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‘Mexican Hot Chicken’ Sandwich with Nopales is a Thing and It’s Delicious, Here’s Where to Find It

[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he evolution of the almighty torta is on full display at Rojos Hot Chicken, the first fully Mexi-fied hot chicken sandwich pop-up that has popped up on L.A. Taco’s radar.

Is it a torta? Is it a hot chicken sandwich? Is it both? It doesn’t matter, because it is delicious, and we can’t believe it took this long for someone to combine two of the best sandwich styles into one. 

Inspired by his love on Howlin’ Rays, Chef Roland Rubalcava has created what he has dubbed a “Mexican Hot Chicken” sandwich. It makes sense that Rubalcava had stints at Orange County’s wildly creative Taco Maria and Playa Mesa restaurants. He has been popping-up his concept in and around the Los Angeles and Orange County areas for the past couple of years now. 

What is a Mexican hot chicken sandwich? It’s a traditional Nashville hot chicken one in a way, but with his own specialized take by focusing on Mexican flavors. The “wash” that he uses for his batter features a strong blend of traditional Mexican spices like oregano mixed with chipotle. The bread is a medium-sized oblong bolillo that you might associate with a traditional torta. It’s made locally at a bakery in Orange. 

Beneath the chicken sits a slice of grilled nopal, which to Rubalcava is another nod to southern cuisine. To the chef, the nopal presents a type of consistency that he equates to that of okra with its slimy texture but at the same time offers just the right of coolness to offset the heat. Added to the already stacked textures, a sliced bit of American cheese and fresh pickles to top you off. 

While it may sound like it has a lot going on, when you hold the sandwich in your hand it all feels perfectly proportioned. Each bite provides you with the perfect amalgamation of flavors that makes you want to go back for more. The fixin's feature a creamy spicy mayo coleslaw that coats the spicy chicken—for all you mayo heads. You know who you are.

In this Mexican Hot chicken, we trust. The sandwiches come in different levels of spiciness which the choices being Naked (no spicy), Rojo (medium heat), and Rojo X (very spicy), which is the spiciest. L.A. Taco tried Rojo X and we can confirm that it is a firey blend similar to the sting of a good habanero salsa that lingers on your tongue long after you’ve taken your bite.  

Rojos will be popping up at Agaves Ultra Lounge 200 Pine Ave, Long Beach, CA 90802 on Monday, September 23. See their Instagram for details

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