Feast. Carne asada fries.

There’s a bit of history behind Rigobertos. FLASHBACK…three years.

My first encounter with carne asada fries was definitely not as a food enthusiast. My cooking knowledge at the time was limited to boling water in a pot, throw food in until soft, then eat. At the time, I was in college (2nd year I think), visiting my friend at the University of California, San Diego. We did the usual random ho-hum pranks n’ crap that college kids do, messing around, playing videogames, ignoring the fact that the UC’s are on a quarter system and the minutes we ticked away probably led us to our eventual doom.

Lo and behold, that Friday (or Saturday…I don’t remember), we got the munchies super late at night. My friend suggested, “hey meng (real language, folks)…wanna get some CARNE ASADA FRIES?”

Yes! You speak my language.

Unbeknownst to me, these were not normal carne asada fries. These were MONSTEROUS fries. Man, was I naive.

Anywho, we drive some distance to a cute neon-lit place called Rigobertos (in cursive too!) and we ordered a serving of carne asada fries. Obviously, the fat kid inside me was protesting, “dude only ONE order? It’s not gonna last us at all.” My friend looked at me dubiously, and said, “trust me man…it’s MORE than enough.” Our order came, we picked up the white Thank You bag, and high-tailed it back to his dorm room.

Through the deserted plains...SALVATION!

Turns out, I was terrifyingly wrong about the portion size. I had difficulty finishing it even after we had split the damn thing in half. Along with a couple of Bud Lights, I was about ready to explode. As we approached the end of the meal…almost immediately after I had finished the last painful and glorious bite of the fries…I sorta shifted in my seat…and then quite literally, sprinted to the bathroom. I will leave it up to you to determine what happened next.

My friend was laughing the entire time. I’m sure he wasn’t laughing after he had to do clean-up duty in the bathroom the next day.

ANYWAY, that was my virgin carne asada fries experience, and THIS IS A FOOD BLOG…so off topic.

My second and third encounters occured after college, when I was a little more aware of what I was putting in my mouth. History aside, the “meal” itself wasn’t too great, actually. I guess being sober makes it a little difficult to enjoy. The fries were good until they got a bit soggy, the carne asada chunks if thrown at a high velocity could probably splinter Plexiglass, and the guacamole and cheese were sub-standard at best. Passing grade? Sure, a C would do. Considering its history and the joy it brings? Probably a B.

From what I remember, what helped the actual meal “go down” was the use of avocado. It’s buttery quality closely resembled…well, pure fat. Surprisingly, avocado is a fruit. We usually associate fruits with adjectives such as sweet, cool, refreshing, acidic. Avocado resembles none of these. It’s subtle in taste, not cool unless you refrigerated it or dressed it up in bling, not refreshing or…acidic (whoaaaa…put it down).

The smoothness of avocado can be attributed to ripening and the subsequent enzymatic action that breaks down structural elements in the avocado flesh. Placing avocados in the fridge deactivates essential enzymes permanently, and the subsequent ripening never occurs (therefore, structural elements of the avocado flesh remain in place, and its just unpliable).The flesh itself contains a large amount of monounsaturated fatty acid, namely oleic acid; these fatty acids also contribute to to the malleability of the avocado flesh at room temperatures, as the monounsaturated fatty acids, in terms of texture, are in between saturated (solid at room temp) and polyunsaturated (liquid at room temp).

One of the surefire indicators during my second round of carne asada hell was that the guacamole perhaps was not as fresh as I thought it was, due to the fact that it stayed a nice, olive green the entire time it was exposed to air. Fresh avocado, when exposed to air for long periods of time, go through what is called “enzymatic browning.” Based on this, I predicted that there had been some sort of additive such as ascorbic acid (your common Vitamin C) that prevented this from occurring. In the presence of a so-called preservative (acid of some sort, or even cold temperatures) the reaction of enzymes, oxygen, and colorless phenolic compounds is inhibited, as oxygen is either rendered ineffective by electron shielding or just complete lack of an oxygen catalyst. In a normal scenario, a phenolic would bind to an enzyme with the help of oxygen. Once bound, the transition state of the entire entity would reflect an ugly shade of brown. Thus, there is a need to rapidly spoon guacamole into your mouth when there’s a disproportionate amount of chips, or, perhaps a scenario where an inner fat kid makes his or her debut.

In some ways, it’s difficult to go wrong with avocado. While it usually holds true that adding avocado usually makes a dish better (similar to our philsophy about bacon), we just have to make sure that the avocado is fresh, and from the fruit itself. Not from a bag sitting around for quite some time, kept “fresh” with preservatives. Real or somewhat processed…it’s still a cloying quality that’s hard to pass up. Perhaps I’m just a sucker for avocados.

I haven’t figured out why the blog’s picture is of an avocado. Looks good though.