sauce and green onions. These are a great starter guests to share – try dipping them into guacamole or our warm goat cheese!
Crab Stuffed Deep Fried Avocado – a whole avocado is split, peeled and pitted, then stuffed with Baja blue crab meat spicy sambal sauce and fresh lime juice and re-assembled. The avocado is rolled in crisp panko crumbs and quickly fried to make a light, crisp shell, then served on shredded lettuce and a ring of Mango Habanero Sauce with a drizzle of spicy mayo, tamarind sauce, and a few cocoa nibs for crunch! At the table, the ‘egg’ is cut in half to present to the customer, who can then mix everything together to make a guacamole or enjoy as is.
Spanish Grilled Octopus – tender octopus grilled and thinly sliced, served on fingerling potatoes sauteed with garlic, chorizo, smoked Spanish paprika, white wine and green olives. This presentation is called ala gallega for the region in Spain where is it popular!
Panuchos – a popular stuffed and fried antojito from the Yucatán, made with fresh corn masa and fried. Ours are stuffed with a mixture of four Mexican cheeses (menonito, jack, queso fresco and cotixa), as well as vegetables and herbs – fresh spinach, diced nopales, epazote and cilantro, and a few minced serrano chiles. Served on Borracho Black Beans and topped with lettuce, crema, pico de gallo and cotixa cheese, with a tequila-pickled jalapeno and a side of Salsa Ahogada (our ‘enchilada’ type salsa, made with beer). Insider tip: add chicken or carnitas!
Grilled Corn – a Mexican favorite! This single ear of corn is roasted in the husk, then grilled with butter and served “esquites’ style with chipotle sauce, lime, cotixa cheese, ground guajillo and green onions. The corn is cut from the cob tableside and makes for a great dish for the table to share!
Cocktel Campechana – a very typical and traditional combination of cooked seafood: Mexican shrimp, fresh scallops, baby calamari rings & tentacles, and grilled octopus in a chilled broth of tomato, fresh lime, hot sauce, pico de gallo and cucumber, topped with diced avocado and a unique ‘salsa negra.’ Guests may add a shucked raw oyster or two to make a Vuelve ala Vida (literally, “Return to Life”) or add a shot of tequila! Best enjoyed with a an ice-cold beer or margarita.
Corn & Poblano Soup – a very simple soup of just sweet corn, roasted poblano and anaheim chiles cooked with a small amount of onion and garlic, and a bit of rice to thicken. The soup is pureed, then topped with a swirl of Mexican crema, a few toasted pepitas and a tiny sprinkle of guajillo chile. Can be made vegan without the crema garnish.
Grilled Calamari – these tender calamari steaks are marinated with fresh citrus, smoked paprika and garlic. They are quickly grilled, cut into strips and served with chimichurri sauce. A terrific gluten-free alternative to our popular coconut calamari, which features panko breading and is fried.
Mole Negro on Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Kabocha Squash – every Winter, our menu features a mole recipe from Chef Schneider’s cookbook, Salsas & Moles. The rich flavors and spices are perfect for cooler weather. Moles are ancient traditional sauces, usually reserved for special occasions because of their complexity and long preparation. Our Mole Negro is composed from almost two dozen ingredients: dry chiles (including chile negro,) spices, ground corn, fruit, nuts and seeds. It is finished with a very small amount of Mexican chocolate. In this presentation, the mole is draped over a boneless chicken breast stuffed with Mexican cheeses and herbs, alongside wedges of roast kabocha squash seasoned with sweet agave and olive oil. The mole is finished with crushed roasted peanuts.
Lobster & Shrimp Enchiladas, Golden Tomatillo Sauce, Crema, Mole – SOL’s latest iteration of Enchiladas features a combination of large shrimp and Baja spiny lobster meat sauteed with butter, white wine and heavy cream. The unique salsa is a beautiful golden color – it is made with preserved yellow tomatoes, yellow bell peppers and tomatillos, and topped with the golden salsa, a bit of melted Mexican cheese and a quick drizzle of our Mole Negro.
Filet Entrée on Fingerling Potatoes, Rajas and Cream – an 8-OZ filet of top choice Angus filet seasoned with olive oil salt & garlic, grilled then served atop a sautee of tender fingerling potatoes with roasted poblano chile rajas, onion, garlic, heavy cream, herbs, Mexican cheese and a dash of white wine.
Toffee Date Cake with Piloncillo Butterscotch & Walnuts – a moist, wonderful miniature bundt cake flavored with chopped dates, brown sugar, orange zest and vanilla. Served warm, filled with Butterscotch Sauce, and topped with vanilla ice cream, more candied walnuts, and sugared orange peel. Why is this Mexican? Because Baja California is home to the largest date plantations in Mexico!
SOL MENU FACTS:
— We’re healthy and fresh! SOL’s kitchen makes more than 34 fresh salsas daily, and most items are grilled or braised, and served with these fresh salsas, rather than heavy sauces.
— Chef Deborah’s sides are all nonfat, and her salad dressings are thickened with avocado and are made with fresh fruit juices and almost no added oil.
— We’re sustainable – Chef Deborah is also committed to using only sustainable fish, bought locally whenever possible.
— We’re accommodating – SOL’s menu features many items that are or can be modified to be vegan, vegetarian and/or wheat-free.
— SOL’s bar menu revolves around the same philosophy our kitchen follows with a commitment to the freshest ingredients to ensure the best tasting, most flavorful cocktails, and SOL’s Farmers Market Margaritas, which change monthly, focus on the purity of fresh ingredients, including fresh juices, fruits, herbs and vegetables.
— Margarita mixes are made in-house with fresh citrus juices and sugar, and contain no HFCS, preservatives or coloring. Fresh fruit-based margaritas are often sweetened with agave and utilize tequilas that are organically produced.
SOL’s menu changes seasonally to reflect the freshest ingredients available.
Chef Deborah’s menu features dishes made entirely from scratch, daily and is reflective of her philosophy that sustainable ingredients present the tastiest offerings.
The new lunch and dinner menus at SOL feature her unique interpretation of Coastal Mexican classics.
In addition, SOL’s commitment to sustainability is unwavering. The menu features meat and seafood that is humanely raised and caught.
Chef Deborah actively seeks to feature organic and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.
SOL’s menu of Coastal Mexican classics also offers many vegan-friendly and gluten-free options.
Full menus can be found online at http://www.solcocina.com.