Alberto's Flying Saucer - Santa Ana
Before you ask, I don't know why it is called "Flying Saucer". Frankly, I don't see the resemblance. I would argue, however, that there is no better name for it. Why? Well, I'll bet that from now on, you'll remember that I told you that it exists the next time you drive by an Alberto's, Alerto's or any of the Clone-ertos.
But as to where it came from? I welcome any guesses. And you can eliminate one popular theory right now: Alberto's hails from San Diego, not Roswell.
What I do know is that I would rather have a Flying Saucer than one of those slap-a-few-things-together-and-give-it-a-snazzy-title inventions that Taco Bell is infamous for.
Unlike Enchoritos, Meximelts and CrunchWrap Supremes, Flying Saucers seem like it came about organically, probably in a similar way that In-N-Out Animal Style burgers and Philippe's French Dip did -- by serendipitous accident.
But since it doesn't seem trademarked, every Alberto's derivative has its own version.
The common thread among them is the fried flour tortilla bowl. In the well, you will most likely have a closer encounter the following: soupy refried beans, slow-cooked shredded beef, wilted onions and bell peppers, grated cheese and chopped lettuce.
Another constant: When it comes Flying Saucers, time is of the essence. The crispiness of the tortilla has a tenuous existence, rapidly being soaked by the wetness to turn into the texture of limp noodle...which isn't necessarily bad, because this hybrid of a taco salad and rustic beef stew is even better when the weather is cold and rainy.
It's perfect when you are in need of something warm, wet, and sloppy. Just pick it up and eat in the privacy of your home, preferably with plenty of napkins.
Alberto's in Santa Ana makes a good one -- good because it's cheap ($4.99) and I need not travel light years to get one. Wherever you get yours, believe in The Flying Saucer. It's U.F.-Awesome.
Alberto's Mexican Food
1425 East Edinger Avenue
Santa Ana, CA 92705-4805
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