The Unvegan

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El Pollo Loco

The el bland meal-o.
El bland-o meal-o.

The heart of fast food is its ability to satisfy (at least in the short term) while remaining at impossibly cheap prices. These two essential elements are really quite reliant upon each other, because it is hard to achieve gastro-satisfaction if you think you are paying too much.

On my trip to El Pollo Loco in El Segundo, I had high expectations. Being a fan of Taco Bell, I have always been told to try it. When I arrived, the menu completely confused me. I couldn’t figure out what was what except for the value menu. Having been around since 1975, you would think they could have figured out a way to just show a list of the food they offer, but no. Instead, I stood silent for a long time at a loss of what to order.

When I snapped to, I ordered the BRC (beans, rice and cheese) Burrito. Thinking I could easily add some sort of meat to it, I found out it would cost me a couple bucks. Not willing to sacrifice the monetary component of fast food, I decided against and ordered some more. Next up was the Grilled Chicken Tortilla Roll. For this, there was a choice of dipping sauces, and I went with the creamy cilantro. Knowing those two wouldn’t be enough, I also got nachos. My food came rapidly and, assuming the best, I left the restaurant to eat in greener pastures.

When I opened up my bag, the first thing I noticed was that they didn’t give me the dipping sauce. Disappointed, I ate the barren tortilla roll. Then I delved into the burrito, only to taste further disappointment. It was as if someone had forgot to put the flavor in, and I scrambled (successfully) to find a Taco Bell salsa packet somewhere in the vicinity. The one bright point was the nachos. They came with a creamy, spicy dipping sauce that only made me realize how good the meal could have been if the nacho sauce had somehow been included in every dish. Alas, it was not meant to be, and my El Pollo Loco experience will forever remain in the land of unhappy culinary memories.