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When the Chips Are Down

janetms383 May 18, 2010 02:51 PM

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.

  1. PommeDeGuerre May 21, 2010 01:35 AM

    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: PommeDeGuerre
      will47 May 21, 2010 09:08 AM

      Casa Sanchez?

      1. re: will47
        Densible May 22, 2010 11:32 PM

        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
          PommeDeGuerre Jun 6, 2010 01:43 AM

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

      2. groover808 May 20, 2010 07:31 PM

        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
          happybaker May 20, 2010 07:38 PM

          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
            taiwanesesmalleats May 20, 2010 07:56 PM

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

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

        2. w
          will47 May 20, 2010 10:57 AM

          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. s
            schrutefarms May 20, 2010 04:11 AM

            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
              Professor Salt May 20, 2010 07:12 AM

              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
                schrutefarms May 20, 2010 10:54 AM

                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
                janetms383 May 21, 2010 02:25 PM

                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. DiveFan May 19, 2010 04:44 PM

                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. d
                  degustateur May 18, 2010 06:06 PM

                  ... 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. Professor Salt May 18, 2010 03:52 PM

                    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: Professor Salt
                      janetms383 May 18, 2010 04:00 PM


                      1. re: janetms383
                        Professor Salt May 18, 2010 04:08 PM

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

                        1. re: Professor Salt
                          janetms383 May 21, 2010 02:26 PM

                          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
                            Professor Salt May 21, 2010 11:39 PM

                            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
                              janetms383 May 24, 2010 10:32 AM

                              I got the Salsa Fresca and everyone raved about it.

                    2. Midlife May 18, 2010 03:30 PM

                      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
                        JAB May 18, 2010 06:11 PM

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

                        1. re: JAB
                          Midlife May 18, 2010 06:59 PM

                          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. Dommy May 18, 2010 03:08 PM

                        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
                          janetms383 May 18, 2010 03:13 PM

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

                          1. re: janetms383
                            taiwanesesmalleats May 18, 2010 04:36 PM

                            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.

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