Cafe Reviews

In Praise of the Mexican Torta and Where I Nab One (Okay, Two) of My Favorites

I'm convinced there's not many things in life a well-made torta can't cure. Bad day? Torta. Un-friended on Facebook? Torta. Walking around with a piece of torta in your teeth? Torta.

Monster-size and cheap, these popular Mexican sandwiches -- stuffed with meat, thick slices of ripe avocado, pickled jalapeños, lettuce, tomato, and mayo -- deliver in size as well as flavor. And the soft, round telera bread is nothing short of heavenly.

Here in the Valley, there are lots of places to score tortas. But when it comes to the cochinita, there's only one place I'll go.

For one of my favorite varieties of torta, my to-go spot is the tangerine-colored stucco building on 16th Street in Phoenix known as Tortas El Guero. This neighborhood, family-owned mini-chain specializes in the Mexican mega-sandwiches and carries around 20 varieties, each for five or six bucks.

Mildly sweet and spicy, Tortas El Guero's cochinita is one of the clear standouts. Featuring slow-cooked pulled pork simmered with achiote, orange juice, and a blend of spices piled into a toasted and pillow-y house made telera roll along with avocado, lettuce, tomato, and pickled jalapeño peppers, this torta packs a flavorful punch.

Need a runner-up? How about the Cubana packed with ham, pork, and cheese. Also delicious.

Life's troubles solved with a torta? I'm a believer.

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Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld