Monday, November 07, 2005

Breaking Color Lines Through Sandwiches--Tortas Mexico, Studio City

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, jalapeƱos, 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!

Tortas Mexico
11040 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 760-2571


Kirk said...

Aaaahh Torta's, one of those things that I love about SoCal. Though I shudder at the "Hawaiian", the thought of a Lengua Torta makes me smile...

elmomonster said...

Oh wow...that looks tasty. I might have to go get one from one of the many places in Santa Ana soon.

Will have to query the hounds on where to get a good one around here.

Daily Gluttony said...


Yeah I don't think a Hawaiian torta would be too good. (Pineapple in a torta? Eeesh.)


I'll be looking forward to a tortas post from you in the near future!

MEalCentric said...

That just made me SO hungry

LACheesemonger said...

Uh...oh, Pam:

The pic isn't as sharp as usual, but do i detect canned/sliced jalapenos in the nacho's...ewww! While it might have tasted better than hers, I think I actually like the visuals of Sarah's football Sunday homemade nachos better, and they left much to be desired. Don't take that in a the wrong way...but, ah well, see my follow-up comment to DL in a few days, cause you know 'Nacho, nacho man, I want to be Sarah's Nacho Man! ;) And no, I"m not talking 'bout no friggin 'gourmet nachos'.

This is kind of like that Pace Picante Sauce commercial... " it's made in New York City!".

Daily Gluttony said...


Go get yerself some tortas!!! =)

LA Cheesemonger,

Yeah, yeah, so they were canned what. They tasted good.

M&H said...

If you ever have time and feel like taking your life into your hands you should try El Gallo Giro at Plaza Mexico. I think it's in Lynwood but no matter what you are definitely not in Kansas anymore. M was super mad at me the ONE time I made him go with me for a tamale run. I personally feel that the element of danger just whets your appetite. You can see the giant Plaza Mexico sign off of the 105 freeway. They have really good tortas and AWESOME tamales. Love the chicken ones.

Doran said...

I usually stay away from tortas since they always seem so bready, which seems to distract from the flavor of the stuff inside. But these look awfully good and the bread doesn't seem so overwhelming. Looks like it's lunch in Studio City this weekend!

Daily Gluttony said...


Da-yamm! Y'all know all the ghetto places huh? ha ha That place sounds good; maybe I'll stop off next time I'm that area. (but who knows when that'll be)


Oh yeah, Tortas Mexico is right by the station huh? Let me know what you think!

Doran said...

Well, I just finished a Torta de Lengua and it was fantastic. Their menu is indeed extensive and I'll be sure and check out some of the other things. So many cool food places so close by. Nice! Thanks for yet another winning tip.

Bandini said...

tortas mexico rocks!!!!!

i eat there like twice a week

they know me!!

torta milanesa con todo