‘Eater Eats Under $9

Where I ate: Albatros Mexican Food, 23591 Rockfield Blvd, Lake Forest
What I ate: Carne Asada Fries
What it cost me: $6.53

San Diego’s most infamous trademark meal is carne asade fries. As a San Diego native, the quest for respectable carne asade fries in Irvine and Orange County in general for that matter, has been futile. Until now, Albatros is possibly the most legitimate Mexican food place closest to UCI that offers the authentic flavors that can only be found in San Diego.

One exit south of the Irvine Spectrum, Albatros is located in a small strip mall off of Rockfield. Don’t be disheartened by the “hole-in-the-wall” appearance because a real Mexican food enthusiast would know that the best kind of Mexican foods come from the “hole-in-the-wall” places.

Despite the typical Mexican food place stereotype, Albatros has a very clean and very presentable environment. Plaid green tables are topped with glass and are always wiped clean. A flat screen TV hangs from a ceiling, blaring the entertaining TeleNovela. The tan tiled floor is swept free of debris. The register sits atop a stone and granite counter. Upon entering, you are greeted with the festive yellow, green and red menu that holds item after item of tasty Mexican cuisine.

Albatros offers a vast selection of authentic food; combination plates, tacos, burritos, tostadas, tortas and enchiladas decorate the menu.

For those who are unaccustomed to the marvelous concoction of these fries, this dish consists of a large serving of perfectly cooked fries. A hearty amount of shredded cheddar cheese is melted atop these fries. Heaps of bite-size pieces of marinated carne asada are thrown on the cheese, followed by flavorful authentic guacamole, sour cream and then topped with white cheese. You have the choice of dousing these fries with a red hot sauce, green hot sauce or pico de gallo, depending on how spicy you prefer your fries. For the amount you pay for these fries, the serving size is very generous, especially considering the quality. If you are craving a burrito, the California burrito offers the same tasty ingredients, but wrapped in a delicious flour tortilla.

Other Mexican food places like Alejandros, Albertos and Albertacos are not as close to campus, nor do they offer the authentic Mexican taste. Albatros is also conveniently opened 24-hours.

If you ever get the sudden craving for the greasy goodness of Mexican food, Albatros is the place to go to get your carne asada fries fix.