Plenty of bars worth their salt (get it?!) can hook up a popcorn machine in some corner and call it a day, but that's not really Melinda Vaca's style. Make Westing's chef has managed to create one of the best and most ambitious bar-food menus in the East Bay out of a tiny kitchen and limited staff, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that even the popcorn is heads and shoulders above your standard bar popcorn. Vaca infuses this one with cilantro and habanero and then coats it — with, as usual, a touch that's both deft and delicate — in lime butter, Cotija cheese, and Aleppo peppers for a citrusy-salty-spicy snack that'll make you forget Orville Redenbacher ever existed. Best of all: A heaping basket of the stuff will set you back a mere $3.
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