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When the Chips Are Down

I'm making an uber batch of nachos this weekend. My sister went to Costco and got the ginormous bag of chips. I poo-pooed her and said, "We live in So Cal and we can get better chips than that!"
Now the onus is on me!
Where in OC do I find the best chips?

I've thought of El Gallo Giro.

Does Alerto's/Alberto's have good chips? El Toro Carniceria in Santa Ana?

I know it's a small thing, but .... I'm stressed to impress.

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  1. For Nachos you want THICK chips. Check out the Mexican Markets that make their own tortillas... they also tend to make their own chips.


    2 Replies
    1. re: Dommy

      Yeah, I'm totally dialed into that, but where???

      1. re: janetms383

        Don't know how others feel about them, but I really like the tortilla chips made at Superior Markets. They're a chain store but make them everyday. They're thick, very crunchy and plenty salty.

    2. In South County, many of us swear by Las Golondrinas chips. On game days their chip racks are always near empty by mid-afternoon. Northern-most location is at Crown Valley and Greenfield (just West of the 5).

      2 Replies
      1. re: Midlife

        Actually, there's one off of Alicia in Mission Viejo.

        1. re: JAB

          Thanks. I keep forgetting about that one. I used to take my car to a repair guy just up Jeronimo from there but had moved South by the time that location opened. There's a FedEx location right there too.

      2. I like the ones at El Gallo Giro. Good call on that. El Toro Carniceria in Santa Ana, too.

        The ones at El Toro Bravo Tortilleria in Costa Mesa are good and thick, too. Wouldn't hesitate to send you to any of these places really.

        El Toro Bravo Tortilleria
        739 W 19th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

        5 Replies
          1. re: janetms383

            Well, at least you're looking for thick chips. That's easy. Finding good thin chips is a bigger challenge.

            1. re: Professor Salt

              Thanks for your recco Professor. I went to El Toro Bravo. Excellent chips and also got the chicken and salsa there too!

              1. re: janetms383

                Glad you liked it. The roast chicken there is one of my favorites.

                Did you get the salsa fresca or the salsa roja? Both of them are house made. The verde comes out of a can, and so disappointing compared to the others.

                1. re: Professor Salt

                  I got the Salsa Fresca and everyone raved about it.

        1. ... an easy answer to a not so easy question ...

          I love chips and salsa but rarely, if ever, find the best of each at one spot. The best chips are at one place, the best salsa at another. El Indio Tortilleria in Santa Ana comes closest to giving me the best of both worlds. You see, they specialize in tortillas and chips, making them fresh every day. They serve/sell them in-house and deliver to restaurant clients as well. Their salsas are totally kick-a$$ too.

          The catch? Well, they are a very small (4 little tables), yet charming, hole-in-the-wall located in a Santa Ana barrio. That has never stopped me in 15 years but some may feel less than secure, particularly at night. My recommendation is to go mid-day, buy in bulk and take ‘em home to enjoy with several of their salsas. You won’t be disappointed.

          El Indio’s food is outstanding as well. Fantastic chicken mole, menudo, posole and chilaquiles. Fabulous burritos, especially their tripas, buches and carnitas. Very good tamales too. They also make THE best chicharrones I know of.

          El Indio must be doing things right. It has been in the same location for over 60 years.

          El Indio Tortilleria
          1502 West 5th Street
          Santa Ana, CA 92703-2902
          (714) 542-3114


          Click on the thumbnails for closeups of their delicious platos.

          1. Both the Big Saver and Gonzales Northgate chains have very good Thick chips and have a few branches behind the Orange curtain. If you want some decent pre-made fresh salsa for your chips, I prefer the salsa 'quemada' at Big Saver.

            Northgate Market
            722 N Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA

            1. BEST BEST BEST chips in SoCal...Ha'vea Chips. Unfortunitely only sold in small bags...but worth it. I made some nachos ast month with those, black beans, this green chili sour cream dip my lovely aunt sent me from New Mexico, salsa, cheese and olives....uh mhu ghud the best.

              3 Replies
              1. re: schrutefarms

                Agree, the best thin chips made, and I love the subtle saltiness of soy sauce. But thin chips last about 20 seconds under the weight of nacho toppings before they're soggy and flaggid.

                1. re: Professor Salt

                  Hmmm. Perhaps we can start a petition for thicker, nacho style Hav'ea Chips? And while we're at it, bigger bags! :)

                2. re: schrutefarms

                  Yeah, I've munched Ha'vea, but honestly, these are not my favorite chips for flavor. I like the ones that have a more pure, corn tortilla taste.

                3. Would it be out of the question to make them yourself? Obviously a little messy, but home-made taste great. Frying some onions in the oil first imparts a nice savory flavor to the chips. Then cut up some corn tortillas and deep-fry til crispy in a dutch oven or deep cast iron skillet.

                  1. Had some good thick style chips recently from Superior Groccery. I believe tortillas are made and fried on site, multiple locations in LA/OC


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: groover808

                      Super A fries their own chips as well. Crisp, thick, salty, they taste vaguely porky...


                      Though I confess admiration for anyone PLANNING nachos. Here, they happen by accident!

                      1. re: happybaker

                        Between these two, I prefer Super A Foods, but Superior works just fine.

                        Super A Food
                        2925 Division St, Los Angeles, CA 90065

                    2. I have actually had good thick tortilla chips from Whole Foods. Not their brand, and unfortunately I can not remember the name, but they are packaged in a clear plastic bag and are offered in both thick and thin. If I recall the brand I will repost.

                      3 Replies
                        1. re: will47

                          Casa Sanchez chips are my fav store bought ones-especially the thick salt-free ones. Costco has a thin chip sold in large brown bags-w/or w/out salt. Cannot remember the name -nice and crispy.

                          1. re: will47

                            Just went to WF. You are correct, Sir. Pair nicely with homemade guacomole or a strong chile based salsa.