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Sep 11, 2007 05:42 PM

spicy food san diego

What are people's favorite spice laden dishes and where do they get them in San Diego?

I am always on the lookout for new and exciting things.

Had good stuff at Ba Ren (Chinese), Spice & Rice (thai), Super Cocina (Mexican), Vindaloo (at Ashoka and Punajbi Tandoor) and Australian Pub (wings, but not within the past 3 years - are they still ok?).

Thank you I love you.

san diego food blog

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  1. You've hit on some of the best. Recently I ate at a place in Escondido called La Cocina De Maria, and they had some of the hottest salsa I've eaten. The food wasn't spicy, but the salsa was brutal.

    Recently at Super Cocina they had red onions marinated in vinegar with habanero peppers up at the front. Amazingly good, yet painful.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Josh

      Was it the roasted green chile salsa? It's different every time. When it's mild, hot, or very hot, I can't get enough of it. When it's atomic, I lament that I have to largely ignore it and eat the so-so red salsa instead.

      1. re: maestra

        Yeah, it was. I asked Maria (she came around to the tables to see how everyone was doing) what was in it, and she said fire-roasted jalapenos. The salsa was really delicious, just very hot.

        1. re: Josh

          Cool - you finally made it to Cocina de Maria! Was this after a HWC run?!

          1. re: kare_raisu

            Actually, pre-HWC. Saw your recommendation for it and headed over there. Great stuff, will definitely be back. Love their tortillas.

            1. re: Josh

              I went there a few months ago for a late lunch after reading a rec on these boards. The salsa's were really good - and I agree that the green one was great. It was almost entirely chopped peppers, not the puree of tomatillos that usually make up the salsa verde at a mexican place. It was nicely spicy, but when I was there at least, not super firey. The mole was great - not too much chocolate and well balanced with a rich chicken broth flavor.

              1. re: afinkle

                afinkle - this is an old post I made under my real name - back in the " BC" (Before Chow) days

                any guess to the peppers -serrano?

                1. re: kare_raisu

                  I thought it was just a mix of roasted poblanos and maybe some seranos for the heat. I didn't think it was hot enough to be all jalapeno, but now I know - thanks for asking her Josh.

                  I tried to replicate it at home with that mix of peppers roasted over the burner. A little bit of onion and pan roasted garlic with a touch of lime and cilantro. Not as good so I will try all jalapeno next time.

              2. re: Josh

                Its crazy - my mother and sister now taunt me :) by calling me when they are eating there! The carnitas mulita is worth the trip alone.

                I was there one weekend and some guy that looked like el chapo de sinaloa had a killer looking menudo with a whole pata (foot) in it - the whole room was literally chile perfumed.

                1. re: kare_raisu

                  She said the peppers were jalapeno only. I was taken aback by that, as I never thought I'd find that so hot. She did also confess to not telling me everything because the recipe is secret.

                  Carnitas mulita? I will check those out next time. I am due for a visit on Sat. Last time I had the bistek encebollado, which kicked ass. Next time I will try something else. The pollo in mole looked pretty awesome.

      2. Okay, this is a single dish, not a restaurant that specializes in "spicy" stuff, but I had one of the best hot and spicy dishes I've ever eaten last Saturday afternoon. It was the smoked marlin carpaccio at Romseco in Bonita. Little medallions of tender marlin are spread across the plate and garnished with papaya-avocado salsa, baby cilantro and micro slices of red radish (muy Mexicano!). This stuff is so flavorful, but so hot, I don't know how they managed to make it so spicy without overwhelming the mild flavor of the smoked marlin. I'm not sure, but I'm almost positive that some habaneros gave their lives in the process. It ain't cheap ($9.50), but if they can do this consistently, it is so worth it. One other time I tried to order this dish and they were out, so I guess it depends on the availability of the Marlin.
        . . . jim strain

        1. Thanks for the replies, they sound great. Especially the new onion/habanero combo at SC. I found that once at a not-so-good BBQ place outside of Austin and ate a cupful but have never seen it anywhere else since.

          2 Replies
          1. re: stangoldsmith

            Bon Appetit had a recipie for habanero marinated red onions this summer. I think it was the June or July copy (it's the one w/ a stacked enchilada on the cover w/ a yellow background). I have no idea how they compare to SC or "the real thing," but I did 2 habaneros and they were pleasantly spicy. I'd add a 3rd one to really kick it up a notch or two.

            1. re: daantaat

              All you have to do is roast a hab on your burner and reserve.
              Mince a red onion - put in a strainer and vigor. wash (rid onion-y taste).
              Place dried and drained minced onions in a container and add vinegar to cover & pop in that whole hab for flavor.

              Another option that a guy up here in Sonoma county does is put a stick of canela (cinnamon) instead.

              These onions are great on panuchos and the lord of all Yucatec dishes, Cochinita Pibil.

          2. Ba Ren, check and double-check. A decent runner-up (IMO) in the Szechuan category is Dede's, in the same little strip mall as Convoy Noodle House.

            Mien Trung, the tiny little Vietnamese place just down the block from K Sandwiches on Mesa College Drive, has a divinely hot version of bun bo Hue. Get the extra large Dac Biet and prepare to sweat buckets.

            Other hot hits for me: the seafood soups at Siete Mares in Barrio Logan; and seemingly a good half or more of the prepared foods to go in the deli section of Zion Market, up on Mercury Street in Kearny Mesa (some of those panchans will definitely sneak up and getcha late at night when you're out of Tums ... but in the nicest way, of course).

            1 Reply
            1. re: mizducky

              Your post reminded me to suggest Korean restaurants. People mostly think of bbq at Korean places, but every Korean place I've eaten at has dishes like kimchi jigae (kimchi soup) or eundaegoo jorim (black cod and daikon in spicy sauce) that are seriously hot. Similarly, the tofu houses on Convoy can make their soontofu soups very spicy.


            2. I love spicy Indian food and the best place to get it is the "Little India Center" in Mira Mesa since they have literally a half dozen to a dozen choices covering most of South Asia. You just have to remember to order it "Indian spicy" as most of the servers will see you're white and then make it blander even if you order it hot. In the same areas Callahan's Irish Brew Pub on Mira Mesa Blvd has the best and hottest chicken wings I've ever tasted. They also have so excellent freshly brewed house beers at reasonable prices.

              1 Reply
              1. re: oerdin

                Oh I forgot about Callahan's, they do have very good and very hot wings and it's a good place to bring the little ones and still get in a couple of beers.

                All the other suggestions sound great as well, thanks for them.

                - Stan