Off the Menu OC

Covering the dining scene in and around the OC

SOL Cocina in Newport Beach & Scottsdale Unveils Seasonal Menu and Cocktails

I love Mexican cuisine, which is why I love SOL Cocina. I’ve been a fan of Executive Chef Deborah Schneider’s authentic Coastal Mexican cuisine (served with a dash of modern style) since she opened her Newport Beach SOL location nearly three years ago (she added a Phoenix location earlier this year). I could easily live on her signature tacos vampiros.

That’s why whenever Chef Deb introduces new seasonal items to her already marvelous menu, my taste buds stand at attention. As always, Chef Deb incorporates the season’s freshest and most flavorful ingredients in new dishes such as guacamole with pomegranate & walnuts, mushroom chicharron, pozole verde, pork pibil, spicy chipotle chicken salad with bacon, walnuts and avocado, and a tropical Ceviche de Coco ‘Cabo’ inspired by Cabo San Lucas.

“My menu revolves around the philosophy that the freshest ingredients ensure the best tasting, most flavorful dishes, so I like to change things up seasonally,” said Chef Deb, whose menu at SOL includes a dozen fresh salsas made daily. “SOL’s menu stays true to the simple and fresh Baja style of cooking, and this menu features recipes from my latest cookbook, The Mexican Slow Cooker.”

I had a chance to sample some of Chef Deb’s slow cooker cuisine when her book was released (yes, Chef Deb cooked while signing books), and her recipes are rich in tradition and packed with flavor.

Among the new menu items:

Seasonal Guacamole: Pomegranate, Walnuts, Queso Fresco & Tequila-Pickled Jalapeno NOTE: Available Lunch & Dinner; Vegetarian; Wheat-Free

“Cabo” Ceviche de Coco: Made with coconut, raw diced yellowtail, fresh-squeezed lime juice, serrano chiles, creamy coconut milk, diced pineapple, sweet red onion, chopped cilantro, and tart cherry tomatoes. (NOTE: Available Lunch & Dinner; Wheat-Free without the red tortilla strips)

 Baja Shrimp ‘Cocktel’: This all-shrimp cocktail is served in a traditional tall glass, on top of a good pinch of shredded green cabbage. The cooked shrimp is mixed with pico de gallo, diced cucumber, serrano chile, limes, ketchup, and clam juice, and is served with avocado, lime and tostadas. (NOTE: Available Lunch & Dinner; Wheat-Free)

Spicy Chicken & Bacon Salad with Walnuts & Avocado: Dark meat chicken grilled with Chipotle & garlic, diced and fanned on top of radicchio, arugula and napa cabbage, then tossed in an avocado Caesar dressing and topped with crumbled creamy queso fresco, avocado, pieces of crisp bacon, and strips of tequila-pickled jalapeno. (NOTE: Available Lunch; Wheat-Free)

 

Green Pozole with Chicken, Pepita Salsa & Hominy Nixtamal: Pozoles are hearty main-course soups which feature big, fluffy kernels of cooked dried dent corn (called hominy in the US). SOL pozole is made with homemade chicken stock, chicken meat, epazote and bright green Pepita Salsa made of everything green (raw pumpkin seeds ground together with tomatillos, cilantro and serrano chiles, as well as a little garlic and onion). (NOTE: Available Lunch & Dinner; Wheat-Free)

Pork Pibil with Xni-Pec: Chunks of pork are mixed with achiote paste, citrus and spices, wrapped in banana leaf and slow-roasted until tender. The pibil is served in a banana-leaf packet with a side of spicy salsa. (NOTE: Available Lunch & Dinner; Wheat-Free)

As you can tell, much of SOL’s menu can be made vegetarian and vegan-friendly and many items are 100% wheat-free. The ‘stealth health’ approach is geared towards fresh, delicious food that happens to be low-fat and healthful.

Even SOL’s new fall cocktails have a focus on fresh ingredients, including juices, fruits, herbs and vegetables.

The new cocktail menu includes:

Pumpkin Spice Margarita: Don Julio Blanco, agave nectar, fresh lime juice, roasted pumpkin purée, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon.

 Horchata Martini: House-made Horchata shaken & strained with a black tea-infused Don Julio Reposado tequila and 1921 Crema Tequila, then dusted with cinnamon before serving.

Mango Con Chile Frozen Margarita: A new take on SOL’s noted frozen margarita. Mango puree in a chile-salted bucket glass is garnished with dried mango in chile salt!

1921 Tea: A warm cocktail perfect for the fall and winter season, this drink is served in a snifter with warm English Breakfast tea, Grand Marnier and 1921 Crema tequila.

Full menus, including Cocktail List, Happy Hour menu and Wine List, can be found on the SOL website.

ABOUT SOL COCINA

SOL Cocina is a unique restaurant and bar featuring Executive Chef Deborah Schneider’s bold, modern interpretations of traditional Coastal Mexican cuisine with a focus on fresh, sustainable ingredients. Designed to echo the expansive sea, sky, and desert of the Baja peninsula, SOL features old world charm juxtaposed with an urban comfort, including an open exhibition kitchen with counter seating for guests who like to see the bustling kitchen that mimics the Baja taco bar. To complement the dining experience, SOL’s bar creates spectacular hand-crafted-to order fresh fruit margaritas and cocktails inspired by the authentic, seasonal flavors of the menu. The restaurant offers over 70 artisan, premium and ultra premium tequilas and mezcals.

SOL Cocina has locations in Newport Beach, CA (251 E. Pacific Coast Highway) and Scottsdale, AZ (15323 North Scottsdale Road). For more information, visit www.solcocina.com.

Thanks for reading!

For more dining adventures, check out Off the Menu OC on Facebook and Twitter!

Christopher Trela

3rd Place Best Food Blog / OC Press Club Journalism Awards

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This entry was posted on November 6, 2012 by in Dining Out, Neighorhood Gem, Newport Beach, Phoenix and tagged , , , , , , , .
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