Please note this review is for the Juan Pollo in Temecula, not in Hemet (27548 Ynez Rd., Temecula CA, 951 695 2597 phone number). There are a strong franchise here in California, so I figured I give my review for this apparently newer location. We responded to an ad that came to our home, and the one we chose out of three offers was:
2 Whole Chickens: I really wanted to like this chicken, but I guess it has been under the heat too long, for it was very dried, almost like chewing sand paper with a chicken taste. I know a lot about marinades and brines, and I expected a superior kind of chicken, as compared to the more famous Pollo Loco (what's up with that name anyways! Who wants to eat a crazy chicken, anyhow, I know is a fancy name to draw attention, but when you associate a bird with mad, it just does not match, my not so humble opinion, anyways), and another powerhouse: KFC, which I still like after all these years. Juan Pollo obviously does not deliver a moist chicken, and even though you taste some of the marinade on the smaller pieces, particularly the skin, the who bird is dry out the door. 2.5 Stars.
Potato Salad: we received a large order, and we liked this potato salad, very homely it did not disappoint. 3.5 Stars.
Rice: their rice comes with pieces of chicken, and that is definitely a first one for us. We felt it added value to the rice. A couple more ingredients and you could have got a faint version of the fried rice. We did not dislike this rice. 3.5 Stars.
Whole Pinto Beans: a little bland, lacking personality, and unless you mixed them with salsa and other ingredients, it did not strike any chords on the taste department. It did appear boiled, and it is probably more healthier than the ones riddled with lard which seem to taste so good on the refried version. Nice, wholesome, bland. 3 Stars.
Salsas: we received two. One was mild, tasty really but not excellent, and a hot version, tasty as well with a kick to back it up. 3.5 Stars.
Corn Tortilla, which came in a sealed package, and at our request at room temperature so we could heat them later. A good corn tortilla, indeed. 4 Stars.
The place was kind of empty at the peak of lunch hour, and I almost turned around and left. I do not like empty eateries, specially when I am the only one about to get some food. In no time a couple more people showed up. There were only two individuals running the place, so it is not a brisk operation by a long shot. Total price for our order with coupon: $24+ (no tip required for it was pick up).
I do not speak for anyone but myself, when I say I seem to have a built in defense mechanism that let's me know, without a doubt, when certain foods are going to cause struggles later. By struggles I mean directly: ugly acid indigestion. I do not particularly suffer from this condition, but there have been episodes cause by food purchased, that defy description. Symptoms are like lava from an erupting volcano, choking and causing severe cough, most of the time in the middle of what is supposed to be a peaceful sleep. Where would I be with Costco's acid reducers. Yes, that is how I measure how good the meal was in the end. It might taste great, but if in a few hours I am doing the exorcist I will probably avoid future purchases in the locale that caused the discomfort.
Juan Pollo delivered a nasty case of acid indigestion, which tells me that hiding among the ingredients and food preparation, lies a possible threat to my night sleep. I wanted to like it because of the reviews, that seemed so enthusiastic, but dry chicken and volcano fire took the magic away. 3 Stars.