Spice Up Your Life

Jalisciense Pozole at Jalisco Cantina
Jalisciense Pozole at Jalisco Cantina

Get ready to spice up your life, because November marks National Pepper Month! The diverse and delectable restaurant scene of San Diego makes for the ideal place to celebrate this month dedicated to this deliciously versatile fruit (yes, fruit!) and its variety of vibrant red, green, yellow and orange colors. Bringing a crunchy, satisfying texture and flavor ranging from mild to sizzlingly hot, the pepper is the perfect addition for fearless foodies in search of a savory dish. Turn up the heat and set your taste buds tingling with this medley of meals fit for fiery food lovers!

Bring on the peppers at La Catrina Tapas & Cantina, North Park’s newest destination for Valle de Guadalupe-inspired cuisine! Transporting the distinct flavors and ambiance of Baja California across the border, this recently-opened modern-casual Mexican bistro features festive décor to complement creative lunch and dinner menus focused on the many flavors of land and sea. Served with authentic style and colorful flair, the signature ceviches are not to be missed – sink your teeth into the El Diablo Aguachile ceviche, a mix of white shrimp, chile de arbol, serrano, jalapeno and habanero tossed with citrus, cucumber and red onion.

South-of-the-border fare packs a punch at Juan Tequila, the Gaslamp’s innovative Baja California-style cocktail and seafood bar. Home to a non-pretentious New York vibe with chandeliers, club leather furniture and a “starry” lounge, Juan Tequila’s modern take on Mexican fare explores upscale flavor combinations and locally-sourced produce. After sipping from a refreshing selection of tiki-based drinks and an assortment of old-world tequila and mezcal, dig into theChili Verde con Smoked Mushrooms with smoked and shredded trumpet mushrooms, tomatillo, papas, fried masa, smoked jalapeno and a dusting of cilantro.

What better way to dive into National Pepper Month than with some sizzling Mexican fare at Del Sur Mexican Cantina? Found in the heart of South Park, Del Sur strives to bring quality Mexican food at a reasonable price. Kid-friendly, vegetarian-friendly and even dog-friendly on the patio, Del Sur leaves no one out when it comes to serving smiles and bites bursting with flavor. Take in the vibrant décor before noshing on the house Chile Relleno, a poblano pepper stuffed with a three-cheese blend and panela, lightly battered then fried, and served atop a roasted pepper cream sauce for a kick of heat.

Brave the burn at WESTROOT Tavern, found at Carmel Valley’s top lifestyle hub The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch. Firmly rooted in fresh and inspired ingredients infused with distinctive San Diego style, this neighborhood hangout pairs handcrafted cocktails and daily sports action with an unforgettable menu of Southern California food. Curb your pepper cravings with the Beer Battered Fish Tacos, loaded with rock cod, shredded cabbage, pico de gallo and mixed cheese on a flour tortilla with a healthy dollop of spicy jalapeno-infused tartar sauce.

Satisfy your search for spice at Cloak & Petal, an invitation to journey into Japanese tradition in Little Italy. Intimate and artful, this humming social destination allows a gathering space for friends and family to dine beneath blooming cherry blossom trees to savor food and drinks. Elevate your sushi palate with the 30th & University Roll, made with crab, scallops, grilled asparagus, rare wagyu beef, a truffle soy reduction and a topping of fresh jalapeno pepper slices.

Bid a warm bienvenido to Jalisco Cantina, Oceanside’s cozy eatery for quality Mexican cuisine! Named for the home region of the blue agave plant and some of the finest tequilas in the world, Jalisco Cantina promises a wide selection of tequilas and hand-crafted cocktails to complement their creative and intensely flavorful scratch-made food choices. Order the Jalisciense Pozole, a comforting homestyle soup packed with pork, hominy, oregano and chile pepper served with cabbage, lime, cilantro and onion for a dish that doesn’t disappoint.