City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

The new cheese fritters at Pico Autentico

Courtesy of Pico Autentico, credit: Erin Gray

Courtesy of Pico Autentico, credit: Erin Gray

Last month, Andy Badgett and The Condiment Group closed Southern-inspired Relish Restaurant and in its place opened Pico Autentico, serving authentic Mexican fare.

Fans of Relish questioned the move, particularly in light of the national recognition it received for the fried black eyed peas (Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”) and pimento cheese fritters with five-pepper jelly (TLC’s “Best Food Ever”).

Locals also lamented the loss of items such as the Krispy Kreme bread pudding and the cucumber lemonade martini. Both of those items have found their way onto Pico Autentico’s menu, likely due to their popularity.

But what about those fritters? They have been reinvented for Pico Autentico’s menu using pepper-jack cheese, chorizo and roasted poblano peppers — with that same pepper jelly. While I wanted to give the new restaurant some time to settle in, I had to stop in to try the new cheese fritters. Pull one open and you will be rewarded with strings of melted cheese, bits of poblano and tiny dots of red grease, revealing the presence of the chorizo.

Now you can make them at home. Because The Condiment Group so readily shared the recipe for the cucumber lemonade martini, I tried one more time. I asked for the recipe for these new Queso Fundido Fritters and they were once again happy to share:

Bunuelos de Queso Fundido (Cheese Fritters with pepper-jack cheese, chorizo & roasted poblano)

credit: Jenny Turknett

credit: Jenny Turknett

Makes 24-28 fritters


  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 lb grated pepper-jack cheese
  • 8 oz cooked chorizo sausage
  • 4 oz roasted-poblano peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 c. buttermilk
  • 4 c. Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 c. pepper jelly
  • oil for frying


  • In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, pepper-jack cheese, chorizo, poblano and salt with a rubber spatula until combined. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.
  • Scoop tablespoon size pieces of cheese mixture and roll them into smooth balls.
  • Put the flour, buttermilk and panko breadcrumbs in three separate bowls.
  • To bread the fritters, place a ball of cheese in the flour and roll it until completely coated. Dust off the excess. Next, add the ball of cheese into the buttermilk and completely coat the cheese. Add it into the panko breadcrumbs and press the breadcrumbs into the cheese. Then repeat the buttermilk and panko breadcrumb steps (the balls of cheese needs to be completely coated or the cheese will leak out during frying). Continue with the fritters until all of them are breaded.
  • Chill for 1 hour.
  • Add 1 gallon of oil to a large pot. Place the pot over medium heat until a frying thermometer reaches 350 degrees. Fry 6 to 8 fritters at a time for about 3 – 4 minutes and they are golden brown in color. Continue frying until all of the fritters are cooked.
  • Serve the queso fundido fritters with the pepper jelly.

You can also check out the AJC’s First Look at Pico Autentico.

–by Jenny Turknett, Food & More blog

– Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team. She also publishes her own blog, Going Low Carb.

13 comments Add your comment

[...] more here: The new cheese fritters at Pico Autentico | Food and More with … Uncategorized atlanta, black-eyed, cheese-fritters, fried, kessler, kessler-discuss, loss, [...]


February 22nd, 2011
8:31 am


February 22nd, 2011
11:04 am

Love the new fritters. Though I was a super fan of the pimento cheese fritters, I like these even better. The addition of chorizo makes them my favorite item on Pico’s menu.


February 22nd, 2011
11:28 am

To quote the kids nowadays, “OMG” …

*quickly moving Pico to the top of my must go list*


February 22nd, 2011
11:39 am

Yeah, OMG! Thank you, Jenny! I cried when I heard Relish was closing.


February 22nd, 2011
1:23 pm

And just found out it’s National Margarita Day, so perhaps I’ll head on over tonight!

Jenny Turknett

February 22nd, 2011
1:35 pm

Kristen – I haven’t tried it, but a friend tells me the Hot Flash Margarita is good. Have fun!


February 23rd, 2011
9:21 am

Ok, went there last night. Quick overview – the new fritters are good, but IMO not as good as the pimento. El Gallo margarita was strong but a little sour for my taste, and at $9 a pop…meh. I got three tacos – carnitas, shrimp, and portobello. The shrimp were just ok – not great, not bad. The carnitas were dry, tough and flavorless, and the portobello and pico de gallo did not go well together and had a slimy texture. The corn tortillas they come in are extraordinarily heavy. The two sides I ordered, the creamed corn (esquites) and zucchini mix (calabacitas) were good. Overall, I would not go back. The food was just boring. There are plenty of Mexican/Tex-Mex places that blow Pico out of the water. And it’s nowhere near as good as Relish. :-(

OTP Foodie

February 23rd, 2011
1:29 pm

I loved Relish — still grieving. Surely there was a reason Andy decided to “make a run for the border”, but I have no interest in yet another Mex place. Let’s see: beef brisket, pork carnitas and fried tilapia in a tortilla. Where on earth can I find that? (Please note sarcasm.) I’ll eagerly wait for the next incarnation he comes up with and will beat a path to his door.


February 23rd, 2011
3:01 pm

Might have missed it somehow, but where is the recipe for the five pepper jelly?

Jenny Turknett

February 23rd, 2011
7:46 pm

Melanie – you’re right. The recipe for that isn’t included, but I agree that it is a necessary component. You could try a recipe for red pepper jelly or buy some pre-made. I’m sure you could find some at Whole Foods or Fresh Market.


February 24th, 2011
2:05 pm

I personally like these new fritters better than the others, but likely because of the addition of chorizo. I love chorizo. I enjoyed the Hot Flash margarita – the spicier the better for me. I’ve now been to Pico twice – the 1st time we had excellent service with a waiter who was knowledgable about the food & directed us to the best salsas. The second time was a busy weekend night visit. Our server was obviously trying very hard, but having trouble pulling it together. Both times I ordered the fritters and both times, those were the best things I ate. The tacos were just OK – seems like the meat, both barbacoa & carnitas, was screaming out for more seasoning. It was necessary to add salsa to get some flavor. Maybe the addition of tradtional Mexican toppings like onions & cilantro with a lime to squeeze (vs. pico & avocado cream) would help matters a bit. I would also love to see a chorizo taco option.


February 28th, 2011
11:32 am

great salsa and ok food. If you’re going close Relish and open Mexican, then you need to have bartenders that can make a margarita- not from a terrible mix, I could stay at home and do that! I live very close and would love to have a neighborhood mexican food that is a step or two above the usual. Had to wait for a table, but service was good on a Friday night.