I have said it once and I'll say it again...
Considering the Filipino taste/palate, I never THOUGHT that Pollo Loco would be popular with my countrymen.
Well for one, there's no gravy. What you get is just a chicken "inasal" which you will dip not in toyo but in a tomato salsa that could be spicy or regular (your choice). If you're going for the usual, you might opt for catsup. Another issue I have is their carb selection... They don't have garlic rice? What gives? What they give me is this yellowish lackluster-paella that does not even taste like java rice. If I am a diet and lazy at the same time, I could just wrap everything in a tortilla. B-but... that's Mexican and it could get a bit complicated.
I have all these complaints and questions but still I am faced with this reality.
El Pollo Loco captured the taste of hungry Filipinos and I am one of them.
I remember that in the mid-90's they opened their main branch in SM Megamall and my family got smitten with it. My Dad even declared that Wednesday was pollo loco day. Such wonderful memories of having a simple feast with my family and fighting over who gets the last tortilla!
And I'm getting sentimental that I get to pass it on to my own boys! But the best thing here is, NOBODY likes tortillas and spicy salsa. So all for me! :)
When I say EL POLLO LOCO I do it in my best mexican accent reminiscient of... Speedy Gonzales... tee hee!
The great thing about Pollo Loco is they have several options for a variety of appetites. For tonight, we were not THAT hungry so we just opted for the 4-piece chicken combo (P350) which came with 2 Large Sides, 4 pcs. Tortillas, and 2 Salsas. I just ordered an extra serving of their rice for my baby Andrei.
If you don't really feel like having add-ons, then just have their chicken. A 4-piece order would only get you for P275.
But add ons or not, your mouth will surely water upon smelling the wonderful aroma of freshly grilled chicken! And just by the looks of it, everything already seems crispy and juicy where it should be.
Like I said this was their pale "paella" like Spanish rice. But the mild flavors compliment the chicken believe me. And if you feel like adding an extra layer of enjoyment in your carbs, spoon over some chili salsa on it. It will certainly give that extra zing!
My baby Andrei was behaved all through out our SM Mega hunting spree for Mati's assignment of a musical toot for his class. So my Andrei also got a flute! I'm sure we will have a musical night later on if he does not break it first.
My husband was in the mood to munch on something crunchy that night and ordered a plate of their nachos (P40). It's not really the authentic nachos that we are used to in other Mexican restaurants but this will do. It's simply their leftover tortillas (me guessin') chopped into triangles and fried to a crisp. This is just so addicting especially with their watery cheesy sauce!
If my hub got some nachos, I got some potato salad! It may sound weird but since my Dad always put this in his chicken tortilla before at pollo loco, I would too! You have got to try it before judging me! he he he
My boys were now ready to attack!
I loved their salsa because it adds that little sour bite to the tortilla or to the rice. I always request extra orders of it also with chili!
Want to know how I make my Pollo Loco tortilla? Here's my TORTILLA 101!
First get a tortilla and spoon over your choice of carbs... Mine would be their rice.
Then, add strips of your Pollo Loco chicken! Usually I would get the white meat for this task since it is my most hated part of the chicken. But you wouldn't notice whatever chicken part you get because it will be drowned out by the goodness of your whole tortilla!
I then add my salsa... Chili of course!
A few drops of hot sauce would give your tortilla a mean but yummy punch!
Ain't that just pretty? I would also add teaspoonfuls of potato salad and corn for a more heaping tortilla!
You roll it up and eat it like a boss!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm glad my son enjoyed his meal even if his plate is not as colorful as the adults would normally have. He was already happy with just plain chicken and rice... No salsa... no catsup... nada.
Andrei preferred having some nachos on his plate pa.
... and they're proud of it!
Midway through the meal, he lost interest in eating then started playing with his hands. Hopefully he will be able to finish next year.
Yup... this is mah plate!
As usual, my husband eats everything in sight at warp speed!
While Andrei is still chewing the spoonful he put in his mouth an hour ago. Ha ha ha ha!
... and what's chicken without corn?
I asked myself the same question then threw that mean cob on my plate.
My Andrei insisted that he was full already and started showing his ultra flat belly. ha ha ha ha!
But that means I would have to eat his leftovers. As if my plate is not heaping enough already.
Oh well... We just ordered some dessert to sweeten the load in our tummies. Yub got a fruit cocktail salad. This was just your usual fruits with cream. Nothing really spectacular but very edible.
Same goes for their leche flan. It seemed like airline food to me.
Good thing their chicken is very good so this (waving hands at the dessert) is forgivable. :)
At first I thought the reason why El Pollo Loco clicked with Filipinos is because it was a home grown attempt at something different. When I went to the US, early 2000, it was the only time that I discovered that the restaurant was a franchise.
Up to now I may still be surprised with the popularity of this restaurant in the country. But I have stopped my questioning because the answer is just plain and simple. Food was very good and still very pocket worthy. It's a perfect combination to have a fun night out with the family... every Wednesdays maybe or even "Everydays" :)
El Pollo Loco
G/F SM Megamall-Bldg A, Dona Julia Vargas Ave
Wack Wack, Mandaluyong