Ode: The Jalisco from Las Tortas
Do you ever crave a melty sandwich?
You know what I mean.
I’m not talking about a grilled cheese or some variant with crispy, buttery bread and oozy goodness in the middle. I'm saying the whole sandwich is a soft and indulgent experience to eat — no sharp edges, no crunch. The bread holds its structure just enough to get you through the whole sandwich, but barely, and you’re constantly pushing the mushy bits back inside before they slip out at the ends.
That’s the satisfaction a good torta delivers. And where better to get one than from a tiny restaurant in a nondescript, too small to call a strip mall spot where the name of the place is also the thing they serve? Las Tortas is eponymous for a reason.
I love the Jalisco because it’s a two-meat wonder. Diced chunks of carne asada mixed with slivers of spiced chicken, piled into a pan blanco bun with mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, avocado, American cheese, and Oaxacan quesillo, then pressed panini-style until it’s all warm and snuggled up together.
It’s a damn goopy sandwich from the first bite until the last, melted cheese and avo slices persistently trying to make their escape. The charred bun is constantly on the edge of disintegrating, but magically stays just dense enough to keep the sandwich held together in a perfect steady-state balance between solid and liquid (which, yeah, sublimates to gas almost as soon as it hits your belly).
Luckily, the little Mexican spot uses American-style multi-ply napkins, so you don’t have to empty the dispenser as you make your way through your lunch.
But you’ll still want to wash your hands and face when you’re done.
What a delicious mess.