I remember El Pollo Loco when it existed only in Mexican neighborhoods, decades before it became the conglomerate-owned chain it is. And its quality, surprisingly, hasn't gone down much over the years: you can still order the same basic, charbroiled chicken drenched in lime juice, skin blackened rather well, that you could order back when Mexicans in Orange County stuck to SanTana, Anaheim, parts of Fullerton and Placentia, and most of Stanton and La Habra.
What I haven't liked about its chain status over the years is its loss of focus on, you know, the chicken. They've introduced beef tacos and chicken sandwiches, and while they didn't inspire vomiting, people go to El Pollo Loco for the same reason they haunt Zankou's: THE CHICKEN. So make what you will of the Costa Mesa-based chain's announcement that they will now sell a carne asada plate.
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(which covers the country's fast-food chains) will offer a carne
asada plate, a "mixed grill" plate (really, just carne asada and the chicken), and chicken tamales. And trade magazines being trade magazines, the report breathlessly states that the company will "will communicate these offers through a broad mix of interior and exterior point-of-purchase vehicles including window clings, translites, and drive-thru signage."
Um, okay. Just don't lose the Orange Bang!