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Feb. 2013 Dish of the Month - CHILE RELLENO

Just by a stem, chile rellenos are the Feb. dish of the month.

Poppers, burritos and casserole, not included. It pretty much the purists chile relleno.

So go forth and eat your way around SD trying different chile rellenos and then report back

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  1. Dagney stuffed the ballot box. Results void.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Fake Name

      Not quite :-). Even without her extra vote, the chile rellenos had it.

      I, personally, was rooting for chocolate because I think chile relleno is a tough dish in San Diego.

      1. Very excited for this topic, let's hear some chow-worthy suggestions!

        19 Replies
        1. re: MrKrispy

          No, no, no.

          Not "suggestions" but actual *live* reports.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            Agree, but CRs aren't something I usually choose or look for on a menu so I'm open to suggestions of places to try that others have been to in the past or heard of, but may not be going to this time and if I go there I'll report back.

            Don't want to hear long winded reports from past experiences or the best CRs are in a non SD restaurant, but if you've had decent to great CRs at ____ they just name the joint and maybe others will try it.

            Jan wasn't exactly overflowing with soup reports so lets not get too restrictive before this quest begins.

            1. re: Island

              That's one of the reasons I think chile relleno is a tough dish. There don't seem to be that many versions in SD.

              Super Cocina does a pretty good cheese stuffed one. You might start there.

              I think this is, however, a great opportunity for people to explore this menu item if they so chose. Unfortunately, I don't think many *will* chose to explore the world of chiles rellenos.

              I want a nice, plump poblano chile stuffed with a flavorful picadillo, then dipped in a light and airy capeado and fried. The whole thing should be served up in a shallow soup plate with a thin tomato broth with hints of onion and cilantro. That is my quest this month. I've got a couple ideas as to where to start (hello, Chula Vista) but let's just say I'm not going to hold my breath ;-).

              Island, start at Super Cocina and work out from there. I think the best bets are going to be in City Heights, National City or Chula Vista.

              1. re: DiningDiva

                So that's the Holy Grail, eh? Sounds delish. Thanks for the tips. Let the quest begin...

                1. re: Island

                  I think there are some other "usual suspects" that might be worth checking out as well.

                  * Ranas in Casa de Oro has it on their menu. I have a love hate relationship with them. Sometimes I go and they're really good and sometimes they are really terrible. I do think the chances go up that the chile relleno is made from scratch here and not a frozen, pre-fab one from Sysco, Smart & Final or Restaurant Depot

                  * Barrio Star has it on their menu and I'm pretty sure this is going to be made from scratch and filled with something other than cheese. I really like Barrio Star so this will probably be my first stop.

                  * Carmen's used to be in Linda Vista, they've relocated to Clairmont in what I think is the old Ba Ren spot. I've heard their chile relleno are good, so I think that might be a good, centrally located, option

                  * Maritz's is also in Clairmont and I know people have a love/hate relationship with it and they've got it on their menu as well.

                  * El Comal serves it as does El Agave, and Rancho's will be a totally vegetarian version.

                  * Escondido has a pretty diverse Mexican population, so I think our North County contingent should have quite a few options, especially if they want to try some fo the smaller, hole-in-the-wall places. Where is Kari Rasu when we need him...

                  1. re: DiningDiva

                    I work in Escondido,and my fav meal is the chile relleno burrito from El Charro's on Valley Pkwy..

                    1. re: ChrisG

                      Is this the place that looks like an old Pizza hut....if so, Los Charros rocks it.
                      Always packed and the food is excellent.
                      I'll have to try the Chile relleno.

                  2. re: Island

                    Actually, my favorite chile rellenos are made from chile anchos that have been rehydrated in piloncillo and water and then stuffed (and the stuffing doesn't matter because it's all about the chile). No coating, and generally not cooked much after stuffing if at all.

                    1. re: DiningDiva

                      Prove it.

                      Partida a la casa de Diva!

                      1. re: DiningDiva

                        YES. . . Stuffed Chili Anchos are not my favorite but an equal contender. First had this dish in Austin, and it's now a home recipe of frequency. A beautiful and unusual dish with outstanding flavors.

                    2. re: DiningDiva

                      You might find some good ones in Escondido and other inland North County locations, where there is a large Latino population. I'm also thinking about City Heights and perhaps Sherman Heights, Logan Heights, and Golden Hill.

                      1. re: NorthEncantoGirl

                        Ummm...didn't I already mention those upthread? But I second the locations.

                        1. re: DiningDiva

                          I only noticed your post after I posted my own. Sorry.

                          1. re: NorthEncantoGirl

                            No need to apologize, you were only trying to be helpful and I think we're going to need all yhe help we ca get on this onw :-).

                      2. re: DiningDiva

                        El Rodeo (A former Taco Bell) on El Cajon Blvd just West of 70th, makes their CR from scratch. When you order to eat there, you get a real plate and silverware, even though all the tables are almost on the street.

                        El Titanic (closed in El Cajon/Lakeside, but has a location on Fairmont in SD) makes a CR filled with smoked marlin, which I crave.

                        I probably won't have time to go to either location this month based on this weekend, but if anyone is passing by, I do think you'd like those versions.

                        1. re: Cathy

                          Cathy, thanks for the suggestions. I know where both of those places are. I would have guessed that El Titanic made their chile relleno from scratch, but not that El Rodeo.

                          1. re: DiningDiva

                            It's not at all a typical 'Taco Shop', DD. I used to pick up the carnitas special they always advertise on weekends and then decided to try other menu items. Everything seems to be made from scratch, especially the sauces (maybe not the tortillas...)

                            The shrimp ceviche tostada is not only made with butterflied large shrimp, but the spicing of the marinade is not dumbed down to American tastebuds and has a good kick (of aji I think) to it

                            1. re: Cathy

                              I've driven by this place many times and know exactly where it is. I think Josh once said it was pretty good too.

                2. DD, as always you get to the core of things. One of the biggest problems with sampling CR is how ubiquitous they've become in their frozen Sysco incarnations. Deep fry anything, especially a chile, and it can be pretty good.

                  The one at Rana tasted real but it was buried in Mole, something I found disconcerting and muddy-tasting. But that was in Nov.

                  I know we're not supposed to talk about anything other than SD, but my Mexican sister-in-law once warned me about chile rellenos and tamales made by strangers. She said, they are not foods you eat casually, and you must know who made them. It's been hard to shake her advice.

                  I love CR and hope some good ones are found.

                  14 Replies
                  1. re: pickypicky

                    Picky, I think your sister-in-law is on to something :-).

                    Tamales and chile relleno have both been so bastardized finding good one can be difficult. But that's the point of doing a project like this. Thankfully, it's a short month, but we should use it to try chile relleno all over SD.

                    Chiles en Nogada...and if anyone finds them at this time of year, pass. These are strictly a Fall specialty.

                    1. re: DiningDiva

                      OMG. Chiles en Nogada. I first had them in NYC in 1978 at El Tenampa, a tiny place where the woman who cooked and the man who waited tables fought passionately in the kitchen and then would shut the kitchen door and just as passionately make up-- while we waited for our food. I have never had them since.

                      If ever you find them in SD please let me know. Any time of year. :-)

                      1. re: DiningDiva

                        Hmm. Romesco's has them on the menu.

                        1. re: foodiechick

                          Thank you! Have wanted to go there and now I'll make it a point.

                        2. re: DiningDiva

                          Thanks for that report, sounds great...and grasshopprs and mugeuy worms can be delicious. ;D

                          1. re: foodiechick

                            UGH, OK....I'll take your word for it.

                            1. re: Island

                              The grasshoppers really aren't bad, the worms are NASTY

                          2. re: DiningDiva

                            I realize they are a Fall Speciality but they would sure make a nice Valentine's Day dish due to the colors. I have seen Chiles en Nogada many places in San Diego--in the fall. I learned how to make that at a cooking class at the Prado Cooking school some years ago. So, now I prefer mine (ha ha) but they are labor intensive so I do not make the dish very often, alas. One of my favorite of all time. Chilango's (the place that was in Hillcrest that closed and reopened and closed) had a good version.

                            1. re: wrldtrvl

                              Yes! I did have them at Chilango's and had forgotten. As I remember, they were quite good. And yes, to you MW, for reminding us that "seasonal" doesn't always make sense to us in CA. I'm still getting used to Basil and Tomatoes in the markets year round.

                              I hope I'll hear of some good ones to go try. . .and I'm definitely going to Romesco's now.

                            2. re: DiningDiva

                              The season for Chiles en Nogada is tied to the availability of fresh pomegranates. Like many things, the growing season for pomegranates has extended to meet demand and they're still around, so one may still find them now. The folks at La Casita Mexicana in Bell (LA County) said that they have them nearly year-round.

                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                Pomegranates are only part of the story. Chiles en Nogada are actually tied to the season for fresh walnuts as that is the key component. There are also several fruits used in the picadillo that dictate the season, peaches being one of them.

                                Like mole, there are thousands of recipes for chiles en nogada and every family has their own favorite recipe. Families in certain parts of Mexico with expendable income have been known to commission sets of Talavera each year on which to serve the chiles.

                                The dish, however, is typcially associated with the Mexican independence day celebrations around Sept. 16th. Granadas come into season in Mexico in July, far earlier than here, and by late summer/early fall, walnuts, pine nuts, peaches, pears and other fruits needed for the picadillo filling are abundant and at their peak.

                                I have no doubt that the guys at La Casita make an excellent version. To me a picadillo with winter fruits just isn't the same.

                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                  Nice summary, DD. From Guanajuato through D.F. to Puebla, chiles en nogada are a 3 week confluence / symphony of ingredients. I was lucky to have been born on Sept. 16 - I seek them out every day for a week or so then.

                                  1. re: Veggo

                                    'I was lucky to have been born on Sept.16'..
                                    Odelay Poppi...yo tambien!

                                    Virgos are the Chigones.. ; )

                                    Mi hermano de otra madre...

                            3. Some how this thread has turned into "Facebook" VS a thread about the dish of the month is beyond me.

                              and trust me I know I'm being an ass ....but Chile Rellenos anyone?

                              Wednesday is my day off ...I'll at least hit two and post.

                              1. Yesterday had a chile relleno at El Tejate in Escondido. Not a dish I typically order so don't have much to compare it to other than runny or greasy things that lose their deflated coating when cut into it, but this was none of those.

                                Large fresh chile filled with chicken, some raisins, coated in a light fluffy golden batter, a sprinkle of crumbly white cheese on top and surrounded by a little slightly spicy light tomato sauce. Piping hot, very tasty and definitely made from scratch. We were originally the only ones in the joint and I could hear her whipping up the batter while we waited.

                                Only negative is the fresh corn tortillas that accompanied the meal looked good, but inedible for me because all I could smell was the laundry detergent from the kitchen towel they were wrapped in.

                                Will be back to try some other things at this hole in the wall, maybe mole, but not the grasshoppers or mugeuy worms they also had on the menu!

                                1. El Rodeo, 6900 block of El Cajon Blvd.


                                  Just no.

                                  (Reporting live!)

                                  17 Replies
                                  1. re: Fake Name

                                    Really??? We are on our way there as I write this...

                                    1. re: Dagney

                                      Don't go.


                                      I tried to understand why Chile Relleno could, in any possible way, qualify for a dish of the month. They always struck me as globs of cheap cheese, fried and sauced with canned sauce. Topped with cheap cheese, chosen specifically for its melting point.

                                      But I remained open minded. I gave the benefit of the doubt to this pack of 'hounds on whose recomendations I've counted in the past.

                                      "Be open to new experiences, Fake", I told myself.

                                      But no. Chile Rellenos are exactly how I remember them.


                                      For that amount of calories, I coulda hadda CAB.

                                    2. re: Fake Name

                                      This bears no resemblance whatsoever to my sister-in-law's CR. Yellow cheese. Urg. Thanks for saving me the trip.

                                      1. re: pickypicky

                                        I second the opinion earlier stated that chile relleno and tamales are best made at home. My mother, as WASP as they come, made chile rellanos for us back in the suburbia of the 60s and 70s and they were much better than any I have had, in a restaurant, since. Likewise, the homemade tamales (at Christmas mostly) that I have had the good luck to sample were far superior to any restaurant version. I know that my exhusband and his mom (she is Mexican-American) would never order these items in a restaurant....So, on the one hand what I am saying here implies that chile rellenos as "dish of the month" may not work so well; on the other hand, I can see why people would choose it--trying to find the unfindable--truly good restaurant chile rellenos I hope the project succeeds!

                                      2. re: Fake Name

                                        Dang, Fakey Relleno...that looks good!

                                        1. re: Fake Name

                                          No Bueno! Does it rank about the same as Movie 43?

                                          1. re: Fake Name

                                            I honestly don't know what the allure is to El Rodeo. I happened across this place a few months back when I was having trailer work done across the street. Aside from fearing for my life a couple times from random passersby who decided to stop and loiter in their concrete dining room, I wasn't really impressed with my taquitos... You can see pic below and judge for yourself.

                                            This didn't strike me as a place I would want to order a Relleno anyway, which can be really good, or easily really bad, depending on ingredients and preparation technique. I'll definitely look to order one somewhere in Feb and write it up here.


                                            1. re: Fake Name

                                              OMG...do you know how laps I'd have to do in the pool if I ate that?!?!??? Neither do I, but I don't want to find out.

                                              Now you know why I think Chile Relleno is a tough, very tough dish.

                                              Maybe I'll try El Agave.

                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                I wanted to try El Agave, but it doesn't look like it is on the lunch menu. Can't get the dinner menu to appear on the website.

                                                1. re: foodiechick

                                                  I just looked at El Agave's dinner menu. It does not have chile relleno on either lunch or dinner menus. Too bad, they would probably be bood although pricey!

                                              2. re: Fake Name

                                                Okay....yeah. um...

                                                It looked promising....I loved the beans!

                                                But the Relleno...

                                                Anaheims. hmmm... I prefer Poblanos. The real sadness was the cheese inside. I think it was Cheez Wiz. And I think the sauce was...like...canned Enchilada sauce. So, not a candidate for the best.

                                                1. re: Dagney

                                                  That's not at all like the one I had on January 11, when I took the photo above. The filling was a white cheese and the sauce was not canned. You can also see it was a Poblano chile.


                                                  1. re: Cathy

                                                    There was a sign on the side of the building that stated they were under new ownership or management. Probably a new business direction.

                                                2. re: Fake Name

                                                  Okay, this is weird. We may have actually been eating a CR there at the same time. I agree. Very bad. What the hell is that cheese they put inside? Was it actually Velveeta?

                                                  Pretty yummy carnitas though. Likely wouldn't come back with the other options in the area. Unless there is some specialty I'm missing?

                                                  To offer an actual report - This appeared to be a pre-prepared item. Likely frozen store bought. The chile for this was oddly stringy. Like fibery. it came with very little cheese inside at all, and the cheese it did have tasted like it might be "cheese product". Batter was fine. Sauce was spicy and actually not too bad. This was served on a Styrofoam plate with a plastic fork. The stringiness of the chili made it nearly impossible to eat. I actually sawed through the plate trying to saw through the chile.

                                                  1. re: y6y6y6

                                                    Huh. That looks like an El Rodeo, but the styro plate was Super Cocina. I got the fancy dinnerware at El Rodeo.

                                                    I, too, sawed the styro plate at SC.

                                                    1. re: Fake Name

                                                      Yeah. No idea why you got the fancy plate. I feel even more cheated now.

                                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                                    Enchilada in poblano sauce a version of a CR? It sounds tasty, but a popper is more CR than that.

                                                    1. re: Island

                                                      I assume she meant the Chile Sonora listed right below that on the list.

                                                      1. re: JRSD

                                                        Yup, you're right. Thanks. Didn't see that and never noticed it on the menu when there. I don't care for beans so it wouldn't have held my attention.

                                                  2. Super Cocina.

                                                    Another no, I'm afraid.

                                                    But reporting live from the scene.

                                                    17 Replies
                                                    1. re: Fake Name

                                                      It looks ur- um less fake than yesterday's.

                                                      1. re: Fake Name

                                                        What was inside? Was it the fake cheese?

                                                        1. re: Dagney

                                                          It was cheese. Might have been authentic (which, as we know from a different thread, is subjective, right?) cheese, but if so it was "Queso Gloppico", or, en ingles, "Gloppy Cheese".

                                                          As Monthy Python sings, "Always look on the bright side of life", and in this case, it was not *topped* with gloppy cheese.

                                                          I shall continue the endeavor and report back.

                                                          (PS: The French is Fromage Glopier)

                                                          1. re: Fake Name

                                                            Every Chile Relleno I've had from SC has been superb for that type of Relleno and that one looks identical to what I've had. The sauce, thin and tomatoey; the batter light, pillowy and nicely risen: the poblano chile obviously hand charred and skinned with a decided crispness to it; the cheese was either Oaxacan or Panele and nicely melted - not an underdone lump.

                                                            For me, every time I find a truly good example of a Relleno the place closes for one reason or another. I regard SC's version of it as mostly impeccable and I pray it doesn't close.

                                                            Really, what's your complaint with the SC Relleno?

                                                            1. re: deckape

                                                              To be fair, I'm not any sort of expert on what a relleno should be, and I make no claim to knowing authenticity if it bit me on the leg.

                                                              But I do know what I like.

                                                              To me, it seemed like a gloopey mess. The crust is soggy, and flavor muddy and uninteresting. Very bland all around. Yes, tomatoey sauce (that seemed less "canned" than yesterday's) but lacked any complexity.

                                                              Again- that might be what a relleno is supposed to be like, and as a culinary bumbling oaf, I'm unable to appreciate the subtlety and nuance staring at me in the face.

                                                              1. re: Fake Name

                                                                That is definitely NOT what a chile relleno should be like. They are not gloppy messes.

                                                                The problem is NOB (north of the border) they tend to make them with cheese. The chile should retain some crispness and there should be a textural contrast. It should not be buried under a blanket of cheese.

                                                                I've spent far too much time this afternoon checking out menus for potential selections. The pickin's appear to be pretty slim. Mario's de La Mesa shows "home made" chile rellenos ($6.95) but my experiences at Marios have been uneven. Ortega's in Hillcrest looks like a possibility ($12.95), but even that one's a cheese version.

                                                                Truly the best bet looks like Romesco's seafood stuffed chile poblano.

                                                                Chile Poblano de Mariscos
                                                                Shrimp, crab and salmon stuffed chile poblano/Guava & pine nut sauce with balsamic reduction ($21.95)

                                                                I'm down for that, anyone else want to try it?

                                                                1. re: DiningDiva


                                                                  Chile Poblano is not the dish of the month. You selected Relleno, and we must thus be punished.

                                                                  But Romenescos...been to Mision19 and it was GOOD.

                                                                  1. re: Fake Name

                                                                    Well, DD is referring to a stuffed chile so I think it's legal.

                                                                    What about Mama Testa's? Also, I will check out Taco Al Panson this week..across from Hoover High school.

                                                                    1. re: Dagney

                                                                      I just looked at Testa's menu... No Relleno...:<

                                                                    2. re: Fake Name

                                                                      Ay, Señor Nombre Falso, esto no puede ser posiblemente mi selección, no voté hasta. Mi preferencia era para el chocolate, pero no voté

                                                                      And in a gesture of good sportsmanship, I do have to admit that you have taken a couple of hits for the good of the team, neither of which appears to have been particularly good.

                                                                      In all fairness, chile relleno simply means stuffed chile. You can use any chile and stuff it with anything your heart desires. You can batter it... or not and serve it with tomato broth...or not. So I think Chile poblano de mariscos counts. If nothing else, it'll give us a fighting chance to have a good chile relleno and a respite from all the gut bombs that pass as a chile relleno.

                                                                      Certainly SD has some good chile relleno. So far it looks like Island has scored the best one in Escondido

                                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                        And this is why *leadership* is usually better than consensus in decision making, particularly in decisions as critical as the CH Dish of the Month.

                                                                        I hope we've all learned something here.

                                                                        1. re: Fake Name

                                                                          I think what we have learned here is that chile rellenos comes in a myriad of different stuffings and sauces.

                                                                          There is not one chile relleno mold that fits all.
                                                                          Respect the chile relleno

                                                                          1. re: Fake Name

                                                                            Yes, but good, sane, leadership. I mean, if Fake was leading us, we would all be dining on CAB's till the end of time, and if Beach Chick had her way we would all be mainlining bisque at Dobson's.

                                                                            There IS a good relleno in San Diego...we will find it. hopefully. by the 28th.

                                                                          2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                            Well Señorita Diva that remains to be seen, or I should say tasted...by others who are familiar with the real thing.

                                                                            I don't know authentic either, but I can say I didn't suffer thru Fear Factor worthy entrees like Señor Falso. March should be devoted to CABs in his honor.
                                                                            Thanks for scratching Super Cocina off my list Señor. I know it's a CH favorite, but anything I've ever tried there has been a gloppy mess.

                                                                            Is it too late for a chocolate do over?
                                                                            Ok, Ok I won't throw in the tortilla just yet.

                                                                            1. re: Island

                                                                              "March should be devoted to CABs in his honor."

                                                                              No. No it should not.

                                                                2. Bety's Tacos, Encinitas. Reliable, excellent.

                                                                  Las Olas, Sports Arena area: chile relleno burrito. Go ahead and yell at me. I dont care.

                                                                  1. Dahlings. .
                                                                    We should always remember to never ever yuck somebody's chile relleno yum. . .

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                      You are correct, ma'am.

                                                                      Apologies. I have failed. Seppaku is the only way out for me. I understand the Seppaku is especially good in the omakase at

                                                                    2. El Jardin Mexican Cuisine in Pacific Beach.

                                                                      This place used to be Margo's. Definitely a turn for the worse. No more street tacos, no more dual trompos, and a more burrito oriented menu.

                                                                      Chile relleno was your basic cheese filled battered variety. It came sitting in a tomato sauce which was pretty good. Unfortunately they finished it by pouring on a crazy amount of ice cold crema which smothered all of the flavors. I feel if I'd been served just the hot relleno sitting in the yummy sauce I might have liked it. As it came though (20% crema by volume) it was not to my liking.

                                                                      It may just be me being extra whiny over wonderful Margo's being replaced with this average CAB place, but I thought the horchata, carnitas, and salsas were also completely forgetable.

                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                      1. re: y6y6y6


                                                                        We really need a breakthrough CR here. Might have to drive to Esco.

                                                                        Thanks for saving me the drive to the beaches.

                                                                        1. re: Fake Name

                                                                          oof I may have to just test out the local Nico's or JVs on Morena...was hoping for some better experiences than what we see so!

                                                                          1. re: MrKrispy

                                                                            I had a look at Dos Braso's this morning, but a CR is offered only with a combination with an enchilada.

                                                                            To me, this means TWO gloppy things on the same plate covered with the same sauce, topped with the same "cheese".

                                                                            I'd prefer a CR fired "á la minute". As if there is such a mexed metaphor.

                                                                          2. re: Fake Name

                                                                            I'm done with the taco shop versions BTW. I'll hit El Comal, Rana, and Romescoes for CR this month.

                                                                            1. re: y6y6y6

                                                                              It's also on the dinner menu at both Barrio Star and Isabel Cantina. Roasted, cheese stuffed, anaheim with the protein on the side and soyrizo at Isabel Cantina.

                                                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                see, this is why I was thrilled with the chile relleno being chosen as the dish of the month.....it has qualities of being a potentially fantastic dish that has been corrupted and I figured I just haven't found my stuffed soulmate yet. Can a Chow worthy version exist? Must one go to Berlin or Vegas to get a proper CR?

                                                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                  I claim Barrio Star.

                                                                                  Lunch tomorrow.

                                                                                  1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                    I didn't see it on the lunch menu. It might not hurt to ask, tho'

                                                                                1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                  Taste > looks.

                                                                                  I'm so sorry, I'm simply so busy I can't tell you where it is.

                                                                                  Maybe next week.

                                                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                      He said he was going to Barrio Star. I bet it's Barrio Star.

                                                                                      1. re: Dagney

                                                                                        Nah. I cheated and went further north.

                                                                                      2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                        Not only is he teasing, but also cheating. He is waaaay north of SD. ; p

                                                                                        1. re: foodiechick

                                                                                          I kind of assumed he wasn't in SD County when he said "north" ;-D

                                                                                      3. re: Fake Name

                                                                                        Super Rica. Out of bounds, I know.

                                                                                        My mistake.

                                                                                        1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                          Nevertheless, a favorite in that area. Please do post a review!

                                                                                          P.S. My stuffed pepper that I sampled today was cheating a bit as it was not a proper fried relleno.

                                                                                          1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                            You went to Super Rica? Oooooo I'm jealous.

                                                                                            1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                              Shut up..you're eating at La Super Rica!?!?
                                                                                              So so jealous..

                                                                                              Staying at a bungalow at San Ysidro Ranch?
                                                                                              Renaud's for the best croissants up on State.
                                                                                              The Chase for sublime calamari picatta.

                                                                                              Hit the Nugget in Summerland for the best Patty Melt evah!

                                                                                              We want to see pics Fakey.

                                                                                        2. DD, I recently spent 15 months in Dallas where I tirelessly scavanged the metroplex, with welcome assistance from Hounds, for the best CR. I only found 4 or 5 that were fresh and authentic. That so many on this thread complain about cheesy mush illustrates they have never had the real deal. The simple truth is CR's are an intensive labor of love, so when you find a good one, stay with it. Good ones are worth the search.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                            There are indeed a labor of love :-)

                                                                                            I've got 2 spots on the radar for dinner tonight, both of which claim to make them in-house. I sincerely hope I am not yet another victim of the mushy, cheese laden CR

                                                                                          2. Chile relleno and (mediocre) tamale at Casa Reveles in Ramona tonight. The relleno was just average as far as they go. I’ve had better. I’ve had worse. This was a standard eggy batter, filled with some white cheese and topped with a traditional pepper & onion sauce. This place is probably Ramona’s only sit down Mexican restaurant. The only other one (Mariscos mar de Cortez) is more of a taco shop disguised as a sit down restaurant. Sometimes I would rather just go down the hill to a nice Mexican restaurant in Santee or El Cajon.

                                                                                            I normally think that bite shots are gross, but I'm including one here purely for documentary purposes...


                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Dce88

                                                                                              It is a sad state of affairs when someone goes to El Cajon for better food.

                                                                                              1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                It's all relative when you live in Ramona. And there is good Mexican food in El Cajon.

                                                                                                1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                  Technically, Casa de Oro is in Spring Valley :-)

                                                                                                  Ranas had steady business while I was there. They weren't too busy when I arrived, but 4 groups all came in after me and 3 of them were Mexican families.

                                                                                                  Between the colors and decor of the restaurant, the flat screen TV broadcasting the Xolo game and the way the waiters interacted with the families, if I didn't know Campo Rd. was just outside the door, I could have been anywhere in Mexico.

                                                                                              2. Couldn't decide whether to hit Ranas out in Spring Valley or Mario's in La Mesa, both of which have Chile Relleno on the menu. Since I like Ranas better and have had better luck with the food there, Ranas is where I ended up. And let's just say, my expectations were not high.

                                                                                                I am happy to say that Ranas exceeded expectations. I'd give them a pretty solid "B". There are 2 chile rellenos on the menu. The cheese filled one (which is the one I had) was one of the evening's specials, but it's on the menu all the time anyway. The other chile relleno, is not one I expected to see in SD at all...a poblano chile stuffed with mashed potatoes with a huitlacoche sauce over it. I don't mind huitlacoche, but I prefer it in smaller doses and knew a chile relleno sauced in one would not be a good choice for me. So I stuck with the cheese filled one. I did ask if they ever do them with picadillo and they said yes.

                                                                                                The good:
                                                                                                * They used fresh poblano chiles :-)
                                                                                                * The chile had been fire roasted which provided some smokey nuances
                                                                                                * Chile retained some crispness, so it wasn't a flimsy, mushy mess
                                                                                                * The tomato sauce that came with it was a good compliment and the onion pieces in it added a bit of needed texture.
                                                                                                * The capeado (egg dip) was light, the ratio of egg white to egg yolks was about right (i.e. not too much yolk)
                                                                                                * It wasn't heavy. In spite of the cheese and capeado, it did retain some bite and lightness

                                                                                                The not so good:
                                                                                                * I would have liked the tomato sauce to have been a bit thinner and brothier.
                                                                                                * The capeado was a little bit too thick, so it absorbed the sauce pretty readily. For me, this was the biggest flaw in this chile relleno. The capeado should not be a thick coating of egg batter. And technically, it's not a batter. The capaedo is stiffly beaten egg whites to which beaten egg yolks, a bit of flour and salt are folded in. It's not an eggy, pancake-like batter surrounding a chile. Ranas did pretty well with the capeado, there was just a little too much of it. (And, yes, I probably am splitting hairs on the capeado)
                                                                                                * The poblano was small and could have used more cheese on the inside and less on the outside as the garnish.

                                                                                                But all in all, I liked this chile relleno and would order it again. I had the chile relleno plate which came with soup (forgettable), the chile relleno, rice, beans and tortillas for $10.95. You get chips & salsa, plus they bring two other salsas to the table with the meal.

                                                                                                Ranas is <gasp> East of the 15 in Casa de Oro on Campo Rd. in the same strip mall as Fresh & Easy. They are very nice and very friendly and the food is usually pretty decent.

                                                                                                I think they've revised their menu, as the one they gave me this evening, was a little different than the one on the link above. When I was there in Oct. the menu was the same as the link, so if they have changed the menu, it's a fairly recent change.

                                                                                                1. Had the CR at the Cenote Grill in Escondido yesterday.

                                                                                                  Their version is capeado free which was fine with me. The fresh roasted poblano had a little heat and was filled with flavorful carne asada, hominy and some melted cheese that was, sorry folks, yellow, but not Velveeta or Whiz. Topped with a sprinkle of minced red onion and cilantro with a drizzle of sour cream, surrounded by a tasty green sauce.

                                                                                                  Other filling options were pollo asada, pork, sautéed veggies or cheese alone.

                                                                                                  May not be authentic, but so far I prefer my "stuffed soulmate" naked.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Island

                                                                                                    Island, you're doing really well with this challenge. I think that so far you've found the best CRs, or at least the least bastardized. The one in your photo looks great, better than what I had at Ranas :-)

                                                                                                    Naked is perfectly fine.

                                                                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                      It's only feb 10th. We can still switch to chocolate!!!

                                                                                                  2. I'm in Texas for my brother's funeral. In his honor, on the way to the border where his ashes were to be poured in the Rio Grande, we stopped at a place he loved. I couldn't resist when I saw Chile en Nogada on the menu. It was in pecan sauce not walnut, hence seasonal-- and it was divine.

                                                                                                    [realize this is "facebooking" the thread, as that young Chris calls it, but I thought you might appreciate a tastier photo.]

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: pickypicky

                                                                                                      La Fogata in San Antonio. Nice preparation.

                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                        old school but so was my brother. thanks Veggo for knowing.

                                                                                                      2. re: pickypicky

                                                                                                        My condolences to you and your family on your beloved 'old school' brother.

                                                                                                        Chile Relleno looks fab.

                                                                                                      3. In search of the elusive, non-goopy cheese, chile relleno we traveled south to Romesco's in Bonita on Saturday. We found three kinds of stuffed chiles on their menu: a tapas version, a seafood version and Chile en Nogada. Taking note from Dining Diva's instruction that the last version is best sampled in its intended season (September), that was quickly crossed off the list. There were so many beautiful dishes on the menu that we wanted to sample, so we decided on the tapas version to begin our late, long, leisurely Saturday lunch.

                                                                                                        The tapas plate featured small, roasted piquillo peppers stuffed with lobster and crab. The room-temp piquillos were a nice vessel for the delicate blend of slightly chilled, and perfectly seasoned seafood. I was afraid the peppers might overpower the crab and lobster, but they were very light and scrumptious...a "tea sandwich" version of a stuffed chile.

                                                                                                        The rest of our shared tapas feast was equally delish and "almost" perfectly prepared:
                                                                                                        Velvety cream of pumpkin soup.
                                                                                                        Grilled octopus.
                                                                                                        Shrimp in garlic sauce.
                                                                                                        Serrano ham and potato croquettes (while light, fluffy and crispy, I would have really liked more of the serrano ham).
                                                                                                        Huitlacoche quesadilla (more of an empanada pastry filled with puree - a little heavy handed imho).
                                                                                                        Cazuelita of sliced beef tongue in pipian chile sauce (sleeper dish).
                                                                                                        Original Caesar salad prepared tableside (best option of this dish as it offers whole leaf romaine leaves and sliced baguette croutons, as opposed to pre-cut lettuce in their regular version. I just wish our server had not used quite so much Worcestershire sauce, a bit off).

                                                                                                        The restaurant opens for lunch at 2pm on Friday and Saturday, hence the authentic experience of a late lunch, surrounded by Mexican families with the most incredibly well behaved, young children that I have ever witnessed in a restaurant. Perfect service.

                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: foodiechick

                                                                                                            What a wonderful review, thank you....

                                                                                                            In depressing East county food news, on a lark I went to Karina's Mexican Seafood in search of a seafood Chile Relleno. Not on their menu. le sigh.

                                                                                                            1. re: foodiechick

                                                                                                              The last time I had octopus at Romesco's it was fabulous. Chef Plascencia sure has a way with it. I don't think I've ever had a bad preparation of pulpo from him.

                                                                                                              And those piquillos sound wonderful.

                                                                                                              1. re: foodiechick

                                                                                                                thank you so much for the detailed review and especially for the news of the late lunches on Fri and Sat. Some of my best meals with Mexican inlaws have been at those times-- which continued on into the night!

                                                                                                              2. El Cuervo.

                                                                                                                Not just no- hell, no!

                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                    I try, Herr Honkman, I really do. And had this not been the dish 'o The Month, I'd stay just as silent about these negative experiences as I am silent about Terra.

                                                                                                                    But it is my hope to encourage others to vote for a dish that might create more postive dining experiences in the future.

                                                                                                                    Positive enough for ya? : )

                                                                                                                    1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                                      Come on tell us a little bit about Terra

                                                                                                                      1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                        I admire the entrepreneurial spirit Rossman has shown- seems like a great guy.

                                                                                                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                            Yeah, me too. But I think he's younger than I. Most everyone is, though.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                                    More specific please, was it just another gloppy cheese filled bomb?

                                                                                                                    Still planning to go to Barrio Star?

                                                                                                                    We need a hell yes!

                                                                                                                    1. re: Island

                                                                                                                      It appeared to be microwaved, topped with E-Z MeltCheezeProduct®. No filling of which to speak.

                                                                                                                      El Rodeo was superior. And I never thought, in a million years, I'd type something like that.

                                                                                                                      Hard to get to Barrio Star for dinner- lunch is at my discretion, I happily give MrsName her choice for dinner- I typically cook.

                                                                                                                  3. I am going to Barrio Star for dinner on Sunday night. We shall see...

                                                                                                                    1. Change of plan, I just dined at Barrio Star. The service was....a conversation for another thread. Suffice to say, it's Saturday night and they are not accustomed to single diners....8/

                                                                                                                      Barrio Star's Chile Relleno consists of an Anaheim Chile, stuffed with cheese, topped with Cotija Ranch, and served over "Mexican" rice pilaf, which was white rice with corn and lime. One may choose steak or shrimp, so I chose the steak.

                                                                                                                      The dish was not awful by any stretch. I would have preferred a Poblano Chile, though the Anaheim had a mild, bright flavor. The rice tasted fine, though it was not particularly amazing. I mean, it was white rice with some spices. The dish was (thankfully!) not overrun with a Defcon 10 level of cheese. The real hit was the steak, which was sliced tendery buttery thin, perfectly seasoned, and delicious.

                                                                                                                      Overall, I thought Barrio Star's CR was a good dish. None of the flavors were offensive or bad, but I am trying to keep the standard high, and I would hesitate to call it the best ever.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. My favorite CR used to be from Por Venir in Barrio Logan, but the after it closed and reopened it was a shadow of its former existence. Never went back so I have no idea if they're still open or have turned things around.

                                                                                                                        1. Had the CR at the re-opened (with different owners and a different concept) Paulita's in Escondido last week. It was an average homestyle CR, just not from your best home cook. I've had both better and worse from the in-laws.
                                                                                                                          On a side note, the new Paulita's advertises itself as comida corrida but is not. There are no steam trays, just a counter where you order before you sit. The food takes quite a long time to come out, but one hopes that means there is a lot of fresh cooking going on. Also unlike the former Paulita's and a typical comida corrida, they have a full menu of tacos, burritos, sopas, etc. in addition to the 7-8 daily specials. A single main with rice (fine), beans (meh-to-lousy), and tortillas recien hechas is $7.00. I had costillas en chipotle on my first visit and declared them one of the best non-taco Mexican restaurant dishes I've had in Escondido in years. Not sure if they would have lived up on the second visit, as I obligingly order the chile relleno instead. We'll probably visit again soon and try some other things off the specials board.

                                                                                                                          1. Had a fantastic chile relleno at Mariscos Mar de Cortez on a road trip to Sedona last week in Ramona..
                                                                                                                            Had a lovely ranchero sauce with big chunks of celery, onions and tomt's...the relleno was battered perfectly and stuffed with a jack cheese.
                                                                                                                            Topped with a scoop of sour cream.
                                                                                                                            It was delicious..

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                              Damn. I was in Ramona twice today, and hungry both times.

                                                                                                                            2. For your future reference, today a friend ate this plate of chile relleno and black beans--not, unfortunately, in San Diego, but in Mexico City. I post this so that all of you know what a traditional chile relleno looks like here in Mexico. The chile poblano is large, filled with a melting cheese, dusted with flour, battered in a light egg batter, fried, and served with a pool of caldillo. Caldillo is a very light, mildly spicy tomato sauce.

                                                                                                                              The photo was taken by my pal Conde Pétatl at "Cocina Laurita", in the restaurant area at the Mercado de Azcapotzalco, in the northern part of Mexico City.

                                                                                                                              Link: http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: cristina

                                                                                                                                Note to self...book next flight to DF and grab a cab to Mercado de Azcapotzalco

                                                                                                                                1. re: cristina

                                                                                                                                  Oh my, that's the genuine article that others should try to duplicate.

                                                                                                                                2. I was just reading an article called "Cheap Eats" in Auto Club's Westways magazine. There is a write-up about a restaurant called La Comadre at 560 Broadway in Chula Vista. Here is a direct quote from the article: "Rather surprisingly, chiles rellenos filled with cheese or picadillo also are featured as guisados, and it's hard to imagine better." I have never been to this restaurant though I have noticed it when passing by.....

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. Had the steam table relleno at Cocina de Dona Tina in the Barrio Logan Northgate Market. The “Uhh...Duh” moments of this experience: soggy, lukewarm, greasy ranchero jus. The warm tortillas con mantequilla, el arroz, and the resemblance of the relleno to Chet from Weird Science were the highlights of the meal.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Stiflers_Mom

                                                                                                                                      "Uhh...Duh" moments - yeah, never would think to sample a CR from a steam table. Thanks for being taking one for the team.

                                                                                                                                    2. I am going to Tacos El Panson tonight....

                                                                                                                                      1. And here it is: CR by Tacos el Panson...and before I begin, one small note: corn tortillas. Made to order.

                                                                                                                                        Okay, we have a lovely Poblano Chile, stuffed with white cheese, dipped in an egg batter and deep fried. It is topped with red sauce (maybe too much) and more cheese.

                                                                                                                                        Overall, delicious, though I think they should trust the wonderful flavor of the Poblano and white cheese more. The red sauce and additional cheese on top push into "glop" land. Still, this was pretty good.

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                          Love Tacos el Panson. Should get more buzz. Or.... maybe it's fine as is.

                                                                                                                                        2. I noticed Posoleria Dona Maria has a good looking CR, but wasn't in the mood for that today. Not sure if I'll get there again by the end of the month. Just FYI.

                                                                                                                                          1. Went to Casa de Pico at Grossmont Center and had a Chile Relleno as part of a combo plate. Batter was think but kinda springy. Poblano chile with some white cheese inside and none melted on top. Definitely not gloppy, but not crisp either. Since there was also an enchilada on the plate, it was hard to tell what sauce was from where but there was a thin reddish, non-descript sauce that I think was from the CR.

                                                                                                                                            Overall, not worth going out of your way for but not as rage-inducing as others that were sampled here.

                                                                                                                                            1. Last chile relleno, last weekend at La Perla Cocina Mexicana a mom and pop shop on Emerald in PB.
                                                                                                                                              2 things I know for sure: I'm too old to appreciate the dueling drunk corners of Emerald and Mission Blvd and I prefer my CR's naked.

                                                                                                                                              This chile was stuffed with white cheese (jack?) and had more heat than the others I tried and I liked that. It also had the light tomato sauce and capeado, the latter which I can do without. Fortunately the roasted chile flavor still came through.

                                                                                                                                              It was fun to try a dish I normally don't order. It also reminded me how much I love roasted poblanos. I need to experiment with some capeado-free versions at home.

                                                                                                                                              1. For anyone so inclined...http://www.descubrebajacalifornia.com...

                                                                                                                                                This Sunday you can taste chiles en nogada to your hearts content

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. Made with a Poblano Chile, Belinda's Cocina who sells at the La Jolla Farmer's market and SDSU (www.belindascocina.com for her schedule) consistently has the best chile rellenos in town. One time she asked me if I wanted Chile Verde on top instead of the usual red sauce (which is also very good) and I was hooked. The word "consistent" is key because I have enjoyed different ones around town and sorry but they are hit or miss.

                                                                                                                                                  1. Now, THIS is a chile relleno...

                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                        Road trip...Mexico City at any of the Azules, Condesa, Historico or y Oro on the UNAM campus

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                          I posted it mostly to show everyone that what we get for a chile relleno here locally is pretty weak. That's why this DOtM was such a dud.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                            ughhhh I can never order a USA chile relleno ever again

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                              Hmmmm. Generally speaking, I always thought DotM was kind of a dud on the SD board due to lack of audience participation. If you look at most of the DotM threads, there was plenty of reminiscing, chit chat, one-upping, and other tomfoolery during the month, but most threads seemed to hover around 10-ish posts from hounds who actually tried and reported on the dish during that month.

                                                                                                                                                              Just my $.02.

                                                                                                                                                              Looking forward to seeing what DD has up her sleeve for February.

                                                                                                                                                        2. And yet another entry into the chile relleno derby. This one was stuffed with requeson, a ricotta-like Mexican cheese. Very satisfying...unfortunately, it comes with a R/T airline ticket to San Miguel de Allende

                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                            Which means that the price for this chile relleno plate is $572. (Not including hotel, taxi, and tips.)

                                                                                                                                                            Maybe I'll just get one at Meritza's.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                              $572...not even close.

                                                                                                                                                              The chile relleno plate was $35 pesos, or about $2.65USD. My flight, including excess weight in both directions was $250USD. It would only cost you $252.65 for the plate. See...you save$320. What a deal!!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                So jealous you're in SMdA!
                                                                                                                                                                Did you fly out of SAN for that rate?
                                                                                                                                                                Have a wonderful time and please take more pics of your food and send..pretty please..with guac on top!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                                                                  Just got back. Was in both GTO and SMA. Flew out of TIJ, Volaris airfares were outstanding :-). Would have been under $200 R/T had I not bought extra weight.

                                                                                                                                                                  I posted a review of Moxi in SMA over on the Mexico board...with photos. This is an Enrique Olveras place and, oh my, was the food ever good. Our only alta cocina meal of the trip. Wish we had something to rival it here in SD.