Off the Menu OC

Covering the dining scene in and around the OC

Baja-Style Cuisine at SOL Cocina


Taco Vampiro

We love dining at SOL Mexican Cocina (locations in Newport Beach, CA and Scottsdale, AZ), and have consistently been impressed with Chef Deborah Schneider’s creative take on south-of-the-border cuisine.

Many people don’t know that Chef Deb has penned four cookbooks, including one that was recently re-released called “Baja! Cooking on the Edge.”

During its original release in 2006, it was noted as one of the “Best Cookbooks of the Year” by Food & Wine magazine.

In this book (the first of five cookbooks that Chef Deb has written), readers are taken on culinary trip through Baja California.

“This is a culmination of years spent exploring, cooking and camping throughout the Baja region – sometimes with Chefs and sometimes with surfer friends,” commented Chef Deb.

“If you’re interested in learning how to cook dishes like seared shrimp with tangerine, cilantro and pastilla chile through quick and easy techniques, this is the book for you,” said Catherine after reading the myriad recipes. “But if you are more of a taster than a chef, just come to Sol Cocina and try some of the Baja inspired items on the spring menu.”

Chef Deb’s fascination with Mexican food is unusual for someone who was raised in Canada.

“I grew up in a tiny rural town in southern Ontario,” Chef Deb told us. “My mother grew up on a farm and is a great simple cook. I still make gravy in the pan just like she does, and her stuffing is theBaja book best!” stated Chef Deb. “Mom’s cooking style can best be described as ‘great fresh ingredients and don’t do too much to it.’ My favorite meal at home is still the Sunday roast beef dinner with local veggies.”

You won’t find roast beef on the SOL menu, but Mexican food fans flock to SOL for such treats as Ensenada-style beer battered shrimp tacos, carnitas street tacos, cactus pear ceviche, and our favorite: taco vampiro (a double tortilla stuffed with carne asada, cheese, serrano chile, scallions, guacamole, pico, chipotle sauce and cotixa cheese).

Visit the SOL website at, where you can order any of Chef Deb’s cookbooks.

Visit Chef Deb’s personal website at to view a video of her making her signature taco vampiro.

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This entry was posted on May 11, 2014 by in Dining Out, Newport Beach and tagged , , , , .
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