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May 27, 2008 08:33 PM

Cook's Tortas

Anyone been to Cook's Tortas in Alhambra??

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  1. Webb, this place is located in Monterey Park, not Alhambra. I which it would have been in Alhambra, because then it would be closer to home!!!

    WOW! If you are looking for a place that offers unheard of and traditional tortas (sandwiches) search no more!!!

    This place has them all; according to the owner he has collected hundreds of recipes and puts them on the chalkboard menu at any given time. At my recent and first visit, I had the CALIFORNIA torta (Grilled chicken, tomato cream, salsa, avocado, lettuce, fried sage). It was gooood!!! It was accompanied by their Ham and Cheese macaroni salad, and their freshly squeezed lemonade. Both excellent!

    Just today, I had their torta AHOGADA (Slow cooked pork, spicy double dip), I loved it! The taste is very close to authentic (Jalisco style); it was lacking the beans though. The only suggestions I would make the next time I visit and order the Ahogada, is that they but more escabeche (pickled onions), and add the beans. Other than that, the Red Potato Salad was awesome, along with the Cucumber-Lime agua fresca. So refreshing. I recommend this place very highly, if you're into Tortas.

    This place is definitely worth the trip, especially for those of us that live in the Northeast part of L.A. (sorry King Torta). The only drawback is that it closes too early, at 4pm. :(

    Looking forward to trying a different one every week. :)

    1944 S Atlantic Blvd
    Monterey Park, CA 91754
    (323) 278-3536

    5 Replies
    1. re: BCM

      Cook's has expanded their hours: Mon-Sat 9am to 9pm. Good thing too, because I'm working my way through their really wonderful and ususual menu.

      I'm surprised that more SGV/Eastside people haven't been raving about this place - the tortas are really wonderful and imaginative. They have the traditional milanesa, ahogada, carne asada etc. tortas, but also ones based on Spanish and Cuban sandwiches (I'm dying to try the bacalao marinated in Spanish paprika!). They also have California-style deli sandwiches and salads - they have a fresh tropical fruit sandwich with cream cheese!

      All the torta bread is baked on the premises by the owner's mother-in-law (who also makes a tremendous fresh corn cake and some beautiful cookies) and yes, i's really more like ciabatta (it's made with a levain-style starter) than traditional Mexican torta rolls, but I think that adds to the experience. They offer unusual sides with every torta - a dilled potato salad, macaroni salad with red peppers and ham, spectacular home-made bread and butter pickles, a fruit salad (on my last visit, it was a creamy apple salad) or little cups of homemade flan. Really, this is such a find - delicious, fresh, thoughtfully prepared food, reasonable prices, and it's right on Atlantic and Brightwood in my old hood.

      1. re: soyarra

        This is insane. I know this place. I pass by it all the time and it always looks closed or empty... glad I read this.

        1. re: soyarra

          Soyarra, thanks for the info on their new hours. Now I could after work... :)

          1. re: BCM

            just went yesterday for 4th or 5th time and it is really good!
            split sandwich with someone and had habana (ham,bacon,chicken, garlic,cheese and grilled onion)
            also had mojito (roast pork,mojo garlic,onion) comes with choice of side

          2. re: soyarra

            How could we have missed this? Thanx

        2. We went to Cook's today being excited by these posts.
          This is a Cuban torta place. There is definitely a difference between the tortas made at a Mexican restaurant and Cook's. The Mexican tortas are traditionally made on a telera roll and includes re-fried beans and avocado.
          I had the ahogada torta and my husband had the grilled chicken. I have to say they sure give you your money's worth. While advertised as "spicy", I didn't find it spicy at all. It was tasty but got a little mushy from the tomato sauce and the black beans which I had requested. The red potato salad was delicious as was the limon (lemonade) drink. My husband thought his sandwich was just so so. He had asked for avocado which was .50 extra and they forgot it. When he went back, they were apologetic even though the cook said in Spanish that the torta didn't come with avocado. My husband answered that he had paid extra for it and the cook apologized. My husband ordered the apple salad as his side and it was very good. Some friends came in while we were eating and said this was the fourth time they had been there. They highly recommended the lengua torta. We'll try that next time. I ordered a piece of "great, great grandma's" corn cake and they gave me a huge slice to take home. It is very good, different, but sort of like a cheesecake with a very strong corn taste. I will order this again.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Neta

            Thanks so much Neta! It's been on our list for a while now and the details on your posts skew expectations positively! :D


          2. I'm a sandwich fiend, and now Cook's Tortas has become a must stop when I go to SGV for my weekly foot massage. I've tried their Mojito and Breakfast tortas on my last two visits. The pork in the Mojito was really moist. Wish it was a little spicier though. Today I had the Breakfast Tortas with grilled sausge, eggs, avocado, lettuce, jalapenos AND a cup of sangria...what a delicious way to start a day! There are so many unusual choiceson the board. Wonder what I should try next ???? What are your favorites?

            1. I went to Cook's Tortas for the first time today and I loved it! I got the Milanese (is that right?) and California-which was grilled chicken, avocadoes, tomato cream sauce, and some other veggies. The Milanese was great-the chicken was a little dry. But it almost didn't matter because the bread is great. I hear they make them in house.

              I had a slice of the cake-I didn't care for it much-personally. I also had a chocolate chip cookie, it was huge and good, but passable. Lastly, I had one of their shortbread cookies with jelly in it-the name escapes my mind, that was excellent!

              I say give this place a try!

              1. Bumping up an old thread.

                Ever since we went to Ricardo Diaz' Bizarra Capital in Whittier, I had been wanting to try his Cook's Tortas in Alhambra - much closer to me. Today was my second trip at lunch time.

                I had the Ahogada - spicy pork - and it was very good. However, the sauce made the bread soggy, and on my first visit, I had the special for the day - and the bread is what stood out! It was just the best bread I have had for tortas. y father had a half of a chicken torta - so I have his other half sandwich to try tomorrow. However it will perhaps not taste as fresh.

                The menu is quite extensive, and around 12:45p it was quite full. There must be a sheriff's station nearby as there were several plainclothes law enforcement officers with guns on their hips. While the line was long, the food did not take too long to come out.

                My father had the latte - and I had a sip from him - really good coffee. It is quite a gem of a place, just wish it was a little closer to me.

                9 Replies
                1. re: suvro

                  Ahogada means drowned... Soggy bread is the hallmark of this sandwich (Mexicans have a love of soggy bread).

                  I adore cooks... it's one of the things that sustained me through grad school. Their green eggs and ham sandwich special is one of my favroite things on bread. Next time order the roasted chiles... a really generous portion of a variety of chiles, but they really make their sandwiches complete. Even my VERY picky Mexican Mom eats these with abandon... :)


                  1. re: Dommy

                    Thanks for your suggestion. I did not know Ahogada means drowned. Now it makes sense.

                    Also next time will surely try the roasted chile torta. On our trip to Bizarra Capital, we had the chile taco, and it was the most flavorful taco I have ever had. So I can imagine that his chile torta would be just as great!

                    1. re: suvro

                      Sorry if I wasn't clear... the Roasted Chiles aren't a torta, they are a side to go along with the tortas. :) Buen Provecho! :)


                  2. re: suvro

                    Since I last wrote, I have had the chance to go a few more times - it is a bit of a drive from Pasadena.

                    Today I went around 12:30pm and it was crowded as usual. I had the Chef Special Al Pastor torta, with the potato salad side. I like al pastor very much, and while I have not made the pilgrimage to Mexico city, or the many places in LA specializing in this, I always try it when I see it on the menu. In my limited experience, this was easily the best al pastor I have had - great quality of the meat, nicely seasoned and barbequed, grilled pineapples, and as always - superb bread.

                    I have tried several other tortas - Bombero, Molcajete, Mojito, Le Diabla, Cochinita, and Ranchito - not all ordered by me (I took my wife on one occasion, and my wife and daughter on another) - and all of them have been excellent.

                    The parking lot is small, but we have managed to find street parking nearby. It gets crowded and very noisy at times. But it is certainly a great value - $8.99 - $9.99 for all tortas which come with a side.

                      1. re: suvro

                        alternatively, one get a decent cemita de pierna (roasted pork leg) with fresh papalo and roasted chipotle, or al pastor cemita, for $5.50 down the street.

                            1. re: TonyC

                              TonyC thank you!

                              I've had my lunch today but looking at the pics for the second one - I am hungry again!

                              I've saved the links so that the next time I'm in that area, I can FEAST.