Culture

San Diego Claims To Be The Home Of Carne Asada Fries But Tacos Arrachera In Mexico Prove A Longer History South Of The Border

Ok, so let’s be real. Everybody loves fries. They’re literally the greatest way you can eat potatoes and they happen to come in an endless rainbow of options.

But we all know the clear winner of the perfect vessel for eating fries are carne asada fries. Obviously.

But there’s lot you might know about the bomb dish so we’re here to give you a little master class while sharing pictures of amazing carne asada fries that will have you out the door or on your Uber Eats app in no time.

First off, many people think carne asada fries are specifically from Southern California.

That’s not exactly true. Sure there are several restaurants in San Diego that claim to have invented the magical dish but Mexicans have been putting papas with grilled meats for a looooong time.

But that’s not exactly true. Case in point the taco arrachera:

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

You can find this classic taco combination all over Mexico, especially at farmer’s markets called tianguis.

These humble tacos are proof that meats and papas belong together and they’ve been together long before San Diego started claiming asada fries as their own.

Now that we’ve cleared that up let’s get to the actual asada fries.

Credit: plantbasedfatkid / Instagram

Carne asada fries are a local specialty found on the menus of restaurants all across Southern California and now even in Arizona and other states wth large Latino communities. As I mentoned above, restaurants in San Diego claim to have created the dish so it’s especially popular there.

And since we’re keeping things real, carne asada fries (at least not Cali-style ones) aren’t exactly authentic Mexican food – so you won’t typically find them on menus at traditional Mexican restaurants.

The Cali-style asada fries that everyone loves is said to have originated at Lolita’s Taco Shop in San Diego.

Credit: LolitasTacoShop / Instagram

Lolita’s Mexican Food in San Diego claims to have originated the dish in the late 1990s, inspired by a suggestion from their tortilla distributor.

And now you can find them all over Southern California.

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The dish is also served at Petco Park and Dodger Stadium. By 2015, fast food chain Del Taco began to sell the item. It’s safe to say they’re pretty much every where and we couldn’t be more thankful.

But for those people who are totally clueless, what exactly are carne asada fries?

Credit: plantbasedfatkid / Instagram

They’re some of the most tasty fries you’ll ever eat. Plain and simple.

First, they start off with a generous portion of amazing potatoes topped with perfectly grilled meats.

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Typically, the fries are of the shoestring variety, but other cuts may be used, as well. The carne asada is usually finely chopped to avoid the need for a knife so you eat them as they’re supposed to be enjoyed – with greasy, dirty fingers.

In many places, especially in San Diego and LA, they’ll then get topped with a giant portion of beans and cheese.

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The cheese is commonly cotija, although many placesuse a less-costly shredded cheese mix which melts with the other ingredients and keeps longer.

They’re then finished off with some sour cream and guac, thus creating an explosion of flavor.

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Carne asada fries have a devout following on Twitter. Like some people just can’t help themselves.

Credit: @purpsnat / Twitter

I mean lay it all out there girl. Now’s not the time for vergüenza.

And for some, they rather have carne asada fries in their belly than intimate human contact.

Credit: wcarrillo_13 / Twitter

I’m pretty sure we can all relate. Like I know I’ve been there.

Like you know a food is amazing when people take to Twitter to share their carne asada fries fan art.

Credit: @strayserval / Twitter

This. is. everything.

And although the original carne asada fries are literally life, there’s nothing wrong with experimentation.

We all know about carne asada fries. However, for all of you sweet vegetarians, use Hot Cheetos to change things up. Instead of using meat, this snack add another layer to the very popular french fries dish. You really can’t go wrong with fried potatoes, cheese, sour cream and Hot Cheetos.

READ: 15 Carne Asada Recipes That Will Have You Drooling Before The End Of This Post

Popeyes Just Made A Pretty Big Announcement About Their Most Coveted Item On The Menu

Culture

Popeyes Just Made A Pretty Big Announcement About Their Most Coveted Item On The Menu

After debuting on August 12th of this year, the Popeyes Crispy Chicken Sandwich—now widely known as, simply, The Sandwich—sold out in just two weeks, creating a frenzy among fans and employees (both online and IRL). For weeks, the drama borne of the viral phenomenon sizzled on screens everywhere, and the initial buzz about The Sandwich has barely had time to die down. 

However, after a few months’ hiatus, we are overjoyed to announce that The Sandwich will return to 150 Popeyes menus next month.

Twitter

According to Guillermo Perales, the CEO of Sun Holdings, Inc. (a franchisee that operates hundreds of Popeyes, Golden Corrals, and several other well-known brands), Popeyes will likely add two new employees per store, just to keep up with the mania around the return of The Sandwich. Overall, this means that roughly 400 more staff members will be added to the Popeyes payroll, all in order to meet this very specific, very spicy demand.

Felipe Athayde, president of Popeyes for the US market, said, “We had very aggressively forecast the demand, and we thought we wouldn’t have any problems at all, at least until the end of September.” Much to his surprise, the chain had sold out of that original inventory in just two weeks.

“The first time, they weren’t ready,” said Perales. Well, Guillermo, the world wasn’t ready, either.

It’s not hyperbolic to say that Twitter exploded with the first wave of Crispy Chicken Sandwich hype. 

Twitter

Popeyes and Chik-fil-A tweeted back and forth at length, the latter throwing shade about the notion that their signature sandwich—strikingly similar to Popeye’s, sans mayo—was superior. (Chik-fil-A also claims to have literally created the chicken sandwich, which is utterly incorrect; more on that below.) To catch up on this “conversation,” you can peep (no pun intended) the following hashtags: #ChickenWars, #ChickenSandwichWars, and #ChickenSandwichTwitter.

Of course, this exchange led to ample discussion about which sandwich actually did have the superior flavor; but the discourse quickly evolved to cover topics such as Chik-fil-A’s controversial politics, factory farming, and inhumane labor practices (including the exploitation of Popeyes’ own employees, many of whom were working 60-hour weeks at the time). Meanwhile, the #ChickenWars garnered so much attention that Popeyes and Chik-fil-A sales continued to rise—as of right now, Chik-fil-A is the third-largest restaurant chain in the entire US.

According to Reuters, Apex Marketing Group—a Michigan-based advertising consultancy—reported that Popeyes received an estimated $23.25 million in free advertising as a result of this online mayhem.

Getty Images

In a sense, this craze seems almost inevitable, as the chicken sandwich plays an integral role in the culinary identity of the United States. It’s difficult to trace the true origin of this delicious and iconic treat, but the inception of fried chicken (in the context of our country, anyway) is linked to Scottish settlers and West African slaves—the customs of two very different traditions adapting their cuisine to life in the American South.

As for the chicken sandwich, specifically, Donna Battle Pierce, a food journalist at Ebony, found an ad in a 1936 newspaper featuring a chicken sandwich special at the Booker T Cafe in small-town Topeka, Kansas. Battle Pierce acknowledges the cultural implications of the rise in popularity of the chicken sandwich. She defines it as a soul food staple steeped in Black US history, asserting that it entered the mainstream in the mid-20th century via white-owned empires like Kentucky Fried Chicken (who, of course, never credited their successes to fried chicken’s complex historical roots). 

Whether you are a fan of Chik-fil-A’s recipe over Popeyes’ (or vice versa), there is no arguing the ubiquity of fried chicken in the modern landscape of US cuisine. It may be surprising to learn of the chicken sandwich’s complicated past, but that only proves its importance in the present.

So, what about now? After a brief reprieve from the August madness, and with plans for greater reinforcements in every Popeyes store, are we prepared for the wonders to come?

Cole Saladino / Thrillist

Although Popeyes has had to reevaluate their approach to The Sandwich (they’ve been working to recruit new chicken suppliers in order to ensure sufficient quantities of meat for the upcoming release), it’s clear that the next wave will bring much joy to the public. Everyone who gets their hands on one will be ecstatic. Of course, we hope they don’t run out of stock again, but if that happens, Twitter will certainly have a good time. Either way, we can’t wait.

After all: The chicken sandwich is more than just a chicken sandwich—it has emerged as a hot topic, a marketing campaign, a sacrament. If the first run of Popeye’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich is any indication, the answer is yes. We are so, so ready for all that juicy, pickly goodness.

Chipotle Is Expanding Its Menu Options For A Limited Time Only, They’re Adding Carne Asada To Stores Nationwide

Culture

Chipotle Is Expanding Its Menu Options For A Limited Time Only, They’re Adding Carne Asada To Stores Nationwide

Chipotle / Instagram

Word on the street is that Chipotle has added a new source of protein to its menu for the first time in a year. According to CNN Business, Chipotle is rolling out carne asada for a limited time at its more than 2,000 stores in the United States. 

The real question here is, however, is it better than the carne asada at your tio’s BBQ on Sunday’s? Guess we’ll have to read the reviews and try it out for ourselves.

According to CNN Business, the carne asada option was tested in three American cities over the past year and the company states that it was received “incredibly well.” Chipotle also said that it approved the new addition to steak for three popular diets that you might have heard of recently — ketogenic, Paleo, and Whole 30. 

Here we thought Chipotle was simply trying to cater more to their Latinx consumers, but alright, we see you. 

Since news broke that Chipotle would now be serving carne asada, Twitter had some thoughts. Some positive, some negative, and others downright hilarious.

If you’re a member of Chipotle’s app-based rewards program then you were most likely one of the first to receive notification about the new menu item, and if you’re not — don’t worry, because carne asada is already available for you to order.

However, before we dive in @VidaByJen on Twitter is asking the REAL question on our minds.

Can guac just be free now? Please. Thanks.

Twitter users were also quick to publicize their own personal reviews of what the carne asada was like.

One Twitter user said that “upon first bite the difference in flavor from the regular steak is noticeable.” But in the larger scheme of things, it doesn’t have a noticeably significant effect on taste. The reviewer then went on to say that the carne asada “comes in bigger pieces than the regular steak” making it “difficult to bite into and chew.” Well, the Latino community is used to that, but fair point. 

The bottom line? The carne asada “is tasty but not a huge game changer especially if you typically order steak.” The price point is also a bit higher, so she said she would “not recommend it to a friend.” Welp, there you have it. 

Another Twitter user pointed out the obvious, the carne asada is just steak cut into long strips but go off Chipotle.

Don’t @ us!

One Twitter user said that Chipotle was playing y’all, “you know they already had steak. They’re just adding a lil lime and calling it carne asada.” 

Hmmm, where’s the lie? 

However, these facts still didn’t dissuade anyone from being excited. 

We’ll let them have this one. But y’all should get invited to a BBQ instead of spending your coins at Chipotle, tbh.

Chipotle also spoke up when asked exactly what the difference is between carne asada and steak.

A twitter user asked “what’s the difference between this and regular steak?” To which Chipotle replied, “The original steak is marinated in adobo sauce so this lime and cilantro Carne Asada recipe adds a whole new flavor profile to the protein.” See, the previous Twitter user was onto something. 

Even with Chipotle’s transparency, people are still not believing it.

We’ve been led astray! Carne asada IS steak. 

Someone who may or may not be a Chipotle employee also tweeted that “the amount of times we’re all gonna have to explain the difference” is going to be tired.

We feel ya, but good luck girl! 

Kat Thompson of Thrillist also reviewed Chipotle’s new carne asada addition. Here’s what she had to say: 

Did the carne asada turn out to be better than the steak? “This is something I’ve been going back and forth on. Would this new version of steak replace my beloved cubes? And the conclusion I’ve come to… is no,” Thompson wrote. Although the carne asada was delicious, she still found herself craving and thinking about the steak cubes. 

Despite the steak cubes fairing better in her experience, she still thought the carne asada addition was a great idea. “The acidity of the lime is welcomed, and perhaps the protein would function better in a taco — where it wouldn’t be lost amongst the pool of rice, beans, and salsas,” Thompson wrote. 

Will you be trying Chipotle’s new carne asada? Let us know in the comments below!