Though most of you will probably celebrate Cinco de Mayo this weekend, I have already marked the occasion by devouring a torta, and looking at the photos again makes me want to eat another one right now. Similar to a submarine sandwich, the torta originated in Mexico, though you can get them at many taquerias in the States. The sandwich features your choice of meat, served on a white roll called a telera or a bolillo and typically garnished with avocado, lettuce, and tomato.
For my first-ever torta, I visited Super Tortas when I was down in Los Angeles. After all, this family business, which has three stores in LA, specializes in tortas, and I figured if I was trying a new sandwich, I might as well start with one that calls itself "super." For more photos and details,
Super Tortas owner Sacramento Guerrero recommended the house specialty, grilled ribeye, but having eaten my weight in sandwiches the day before, I opted for shredded chicken. It was indeed super — not just in size, but also in execution. Though the sandwich looks pretty basic — this one didn't even have tomatoes — it was actually very complex in its mix of flavors and textures.
Liberally seasoned with pepper, the shredded chicken was hot, juicy, and not the slightest bit greasy, which was a nice surprise. Chopped bell pepper and onions added an extra kick, and the guacamole was to die for, its creaminess was a lush contrast to the crisp, cool lettuce. But the pièce de résistance (anyone know how to say that in Spanish?) was the toasted bun. As you can see from the photos, it was grilled on top to a toasty brown, and the bread in the middle was still soft and chewy like the best white bread.
After my Super Tortas experience, I can't believe I've gone this long without eating tortas. If you've also been depriving yourself, I highly recommend trying one. The chicken was delicious, but torta fans also rave about the Milanesa, or breaded steak, variety. Have you eaten a torta? If so, tell me what you thought.