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Go to Sylmar for the Best Asada Fries in L.A.

8:56 AM PDT on June 18, 2021

[dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap]sada fries can be divisive, to say the least, but to those people, I say, you’re wrong. As a kid, they were in constant rotation; a tray of cheesy asada fries was a guarantee of satisfaction. So they’ll always have a special place in my soul. But for those who can’t get over their ego, Mi Ranchito Taqueria in Sylmar might help you see the light. Mi Ranchito Taquería is a lonchera that parks nearby a Bank of America and a short walk away from Tacos Mi Rincon Tapatio. 

Not all asada fries are created equal. Each one has its own identity, where people get creative is in its toppings, and the combinations are endless. The asada fries from Mi Ranchito are special. They’re a revelation.

The first thing you’ll notice when you open the styrofoam box, like Vincent Vega checking the case in Pulp Fiction, is the irresistible, bright colors created by three different salsas. It starts on a bed of freshly fried papas like you’d get at a ‘hood burger joint, then handfuls of shredded Monterey Jack, a scoop of luscious frijoles de la olla, then generous portions of asada. The first salsa is a tomatillo salsa that is almost instantly absorbed into the asada and beans and creates a dark backdrop. It’s followed by an avocado salsa that creates a bright green contrast for the third salsa, a bright orange-red salsa. Then it's topped with grilled onions. In appearance alone, the vibrant striations of salsas have a shimmering effect. It looks like it belongs in an art museum.

Jesus Ledesma opened Mi Ranchito Taquería in 2018 and wanted to make sure that every dish on his menu tasted like proper Mexican food. Ledesma heard from a friend that asada fries were popular in San Diego and decided to add them to the menu. But he wanted to give it his touch. “The [asada] fries I saw were too much, a dish that’s Mexican, but Americanized,” says Ledesma, “I respect everyone’s business, but for my business, that’s not a menu item I crave.”

What he’s referring to are the excessive toppings that often clash with each other. His version doesn’t have sour cream, nacho cheese, pico de gallo, cold guacamole, sour cream or crema, or pickled jalapeños.

Each bite is filled with charred bits of asada (frijoles de la olla) whole beans, oozing cheese, sweet grilled onions, and lubricated with spicy salsas—teleporting you to a Flavor Metropolis (no relation to Guy Fieri). The differences are significant here. The cheese is added in between the other toppings to ensure that it melts. The use of whole beans instead of refried is essential because they don’t get lost in the cacophony of ingredients. Finally, the grilled onions do that onion thing and add a sweet, smokey flavor.

It’s the best version of asada fries, straight to the point. Ledesma’s version engineers it to appeal to his Mexican tastes.

“Without a doubt, that’s one of the items we sell most, especially to young people,” says Ledesma. Part of their appeal in the community is attributed to the generosity of the portions. Each order of asada fries is hooked up, enough to feed two or three (skinny) people. Mi Ranchito also sells giant burritos and tacos with handmade tortillas. A part of me weeps that I didn’t have that kind of quality when I was growing up. These youths have it good.

Mi Ranchito Taquería makes destination asada fries. I would gladly drive 30 miles just to get a taste because they’re that damn good.

13935 Foothill Blvd, Sylmar, CA 91342

Editor's note: This interview was conducted in Spanish and translated into English by the reporter. 

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