At Habanero Hots, these Mexican Staples go Hand-In-Hand
We don’t care what month it is—as far as we are concerned we’re happy to down tequila cocktails and burritos every day! And when it comes to matching drinks and dishes like this, Habanero Hots is doing it well. “Many tequilas have different flavor characteristics and pair well with spicy food,” explains John DeNigris, owner of the Lodi Mexican restaurant nearing 40 years of continuous service in its Victor Road location.
John keeps his bar stocked with a variety of tequilas—over 180 to be exact—and is constantly introducing new options to the menu including well-known brands like Patron and exclusives like the Habanero Hots tequila only available with them. In addition to tequila, the menu is also stacked with hearty burritos—large portions oozing with melty cheese, beans, shredded meat, and other ingredients. Pairing the two together is somewhat of a specialty for John, and he’s dishing out his secrets on the perfect combos.
“Burritos were originally made to be a convenient way to eat your lunch or dinner on the run so you could continue working, but Here at Habanero Hots we recommend that you slow down, grab a margarita, and enjoy your burrito covered with sauce and melted cheese,” John says. Expert Tip: Order yours grande if you’re feeling hungry, although we warn you, even the regular-sized burritos are large!
The Southwest Chicken Chipotle Burrito is a customer favorite, loaded with spicy chipotle-flavored chicken, fire-roasted corn, and black beans before being topped with Mexican gravy, melted jack cheese, and cool sour cream to balance the spice. If you order this mouthwatering burrito, John recommends pairing it with a fresh-squeezed Margarita blanco, made with tequila blanco, fresh-squeezed lime, agave nectar, and Gran Gala orange liqueur, served on the rocks. The science behind this pairing is in the tequila; opting for a silver tequila offers a sweeter taste because it isn’t aged in oak barrels and pairs especially well with chicken. Not to mention, the sweet tequila offers balance for the spicy burrito.
The Chili Colorado burrito is another menu favorite. This classic Mexican dish includes all of the staples of a good burrito—shredded beef, beans, and cheese—but it is then smothered in enchilada sauce and other toppings. For this one you can go a little heavy on the drink. John’s suggestion? Pair it with a boldly flavored tequila anejo old fashioned, made using tequila anejo, muddled citrus, aged bitters, and agave nectar.
For those who can’t choose between burritos on the Habanero Hots menu, the La Bomba Combo is for you. This dynamic burrito is one-half Chili Colorado and one-half Chicana, oven baked and topped with both ranchero sauce and green salsa. In addition to being big enough to share, it’s certainly an Instagram-worthy dish. When you order this over-the-top combination, it’s best to go a little simpler on the drink. John recommends pairing it with a Paloma—made with tequila, fresh grapefruit juice, lime, and soda water—to bring out the spicy, smoky flavor.
Rounding out the menu of specialty burritos is the Chili Verde Burrito, covered with the telltale green salsa that everyone knows comes with some extra kick. To balance the spicy tomatillo chili sauce, you’ll want something refreshing like the El Tesoro reposado Margarita. And if you’re looking to go vegetarian, the bean and cheese burrito is a versatile option for customers. With this one, John says you really can’t go wrong because any cocktail will offer the flavors needed to elevate the meal. And to make it even better, if you’re looking to skip the alcohol you can certainly dive into any of the cocktails on Habanero Hots’ menu without the liquor, simply ask for a mocktail version.
Don’t forget to load up your plate with delectable and authentic sides. “We take the word fresh very seriously,” John says. Any of the burritos on the menu will only be made better by a side of rice, beans, guacamole, pico do gallo, or Mexican corn.
1042 E. Victor Rd., Lodi