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Anepalco’s Café – Literally Amazing Chilquiles in Orange

  • l

**For full post and pics**: http://www.lauhound.com/2012/01/anepa...

When I come home I always try to make every meal count because while I come home quite a bit, I’m never there for that long, so I try not to have any misses. On my last trip home from the holidays, I asked on chowhound for some new Mexican recommendations in Orange County and Das Ubergeek gave me this recommendation (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8230...).
Honestly, if you gave me the menu and asked me if I wanted to try this place I would’ve probably said no because the menu (http://anepalcoscafe.com/aboutus.aspx) is a mix of Mexican and American and just looks like some type of jack of all trades master of none type of menu that wouldn’t be good, but luckily looks can be very deceiving.

The restaurant is a small non-descript café located just off the 22 freeway by the hospital and doesn’t have too much in the way of décor. The place is tiny and probably can fit maybe 15 people comfortably. The guys working there were nice guys.

Here’s what we got:
- Anepalco's Chilaquiles: Chilaquiles are a Mexican dish that is made up of fried tortilla strips, red sauce, scrambled eggs, cotija cheese, sour cream, avocado mousse and pico de gallo. When I’ve had this dish before it’s been more like fried tortilla strips with all of the sauces dumped on top. Here they made the tortilla chips into a semi-cake and topped it with a small omelet, pico de gallo, avocado mousse and sour cream on top with the red sauce and cotija cheese on the side. It looks much nicer than other versions I’ve had. The tortilla chip cake is really good and the toppings were all very good, but the real standout was the red sauce and cotija cheese. I would categorize it as amazing and I don’t say that about that many things. It’s a little spicy and has this addicting tangy flavor that pairs just perfectly with the cotija cheese. It was just so good. This is definitely one of the best dishes I’ve had in a while. 9/10
- Huevos Rancheros: This was another dish that was highly recommended. Its typical huevos rancheros consisting of tortilla, black beans, scrambled eggs, cotija cheese, avocado mousse, pico de gallo, sour cream and red sauce. It was actually fairly similar to the chilaquiles, but with black beans and a tortilla instead of a tortilla cake. However, it was one of the better huevos rancheros I’ve ever had and while everything was very good, it was the red sauce and cotija cheese again that really set it apart. The flavor of that sauce with everything is just so good. While I thought it was very good, I’d give the nod to the chilaquiles. 8.5/10

I loved this place and it was one of the best new finds I’ve been to in a while. I can’t wait to come back and try more stuff including the huevos divorciados, which were also highly recommended by the staff. I highly recommend coming here.

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  1. The best chilaquiles I've had anywhere. The presentation and flavors that came out of this kitchen quite honestly startled me. It was an amazing dish that I would recommend. The only problem is that it's in an odd location and the only reason I even tried Anepelco's is I was doing rehab across the street in the hospital. I'd stop by every other treatment for breakfast and dinner.

    The owners are real nice friendly people and they put out excellent food. I've had lunch there and the sandwiches are an excellent bargain with the same great flavors as the chilaquiles.

    1 Reply
    1. re: js76wisco

      yah i'm not like a chilaquiles expert or anything, but man i was just blown away by how good they were.

      It is in sort of an odd location, but this is well worth the short drive from newport to get here. It might be one of my first stops when I come back home again, really really glad I found this place

    2. I agree, the chilaquiles there are amazing.

      1 Reply
      1. I'm glad you went! I love Anepalco's... but sometimes I get coffee from Kaffa! across the street and then get the chilaquiles to go, back at my office (near-ish by).

        As far as the bizarre location, there may be good news on that front, but not yet.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          great rec!

          they might be moving or something right? i thought i overheard some guy talking about it when i was there

          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            You, know, though--the coffee at Anepalco's, although not quite artisinal or anything, is actually markedly better than you would except from most breakfast/lunch joints.

            1. re: georgempavlov

              i didnt try the coffee, but ill pick some up next time i go

          2. about a month ago we had a very good brunch there ; the food shows a lighter touch, allowing the flavours to interact a bit more instead of getting smothered by too much oil, high heat, or overcooking. my spouse's savoury crepe with a tomatillo sauce was quite good ; one doesn't expect crepes from a Mex-american place, but the cuisines are actually very compatible, as are French and Spanish of course.

            1 Reply
            1. re: moto

              yah i want to try other things on the menu, but its going to be pretty damn hard not to order the chilaquiles

            2. Has anyone tried the Tortilla Omelettes? They look yummy.

              1. They were just featured in the OC Weekly, and opened another location in the Ayres Inn near UCI medical. The parking at the Orange location is horrid, the new location is supposed to be better. As for the chilaquiles, I actually didn't really care for them. I prefer them the traditional way. I think I just don't like the egg cooked flat then folded up.

                I also tried their chicken crepe, and thought it was just ok, kind of mushy. I really wanted to try the beef but they were out.

                8 Replies
                1. re: iLoveUni

                  oh interesting, irvine is closer to my mom's place so that makes things easier

                  yah it is different from the traditional way, but for me i like that better

                  1. re: Lau

                    The review on the "Diary of a Mad Hungry Woman" had a nice write up of this place with some very good close up photos of the food: http://madhungrywoman.com/2011/03/22/...

                    Great review, Lau. I wish that I lived closer to it...but probably a good thing I don't. ;-D>

                    1. re: Servorg

                      thanks and thanks for the link

                      well i live 3,000 miles away in NY! haha, but i come back home to CA alot so i get to enjoy places like this when i go back

                      1. re: Lau

                        Someday I'll get back to your "present" area of the country to satisfy my cravings for all the things that the NY area is known for. Do you find yourself trending towards Mexican food out here when you come or do you branch out?

                        I really like the fact that both the OC and LA areas have great examples of various Mexican regional food available. I just had a breakfast burrito the other morning from the new Tacos Por Favor branch in WLA and found it every bit as good as the original in Santa Monica.

                        When I get over to the East LA area I end up finding too many choices, and it leaves me spinning in circles trying to make a final selection.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          i try to eat stuff that i can't really good versions of in NY, so i'd say in order i typically get:
                          1) vietnamese: i really like little saigon and its not too far from where i live, my mom thinks im obsessed with japanese food (its my favorite food after chinese / japanese)
                          2) mexican: NY just doesn't even remotely compare
                          3) chinese: NY has decent chinese, but LA chinese is better
                          4) japanese: NY has good upscale japanese, but any more middle type of range japanese, LA is generally better
                          5) thai: NY has ok thai, but LA's is much better

                          1. re: Lau

                            When you return next time see if you can arrange a time to get up to the LA area and give Red Medicine a test run. Not traditional Vietnamese, but great food in its own right. Here's a link to Kevin Eats post: http://www.kevineats.com/2010/12/red-...

                            1. re: Servorg

                              yah def, i havent been getting up to LA alot the last few tiems ive been home, but i need to get up there more

                              1. re: Servorg

                                That Kevin eats post is very outdated. Many of those dishes are no longer on the menu and the presentation has changed for many of the others. The glaring omission is that there is no porridge! *gasp*

                                Here is a link to JL's more recent photo essay:


                  2. Excellent Spanish-style tortillas, also. Try to Andorra La Vella. Yum!

                    1 Reply
                    1. I tried the chilaquiles here last week and was not impressed at all! The "cake" they make out of the chips really was disappointing to me. I much prefer traditional chilaquiles over this, but appreciate their originality and beautiful presentation.