food and drink

How LA Chef Roy Choi Made His Hot Cheeto Restaurant Dreams Come True

For Los Angeles-based chef Roy Choi, Hot Cheetos aren’t just chips but a relic of his childhood he still loves today. He can still remembers his first bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. When the spicy snack first came out, he grabbed a bag from his local liquor store and instantly knew this was something special.

“I was hooked right away and I’ve been lovin’ the Puffs ever since.” Choi says.

That’s why it’s no surprise that Choi decided to team up with Cheetos to create the Flamin’ Hot Spot, a three-day pop-up restaurant in LA with dishes made with—you guessed it—Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

Nearly 10,000 people were on the restaurant wait list and reservations were booked full in under an hour.

CREDIT: credit: Javier Rojas / mitú

The first Cheetos pop-up restaurant, The Spotted Cheetah, debuted in New York City last year, reservations sold out in minutes and the waitlist racked up thousands of names. The success of the event prompted a sequel in the the Flamin’ Hot Spot. Choi’s goal was to try to incorporate some of his restaurants’ most popular dishes like the Kogi burrito and Chego meatballs with Hot Cheetos.

Choi’s Cheetos mashups are your junk food dreams.

credit: Javier Rojas / mitú

“Some of the dishes are reinterpretations of dishes from [my restaurants] Kogi and Chego,” Choi said. “We made the Ooey-goey fries that came from Chego and instead of the fries we used Hot Cheeto puffs.”

He says they’ve tapped into the hottest food trend around – literally. Choi’s goal was to make the chips a core part of all the dishes. From pancakes made with Hot Cheeto batter to milkshakes with Cheeto dust on the rim.

“Everything about spiciness and challenges and everybody upping their game on things that is fairly new, and a lot of people have been using it, but they’re using it more as like a garnish. We tried to really look at it like, ‘How do we use it as the full ingredient?'” Choi explained.

From Hot Cheeto Fries to Hot Cheeto Milkshakes, it was everything a Cheeto fan could ask for.

CREDIT: credit: Javier Rojas / mitú

The menu had appetizers like Flamin’ Hot Elotes and Chipotle Hot Wings battered in Hot Cheetos that tasted just as good as they sound. If steak is your thing than the pop-up restaurant had you covered with the $32 Five-Alarm Cheetos Steak that was rib-eye steak with sprinkled Hot Cheeto seasoning salt on top. For desert, Choi created the “Hot” Chocolate Shake which was chocolate ice cream, raspberries and crushed Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Puffs on the rim.

There’s good news for people that didn’t get the chance to visit the restaurant as Choi said many of the menu items will live on as specials at his other restaurants.

“We already have such a huge fanbase with Kogi and Chego and I already know they love Hot Cheetos so I thought let me just make their late-night dreams come true,” Choi said. “That was the premise behind this all.”

The restaurant was fully decked out in Cheetos decor and style.

CREDIT: credit: Javier Rojas / mitú

“Everything about this restaurant from the artwork, the food and the menu is all because of the fans,” Choi said. “We wanted to create an experience like no other.”

The restaurant is a childhood dream come true for Choi who loves the spicy snack.

CREDIT: credit: Javier Rojas / mitú

Choi was raised in LA credits growing up in southern California played a big part in his cooking style because of the diversity. Many of his restaurants menu include Korean-Mexican food items that are inspired by LA’s Latino food culture.

“Everywhere I go in LA you’ll find someone that loves Hot Cheetos and they always ask me when am I gonna incorporate it into my menu, well here we are.” Choi said.

The Flamin’ Hot Spot is a dream come true for Choi and for all his past projects this one has a special place in his heart. “You know I’m from LA and this is what we eat.”


READ: Hot Cheetos Lovers Should Check Out These Delicious And Outrageous Recipes Using This Go-To Snack

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These 20 Coveted Candies Only Latinos Give Out Are Always Halloween Gold

food and drink

These 20 Coveted Candies Only Latinos Give Out Are Always Halloween Gold

Latinos own the dulce game. We have a sweet tooth like no other and it shows. Yes, I’m bragging how many ways we can make tamarindo taste like fruit of the gods.

This isn’t your average list of peanut butter cups and Milky Ways. These are candies that we eat all year round at our work desks, but that we once used to beg strangers house to house for. If you’re reading this, you’re on the other side, and it’s time for you to show up for those niños knocking on your door. Here’s that good good.

You know you hit the jackpot when you walk up to this house.

CREDIT: @kayyymo_ / Twitter

No question you’re excited about the Midnight Milky Ways and Nerds, but you already know that your mom is going to make you pick out all those midnights and Reese’s cups for herself. It’s how you pay her back for making you that costume.

This candy, though, you ration for months to come.

The mother of all candies: Pelon Pelo Rico

CREDIT: @theFlama / Twitter

It’s literally the candy that keeps on giving. You can (kinda) stop eating it and save it for later. Getting one of these is like getting 4 pieces of candy.

Chupa Chups are the most pedestrian.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. ChupaChupsUniverse. 28 September 2018.

I’m just telling it like it is. Every Latino house will have a bowl of Chupa Chups, but that won’t stop you from taking a handful every time.

Mazapan De La Rosa is like the eucharist.

CREDIT: @CristinaPerez11 / Twitter

It’s so sacred, it’s the most delicate candy anyone in the world could receive. If, by the end of the night, it was still intact, you could feel God’s presence. Be the person that gives out de la Rosa.

The best part of Paletas Payasos was whether he had a face.

CREDIT: @MitzySsal / Twitter

Half the time, his smile was where his unibrow should be and you just had to ask, “Are they even trying?” And then you ate the one of a kind chocolate lollipop and the sugar rush put your mouth where your unibrow should be.

Alfajores were the rare breed you never forgot.

CREDIT: @shadowsofshield / Twitter

Caramel stuffed galletas dipped in chocolate? You never forgot the family that gave those out and you always curtsied whenever you saw los reyes again.

We never noticed Duvalín was “bisabor.”

CREDIT: @moonbunny514 / Twitter

It’s the Spanglish queero in me that is shipping this candy in a whole new way. It’s literally just a container of Neapolitan frosting that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

Pulparindo was the Mexi fruit roll up of our generation.

CREDIT: @kittyvoncupcake / Twitter

The only fruit we eat is tamarindo. These days, they’re even making goth pulparindo. Your entire neighborhood reputation is riding on this. Choose wisely.

Vero Elotes just tickled your childhood imagination.

CREDIT: @amy_moreng / Twitter

It low key burned your mouth to eat so much tamarindo in one night, but it felt like health to eat candy in the shape of corn, so your mom just let you have at it.

Gansito’s were a luxury treat.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. MarinelaUSA. 28 September 2018.

These kids will grow up to become doctors and lawyers. Give them Gansitos and they’ll remember you for life, tu sabes? ; )

Leave it to Latinos to improve caramel candies with goats milk.

CREDIT: @lgn0rance / Twitter

Paletón de Cajeta Quemada are better than your abuelita’s toffees because of that lil goat right there. The cajeta makes it kid-friendly.

You always walked away with ~147 Tomy’s at the end of the night.

CREDIT: @cecilindro / Twitter

There are two kinds of people in this world. People who ate Tomy’s like popcorn or hoarded them Halloween night to use them as a key barter tool the next day at school.

The real mischievous neighbors put out Rockaleta “Diablo.”

CREDIT: @ashleyb8255 / Twitter

The chile will for real burn the roof of your mouth off. You pretty much only indulge in this candy when times are spooky and you want to try yourself.

Four layers of tamarind with a major chili flavored gum ball in the center is not for the faint of heart. Someone has to be the person that leaves these out for parents to monitor.

Vero Mangos will give you something sweet.

CREDIT: @vero.mango / Instagram

Instead of a fireball at the center of all the tamarind, you get that sweet, chewy mango. What’s it going to be? Neighborhood sweetheart or diablo?

Rebanaditas are for summer children.

CREDIT: @TrappM0neyBenny / Twitter

Literally it’s a vero mango but with a watermelon candy at the center. We’re basically just trained since children to never need our teeth.

Long Boys Coconut are just straight sugar tootsie rolls.

CREDIT: @Fleurdelis318 / Twitter

They’re probably not even Latino, but we’ve just adopted them as our own. Literally nobody else gives these out unless you live in a viejo only neighborhood. Context is crucial when deciding how to candy rep on Halloween night.

The most Mexi candy of all: Bandera de Coco

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Mexican Grocer. 28 September 2018.

You are reppin’ in a major way if you give out these shredded coconut and sugar candy. The Latino neighbors won’t even care that their kids will never come out of a sugar high.

You win the night if you give out Doña Pepa.

CREDIT: @VidaWithC / Twitter

If you even find Doña Pepa, please @ me. I haven’t had this chocolate bar in years and will personally shake your hand and steal your stash if you tell me.

If you’re in it to win over the parents, here’s a thought:

CREDIT: @teampuertoricoo / Twitter

The kids are going to roll their eyes every time they pass your house, but you’ll have instant family by Goya blood. This is political right here.

Just don’t be this person:

CREDIT: @AudreyPuente / Twitter

I mean, I applaud this person, truly. But rep that Latino sweet tooth like you were bred to.


READ: You Can’t Make It through this List of Mexican Candy Without Making Your Mouth Water

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