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looking for a great torta

  • j
  • jeremzzz May 2, 2006 03:14 PM

any suggestions on where to get the best torta in the east bay. thanks

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  1. What are you looking for in a torta?

    Do you want the small type like in Mexico city that are grilled and spread with beans on a special roll?

    Or do you want the big cold versions that are usually served in this area?

    Tortas Los Picudos has an in-between version - big, but grilled.

    The roll is buttered and toasted in a press.

    The fillings were not overwhelming, but balanced nicely with the bread and meat … a little mayo, crema, chile, thin tomato slices, restrained use of romaine lettuce, thin red onion slices and avocado.

    While cheese can be swiss or American, choose the Mexican cheese (queso fresco) on your sandwich which turns the sandwich into creamy goodness as it heats (think of the texture of ricatta) and blends with the other ingrediants.

    Choice of ingrediants include:

    Queso de pueroco – head cheese
    Salchica – hot dog
    Pierna – smoked pork
    Carnitas – fried pork
    Pescado – fish
    Chorizo – Mexican sausage
    Chorizo con huevo – sausage with egg
    Pollo Milanesa – thin, breaded chicken breast
    Res Milanesa - thin, breaded steak
    ham
    pastrami
    roast beef
    salami
    turkey

    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    10 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      This sounds like a great "last lunch" prior to leaving the hood. I just had a torta at Tacubaya last week and was underwhelmed.

      1. re: pm

        And so I went there for lunch today. The place was, while not completely packed, was fairly full. I forgot about the Agua Fresca offer from the CC Marketplace (and wouldn't you know, that issue was waiting for me in the office when I got there right after lunch).

        I had a Torta de Carnitas. It was a very tasty sandwich. Excellent? No. Very good? Yes. There were a few huge gobs of fat I had to spit out. The meat itself could have tasted better if it was cut into a few smaller pieces and grilled a bit more. There's a chips and salsa bar - the green salsa had an odd sweetness to it, and I wasn't crazy about it. The others were ok. Well worth $5. Still relatively close to my workplace for another month-plus :)

        1. re: pm

          Glad you liked it. I tried the coconut liquado yesterday. It was just in a styrofoam cup rather than a coconut ... oh well.

          They also had grilled quail as a special yesterday. However, I already ate, so didn't get a chance to try it.

          That's why I thought tacos were not thier thing - the steam table meat I tried seemed average. Anything cooked to order seems the way to go.

          I'm probably going to try the fish torta next just to see what I get. Hope it's not tuna.

          They didn't have the chips on my first visit. They looked kind of average though. Don't know if that heat lamp did much to keep them warm.

          1. re: rworange

            The chips were average. The heat lamp ... well, the chips weren't cold. But, they weren't warm. I was tempted to check out the enchiladas on a future visit - I'll ask to see if they use house-made tortillas first.

      2. re: rworange

        I was really hungry and near El Tonayense at the Best Buy so I stopped. Didn't want a taco and don't really like their burritos so I ordered a torta al pastor because it seemed logical...wasn't expecting much but it was great.

        The bread was toasted on both sides, seems like it was pressed a bit and looked like a soft roll from San Francisco French Bread (but not sourdough).

        ET's al pastor can over-power a tortilla but was perfect on the roll...grilled onions, salsa, a little lettuce and tomato off-set by the bread...near prefect. Had some of the qualities of good meatball sub but much more flavor and of course a small kick from the salsa.

        I always liked the tacos at ET but I think it's about the torta now, at least for me. I'm already thinking about when I'll go back.

        1. re: ML8000

          Al pastor as a torta, blasphemy.
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4223...

          1. re: wolfe

            I had a great al pastor Cemita the other day. What do you have against al pastor in a sandwich?

            1. re: Xiao Yang

              Xiao Yang - do tell where you got the great pastor Cemita........

              1. re: lmarie

                Unfortunately it was in Jackson Heights, NY, not San Francisco. Taqueria Coatzingo, if that helps.

              2. re: Xiao Yang

                Wolfe didn't have a problem, someone in the other thread said al pastor is only for tacos

        2. r
          Robert Lauriston

          Mexican sandwich or Italian dessert?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            My thoughts exactly.

          2. If you're looking for Mexico City-style tortas, La Casita Chilanga recently opened a location in Newark at 36601 Newark Blvd. I've never been to that location, but the two Redwood City locations are quite tasty. I've attached a link to their website below, although I'd warn that a) it's in Spanish and b) it plays music.

            Link: http://www.lacasitachilanga.com

            1. Anyone have any other (or updated) suggestions on where to find a good torta in the East Bay?

              I tried La Torta Loca in Fruitvale the other day. I usually think of tortas as these big, vaguely Americanized sandwiches that aren't all that good. But this one seemed much more authentic: round torta roll (instead of regular sandwich bread), queso fresco (instead of sliced cheese), avocado, onion, salsa, hold the lettuce, hold the mayo. Really good.

              I'd love to find more like that. Sounds like the Ojo de Agua taco truck in Fruitvale and Los Picudos in San Pablo are worth trying...any others?

              5 Replies
              1. re: Agent 510

                had one at Los Picudos in SP this past weekend. first one in months, stll great

                1. re: Agent 510

                  The taco truck in front of Grocery Outlet on Broadway makes good tortas.

                  -----
                  Grocery Outlet
                  2900 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    What kind of bread do they use? The one taco truck torta I've tried was on a regular french roll and I wouldn't get it again.

                  2. re: Agent 510

                    Casa Latina Bakery on San Pablo at Delaware in Berkeley makes a very delicious, large, traditional torta. The carnitas is (are?) great. Their bakery items are really good, too.

                    1. re: foodeye

                      I like Casa Latina, too. As far as I can tell the tortas at Talavera on Solano are exactly the same. Same prices. I believe they're owned by the same people.

                  3. I like El Ojo de Agua taco truck for Tortas. The beso de novia is a favorite. .. very tasty. They use the freshest teleras and their meats are very delicious. I am also a fan of the licuados. . mamey is a favorite as is guanabana. I don't get tortas anywhere else.

                    1. I'm a big fan of Los Picudos' tortas in San Pablo. They use very fresh ingredients, toast them nicely, make a number of refreshing fruit drinks like the vampiro tropical, and are extra friendly. As rworange points out, be sure to get the queso fresco as your cheese selection. They have some tasty salsas to prime your taste buds while you wait. But the wait is usually short. That does it...I'm going back tomorrow.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: osc3

                        Some locators:

                        -----
                        La Casita Chilanga
                        2928 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City, CA 94063

                        El Ojo de Agua Taco Truck
                        Derby St and International Blvd, Oakland, CA

                        La Torta Loca
                        3419 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

                        Casa Latina
                        1805 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA

                        Tortas Y Taqueria Los Picudos
                        13830 San Pablo Ave, San Pablo, CA 94806

                        La Casita Chilanga
                        761 El Camino Real, Redwood City, CA

                        La Casita Chilanga
                        36601 Newark Blvd, Newark, CA 94560

                        La Casita Chilanga
                        795 5th Ave, Redwood City, CA 94063

                      2. El Jarro in Lafayette has very good Oaxacan tortas. So good I almost never get anything else though their seafood preparations are also very good. Here's an old thread:
                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/316049

                        Carnitas Tijuana is a new place in Pittsburg with great carnitas. They make a Tijuana style torta. They also make fresh corn tortillas for tacos if you're in the mood.
                        Cuisine: Mexican
                        2193 Railroad Ave
                        Pittsburg, CA 94565
                        925-439-3663

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: fiddlr40

                          Thanks for the tip on Tijuana. How is a Tijuana-style torta different. Any other interesting dishes from that area?

                          -----
                          El Jarro
                          3563 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549

                          Carnitas Tijuana
                          2193 Railroad Ave, Pittsburg, CA 94565