Since the first time I met Chef Daniel Godinez, his creativity in the kitchen has amazed me. It has only been a year since I first tried Anepalco and Chef Daniel has done it again with a revamp of some standards on the menu along with some new dishes to get you excited. I don’t know if he’s borrowing a little bit of “pixie dust” from the Magic Kingdom down the road, but the whimsical designs and flavor combinations are out of this world.
Join me as we go on this mind-blowing journey…
Our meal starts with house-made artisanal bread paired with a chile compound butter. They are shaped like bread sticks but they are much more than that. They are personal loaves of bread baked just for you. The chile compound butter is amazing! The hubby liked it so much, he wants me to make it at home. Rating: 5/5
Head Borracho ($12) contains El Silencio Mezcal, tepache (fermented drink made from the peel and rind of pineapple), lime, and mole bitters. This drink will definitely put some hair on your chest with the strong flavor of the mezcal. The tepache gives it a tropical flavor and the lime provides a tangy little twist. The mole bitters inject a spiciness, not chile hot, but a spicy flavor like cinnamon, cacao, and other spices. This is perfect to relax with friends for happy hour while enjoying some appetizers. Rating: 5/5
Open your palate with Salbutes ($12). It is two crispy corn tortillas topped with lengua (beef tongue), queso fresco (fresh cheese), roasted tomatillo, avocado, and jocoque (Mexican sour cream). Lengua is one of my favorite meats for tacos and burritos so I definitely had to try these. The lengua is tender and melts in your mouth like braised short rib with a fatty, buttery flavor. The avocado and jocoque creates a rich creaminess to the salbutes and the queso fresco adds a slight cheese flavor without being overbearing. The presentation is beautiful with the thinly sliced radish reminiscent of flower petals or butterfly wings. Rating: 5/5
Enhance your palate with the Lamb Duo ($17). It is barbacoa stew, and lamb taco on a nixtamal (treated corn) tortilla. If you love lamb barbacoa, you need to order this! The stew has all of the rich, roasted flavors from the lamb head and thick stew with lip-smacking collagen. The vegetables provide a nice balance of sweet and refreshing flavor.
The lamb taco is filled with tender lamb meat along with some of the juices from the stew. The microgreens, cilantro, and radish add texture along with refreshing flavor. The presentation is just stunning! Rating: 5/5
Holy Mole ($17) is short ribs in demi glace atop mole and topped with crispy rice. The short rib is tender and buttery. The demi glace is almost caramelized on the outside like barbeque sauce. The two different moles are sweet providing a yin and yang effect of flavors. I would add rice in order to sop up the sauce. The sauce is strong and needs a starch to stretch the flavor due to its intensity. The presentation is absolutely beautiful, like a Mexican clay pot design! Rating: 4.5/5
Churros ($7.50) are tossed in cinnamon and sugar and served with rustic Mexican chocolate sauce. There is nothing better than homemade churros. I worked at Disneyland for 11 years and there was nothing I wanted more than a churro when I went into the park. But, after having homemade ones like the ones at Anepalco, the Disneyland churros are no longer good enough for me. The outside is crispy and the inside is warm and fluffy like a donut should be. The chocolate sauce is dark and rich like Aztec Hot Chocolate. It adds a beautiful chocolate flavor without being heavy. Rating: 5/5
Experience all of the culinary wonderment Anepalco has to offer!
Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars
For more information:
Anepalco (inside the ALO Hotel)
3737 W. Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92868, United States
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Parking: Free hotel parking lot