Editor's note: This corrects the caption's information about the amount of money donated.
COSTA MESA — Z'Tejas Southwestern Grill might be better known for serving up Tex-Mex meals, but on Wednesday the South Coast Plaza restaurant kicked up its spice to a different level with "Chile Fest, the Ultimate Mixer."
Inspired by New Mexico's appreciation of the chili pepper, every year Z'Tejas combines its special Chile Fest menu with a benefit for local charities, donating a portion of the proceeds to the organizations. This year, four were chosen: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Alzheimer's Assn., Beckstrand Cancer Foundation and the Friendly Center.
The charitable promotion began with a bartending competition, the Ultimate Mixer portion of the event, where representatives from each organization created a chili-infused cocktail.
There were no professionals at the bar, though the amateur mixologists had interesting backgrounds.
Matt Rogers, a season three finalist on "American Idol" and current host of Discovery Channel's "There Goes the Neighborhood," made it out to the Ultimate Mixer to cook up his arbol chili-infused vodka creation. The bright martini had Cointreau, sweet and sour mix, orange juice and the vodka infusion.