A previous Flamin’ Hot Cheetos pop-up called The Spotted Cheetah, helmed by chef Anne Burrell, opened up in New York City last year. But this year’s LA locale, Flamin’ Hot Spot, has a menu created by chef Roy Choi, famous for his Korean taco truck Kogi and a line of scrumptious Korean sauces and spices at Williams-Sonoma. We had to see what he would do to transform everyone’s favorite gas-station snack into haute cuisine (especially after seeing how well Flamin’ Hot Cheetos work in Sprinkles cupcakes), so we went to the opening night of the pop-up.

Though you might not get a chance to eat at the restaurant (It’s only open September 19-20 and reservations filled up just 30 minutes after they went live), you can read up on our experience and learn some *very* clever ways to incorporate Cheetos into your everyday cooking. Plus, if you feel compelled, recreate some of the menu items at home (see all the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos recipes here). Read on for spicy-cheese-dusted splendor.

Chester the Cheetah

As soon as we walked in, our eyes didn’t know what to focus on first: the faux wall of fire, leopard print wallpaper, a portrait of Chester Cheetah himself, or the framed bags of Cheetos on the wall. While classic Los Angeles fare may call to mind avocados, sprouts, and locally grown everything, The Flamin’ Hot Spot’s menu looks a little different.

Highlights from the menu include The Flamin’ Hot Fries (pictured left), a mix of toasted Cheetos Cheese Puffs and Cheetos Flamin Hot Puffs, topped with melted cheddar and jack cheese, then topped with a sour cream sambal sauce and garnished with sesame seeds and cilantro. The Cheetos hold up under all that melted cheese and creamy sauce, so each bite is a mix of crunchy, fiery Cheetos, gooey cheese, and cooling sauce. Try this at home by making nachos with Cheetos instead of tortilla chips. The little toasted bits of Cheetos are to-die-for.

You should also experiment with coating meatballs in Cheetos dust as showcased in the Cheetos Sweet N’ Spicy Chili Meatballs. A blend of beef and pork are dusted with Cheetos Crunchy Xxtra Flamin’ Hot and served with a sweet chili sauce. Even though they have such a bold flavor, the Cheetos don’t overwhelm the plate. It’s a shockingly harmonious dish with the chili sauce adding the right amount of sweetness to balance out the spice.

Cheetos Flamin' Hot Spot Steak

Next up, the Five Alarm Steak. The Cheetos-crusted rib-eye steak is served on a flaming platter, along with cheesy rice and jalapeños. It’s rich and savory and strangely enough doesn’t actually taste like Cheetos. Chef Choi proved to be a master at making the Cheetos work with other ingredients to make complete dishes, rather than just letting them overpower everything in the name of branding. We’re sharing the recipe for the dinner party-worthy rib-eye below, so stock up on Cheetos and beef and get ready for a meal you won’t soon forget (just keep the Tums handy for your post-dinner relief… trust us).

Five-Alarm Cheetos Steak

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 8 1/2 ounces crushed Cheetos Cheddar Jalapeño Crunchy
  • 4 (8-ounce) rib-eye steaks
  • high-heat oil, for drizzling
  • unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces crushed Cheetos Cheese Puffs
  • a few whole jalapeños, grilled

Instructions:

  1. Mix together salt, pepper, and 1 cup of crushed Cheddar Jalapeño Cheetos in a small bowl.
  2. Season the steaks on both sides by drizzling with oil and showering with the salt, pepper, and crushed Cheetos mixture.
  3. Grill on a hot open flame until medium rare, about 4 minutes on each side.
  4. Mix the butter with a pinch of crushed Cheddar Jalapeño and Cheese Puffs to make it extra Dangerously Cheesy®.
  5. Lather butter on top of the steaks, and add more of the seasoning.
  6. Serve with sliced, grilled jalapeños on the side.

Cheesy Cheetos Rice

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups uncooked Calrose rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups of crushed Cheetos Cheese Puffs
  • 1 cup of pasteurized cheese (think nacho cheese)
  • Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Crunchy, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions.
  2. Mix the steamed rice with butter, crushed Puffs, and pasteurized cheese.
  3. Garnish with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Crunchy.
  4. Serve on the side of the steaks.

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(Photos via Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Frito-Lay North America, Justina Huddleston / Brit + Co, and Frito-Lay North America; recipe via Roy Choi for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos)