Carne Asada Fries. Bong Not Included.


I love living in California. We pay too much to live here, teeter on the brink of earthquakes and state budget emergencies, and wholeheartedly embrace political correctness as a lifestyle. Not that you could tell what we embrace, on account on those botoxed foreheads and stuff. And this is just Southern California; don’t even get me started on my Northern California Relatives. In fact, while in Santa Monica last week I encounted no fewer than three-hundred-and-forty-seven placards letting me know that I could park only on the street between the hours of 8 to 1, that I couldn’t park there because my car used gasoline, no, wait, that the spot was actually reserved for visually-impaired drivers, or that the parking meter I did actually find didn’t take money but some kind of space-aged FOB made out of recycled water bottles and–my favorite– to be quiet or not to honk or block the intersection or use peanut oil out of respect for those with allergies.

It’s really enough to make someone want to move to the IE, I tell you.

But on those moments when California does get it right, well, it’s a beautiful thing.  You could be as wacky or flamboyant as you want and no one notices. You can drink bottles and bottles and bottles of wine from your backyard. You can lose your winter coat. You can worship at the alter of vanity and spandex and feel rewarded and no one will look at you funny when you hold a soy latte and say  “I’m currently workshopping my treatment.”  And you can even make nachos out of fries.


I’m sure to get many comments and emails about this when I claim this is a Southern California Original. But while my research is limited, my appetite is huge. And do I care whether these things were born in San Diego or San Isidro? Not really. I’m sticking to the version of this story I’ve made up in my head that involves a taco shack, a surfer, an ounce of Blue Mystic and some rolling papers. Because really, how else would these things come to be? It’s the collision of Mexican Cuisine and an American Favorite, a big salty pileup that takes no prisoners and requires you, the eater, to really really really really want it like you’ve never wanted anything before. Because this dish isn’t for wimps, purists or those afraid of getting dirty. It is what it is and it’s freaking marvelous.

And do you really need a recipe for this? Aw, well, ok, I’ll indulge you. Grab that slab of Carne Asada and chop it ever so aggressively into small chunks of meat. Top the french fries of your choice (double-fried method for me, thankyouverymuch) with the carne and then go absolutely insane with cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo, jalapeños, queso fresco, whatever…you see where I’m going with this. There’s no rhyme nor reason. And why would you expect there to be? And while we’re still on the topic, you do have my permission to go crazy when no one’s looking and dig in and thank the great State of California for her culinary greasiness, er, I mean greatness.  Lord knows I did twice this past week.

And I don’t even smoke pot.


  1. nikki says

    i spent the first 19 years of my life in north county SD, and now ive moved to germany because of my husband being in the army and let me tell you- the thing we miss the most about cali is rollin up to the drive thru mexican restaurant at 2 in the morning for some damn good carne asada fries!

  2. nikki says

    oh and irish nachos are the fries, cheese and bacon bits, usually served with chives and sour cream- but its my preference to eat them with ranch =]


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