Dining With Denise Neil

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are the star of weird new Wichita dishes

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are trouble all on their own.

They’re an unholy orange-pink hue. They turn your fingers into wands of fire. You need several liters of water nearby while you snack. And they’re inexplicably addictive.

Add them to a plate of already fabulous Mexican food, and things get interesting.

Recently, I was alerted by Reverie Coffee Roasters owner Andrew Gough about a crazy new dish at Lina’s Mexican Restaurant, 4910 E. Central. Inspired by a (flamin’) hot new trend in California that customers were asking about, the owners decided to begin offering Hot Cheetos Fries. I had to try them.

Hot Cheetos are a thing in my house. My 12-year-old daughter, who rejects all spicy food I serve her, is somehow crazy about Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and craves them above all other snacks. If I make the mistake of stealing one from her bag, I have a hard time stopping.

Lina’s Hot Cheetos Fries start with a plate of the restaurant’s crinkle-cut french fries. They top them much like they top their amazing carne asada fries – with chopped steak, nacho cheese, shredded cheese and guacamole. As a final touch, they pour a whole bunch of Hot Cheetos over the top.

The result is whooooooo-eeeeeee. The Cheetos add a nice crunch, and somehow, the rest of the ingredients tame the spice a bit. I loved them.

Andrew did not mention when he tipped me off that Lina’s is also selling a Hot Cheetos Burrito, which they make by stuffing one of their giant flour tortillas with all the toppings from the fries, including the Cheetos. Its huge and crunchy and wonderful.

The Hot Cheetos fries cost $8.99, and the burrito is $6.99. They’re available only at the Lina’s on East Central.

One word of warning: Don’t over-order. The fries are big enough to be shared (so is the burrito, actually) and they do NOT travel well. I brought my leftovers back for my co-workers to sample, but the Cheetos dissolved into unappetizing pink glop within the hour.

Lina's, by the way, is not the only Wichita eatery experimenting with Hot Cheetos. Food truck Funky Monkey Munchies has them on several dishes on their menu, including its Chicano tots, made with nacho cheese, carne asada, pico de gallo, guacamole, Mexican crema and Hot Cheetos, and its Elote de Cheetos, a Mexican corn cup topped with butter, mayo and Parmesan cheese then sprinkles with Hot Cheetos.

 

Any other restaurants on this Hot Cheetos kick I should know about?

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