Rice, noodles, dumplings, stuffed leaf-wrapped thingamaboppies, pizza...all foods we have in common amongst our diverse cultures, things that prove that we are all different yet the same. Our friend the sandwich is no exception. All it is, you might think, is a couple of slices of meat and maybe some cheese between two pieces of bread. But add a few ethnic touches and once again, we have something else that both ties us together and makes us uniquely diverse.
We all know about the Vietnamese bahn mi, probably one of my favorite sandwiches of all time. I also have a weakness for Austrian schnitzel sandwiches. And how about the infamous Italian sub? Hell, San Diego food blogger extraordinaire Kirk even made a Korean inspired bulgogi sandwich the other day. Today, I decided to take my international sandwich tour to Mexico, where I discovered the torta, the newest delicious addition to my sandwiches of the world list.
Tortas Mexico in Studio City was our destination. It's a little mini-mall hole in the wall on a popular stretch of Ventura Blvd that's surrounded by a slew of various ethnic establishments-- Irish, Thai, English, Indian, you name it--which makes the embracing of so many different cultures that much easier!
At Tortas Mexico, you can have your more mainstream Mexican fare like tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and quesadillas. But with a name that has the word tortas in it, why would you want to? (Well, at least for the first visit!) For my maiden voyage here, I chose a carne asada torta--chunks of perfectly charbroiled steak layered with beans, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, jalapeños, and avocado all on a fluffy round bun. I loved the contrast between the "heavier stuff" like the smoky, charbroiled meat and the thin layer of rich beans with the "refreshing stuff": cool avocado and tomato and crisp shredded lettuce. On the side were a handful of tortilla chips to dip in one or more of the various salsas at Tortas Mexico's salsa bar: a spicy and smoky roasted tomato and chile salsa, a zippy tomatillo salsa or a standard yet good pico de gallo. The restaurant serves tortas with a variety of other meats like carnitas (which my friend loved as well), al pastor, chorizo, pollo, lengua, bean & cheese, a hawaiian combo which is ham, panela & pineapple, a cuban combo which is ham, pork, & cheese, and breaded steak (milanesa).
Watch out bahn mi and schnitzel sandwich, you've got competition!
Stuff for those chips
Because our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, the three of us also ordered a plate of nachos not knowing that these sandwiches are huge. But hell, as expected, the nachos were way better than some of the other ones we've had at bar and grill type establishments recently. Good amounts of velvety refried beans, cool but buttery guacamole, refreshing pico de gallo, and cheese were distributed evenly amongst a pile of crisp tortilla chips. It did not seem like it was tossed together without care and thrown into a microwave...these were quality nachos!
Na' cho average nachos!
All this food made me unable to eat the whole torta, allowing me to take the other half out with me in a doggie bag. Let me tell you, those leftovers were so good 'cause all the flavors had kind of melded together giving Tortas Mexico the Daily Gluttony Seal of Approval. I will have to go back tomorrow. Damn, I can see a case of FOCD already!
11040 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604