Tortas come is many varieties 

click to enlarge Carnita Torta at La Costa Restaurant. - Photos by Lauren Hamilton
  • Carnita Torta at La Costa Restaurant. Photos by Lauren Hamilton

This Mexican sandwich is a delight any time of the day.

Torta, in Spanish-speaking countries, usually means “a loaf or cake”; but in Mexico, it means a tasty, traditional sandwich, and no two tortas are alike. Tortas roughly resemble sandwiches, but the bread and fillings are what sets them apart from lesser combinations of ingredients and some sort of bread.

Torta creations are without rules, but there are essentially two types of tortas: ones with stewed fillings and ones with fillings cooked on a griddle.

“The torta is the delicious cousin of the taco, all the fantastic flavors of Mexico carried around between bread instead of a tortilla,” said Marc Dunham, director of the School of Culinary Arts at Francis Tuttle Technology Center.

While tortas can be found throughout Mexico, you don’t need to take a day’s drive to the Mexican border for them; they’re made right here in the metro area.

Visit Super Tortas El Chavo, 721 SW 29th St., for the titan of tortas, the Torta El Chavo. Brush up on your Spanish; this torta is listed as No. 1 of the 25 different incarnations in the restaurant’s Spanish-language- only menu. It’s essentially a version of the traditional torta de jamon y aguacate (ham and avocado torta), a popular Mexican street food. This hearty torta is accompanied with asadero cheese, tomato, romaine lettuce and jalapeño peppers. The freshly made bolillos are from none other than the wonderful nearby La Oaxaqueña Bakery, 4301 S. May Ave. Make a trip to the chili pepper bar and get the fire engine red picante sauce before diving into the torta.

You’ve had Corona Extra beer before, but not like they’re served at Super Tortas El Chavo. Corona comes in a chilled beer mug with lime pulp and salt around the rim with frozen lime pulp in the beer.

In Stockyards City, Los Comales, 1504 S. Agnew Ave., has a to-die-for carne asada torta filled with marinated steak, salty cotija cheese and perfect, creamy avocado. A no-frills taquería, Los Comales (translated to “the griddle”) has a traditional Mexican menu high on authenticity.

The carnita torta is loaded with pork at La Costa Restaurant, 2608 S. May Ave. Succulent small pieces of slow-cooked pork are the filling for this torta. It is served with an avocado chili mayonnaise sauce and a pickled jalapeño pepper.

The bustling parking lot at Tacos San Pedro, 2301 SW 44th St., means it’s lunchtime and time for a Cubana torta. It’s everything you can put between two pieces of a soft, fluffy telera roll, an alternative to the bolillo. It includes ham, bologna, beef, chicken, cabbage, tomato, avocado, mayonnaise and mustard.

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Angela Botzer

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