A flying saucer is a creature born of California-Mexico hybrids, particularly from Alberto's, a local Mexican chain, or many of the Alberto's derivatives that populate the landscape.
The common thread is a fried flour-tortilla bowl. Typically, it's loaded with soupy refried beans, slow-cooked shredded beef, onions, bell peppers, grated cheese, and chopped lettuce.
"When it comes Flying Saucers, time is of the essence," explains elmomonster. "The crispiness of the tortilla has a tenuous existence, rapidly being soaked by the wetness to turn into the texture of limp noodle...which isn't necessarily bad, because this hybrid of a taco salad and rustic beef stew is even better when the weather is cold and rainy.
"It's perfect when you are in need of something warm, wet, and sloppy. Just pick it up and eat in the privacy of your home, preferably with plenty of napkins," says elmomonster.
An excellent one is made at Santa Ana's branch of Alberto's.
Alberto's Mexican Food [Little Saigon]
1425 E. Edinger Avenue, Santa Ana