4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Tu Taco is flamin’ hot in Chula Vista

Taco shop has embraced the “dangerously cheesy” ways of a certain snack food

Flamin' Hot Rollies: beef rolled tacos topped by melted cheese, sour cream, and loads of crush Flamin' Hot Cheetos dust
Flamin' Hot Rollies: beef rolled tacos topped by melted cheese, sour cream, and loads of crush Flamin' Hot Cheetos dust

When a friend of mine started working as an eighth grade teacher, he reported a wave of addiction sweeping through his classroom. The kids, as he told it, were hooked on Flamin Hot Cheetos.

The red and spicy version of the crunchy corn puff snack was so common, he had to reinforce the classroom’s no-eating rule to include a no Cheetos clause. Still, whenever he turned his back to write on the chalkboard, he’d hear tell-tale crunching behind him. Not that the kids could ever get away with it. All he had to do to find the rule-breaker was ask for a show of hands. Cheeto’s dust, especially the flamin’ hot variety, sticks to the fingers, and there’s no way around it. Every day, he was catching Cheetos eaters red handed.

Place

Tu Taco Taco Shop

1419 Hilltop Drive Unit D, Chula Vista

Since he told me that story, I’ve noticed how widespread and unrelenting Flamin’ Hot Cheetos has become in America. Take a look in the munchies aisle of a grocery store, and you’ll usually find that Flamin’ Hot shelves outnumber the original flavor. The brand has added an Extra Flamin’ Hot flavor, and another boasting a hint of lemon. That red Flamin’ Hot powder has been applied to other munchie brands as well. Last week, I found a bag of Flamin’ Hot Funyuns.

If you’re part of the Flamin’ Hot fanbase, you doubtlessly know the phenomenon has seeped into the restaurant world, too. I’ve spotted Flamin’ Hot dust added to everything from fried chicken tenders to poke bowls. So, it wasn’t terribly surprising to learn that a local taco shop has gone full bore Flamin’ Hot.

Chula Vista's little Tu Taco Taco Shop, established 2016

The redundantly named Tu Taco Taco Shop might otherwise have remained somewhat anonymous since opening in 2016. Its small storefront sits in an unremarkable shopping strip on a relatively untrafficked road in south central Chula Vista. Mostly, its menu hewed pretty close to the taco shop standard: burritos, tacos, a few breakfast items, carne asada fries, and tortas.

But the idea to add Flamin’ Hot Cheeto dust to burritos in 2017 has proven so popular, there’s now a dedicated Flamin’ Hot menu. Photos of these red-dust coated items now cover the shop’s windows:, including Flamin’ Hot Fries, Flamin’ Hot Mozarella Sticks, and a Flamin’ Hot Torta. Inside, there’s a painting of the Cheetos mascot — Chester Cheetah — and a neon sign reading “Made by the hot Cheeto king.”

A mural of Chester Cheetah and and a Cheetos-centric neon sign decorate the shop's interior.

And when I walked into the place to pick up my own Flamin’ Hot Burrito ($8.99), I spotted a massive plastic bag in the kitchen, filled with dozens of party size Cheetos, to fuel this madness.

That Flamin’ Hot burrito that started it all is an interesting beast. It’s similar to a California burrito, being that it rolls up a pile of carne asada fries. It features a healthy dose of chipotle salsa. But instead of being wrapped in a basic flour tortilla, it’s actually rolled up inside a large quesadilla: two tortillas pressed together with a center of melted cheese and that signature red dust.

The Flamin Hot Burrito, wrapped in a Flamin' Hot Cheetos quesadilla

The burrito’s served chopped in half to show off the flamin’ hot red ring around its saucy interior. People have started visiting from around the county to taste (and Instagram) the thing. May have noticed the other Flamin’ Hot menu items tend to feature the red crumble a little better: for example, the fully red coated serving of rolled tacos, dubbed Rollies ($7.25).

What I’ve come to realize it that Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have always been Mexican food. The corn-based snack jibes with masa and chili spice, to the point that, even though my Rollies were coated with the stuff, they didn’t taste all that different from a spicy set of rolled tacos. Perhaps next time, I’ll gird my stomach for something stronger: the Flamin’ Hot chimichanga!

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Starfish Filipino Eatery brings something new to O.B.

Simple, satisfying, and fitting for that beachy vibe
Next Article

T.S. Eliot’s “The Burial of the Dead” Part I of The Waste Land

One of the most important poets of the 20th century
Flamin' Hot Rollies: beef rolled tacos topped by melted cheese, sour cream, and loads of crush Flamin' Hot Cheetos dust
Flamin' Hot Rollies: beef rolled tacos topped by melted cheese, sour cream, and loads of crush Flamin' Hot Cheetos dust

When a friend of mine started working as an eighth grade teacher, he reported a wave of addiction sweeping through his classroom. The kids, as he told it, were hooked on Flamin Hot Cheetos.

The red and spicy version of the crunchy corn puff snack was so common, he had to reinforce the classroom’s no-eating rule to include a no Cheetos clause. Still, whenever he turned his back to write on the chalkboard, he’d hear tell-tale crunching behind him. Not that the kids could ever get away with it. All he had to do to find the rule-breaker was ask for a show of hands. Cheeto’s dust, especially the flamin’ hot variety, sticks to the fingers, and there’s no way around it. Every day, he was catching Cheetos eaters red handed.

Place

Tu Taco Taco Shop

1419 Hilltop Drive Unit D, Chula Vista

Since he told me that story, I’ve noticed how widespread and unrelenting Flamin’ Hot Cheetos has become in America. Take a look in the munchies aisle of a grocery store, and you’ll usually find that Flamin’ Hot shelves outnumber the original flavor. The brand has added an Extra Flamin’ Hot flavor, and another boasting a hint of lemon. That red Flamin’ Hot powder has been applied to other munchie brands as well. Last week, I found a bag of Flamin’ Hot Funyuns.

If you’re part of the Flamin’ Hot fanbase, you doubtlessly know the phenomenon has seeped into the restaurant world, too. I’ve spotted Flamin’ Hot dust added to everything from fried chicken tenders to poke bowls. So, it wasn’t terribly surprising to learn that a local taco shop has gone full bore Flamin’ Hot.

Chula Vista's little Tu Taco Taco Shop, established 2016

The redundantly named Tu Taco Taco Shop might otherwise have remained somewhat anonymous since opening in 2016. Its small storefront sits in an unremarkable shopping strip on a relatively untrafficked road in south central Chula Vista. Mostly, its menu hewed pretty close to the taco shop standard: burritos, tacos, a few breakfast items, carne asada fries, and tortas.

But the idea to add Flamin’ Hot Cheeto dust to burritos in 2017 has proven so popular, there’s now a dedicated Flamin’ Hot menu. Photos of these red-dust coated items now cover the shop’s windows:, including Flamin’ Hot Fries, Flamin’ Hot Mozarella Sticks, and a Flamin’ Hot Torta. Inside, there’s a painting of the Cheetos mascot — Chester Cheetah — and a neon sign reading “Made by the hot Cheeto king.”

A mural of Chester Cheetah and and a Cheetos-centric neon sign decorate the shop's interior.

And when I walked into the place to pick up my own Flamin’ Hot Burrito ($8.99), I spotted a massive plastic bag in the kitchen, filled with dozens of party size Cheetos, to fuel this madness.

That Flamin’ Hot burrito that started it all is an interesting beast. It’s similar to a California burrito, being that it rolls up a pile of carne asada fries. It features a healthy dose of chipotle salsa. But instead of being wrapped in a basic flour tortilla, it’s actually rolled up inside a large quesadilla: two tortillas pressed together with a center of melted cheese and that signature red dust.

The Flamin Hot Burrito, wrapped in a Flamin' Hot Cheetos quesadilla

The burrito’s served chopped in half to show off the flamin’ hot red ring around its saucy interior. People have started visiting from around the county to taste (and Instagram) the thing. May have noticed the other Flamin’ Hot menu items tend to feature the red crumble a little better: for example, the fully red coated serving of rolled tacos, dubbed Rollies ($7.25).

What I’ve come to realize it that Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have always been Mexican food. The corn-based snack jibes with masa and chili spice, to the point that, even though my Rollies were coated with the stuff, they didn’t taste all that different from a spicy set of rolled tacos. Perhaps next time, I’ll gird my stomach for something stronger: the Flamin’ Hot chimichanga!

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Godzilla vs. Kong: monstrous

This isn’t a movie, it’s a product strung together off the backs of merchandise that came before it.
Next Article

For San Diego, it's swellmatrix.com

I like solid surf but I’m not a big-wave guy
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close