For starters, we know some kind of mind game is going on. How else to explain the fact that late Saturday night we pulled off the 101 in Agoura Hills and sped to the chain's store on Kanan Road.
"We'd like an order of Chocolate Dessert Nachos," we announced, with no shame whatsoever, forgetting our usual concerns about whole grains, processed foods, fats and sodium.
"We have churros," the young man told us.
Who said anything about churros? We wanted chocolate nachos and we wanted them now. Sadly, that location didn't have any; our unhealthy craving would have to wait. But back home, there was that commercial again, infiltrating our subconscious. So Sunday morning, right when it opened, we went to an El Pollo Loco in Woodland Hills.
The manager told us that this is the first year the fast food chain has offered the dessert and that it's a limited, holiday menu item. "Last night we ran out," he said.
Fortunately, they had restocked by the time we showed up. The plate looked exactly like what it is -- something decadent. There's a layer of fried flour tortilla chips, which, yes, are chocolate. (We're guessing cocoa powder, although we couldn't confirm this.) The chips have a nice crunch and aren't too sweet. But sugar shock enters the picture with the toppings: marshmallow "crème" and fudge sauce (described on the TV ad as melted Mexican chocolate), generously drizzled over the chips. Then there's a sprinkling of powdered sugar. The cost for this guilty pleasure? $3.99.
Clearly, the words "nutrition" and "chocolate nachos" do not belong in the same sentence. Still, we feel obligated to point out that, like most rich desserts, these are ridiculously high in stuff that's not good for you, according to the online nutrition chart. (On the plus side, they do provide protein and calcium.) You're better off sharing, since a serving packs a walloping 1,120 calories.
Never mind that the website states: "Providing healthier choices is an important priority at El Pollo Loco." C'mon, it's the holidays.
El Pollo Loco: 19762 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, and many other locations.