Short Order: Anepalco’s Cafe, Orange

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Huarache w shrimp and huitlacoche (Photo by Joshua Sudock, OC Register)

After nearly a dozen trips to Mexico City over the past five years, I’ve come to believe the Mexican capital is one of the world’s most underrated cities for fine dining. The restaurants there keep getting better and more adventurous. Chefs have embraced a bold, modern style of Mexican cuisine that’s nearly impossible to find anywhere else.

One place in Orange County that comes somewhat close is Anepalco’s Cafe on Chapman Avenue in Orange. The restaurant bills its cooking as Mexican-French, but I don’t think that’s the right way to categorize it. I’d call it Mexico City modern.

There’s an item on the menu called shrimp cassoulet. It’s an ill-advised name since the dish bears absolutely no resemblance to cassoulet. Rather, this is a brilliant Mexican slurry of roasted tomatoes and creamed chipotle chilies and a fine chiffonade of guajillos cradling two perfectly poached shrimp…

To read more about Anepalco’s Cafe and view an extensive slide show by photographer Joshua Sudock, check out this week’s OC Register. Note: Subscriptions are required to access the OC Register online. We don’t give it away for free at the newsstand, nor do we give away for free online. Anyone can receive one week of complimentary access, but after that you’ll need to be a subscriber. Alternatively, you can always buy a single day pass — cheaper than a cup of coffee — for 24-hour access. 

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