In an effort to make my friend’s head explode, i am trying to see if I can get two blogs done in 2 days. It has been a while, but since my wife and lovely child are gone for a few days, I am really trying to buckle down.
I went out last night with my good friend and fellow sandwich eater Phil, and we went to go get Tortas. What is a Torta you might ask? well, it is a mexican sandwich, with all sorts of yummyness. There are a variety of what people call Tortas, but we are talking about the Mexican standard, not one of the other varieties.
So I went over to Phil’s house and then we went in search of the Las Tortas. Phil’s instructions to me were, look for the head shop, its on the left. Well, given that I really had no idea where I was going, I did as I was told. After some weaving and dodging and left turns followed by right turns where I felt like I was going in a circle in East Denver, we made it here.
As I walked up to the front door, it appeared as though it was empty. I was going to be a sad panda, but then I saw the ever familiar UniVision logo flashing across one of the numerous televisions they had on inside. It was empty, but it wasn’t closed. I am always a little hesitant about restaurants with no people… but then I saw something that let me know I was in the right place. It was as if I was being given a sign that these people knew what they were talking about.
I stood there looking at the menu board, and while there were a lot of things on the menu that I was not going to eat, because they were pork-based, I had quite a few options. I turned to my sandwich coach and asked him what his standard choice is.
Phil: “La Norteña is what I normally get, but I think I may mix it up today”
Me: “I was thinking about that one. I think I am going to go for it”
Phil: “its always a good choice”
and i ordered it with a Lime Jaritos soda…
Phil doesn’t make bad choices…. So, I went ahead and ordered a Nortena, without the cheese but with everything else. La Norteña is a torta with Asada (steak), Milanesa (Milanesa steak, breaded), y Queso (cheese). When you get it with everything, it also comes with mayonnaise, avocado, tomato, onion, chipotle sauce and jalapeño. Now many of you may know this, but if there are any new readers out there, here is a little tidbit about me. I do not like Mayonnaise. Period. I find it to be one of the most repulsive and despicable things you can put on a sandwich. I would rather put drywall mud on my sandwich than mayo. ughcchh. Even just thinking about it makes me gag a little.
However, if you look very closely at this sandwich, what do you find?
Not because it has mayo on it, because I wanted to take a picture of this sandwich in all of its glory. Nice soft bread, lightly toasted, a very light spread of mayo, followed by fresh avocado slices and tomatoes, followed by onions, followed by the Milanesa, followed by the chipotle sauce, and then the Asada, right up against the bread, so the juices soaked into it.
Me: “Now Phil, you know I don’t normally like mayo”
Phil: “I know, I was going to say something, but… ”
Me: “I knew it had it on there, but this is traditionally how it comes, so I am going to give it a shot.”
And then I took a bite.
and then I looked down and the first half of my sandwich was gone. I added the jalepeños to the next half which added just a little bit more heat. I finished off my sandwich like I hadn’t eaten in a week…. this sandwich was so well done, that I forgot that the Mayo was even on it. The layer of mayo was very thin, and it sort of blended together with the creaminess of the avocado to create what I might even go so far as to call an avocado aioli. It was not the overpowering taste of mayo, and it soaked into the bread just enough to make it almost non-existent. The Milanesa was so well cooked, that i just kept saying how much I love breaded stuff. it was really well balanced, between the spicyness of the steak, the chipotle sauce, and then the creaminess of the avocados. the bread was just a little bit toasted so everything didn’t soak through and fall apart, but it also was soft enough that it didn’t shred your palate as you bit into it. The sandwich ended up being just one bite bigger than I wanted it to be, but I didn’t want to leave just one bite.
I wish this place was closer to my house, because it was really awesome. I never thought I would use the word awesome to talk about a sandwich with mayo, but I just did. Mind blown people. Mind Blown.
Overall sandwich rating: A+
Presentation: A+ (simple. all is on the plate is a sandwich…. no fancy plates, etc. just pure sandwich)
Structure: A (it was well thought out and well executed. Not too saucy, not messy, and it stayed together with only a few straglers)
Flavors: A+ (yes… there were some, and they were good)
Non – sandwich related:
Atmosphere: A+ (its a hole in the wall in a strip mall next to a head shop. but they have layers on the windows)
Service: A (good service. Very quick, very helpful. not a lot of need for service)
Price: B+ (a good buy… $11 for a drink and a sandwich that was huge!)