Monday, January 06, 2020

My Top 5 Favorite Restaurants: Alberta's - Tustin

To start the new year and a new chapter of Monster Munching, I am counting down my top five favorite restaurants in the next few posts. And when I say "favorite", I mean it. Over the last year, I ate at these restaurants more than I can count. In fact, not only are they in my regular rotation, I visited all five again within the last two weeks of 2019. So in alphabetical order, let's start the list with:


Back in the early nineties, the Alberto's empire stretched far and wide, built on the heavy-as-bricks burritos filled with nothing but carne asada steak and guacamole. Then something happened. The chain fractured into factions. Some Alberto's turned rogue, cleverly redubbing themselves as Albertito's, Alerto's, Rigoberto's, even Albatros, to avoid being sued by the original entity, but still getting the message across that the burritos haven't changed.

It's not clear whether Alberta's in Tustin is a defector or a copy-cat. The mascot they've chosen is a blonde chick who wears no trace of a sombrero. What I get at Alberta's are two things: the fish burritos when it's Lent and the half-order of the super nachos the rest of the year.

While other Alber-clones are content to serve anemic scraps that are more batter than meat in their fish burritos, Alberta's stuffs its torpedoes with flavorful, big nuggets of crisp-fried white fish all wrapped in a giant tortilla that can be used to tuck you in at night.

And the super nachos are always a decadent treat. Two weeks ago, we munched them as we wrapped gifts. It occured to me as I did that nachos are the perfect food with which to do so. I would argue that they are more Christmas-y than ham and stuffing.

Think about it: the triangular shape of the tortilla chips evoke a Christmas tree. The sour cream, the snow. The pico de gallo and guacamole, the red and green colors of the season. And the carne asada and refried, the reindeer and their...okay, maybe I need to work on that part of the metaphor.

765 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA 92780
(714) 838-8226


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