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Enter TODAY To Win FREE Chicken For A Year From El Pollo Loco.

October 26th, 2009 No comments

EPL 001 - Copy

Enter TODAY ONLY to win FREE Chicken from El Pollo Loco for an entire year — Translated it means (52) 2-Piece Meal Certificates.  All you have to do is become a fan of El Pollo Loco on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.  And while you’re there, tell them why you think flame-grilled Chicken is better than oven “grilled” Chicken.  From all entries received on 10/26/09, El Pollo Loco will randomly draw the name of the lucky winner on 10/27/09.  It’s a one day Sweepstakes, which makes for better odds and a short wait for the tasty prize.  Enter now and good luck.

Or you can stand in line at KFC for one FREE piece of their oven-grilled Chicken today only — I’d rather win a years worth of flame-grilled Chicken from EPL without standing in line.  In fairness, I enjoy KFC’s Fried Chicken on occasion and their Apple Turnovers, Wedge Cut Fries and Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, but they can’t compete with EPL’s truly grilled Chicken.

UPDATE 10/27/09:  EPL announces the winner of the free Chicken — Congratulations to Theresa Wilson Goldman.

El Pollo Loco Chicken Grilling Instructions.

September 4th, 2009 1 comment

As previously reported on Nibbles of Tidbits, I ♥ El Pollo Loco Chicken.  Of all the fast food restaurants I know, EPL’s Chicken can’t be beat.  I’ve tried many times to replicate the flavor at home and still haven’t been close.  There are several copycat recipes on the web, but none appear to be accurate.  Since then, I’ve learned a few grilling tips from El Pollo Loco — Perhaps I’ll give it one more try, until then I’ll continue to buy it.


When grilling whole chickens, time and temperature are critical. Using the below technique, it will take about 45-55 minutes to grill a 3 to 3 1/2 pound bird (chicken); a few minutes longer for barbecue chicken.

At El Pollo Loco, whole chickens are first “split” and the wings cut so that the chicken will lay flat on the grill, helping to ensure that the chicken grills evenly. You can do this by cutting the chicken along the middle of the breastbone. Then open the chicken, cavity side down, and press firmly on the thigh joints. To make the wings lie flat, make a cut about a half-inch into the joint at the breast. This allows the wings to be twisted so that they lay flat without detaching the wings. The chicken is then marinated and seasoned with salt and pepper before placing it on the grill. Follow the five steps below to grill perfect chicken every time.

1) Invest in a meat thermometer or “temperature probe.” This is an essential tool for preparing perfectly grilled chicken. To check the internal temperature of chicken, place the thermometer into the meat where the leg and thigh come together, taking care not to touch bone.

2) Always grill chicken over a low to medium flame or charcoal temperature. Experiment with the setting, cooking at the highest temperature possible without flame flare-ups. Such flare-ups will cause the chicken to cook too fast, resulting in chicken that is charred on the outside, yet not fully cooked on the inside. If flare-ups occur, lift the chicken off the grill for a moment and move it to another area of the grill; reduce the flame if necessary.

3) Begin cooking the chicken by placing it on the grill cavity-side down. During grilling, turn the chicken three times. Turn it the first time when the skin begins to lose moisture, and the chicken becomes rigid. Turn it a second time when the juices pool in the cavity. Turn the chicken a third time when the internal temperature reaches approximately 165 degrees. Finish by cooking the chicken, cavity side up, with a higher flame to crisp the skin.

4) For barbecue chicken, baste with your favorite BBQ sauce before and after the last turn. Grill marks that appear as you cook the basted chicken signal that sugars in the sauce are “caramelizing,” producing the most intense flavors.

5) The chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees. Remove it from the grill and cut the chicken into individual pieces. Remember– grilling is an art, not a science, so it’s important to practice, practice again, and then practice some more.

Source: El Pollo Loco

Thanks for the grilling instructions EPL — They’re just in time for Labor Day.

It’s Chicken War — KFC’s New Kentucky “Grilled” Chicken Wants Some of El Pollo Loco’s Business.

April 28th, 2009 5 comments


Yesterday Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) offered a FREE New Grilled Chicken Drumstick to ALL (above).  And today El Pollo Loco (EPL) offered the public a FREE Drumstick (below) and Wing.  I was curious to try KFC’s new product so we went for the free Drumstick, and we already knew the taste of EPL’s Drumstick, but paid for this one for true comparison. 


But let’s just get right down to it, there’s no comparison — El Pollo Loco’s genuinely Grilled Chicken is hard to beat.  It’s got a lot of great flavor and it’s cooked on the better grill.  Isn’t it obvious from the photos above?  KFC’s Drumstick wasn’t bad — It was just bland and nothing special whatsoever.  I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way for it, but I would for EPL’s Drumstick. 

This OFFICIAL comparison reminded me how good EPL’s Chicken actually is.  Can another well-known fast food chain just jump in and expect much with just okay?  I think not.  I like Kentucky’s “Fried” Chicken much better than this Drumstick — KFC should stick with its Original Recipe and Extra Crispy, and come up with something better for this CHICKEN WAR.  El Pollo Loco is the WINNER.

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El Pollo Loco You’re Acting Like a Crazy Chicken.

July 25th, 2008 No comments

I have been one of your biggest cheerleaders for years, but some of your recent decisions have been disappointing.  It started with the cutback of Tortillas.  Having received 3 Tortillas with a Chicken Combo Meal since EPL’s opening in California, the downgrade to 2 Tortillas was quite obvious and lame.  At first I thought it was a mistake, but then learned what’s up after a few visits.  Not good.

Then one day, NO more Chipotle Dressing for the Salads.  Why?  It was tasty.  I was eating Salads at EPL all the time.  Dressing can mean everything to a Salad.  That crazy decision was hard to get over.

And now NO more Chipotle Salsa — Another bad move.  It was your best Salsa.  I tried its new replacement Salsa (top left in above picture) and it’s okay.  It has a good spice, but it’s a little too thin.  The Chipotle Salsa went better with the Chicken and Tortillas.  The thinner Salsa tends to make the Tortillas soggy.  Bring back the Chipotle Salsa!

El Pollo Loco you have been my favorite fast food joint for many years, but you’re acting crazy.  You’re changing things that worked well for many.  Can you explain your corporate position here, or better yet, change these things back?  I’ll like you more.

BTW, your Crunchy Taco is pretty good — I hope its time isn’t limited, but I somehow suspect it will be.  But PLEASE don’t take away the Chicken.  It’s excellent.  I keep trying to recreate its flavor, but haven’t so far.  All the copycat recipes I’ve tried miss the mark.

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Tell EPL you want 3 Tortillas, plus the Chipotle Dressing and Chipotle Salsa back –

Pictured respectively below are the Crunchy Taco, the Value Menu Nachos, and a Small Garden Salad with the Creamy Cilantro Dressing, the runner up to the Chipotle Dressing.

epl-002.JPG     epl-004.JPG     epl-019.JPG

FREE Coffee For The Stranger Behind You: No Thanks Wanted.

December 13th, 2012 1 comment

A friend recently drove through a Starbucks Drive-Thru and when she got to the window to pay, the employee told her that her Coffee had been paid for by the anonymous person in front of her.  She only remembers it was a lady.  The gesture made my friend’s day, an otherwise bad one in other ways.  It came at the right time and she’s still talking about it.  Now I’m going to do it!  And it doesn’t need to happen at a Starbucks — Any drive-thru will do, like El Pollo Loco, unless there are too many people in the car behind you, ha.  You decide.

National Chicken Day Is Coming: How To Get FREE Flame-Grilled Chicken.

September 13th, 2010 No comments

I’m advised that National Chicken Day is Wednesday, September 15th — Although there are plenty of places to find Chicken, El Pollo Loco is one of the best and this year they celebrate 30 years of flame-grilled perfection.  I’ve been going there since day one and have yet to find another “fast food” Chicken I like better.  To include guests in on their anniversary celebration, El Pollo Loco is offering daily coupons that can be downloaded directly from their website.  Guests who visit El Pollo Loco on National Chicken Day with their printed coupon will receive a FREE piece of citrus-marinated, flame-grilled Chicken (leg or thigh), warm Tortillas and fresh Salsa.  No purchase is required.  Print your coupon and mark your calendar.  I did.

Zucchini Potato Soup From The Farmer’s Market Cookbook.

March 29th, 2010 No comments

Farmer's Market Soup Ingredients

Zucchini Potato Soup is the first recipe we made from Southern Living’s Farmer’s Market Cookbook.  We got all ingredients (except Bacon) from the Corona Del Mar Farmer’s Market, since that’s what it’s all about.

                   Homemade Chicken StockFryin' the BaconCookin' the Soup

We made Chicken Stock from a leftover Rotisserie Chicken, a leftover piece of El Pollo Loco Chicken and a leftover piece of Boston Market Chicken — We just so happened to have all on hand, ha.  It turned out great and made the Zucchini Potato Soup more flavorful.

Final Soup with Bacon and Sour Cream

Overall, the Soup was good and easy to make.  The recipe is pictured below, if you can see it.  We added a little Lemon Juice to the Soup, and Sour Cream as a garnish to go with the yummy Bacon on top.  Since the recipe was inspired by Vichyssoise, it’s to be served cold.  My friend loves it that way, but I prefer it warm.  This Soup is flexible that way.

Farmer's Market Cookbook Recipe

The recipe is well written, like many we’ve read in this Cookbook — In other words, the order of instructions make sense for optimum freshness and flavor.  However, whenever sauteing Onions with Garlic, we always caramelize the Onions and add the Garlic at the very end, no matter what the recipe states, because we think it ultimately creates the best flavor.

Review Of EPL’s Grilled Chicken Tortilla Roll.

September 18th, 2008 1 comment

I do like El Pollo Loco, but most recent experiences have been disappointing.  It’s been reported in a previous post, so now I’ll just focus on their New Grilled Chicken Tortilla Roll — I tried it and mine didn’t look like the one in the commercial, which has perfectly squared pieces of white meat. 

Unfortunately, the one served to me had mostly dark meat.  I do like dark meat, but EPL’s advertisement shows different.  And I’m not sure how it happened, but I even had to pick out a few weird pieces.  I guess I got a dud. 🙁

Aside from that, it should be called a Rolled Quesadilla instead of a Tortilla Roll, since its crispness may be the same.  It’s served with a choice of 3 previously existing Sauces.  I got the Cheese Sauce and it’s not bad.  I don’t think I’ll be having the Tortilla Roll again, but I still love EPL’s Chicken.

One more thing —  Are the ‘Loco Salads’ smaller?  It looks smaller, I think.  Since it’s only $1.00, I’ll let it slide.  I’m curious because too many things are getting smaller.


NOTE:  This post relates to the El Pollo Loco Restaurant in Costa Mesa on Harbor/19th.

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Everybody Wins: An Office Bake Sale To Raise Money For Charity.

March 25th, 2012 No comments

Cake Pops seem to be the trend at Bake Sales and parties these days — They sold out fast.

Whole Cakes were raffled off, which generates a lot of money and is fun for the office.

And some Cake winners shared them with others — Thank you!

This Bake Sale was at EPL — They raise a lot of money for local charities.

And they do cool things for their employees too.

Why not have a Bake Sale to raise money for someone who needs it.  You get to eat it.

Everybody wins — Sign up to have a Bake Sale or bring something.  It can happen any time.

Fire For Crumbled Paper And Post-It Notes: Not Just For Chicken.

January 12th, 2012 No comments

No regrets about yesterday — The path is officially clear for hope, growth, success and happiness in 2012.  The invitation (below) and experience (above) relate to this blog, since all was presented by and for EPL employees.  They do a lot of cool things.  My association with the wonderfully crazy Chicken is previously reported.  I’ll always wish EPL well.

I wanted to toast a Marshmallow.  Goodbye 2011 — Welcome 2012!

Pure Merry Employment: EPL, Homemade Apple Juice & Chocolate.

December 24th, 2011 No comments

A surprise at the office on Friday made my day — Walked in to a pile of presents on my desk and a box of Donuts nearby.  A couple days a week at EPL’s corporate headquarters (as a Paralegal, Consultant) enhances living.  Before and after will always be tasty grilled Chicken.

You’re lucky to like your job, or in some cases just have one — I thankfully enjoy a few.

And now keen on 2 Pounds of See’s Candy, Homemade Apple Juice and candles — Sounds like a party.  I never had 2 Pounds of Chocolate.  Is it really Apple Juice or Moonshine?  I won’t tell.

I feel bizarre — What’s in there?  JK, lovin’ the freshly juiced Gala and Fuji Apples with the Nuts & Chews, at a pace to avoid chaos.  Thank you!  I’m very grateful for all.  The little things and big picture matter most.  Merry Christmas, love and feast on earth.  Pass the Moonshine.