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Z’Tejas Chile Fest 2013

It is that time of the year again, when your family is invited to dine at Z’Tejas Chile Fest 2013, and support the Blind Children’s Learning Center. For every dish sold off the Chile Fest Menu, $1 will go towards benefiting the Blind Children’s Learning Center. This past week, my husband and I went to Z’Tejas to sample the limited-time dishes at Z’Tejas at South Coast Plaza. The hatch chile recipes made for a memorable epicurean dining experience that we will never forget.

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We started off the evening sipping on the two Chile Fest cocktails. The Skinny Smokin’ Margarita is only 233 calories, but packed enough heat to make it one of the “hottest” drinks in Orange County. It is made with Herradura Anejo, DeKuyper Peach, Grand Marnier, fresh lemon juice, agave nectar, and a secret ingredient that we are not allowed to share!

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My favorite cocktail on the menu was the Skinny Z’Smash. At only 179 calories, this cocktail gave a unique twist on my favorite cocktail – the Mojito. It was loaded with fresh fruit, and the topped with Herradura Anejo, mint and agave nectar. It is a refreshing drink to start the spicy chile fest dinner.

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There are four items, and two appetizers available on the menu. We were able to sample one appetizers, and three of the entrees. We tried the Hatch Chile Onion Rings for an appetizer that is made with Hatch New Mexico Chiles and onion rings perfectly fried, and then topped with Cotija cheese and cilantro. It was served with a Hatch chile and barbecue dipping sauce.

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My favorite item on the menu was the Herb Chile Glazed Mahi Mahi. I already love fish, and this was cooked to perfection with the perfect blend of spices. They use a herb Hatch chile glaze on the Mahi Mahi and serve it over a bed of roasted vegetables, spicy red beans, and Hatch chile rice. It comes with New Mexico slaw, and corn tortillas to give diners the option of making tacos out of the meal.

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My husband had the Adobo Steak Relleno, and let’s just say I thought I saw smoke coming out of his ears. This meal packs a ton of spice and heat, so if you are a spicy food lover – this is for you! The meal is a roasted Hatch New Mexico chile stuffed with seared beef tenderloin, jack cheese and carmelized onions. It is topped with a chipotle corn relish and served with a Hatch chile rice. The meal is perfectly paired with a Coppola Claret glass of wine.

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The Tamarind Chicken Salad is perfect for those looking for a light meal or dining at lunch. It was the perfect blend of sweetness with a kick. The salad is composed of mixed vegetables tossed with cumin vinaigrette, topped with grape tomatoes, sweet picked Hatch chiles, candied pecans, goat cheese and tamarind glazed chicken breast.

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We ended the evening with a unique dessert, the Hatch chile coconut flan. When I took my first bite, I tasted the sweetness of the coconut before the heat from the Hatch chiles took over the flavor. The coconut custard dessert is served with caramel sauce, fresh berries and whipped cream.

The Chile Fest Menu will be available from September 3rd through the 16th. Z’Tejas is located at 3333 S. Bristol Street in Costa Mesa.

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