Meat, meat, glorious meat!

As I recover from gall badder surgery, increasingly able to digest meat and fatty foods without mishap, I’ve developed a longing for challenging meat, especially beef, pork, and lamb. Not that I was a big meat-eater before the surgery, but being denied something makes you yearn for it all the more.

I had dreams about (pork) carnitas — something I adored but would have maybe twice in a year, as a kind of celebration of intense tastes. So I went to a well-reviewed source — Tacqueria El Grullo, 620 E Evelyn Ave in Sunnyvale — and ordered their (excellent) carnitas.

Their (minimal) description:

Carnitas: Chunks of braised pork. Served with a side of rice, refried beans and salad. [AZ: And, of course, soft (corn) tortillas, kept warm in aluminum foil. And, of course, containers of salsa verde and salsa roja.]

It then occurred to me that a side dish of some sort might be nice. On their appetizer menu, there was something new to me, though with a name that had a familiar part: asada fries. The El Grullo description:

Asada fries: French fries topped with melted cheese, beef, avocado & sour cream.

The beef would presumably be carne asada, chopped. I’ve been a fan of carne asada since I was introduced to it, in Chicago, back in the 1960s. Yes, go with the beef, marinated in lime juice and grilled and slightly charred, and finally chopped: GIVE ME MEAT. And then I thought: ah, asada fries must be the poutine of northern Mexico. And so (I discovered on further investigation) it was. Looks like a mess — it’s a lot of stuff jumbled together — but quite tasty. And undeniably meaty.

Now, about asada fries. From Wikipedia:

Carne asada fries are a Mexican-American dish originating in the Chicano community in San Diego. This item is not normally featured on the menu at more traditional Mexican restaurants. 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.

The dish is also served at Petco Park and Dodger Stadium. By 2015, fast food chain Del Taco began to sell the item.

Ingredients: The dish typically consists of french fries, carne asada, guacamole, sour cream, and cheese. Typically, the fries are of the shoestring variety, but other cuts may be used … The carne asada is usually finely chopped to avoid the need for a knife or additional cutting on the part of the consumer. The cheese is commonly cotija, although many establishments use a less-costly shredded cheese mix which melts with the other ingredients and keeps longer.

And then about carne asada, again from Wikipedia:

Carne asada is grilled and sliced beef, usually skirt steak, flap steak, or flank steak … It is usually marinated then grilled or seared to impart a charred flavor. Carne asada can be served on its own or as an ingredient in other dishes.

Despite it being a grilled dish, the [Mexican name carne asada] translates literally to “roast meat”; the English-style dish “roast beef” is called rosbif in Spanish

… Carne asada can be purchased from meat markets either prepared (preparada, i.e., already marinated) or not (no preparada), for marinating at home. The meat is characteristically marinated in lime juice, salt, and Mexican seasonings, but may also be simply rubbed with salt or spice rubs such as lemon pepper, before [it is] grilled. After grilling it is typically chopped for filling tacos and burritos, which also minimizes toughness.

You can indeed do it at home. The Recipe Critic site on carne asada has a homemade recipe by Alyssa Rivers (from 5/15/22) that yields things like this:

Now that’s MEAT.

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