10 Best Carne Asada Fries in Los Angeles
Carne asada fries don't travel well, practically and ideologically speaking. They're increasingly hard to locate as you drive north from San Diego County, and surprisingly rare in Los Angeles, a city teeming with Mexican food, college students and medical marijuana cards. Piles of freshly fried spuds, laced with spoonfuls of guacamole and sour cream, don't tend to fare well on the short drive home, either. Wait too long to dig into a mound of the late-night favorite and you'll have some seriously bloated french fries on your hands ... and on your shirt ... and on your pants.
Paul Bartunek Carne asada fries at Taco Spot
Around these parts, catching a fresh pile of cheesy carne asada fries takes some doing. There are a few local spots west of the 405, a couple of options around downtown and Highland Park, and some good leads near Torrance -- L.A. is not exactly a city teeming with the stuff. Still, there are great options to be had, if you know where to look. To the discerning diner, it's possible to sit down with a steaming pile of warm french fries, well salted and crisp, tucked underneath a cow's worth of tender, grilled beef and nearly overrun by fresh guacamole, sour cream and handfuls of gooey melted cheese. It may never make sense to stick fries inside your already overstuffed burrito, San Diego, but when it comes to carne asada fries, you just might be on to something.
10. Chano's Drive In:
Farley Elliott Chano's carne asada fries
The carne asada fries at Chano's near USC are almost singularly responsible for a reduction in the area's violent crime. Rather than having young university students get all riled up in the streets at 2 a.m. with no place to go, Chano's lets them patiently wait in line for a Styrofoam box filled to the brim with potatoes, meat and cheese. These are not the perfectly melted, delicately balanced fries you day walkers may be looking for. No, these are messy, late-night fries, where sometimes you catch a spud that's been overburdened with drippy sour cream, and other times you're munching on a half-naked fry that you just wish would cover up with a strand or two of melted cheese. No matter; by 2:15 a.m., after you and a couple of friends have inhaled your ration and you've stumbled home happy, you won't remember those few scantily clad bites, just the night that led you there. 3000 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles; 213-747-3944.
Noam Bleiweiss Carne asada fries from Te'kila
How you feel about the carne asada fries at Te'Kila in Hollywood depends entirely on your stance regarding something called "Tequila Cream," and the clubby sort of place that would have it on the menu. What certainly looks (and tastes) like regular ol' sour cream is apparently much more, having gussied itself up and ordered bottle service. Underneath that creamy, head-scratching squirt of liquored-up sour cream is a thin pile of fries -- definitely the smallest portion of any on this list, and with a near-$10 price tag to match. Thankfully, the straightforward french fries are loaded on with a well-grilled pile of carne asada, darkened at the edges but not yet crispy. The thick clump of guacamole is also a welcome addition to the mix, offering plenty of buttery bites against the salty meat and starchy potatoes. If you can handle the price point and the clientele, you won't be disappointed. 6541 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; 323-960-2404.
8. Las Anitas:
Farley Elliott Carne asada fries at Las Anitas
Ah, the genius of using a waffle fry for your carne asada plate. It's already got the shape of a thicker, potato-made nacho, which is the perfect antidote to the chunky bites of carne asada that Las Anitas on Olvera Street provides. This is some of the best meat you'll find piled onto a plate of fries, grilled into large, beefy mouthfuls that have managed to retain their juiciness. The sour cream drizzle is perhaps a bit spartan when compared with the lump of roughly chopped guacamole, but that's no great shakes. There are clumps of fresh pico de gallo all over this thing to help you get through the skimpy bites, and if the worst-case scenario is that -- gasp -- you're left with just a plate of steak-infused waffle fries, you're doing all right. 26 Olvera St., dwntwn.; 213-623-1153.
3000 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA