Thursday, February 23, 2012

Alberto's Chicken Nachos - Santa Ana

What you see above is a meal I eat weekly, but especially on the weekends when the Alberto's in Santa Ana offers a complimentary soda when you order this or any other form of solid food. In truth, I'd buy it even without the free drink. It is the half-carne asada nachos and it has everything I need: something crunchy, something creamy, something meaty, something cheesy, and something, um, guacamole-y.

But as they say, variety is the spice of life, so sometimes I get adventurous. Sometimes I order the CHICKEN nachos. Yes. The chicken nachos. It is an off menu item, not unlike In-N-Out's Animal anything.

It is what you think it is: they simply substitute the carne asada with the slow-cooked chicken they usually put on the enchiladas de pollo. What results is a different dish altogether. First of all, it feels immediately healthier, though really, it's not.

It's all about the character of the chicken, which is so soft it can be spooned up like soup, and flavored just with a tinge of that seeped-in spicy simmering sauce. The meat does a Spock mind-meld thing with the rest of the components, combining into a wondrous slop that's more appropriate for a fork than fingers.

No, it won't be a replacement of the carne asada for me. But it is yet another good variation of a bastardized dish that, according to legend, has its origins in the border town of Piedras Negras where it was purportedly invented by a man named Ignacio in the 1940s.

What would the supposed inventor think of his dish now? I dunno, but if I were him I'd demand some royalties.

1425 E Edinger Ave
Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 834-9680

Mozambique Peri Peri - Newport Beach


At 8:24 AM, Blogger Lin said...

Yum! I've been to many 'Alberto's' restaurants but never the one in Santa Ana. Those chicken nachos look SO good, btw.

At 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are all Alberto's the same? I've never been, but have always been curious.

At 11:36 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Best time to go to the one in Santa Ana is the weekend! Free soda! Otherwise, these chicken nachos can be done at every Clone-ertos, I believe.


All of the Clone-ertos (as we like to call it) are similar, but there are some differences. A few are subtle, like how they fry the chips (greasy or not); a few are substantial (is the meat gristly or tender).

This Alberto's I would grade at about a B in terms of the carne asada quality. Alerto's (that's not a misspelling on my part) in Westminster seems to use slightly higher grade beef.

Price is pretty much all the same though.

But this one has free soda on weekends (yes, not that important, but's the little differences that count).

At 11:59 AM, Anonymous amourra said...

Dang! Those carne asada nachos look so good. I am a chicken snob. I only eat white meat chicken.

do you know if they also offer free horchata? Love horchata!

At 12:24 PM, Blogger Julie Nguyen said...

Every week? I admire your metabolism.

At 11:36 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Before I read the fine print, which says "Free soda with any purchase on the weekend", I actually asked for a free horchata and got it. I only realized later that it said "soda", and have never got the nerve to ask the cashier for horchata since then. That first time, I think she was being nice...but the horchata could also very well have been covered this whole time!


If only my metabolism worked harder to earn your admiration!

At 4:14 AM, Anonymous Ron said...

O gosh! I love going to Alberto's and getting as much cheese and meat as possible. I know it's bad, but there's no rule on eating out with me. The Carne Asada fries is a party favorite. When it's boring saturday night, go to Alberto's and get some fries.. or nachos!

At 12:37 AM, Blogger EatTravelEat said...

I have to say that I'm amazed too! The last time I've had nachos was a very long time ago.

My impressive feat would be eating burritos from Chipotle for two meals in one day; that actually happened this weekend.

At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never had the nachos I wish I had it before I left Ca.


At 10:43 AM, Anonymous California Callie said...

I love Nachos. I'm definitely going to have to give this one a try. Simple, easy, and satisfying.

At 2:49 PM, Blogger Edlyn34 said...

My mom loves the Carne asada nachos, she likes them especially on weekends when she refuses to cook, supposedly their her "days off"

But you should try the California Burrito! Its seriously so good! everything you could want in a burrito: carne asada, fries, lots of cheese, and sour cream. Seriously you have to try it.


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