Join The Positive Plate Dining Club!

SOL Cocina has recently become a member of The Positive Plate, a Southern California based sustainable restaurant certification program.  All of the restaurants participating in The Positive Plate believe it is our responsibility to positively impact our community and the environment as much as we can.

Participating in The Positive Plate helps us do just that.

The Positive Plate Dining Club is an important part of this program, enabling members to save $245 at eight of OC’s most dynamic restaurants, all while supporting great local non-profit organizations.  There are only 200 memberships available, and many have already sold.

The way our dining club works is very simple:
·  Your membership is a tax-deductible $99 donation to Ecofficiency.Org
·  Receive a one-time 50% discount at eight OC restaurants that have committed to sustainability through The Positive Plate (total savings equals $245; see dining club page online for full details)
·  Dine well, knowing that you are also doing good for your community

Participating restaurants include:
Avanti Café • Duke’s • Haute Cakes • Haven Gastropub • Sage • SOL Cocina • Taco Asylum • Xanh Bistro

For full details, please visit:

All discounts are valid through Oct 31, 2012, and are good for one visit to each restaurant.

If you have any questions, please call Jesse Baker at (714) 280-2045.


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Gluten-free, Vegetarian, Vegan: Chefs Says Yes to No-No’s

More than ever before, restaurant guests make special menu requests. They want dishes that are gluten-free or vegetarian or vegan, or meals without specific ingredients.

With so many dietary restrictions, it would be understandable for servers and kitchen staff to be in a tailspin. But I’ve seen some very creative solutions both in the front of the house and at the stoves.

Rethinking menus

Deb Schneider, executive chef-partner of Sol Cocina Restaurant in Newport Beach (shown above), has simplified special order requests by offering snazzy laminated menus that spell out the dishes that are vegan, vegetarian and wheat-free. The list is lengthy and diverse, with dishes ranging from Strawberry Serrano Guacamole to Corn Poblano Soup to Rajas Tacos.

“Real Mexican food is heavily vegetable-based – vegetables, corn, and beans are at the heart of what real Mexican food truly is,” Schneider said, referring to her menu’s vegetarian and vegan dishes. “And as for gluten-free, only one dessert and one entree uses flour tortillas.

“We make everything from scratch so if you don’t want onions in your salsa, for example, we make it the way you want it.”

And it somehow seems counter-intuitive, but meat-free diners can end up costing the restaurant more money. They aren’t necessarily cutting costs by subbing vegetables for meat.

“You know from shopping that you can buy chicken on sale for around one dollar per pound, but you pay way more than that for avocados and tomatoes. Asparagus and mushrooms can be five or six dollars per pound …”

Read the entire piece by Cathy Thomas and get recipes for SOL’s Strawberry Serrano Guacamole and Rajas, Mushroom and Grilled Corn Taco with Epazote on here: CATHY THOMAS COOKS.

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SOL Mexican Cocina Brings Baja-Inspired Cuisine to Scottsdale

Authentic coastal Mexican cuisine makes its way to the Valley as SOL Mexican Cocina, a unique restaurant and bar celebrating traditional Baja cuisine with a fresh, modern interpretation, arrives at Scottsdale Quarter in March. The space will be located on the north side of the complex across from BRIO Tuscan Grille. The Scottsdale Quarter is located at 15279 N. Scottsdale Rd.

Scottsdale is the second location for SOL, which made its debut in Newport Beach California in 2009 to rave reviews and was chosen one of Orange County’s Top 10 restaurants in 2010 and 2011.

Designed to echo the expansive sea, sky, and desert of the Baja peninsula, SOL Mexican Cocina features old world charm juxtaposed with urban comfort. The sophisticated 260-seat restaurant will feature an indoor/outdoor patio and bar with fire pit. A bustling open kitchen allows patrons to feel the ‘vibe’ of a trip to Baja.

“The SOL experience is not just about the food – we have a very unique personality. We’re sophisticated but casual. We reflect what’s happening on the Mexican food scene, but with our own twist, while respecting authenticity,” says Operating Partner Rich Howland. “SOL Cocina plays up the best of coastal Mexico. It’s about creating an experience that makes you feel like you’re on vacation, with no worries.”

SOL Cocina’s unique menu offers simple, flavorful items inspired by the Baja peninsula and built around impeccably fresh seafood, premium meats and over 17 fresh salsas made daily. SOL Cocina’s menu features Baja classics and innovative twists on Mexican favorites, such as the Taco Vampiro; Hot & Raw Ceviche; Shortribs Barbacoa; grilled Fish Taco Zarandeado and Kobe Skirt Steak, as well as innovative guacamoles and many other unique items. With their partners Dennis, Mike and Jeffrey Mastro and Scott Troilo, the founders of Dominick’s Steakhouse, the SOL concept is a recipe for success.

Much of the menu can be made vegetarian and vegan-friendly and most items are 100% gluten-free. The ‘stealth health’ approach is geared towards fresh, delicious food that happens to be low-fat and healthful – though there are plenty of indulgences  to be had as well, such as the ‘Tres Pecados’ (Three Sins) – a rich dulce de leche flan with caramel, dark chocolate-almond bark and whipped cream.

SOL’s creative bar menu features signature margaritas and cocktails that are true originals, each one made by hand to order. We make our margaritas with fresh-squeezed lime and citrus juices with a touch of sweetness, and hand-muddle fresh fruit and herbs for a perfect balance of flavor and character. Mexican beers, micheladas, bulldogs or a glass of wine from SOL’s coastal wine list pair beautifully with the food menu.

Deborah Schneider, executive chef and partner, brings over 25 years of professional cooking experience and a wealth of knowledge to the menu. She is the author of five books on Mexican cooking and has travelled extensively in Baja and mainland Mexico. Dubbed “The reigning queen of San Diego chefs” by Bon Appetit Magazine, Deborah was nominated for a 2009 James Beard Foundation Award for her second cookbook, Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta. Her recipes and writing have appeared in Food & Wine Magazine, O Magazine and many California publications.

Follow SOL on Facebook at and on Twitter at @SOL_COCINA. For more information, visit their website at

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Show-Stopper: Clase Azul Super Premium Tequila Dinner | FEB 26

SOL Mexican Cocina presents an excellent alternative to the usual Oscar Sunday festivities with an award-worthy super premium tequila dinner featuring the legendary Clase Azul Tequila at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 26, 2012. Perfect for the novice tequila drinker and the connoisseur, alike, this dinner will introduce guests to learn the intricacies in flavor, aroma and aging processes of one of Mexico’s most celebrated tequilas. During the evening, Executive Chef Deborah Schneider will present a special menu of Coastal Mexican cuisine to complement the flavors of Clase Azul Tequila, beginning with a reception featuring a handcrafted Clase Azul Blanco margarita, followed by a five-course dinner featuring Clase Azul Plata, Reposado and La Pinta tequilas.

Aged in fine oak barrels, Clase Azul possesses distinct, smooth flavors and aromas, as well as an excellent balance over the palate. Produced and bottled in Jalisco, from 100% agave and twice distilled, Clase Azul tequila and SOL Cocina join in harmonious union. Chef Deb’s bold, flavorful award-winning Mexican cuisine is enhanced by this tequila to create an unparalleled experience.

Space is limited for this tequila dinner, offered for $75 per guest (excluding tax and gratuity). Seats must be reserved in advance by 949.675.9800 or emailing Nicole at

Sunday, February 26, 2012
$75 per guest, plus tax & gratuity

6:30 – 7:30 PM   Chef’s Choice Antojito + Clase Azul Plata Margarita
Pork Pibil with Habanero-Red Onion-Sour Orange Salsa on a Small Flour Tortilla

1st – Clase Azul Plata
Nopales & Arugula Salad, Smoke-Roasted Tomato Dressing, Queso Azul

2nd – Clase Azul Plata
Lobster & Laughing Bird Shrimp Ragout, Tarragon Creamy Butter Sauce, Fresh Corn Cake

3rd – Clase Azul Reposado
Seared Sterling Beef Filet, 5-Chile Mole Sauce, Roasted Sweet Potato

4th – Clase Azul La Pinta (Pomegranate-Infused)
Pan-Roasted Duck Breast with Spice & Fruit

5th  – Clase Azul Reposado
Spice-Infused Flan with Brown Sugar Crema & Praline Crumble
Dark Chocolate & Dried Cherries Bark
For more information, menus, hours of operations, online reservations and directions, visit

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Newport Beach Restaurant Week | CBS Los Angeles

‎Newport Beach Restaurant Week is Jan 20th-29th, and SOL Cocina offers a flavorful vegan and vegetarian menu options with a Mexican cuisine flair. Check out Executive Chef Deborah Schneider’s bold, modern interpretations of traditional Coastal Mexican cuisine with a focus on fresh, sustainable ingredients. Guests can enjoy a three course lunch for $15 or $30 for dinner. The top picks by CBS Los Angeles are the watermelon gazpacho and the Grilled Chicken Mulita.

See CBS LA coverage HERE.

View our NBRW Menus HERE!

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MENU SPOTLIGHT: Vegan, Vegetarian and Wheat-Free Offerings

Since opening, SOL Cocina has focused on delivering Mexican cuisine that is made with fresh, seasonal and sustainable ingredients. Now, to illustrate that its takes on traditional Coastal Mexican foods can accommodate a variety of lifestyles and dietary restrictions, Executive Chef Deborah Schneider has created a special supplemental menu to clearly show vegan, vegetarian and wheat-free items served at the restaurant.

“There is this misconception that flavorful Mexican food can be unhealthy and limited to those who do not have dietary restrictions, and this could not be further from the truth,” commented Chef Deb, who revealed that her menu items at SOL focus on the season’s freshest offerings. “Great flavor comes from great ingredients, and many are just as bold and satisfying without dairy or meat. The separate menu highlighting options stems from a sense of responsibility and commitment we feel to our guests – and the response has been phenomenal thus far.”

Among the highlighted vegan, vegetarian and wheat-free items featured on SOL’s menu:


All salsa except Chipotle Mayo

Gobernador & Spicy Lime

All salad dressings except Avocado Caesar (wheat-free*)

Black Bean Dip (wheat-free*)

Chipotle-Tomatillo Salsa (wheat-free*)

White Corn Tostadas with Chiles & Pepitas (wheat-free*)

Corn Tortillas (wheat-free*)

Flour Tortillas (unbuttered)

Naked Guacamole (wheat-free*)

Guacamole SOL (no cheese; wheat-free*)

Borracho Black Beans (no cheese; wheat-free*)

Spinach-Garlic Rice (wheat-free*)

Quinoa Cranberry Salad (wheat-free*)

Spicy Coleslaw (wheat-free*)

Grilled Corn Side (no cheese or Chipotle Salsa; wheat-free*)

Rajas Taco (no cheese; wheat-free*)

Corn-Poblano Soup (no crema; wheat-free*)

Ensalada SOL (wheat-free*)

Arugula Spinach Salad (no cheese; wheat-free*)

El Veg Torta (no butter on bun, no cheese)

Mex Chop Salad (no chicken or cheese, with tequila dressing; wheat-free*)

Vegetarian Burrito (no cheese or butter)

Spinach Salad Picadillo (no chicken or cheese; wheat-free*)

Chilaquiles (no cheese or eggs; wheat-free*)

Papas Papi (no cheese or meat)

VEGETARIAN OPTIONS (may contain egg and dairy)

All of the VEGAN items listed above

Panuchos (wheat-free*)

Vegetarian Burritos

Vegetarian Quesadilla

Warmed Goat Cheese (wheat-free*)

Chorizo & Mushrooms Con Queso (no chorizo; wheat-free*)

Huevos Mexicanos (no meat; wheat-free*)

Papas Papi (no meats; wheat-free*)

Quesadilla con Huevos

* Guests should note that items listed as wheat-free are made in a facility which uses wheat flour.

Full menus can be found online at

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SOL Cocina Celebrates Seasonal Culinary Offerings from Chef Deb

As temperatures begin to fall and the days get shorter, SOL Cocina Executive Chef Deborah Schneider introduces new items to her already celebrated menu of Coastal Mexican cuisine. While eight new dishes have been added to the menu, many of the Newport Beach’s popular dishes will see the addition of the season’s freshest, most flavorful ingredients, from pomegranate seeds and roasted pears, to seasonal fish.

“This is a great time of year to really showcase the season’s offerings and get creative with dishes. My winter menu uses the season’s freshest offerings to ensure that we are serving the best tasting, most flavorful dishes,” commented Chef Deb, who revealed that all menu items at SOL focuses on sustainable ingredients. “I feel a responsibility and commitment to our guests to make sure that they are eating quality ingredients, and I know that many appreciate that practice.”

New items featured on the dinner menu include:

Shrimp & Bacon Guacamole with Chicharron and Green Apple
Signature Naked Guacamole (avocado, tomato, Serrano chiles, cilantro, and onion) topped with four chipotle-sauteed shrimp, crumbled bacon, chicharron and diced green apple. If you’re looking for the ultimate guacamole experience, this is it. It’s smoky, a little bit spicy and very rich.

Strawberry, Serrano & Cucumber Guacamole with Candied Walnuts
Basic Guacamole topped with fresh strawberries, diced cucumbers, candied walnuts, and Serrano chiles. Fruit guacamoles are very popular in Mexico. This is not sweet – a great option for diners who do not want onion or cilantro, but still crave great flavor.

Grilled Sweet Corn with Butter, Cotixa, Lime & Guajillo Chiles, Chipotle Sauce
Two ears of corn, roasted then grilled, cut into pieces, drizzled with melted butter, cotixa cheese, guajillo chiles, green onions and a squeeze of chipotle-lime sauce. This is the ultimate “street food” with a SOL twist, of course.

Yellowtail Aguachiles Verde with Volcano Salsa
Raw, fresh yellowtail cut in strips, with fresh-squeezed lemons & lime juice, extra-virgin olive oil, finely cut red onions and cucumbers. The Volcano Salsa is chopped jalapenos, tomatillos, and cilantro. This is a variation of a ceviche – aguachiles can be found on every beach in Mexico. Our “verde” comes from jalapenos, and on a heat scale of 1-10, it’s a 7.

Grilled ‘Al Pastor’ Taco
Boneless pork loin pounded out thin & rubbed with an adobo (a marinade of chiles and garlic which is not spicy), then flash-grilled, and served on a large corn tortilla with melted cheese, diced grilled pineapple and onion-cilantro mix. “Al Pastor” tacos are the iconic Mexico City taco cooked on every street corner (think: hot dogs in New York City).

Chicken ‘Tinga Entrée
Shredded boneless chicken quickly sautéed with red onions, red peppers, jalapeno strips, and chipotles in adobo & cilantro, served with tostadas, crema, shredded lettuce. A ‘tinga is a term used to describe simple home cooking.

Chicken Enmolada
Boneless shredded chicken meat rolled in corn tortillas, topped with melted cheese, house-made Mole Negro, queso fresco, lettuce, pico de gallo & crema. These are served three per dish with two sides at dinner, and one side at lunch. These are similar to enchiladas, but possess a rich and unusual flavor.

“Three Sins” Dulce de Leche Flan
The flan made of dulce de leche, a sweet, caramel dessert with dark caramel sauce, (Sin #1), topped with Whipped Cream (Sin #2) & Chocolate-Almond-Chipotle Bark (Sin #3). This is an amazing dessert to enjoy with one of our great Anejo or Reposada tequilas. Truly sinful.

Full menus can be found online at

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