These tacos and cocktails rock! They also talk. Seriously, they cheered me up when they said, “Eat, enjoy, relax. We are here for you!” (Disclosure)
Maybe it wasn’t actually the tacos talking. I haven’t flipped out that far, yet. But I wasn’t feeling well when I went to the media preview at the new Solita restaurant in Valencia last week. I couldn’t pass up such a wonderful opportunity to sample some amazing food and drinks prepared by the extraordinary Author and Chef, Deborah Schneider. I couldn’t disappoint my hubby either, he was really looking forward to sampling the Baja style menu items. I would never let down my wonderful blogging friends, Carolyn and AJ, who recommended me to the PR firm organizing this event. I am glad I went because the restaraunt was fabulous, inviting, comforting, warm and spoke volumes to me. Yes, the owners, chefs, servers, and fellow diners spoke to me. They said, “Eat, enjoy, relax. We are here for you.”
I went away with the sense that I will be back again soon, hopefully feeling better, with the knowledge that I will be comforted and treated especially well, like family at Solita’s.
solita Tacos & Margaritas Brings Authentic Baja-Style Mexican Cuisine,
Craft Cocktails (and 40 Tequilas) to Valencia!
There is a new resto on my list of faves! It’s the Baja-inspired, chef-driven Mexican cuisine of solita Tacos & Margaritas coming to Valencia on Tuesday, November 18, 2014.
The story behind solita Tacos & Margaritas involves a trio of restaurant-industry veterans and some serious Mexican-food cravings. While living in San Diego, co-founder and Operations Director Matt Baumayr fell in love with Baja’s casual roadside restaurants he discovered on frequent surfing trips south of the border. “Everything is fresh and local,” he says. “They order just enough food to last the day.”
It all started when…”Baumayr brought one of his close friends, his former boss and mentor, Rich Howland, who had started the RA Sushi concept, down to Baja to explore the food scene further, and the pair decided to find a way to bring the experience back across the border. A little research led them to ¡Baja! Cooking on the Edge, one of the first English-language cookbooks highlighting the cuisine of the region. And by sheer coincidence, it turned out the author, Deborah Schneider, lived less than a mile from Baumayr’s home.”
“Originally from Toronto, Schneider left a job as an editor to pursue her cooking dream more than 30 years ago. She worked as a cook on private yachts in the Mediterranean and Florida before settling in San Diego and beginning her chef career in earnest, working her way through San Diego’s best kitchens. In time she became the first female chef at the Grant Grill and was the first (and only) female Executive Chef in the Hilton hotel chain at the four-star Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines. For several seasons, she oversaw eight kitchens and more than 200 cooks running the dining program at the Del Mar Racetrack during thoroughbred race season.”
“No matter what you are cooking, in the kitchen, you talk about food and what your grandmother used to make,” Schneider says. “So I learned about authentic Mexican food by cooking next to Mexicans.”
I am all about finding life’s passion in all that we do. It turns out that Mexican food became Chef Schneider’s true passion. She has now published a total of five cookbooks, including Baja! Cooking on the Edge (a Food & Wine Best Cookbook choice), Williams-Sonoma’s Essentials of Latin Cooking, The Mexican Slow Cooker and Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta, which was nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award. (Schneider’s sixth book, Salsas and Moles, comes out next March.)
Baumayr and Howland convinced Schneider to quit her day job, and the trio opened SOL Cocina in Newport Beach in 2009. That led to a second location in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the first solita Tacos & Margaritas in Huntington Beach last December.
“With solita, we wanted to reinvent the neighborhood restaurant,” Baumayr says. “We wanted to build a great restaurant with quality food where you could still walk out the door full (and with a buzz) for twenty bucks.”
From the Copa de Frutas to the Horchata Cocktail, everything is fresh, inviting, warm, and wholesome. At solita Tacos & Margaritas, nearly everything on the menu is grilled or smoked over oak, giving it the deep, rustic flavor that distinguishes authentic Mexican food. “It’s real flavorful, but simple. It’s very traditional flavors without any unnecessary bells and whistles,” Schneider says.
Tacos are the main attraction, with 11 choices for fillings, ELEVEN!
These are my faves:
Oh heck, just try The El Primo Taco Taster Plate and you can choose four tacos to sample!
Any of those fillings can also come in a burrito, quesadilla, enchilada, rice-and-beans bowl or a Panzón, which is sort of like a Mexican calzone: a large flour tortilla stuffed with fillings, folded in half and cooked until crisp on the comal.
There are plenty of shareable Antojitos as well, including made-to-order Yellowtail Ceviche Tropicale, which is both sweet with bits of tropical fruit and hot with fiery chiles. The best-selling Grilled Corn Elote with butter, chipotle salsa and cotija cheese is served with flair, with servers slicing the kernels off the cob tableside.
Schneider likes to combine that dish with the Queso al Forno, a bubbly combo of Mexican cheeses with green onions and Serrano chiles in an iron cazuela served with both corn and flour tortillas. “If you mix the corn into the cheese and then dish it out on a tortilla, it’s really tasty,” she says.
Solita’s has the traditional stuff, and off the hook specialties, too:
The desserts! House-made Churros come with cinnamon sugar and chocolate dipping sauce, while the Deep-Fried Ice Cream is a scoop of vanilla with a crunchy corn flake-coconut coating served with nutella, dulce de leche and chocolate sauces.
So, make the trip to Valencia to experience all that solita Tacos & Margaritas has to offer, because the city coined “Awesometown” just got a lot more awesome…Mexican style!
My hubby and I received a free meal at the preview and were each gifted with a goody bag, a few copies of Chef Schneider’s books, and some samples. I really loved the restaurant, the food, and the location. I can’t wait to go back! All opinions in this review are my own. I was not asked and it was not required of me to write about my experience, however, I am happy to do so. All facts and quotes in this post are directly from the press release sent to me by Lawrence Moore & Associates Inc.
Come back to MizMeliz.com and read my review about the bar at solita Tacos & Margaritas.
It might be because of their great Skinny Margs that made me hear Baja calling me!