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Mar 18, 2007 09:19 PM

Eating my way through Mexico in Santa Ana: Part 2 - Guadalajaran Love on a (Styrofoam) Plate

Ricas Tortas Ahogadas!

Outside of Northgate Market off of 4th St. in Santa Ana you’ll first notice the line. No, these impatient people are not inside the market waiting for the cashier, but outside across the street eyeing the truck with the emblazoned Chivas regalia. This is Ricas Tortas Ahogadas and –yes- there is a line everyday breakfast, lunch and dinner.

What they are waiting for is a sloppy concotion which hails from Mexico’s ‘Pearl of the West” Guadalajara. It is basically a Mexican French dip if you will. Instead of au Jus pleasingly offered on the side of your sandwich – you get a firery tomato- arbol sauce already drenched on your crisp birote salado (Mexican roll). Although you have your choice of filling – go for the traditional carnitas. The power that is carnitas can stand up in this sandwich of kings. Strwn lovingly atop are lightly pickled onions, offering a pleasing contrast. Don’t forget the minced onion, cilantro, and lime to squeeze over your sandwich.

Lucky me, standing around taking in this whole spectacle in, I asked the young woman behind me if she could help me ordering (language and a bit of intimidation hehe – it is famous) which she kindly did.

Seeing Tacos Al Vapor (steamed tacos) my favorite, I could not resist, and had one of frijoles.

I am not big on sandwiches which may stem from school age mundane lunches but these tortas are killer. In fact, if there was a list of 50 things you HAVE to eat in the LA area this would be close to the top.

I really liked the bread which they put in a little glass case for you to see. Its not a bollilo or telera but different. Still incredibly crisp in parts after the dunking, but the perfect foil for sopping up the excess sauce as well.

The carnitas – while possessing that mandatory musky taste - are not very crisp or true to traditional carnitas texture, more like little chunks. Still very delcious filling.

I really liked my little steamed taco. Tender and nice.

The level of heat started to kick in 3/4ths the way in for me. I started to get this nice rush feeling and the endorphins kick in. Beautiful sloppy sandwich.
Pictures will be posted –stay tuned

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      1. re: kare_raisu

        youll have to scroll down or go to page 2 sorry.

        1. re: kare_raisu

          Cool a tortas ahogadas truck ... and they had Mexican hot dogs too? The picture of the menu said hot dogs.

          So was this your first encounter of an ahogada-type?

          My first sandwich seemed to be a unique menu item. Don't know if I just didn't notice them before or more restaurants are making them now. Hard to tell from the picture but did it have beans in it. This guy from Chicago looking for one in the bay area mentioned beans.

          Good description ... Mexican French dip

          Anyway ahogada means drowned. On my first try I mistook it for the Spanish word for meatballs. Also supposed to be a hangover cure. Here was my report on a bay area place ... RIP Red's ... RIP ... and the two restaurants that quickly followed.

          1. re: rworange

            I wonder if the hot dogs were TJ style? I know that some Mexican torta 'Cubanos' have halved weenies instead of the roast pork.

            Yep - now I can say I am not an Ahogada virgin any more. I'll take this as a hangover cure over any menudo any day! :)