I’m not a big fan of fast food. But El Pollo Loco is somewhat of an anomaly: Fast food that’s fresher than you’d expect, relatively cheap and, most important, tasty. They specialize in fresh chicken marinated in El Pollo Loco’s well-guarded recipe of spices, herbs and citrus juices, then flame-grilled, hand-cut and served with warm tortillas, hot from the grill. The result is a simple, satisfying meal of surprising high quality and flavor. The side dishes at El Pollo Loco are also respectable: pinto beans, barbecue black beans, corn on the cob, chips and guacamole, refried beans and mac & cheese are all good. Along with their signature flame-grilled chicken, El Pollo Loco also features tacos, quesadillas, burritos, salads and soups. The chicken tortilla soup is pretty good, and I really like the chicken Caesar salad, even though it’s not exactly a “classic” Caesar (it’s served with tortilla chips, salsa and cotija cheese). There’s also a salsa bar with an array of freshly made salsas, and yummy caramel flan to finish off your El Pollo Loco meal. 88 N. State, Lehi, 801-766-1004, and 725 W. Telegraph, Washington, 435-627-8354, ElPolloLoco.com.
Last minute reminder: Lazy Dog Pizzeria is hosting a benefit dinner for the Humane Society of Utah on Oct. 3, starting at 5 p.m. All proceeds will go directly to the Humane Society. Phone 359-5364 or visit online at LazyDogPizzeria.com.
Quote of the week: We didn’t starve, but we didn’t eat chicken unless we were sick, or the chicken was. —Bernard Malamud
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