Let us take another look at how the lil’ old Torta is doing these days in Los Angeles. First up a quick tour into Boyle Heights which seems to be Cemita Central.
Yup, we’ve seen this $5 Cemita from Los Poblanos before. It was worth a revisit: packed with salty quesillo and big chunks of aguacate, this simple and fresh sandwich has some inviting qualities. It’s kinda like a Mexican Ploughman’s Lunch all stacked together.
Couple it with a fresh agua like the awesome nuez or pistachio and it makes for a good lunch treat. You order from the truck and sit inside to eat on the fancy plastic tables and chairs.
Spotted on Cemita Row: one of those ridiculous fake mohawks. No doubt cuz his mom would get mad if he got a real one.
Across the street, another Cemita truck with the indoor seating arrangement. I don’t know what to make of this ad though, maybe they try to emphasize their pechonalidad.
A non-meat torta is still a weird request at this place, they gave me just Panela cheese and no quesillo, but you can see it was overflowing. At $6 its still a deal but a bit on the boring side so you might want to share it with a friend.
Up the street at the car wash a woman sets up her food stand on weekends and serves mostly mole con pollo but she offered these “piquaditas” when I said “no como carne”, which lead to some lecherous jokes about carnality of a different sort! These have a fresh masa base (like a sope) with tasty salsas smeared on and topped with queso fresco. Damn these were good! Around $1.25 too. Si la!
Come on now, this looks stupid, wrapping cheese around the outside to make it look overflowing. This is the result of asking for a “cemita de queso” at Juquilita on Lorena. Solo el queso en el pan? No, una cemita normal solo no carne.
He comes to our table later to ask if we want aguacate. Hmm, this is gonna be interesting.
Ha Ha! Jokes on me. A dry cemita bread with just Panela cheese and aquacate. No papalao, no chile, ni la pinchi sal. All for $6. Next time just stick to the enchiladas de mole. I think I’m going to stick to my normal tortas for the time being.
Over in Lincoln Heights, good old Chapalita is still the spot for quick cheap eats.
Now that’s more like it! Beans and rice, oh how I’ve missed you. Plus lechuga, tomate, queso, salsa, and mayonesa to round it all out. Around $4 with a can of soda. Wot a bargain!
Over on Main St. still in LH, Wendy’s Tortas grills their bread proper.
But it gets smushed down into a fragile package that can get messy. And they only add a thin smear of beans, although the melty cheese is nice. Not bad but not on my essential list.
I’ve been spending more time in Downtown lately where there are many eating options though the bulk seem to be of the new fancier variety, with lunch averaging around $12 for some precious fare presented nicely on a plate. Sure, its often good but sometimes you just want a quick bite to kill the hunger not a list of pricey items in season and all that waiter nonsense. So I’ve been walking around trying to find the spots where the laborers get their grub. How come the local papers and blogs tell me nothing about what I want to know? It’s all fancy restaurants and real estate development. Pass!
Near Grand Central Market Taco House #1 has a veggie torta on the menu with rice, beans, and lots of creamy dressing which is either mayo, jack cheese, or sour cream, I couldn’t tell. I forgot to take notes but I think its about $4.50 and it comes with a few chips. It’s okay.
I like their $3 bean and cheese better.
One bonus about these cheapo places: you don’t have to endure lawyers and their ilk babble on and on about their assorted pendejadas while you try to enjoy your meal. Aren’t they supposed to keep some of that private? Please do! Better to read the tables anyways or just add your own status update.
Somebody hearts cholos. That wouldn’t be me.
It’s good to meander around the city cuz by accident I stumbled upon this nice torta: grilled telera, beans, sliced panela cheese, and fresh aguacate, decent salsas available, good aguas frescas. I’m going to try their HR’s one of these days. This one I can recommend. Mai Mexican Kitchen 633 S. Spring
There’s a torta place that has good recommendations over on Santee but the line was too long and with mostly fashionable people, maybe next time. Down the street was this spot. A ver que tal Doña Inez!
I wish they’d grilled the bread, what’s the point of these untoasted tortas? This just makes one contemplate hitting up the panaderia and the mercado for a diy effort.
Everyone else was enjoying their food and talking about the the jale (hmm, is that any better?) so maybe next time I just skip the tortas and go for the chiles rellenos.
I might have to take a break from Tortas since it is that time of the year for the other torta I crave: Tortitas de Camaron con Nopales! The lenten dish of the poor, ground shrimp and egg fritters in a chile sauce. Available Fridays at only the finest eateries, like these from Lencho’s in Lincoln Heights. (Yup, I’m a bad vegetarian but don’t you worry about my black soul and ethical lapses, pay attention to your own.)
Alright, that’s enough of this shitty torta update. I promise to do a better job next time, I might even grill my blog post and slather it with mayo!