Looking for a lunch spot before heading south to San Diego from Carlsbad, we settled on Pollos Maria which features whole roasted chicken. Complete with flour tortillas, Spanish rice and pinto beans, the meal reminded me a little of my grad school days, when I ate at El Pollo Loco nearly every night for months. What El Pollo Loco can’t duplicate, though, is Pollos Maria’s golden-brown skin, crisped-to-perfection. My wife believes butter could be the secret ingredient. Whatever they’re using, it works. When thrown into a warm tortilla with fresh (and sharp!) salsa, rice and a little meat, the skin provides that special crunch that would have me coming back over and over again if only I didn’t live 450 miles to the north.
One can order the whole chicken with eight tortillas for $12.30. For a mere $2.90 extra, though, we received a 16-ounce of Spanish rice and another cup of the same size filled with pinto beans (with some onions thrown in). We ordered one Kids Meal, which featured a quesadilla, a small cup of rice and a drink for $4.50. The twins finished their quesadilla, but next time I’d instead order more of the grilled chicken to be shared with the kids.
3055 Harding Street
Carlsbad, CA 92008-2321