Sunday, February 07, 2010

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
(714) 834-9680
1425 East Edinger Avenue
Santa Ana, CA 92705-4805

Xanh Bistro - Fountain Valley


At 12:03 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

As a frequent passenger of the flying saucer during my high school days, I forgot that time was of the essence when eating these or that they evolved from San Diego chains. Now I'm off in search of one during my lunch break.

At 12:24 PM, Blogger BreworFerment said...

Midnight runs to Alberto's were a pretty common thing in college. Quality dive Mexican open 24 hours? MMmmm

At 12:25 PM, Blogger DanGarion said...

Yum, that looks good. I wish there was a Alberto's /clone near me in Orange, but I don't really know of any within 2-3 miles of Tustin and Chapman. :(

At 3:50 AM, Blogger Juliet said...

I believe that my sister went to Alberto's in Santa Ana when she was there for work last year. But I don't think she got a flying saucer. I would have remembered that name!

I actually don't mind when tortillas get soggy. IN fact, just the other day, I was enjoying nachos that had gotten limp with cheese.

By the way, I actually updated my food blog again in a fairly timely manner!

At 10:14 AM, Blogger imjustatree said...

wow this looks great. i want to plan a santa ana taco crawl soon, and perhaps this will be good place to end!

At 8:32 PM, Blogger mark said...


ElmoMonster. You're a genius.

At 6:45 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


I, too, was a Flying Saucer frequent flyer during high school. Ah those halcyon days of yore, where I could eat three of these and never have to worry where the fat went.


Yes! This stuff is great tasting both in rainy weather *AND* late at night...I wonder how well it would taste in rainy


I think this one in Santa Ana might be closest to you. But then I haven't searched for the variants in your neck of the woods. There might be a Clone-ertos somewhere lurking.


Amen! In this dish, the flour tortillas are especially pleasant when soggy. It reminds me of those fried egg noodles that Americanized places have you put into the hot and sour soup.


They also make a mean carne asadas sure to order the 1/2 order though. The full order is a rip off...the same amount for almost twice the price.


Nah...not a genius. Just had that knocking around in the noggin' and decided to spit it out. Now there's nothing else in there! HAHA!

At 7:34 AM, Blogger Bill said...

That does look great in my stomach

At 10:23 AM, Blogger Ben Penman said...

I am glad we have the same taste buds. Anytime I want something to eat, all I have to do is check out your blog. We must be neighbors, because we eat at all the same places. I am actually amazed that I reviewed this place before you blogged about it. That never happens!

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous eaterdeltustin said...

how funny...I just did a midnight run to this Alberto's for the first time in a long time...I usually order my usual, but I wish I had seen this before...looks good.

At 5:16 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


It feels even better in there!


Ain't it great that we have this Alberto's? I've been going to it since it became one a few years ago. Alberta's on El Camino Real is good, but I think this one's better.


Flying saucers would be extra delicious at midnight. Hold the hot sauce though...hearburn not so good when you're trying to sleep.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Exile Kiss said...

Hi elmomonster,

Nice review! :) Very interesting Flying Saucer dish; I'm going to have to remember trying this the next time I'm visiting some friends in the area. Thanks.

At 4:11 PM, Anonymous virginia said...

When will you review the new OC Food Truck Barcelona on the Go? They have amazing authentic Spanish food at really great prices! Also, where's your twitter? I'm shocked I'm not following you and I can't find you.

At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Rod - San Diego said...

I've been eating beef flying saucers for years here in SD and it's still one of my favorites.

At 4:40 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


I'm bettin' there are flying saucers near you too!


I'm looking forward to trying Barcelona On The Go, but these food trucks are too slippery to catch for me. It seems like I have to be lucky to find them when I'm not working.

And no Twitter for me. I don't have that much to say that would be of interest other than what I manage to plonk out here.


I almost love them as much as carne asada nachos...I definitely like them over carne asada burritos!

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Tanya Breese said...

oh how funny, i was just googling a flying saucer recipe and came across this! oh how i miss the clone-ertos...have to resort to making my own taco shop food...san diego native transplanted in virginia and really missing good mex food!! great blog!


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