OC Review: Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen, Orange

Chile en Nogada at Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen (photo by Eugene Garcia, OC Register)

I ruffled a few feathers last November when, in my inaugural column for the OC Register, I wrote that the chips and salsa at Gabbi’s left a bad taste in my mouth. A couple of Gabbi’s staunchest defenders complained that I shouldn’t be whining about chips and salsa in the first place because chips and salsa aren’t even Mexican.

The birthplace of chips and salsa is irrelevant. Just as I’ve now eaten great cochinita pibil in downtown Orange, where it wasn’t invented, I’ve also eaten great totopos and salsa in Puebla, in Oaxaca, in Mexico City, in Veracruz, in Tulum, in Guanajuato, in Piedras Negras … . The point is this: the chips and salsa at Gabbi’s are a disappointment. This is especially important when you put it into context with the fact that this is also one of the more important Mexican restaurants in California. Here’s my full review.

You can read my full review and see the star rating along an extensive slide show by photographer Eugene Garcia in this week’s OC Register. Subscriptions are required. We don’t give away our work for free at the newsstand, and we don’t give it away for free online, either. If you don’t want to subscribe, you can simply buy a Day Pass — cheaper than a cup of coffee — for 24-hour access to the entire OC Register archive. I invite you to follow me and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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