Last plug for our food blog, Stick a Fork in It. Screw Urban Spoon, Yelp, Chowhound and the other foodie aggregators with OC audiences: Between Edwin and I, we cover the waterfront of Orange County food, from Mothers Market’s lackluster opening in Santa Ana to multiple restaurant specials to soothe you in these trying times. Also, look for contests! Now, back to your regularly scheduled program . . .
Armenians are the masters of rotisserie chicken; Mexicans do a damn-good job of it as well. But what to make of POLLO DE ORO in Fullerton? It’s a dive catering to Mexicans through bilingual signs, and its location is in a barrio, but the owner is Asian, and Celestials don’t particularly obsess over the art of twirling a hen over an open flame. Then again, the nice man might very well hail from Peru, where pollo a la brasa holds the same place in the country’s pantheon as Machu Picchu. Whatever—I don’t bother myself with those questions when I visit; I just gobble.
Behold a rotisserie chicken worthy of Zankou’s: crispy skin that, once penetrated, releases steam from the soft flesh within. A small pool of melted butter also spills forth, so make sure to tear apart the chicken with caution. Spoon through the meal with the spork provided by the owners (if you need a knife, you must request it, for some bizarre reason). Pollo de Oro’s chickens have the best rotisserie skin in Orange County—slightly fatty, sweet, not burnt to the blackness of carbon but like perfectly toasted bread. The cooks can chop up the chicken and transform it into a burrito, bowl or tacos, but I enjoy it off the spit, the skin intact and ready for my dissection. Half a chicken costs a bit more than five bucks, but don’t be a cheapskate: spring for the special—beans, rice that’s more fried than Mexican-style, potato salad, five tortillas and a medium drink, all for $6.99 after taxes.
What stops me from anointing Pollo de Oro as the best rotisserie chicken in the county is the accompanying condiment—sure, their spicy pico de gallo acts as a great counterpoint to the hen, but it would cower under a properly prepared Armenian garlic sauce. However, I did enjoy the lime wedge that came with the chicken—spray the citrus juice all over, and enjoy life as your taste buds shift into overdrive. Get napkins—lots of them.