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Best torta in East L.A. area

I know there must be millions, but where can I get the best torta in the East Los Angeles area? I go to a place on Broadway by Lincoln High School that is pretty good, but I was wondering about branching out a little bit.

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  1. If you haven't tried Cook's Tortas, you need to give it a try. They're not old-school though, they're pretty gourmet with all fresh ingredients and over 350 varieties rotating on the menu. The chicken with green mole was one of the more delicious things I've eaten lately, the aguas are great, and they make homemade desserts and sides.

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    Cook's Tortas
    1944 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

    15 Replies
    1. re: Chowpatty

      Tried this place for the first time today. Thank you CP -- very good, and very nice recommendation. I'm adding Cook's to my regular rotation.

      1. re: Chowpatty

        I love a good torta myself so plan to give Cook's a try. Thanks for the recommendation. For another delicious chicken torta, stop by Tall Pines Coffee Shop (name's deceiving but they mainly serve Mexican food).

        Tall Pines
        1540 S Myrtle Ave
        Monrovia, CA 91016
        (626) 358-9084

        1. re: Chowpatty

          Chowpatty, will do. It's even close to my house. Joy!

          1. re: Chowpatty

            I absolutely love Cook's Torta. I usually get their Milanesa and have tried like 4 others, but always go back to that one. The only sandwich they have that I think is better is on Sunday when they BBQ. The pulled park is SO Good. Of course you need to get the sweet potato fries too. The one complaint I have is that their sandwiches seem a little inconsistent. Sometimes it's spicer than the last time I've had it (even with the jalepenos omitted) and sometimes the bread isn't AS good as I've had it. But the bread is AWESOME.

            1. re: Chowpatty

              Cook's is a treasure - had lunch there today and as always the tortas were made with that terrific housemade ciabatta (not traditional but so good!) and impeccably fresh ingredients. So far we've tried the chicken basil, the turkey, the tongue (well, my mom loves it), the vegetarian, the bacalao, the Cubano (again not traditional, but yummy) and the adobado. All lovely, all huge (really, one sandwich is enough for two meals). My more traditional mother and sisters love the licuados - I love the macaroni salad with red peppers and smoked ham. The owners are lovely people - very welcoming and always ready to talk about their food. And although some people don't understand it, I love the sweet corn cake with homemade jam. It's very Mexican and delicious.

              I love this place!

              1. re: Chowpatty

                ciabatta rolls? bbq pulled pork? macaroni salad? chicken BASIL??????

                is Cook's like the non-moving, torta version of Kogi? (minus the korean edge of course)

                sounds more like Nook (which kills) than Casita Chilanga to me, and i don't mean that in a bad way.

                1. re: ceviche

                  I totally agree with soyarra, Cooks is a complete treasure. No, they aren't 'traditional' in the strictest sense, by neither is the history of ELA. I think it's one of the great places that is taking the torch from El Tepayac, an obvious next step to the cuisine of a new generation with great odes to the generation that came before. I absolutely ADORED their Green Eggs and Ham Special a couple of Sunday's ago... the flavors were rich, bright and balanced... What more could I want in a Torta...

                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/dommichu...

                  P. LOVED the Cuban, although be sure to order their great pickles on the side to make the flavor profile complete....

                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/dommichu...

                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/dommichu...

                  I liken it what they are pulling off at the Homegirl Cafe. No, my abuelita would probably have NO idea on how to make a Tofu Tinga... but I give her a taste she would recognize it immediately...

                  --Dommy!

                  1. re: Dommy

                    oooh homegirl cafe. love that place!!!

                    1. re: ceviche

                      Went there this weekend and the girls were in top form. The cochinita torta, not exactly traditional either, was really spectacular. Patty from Eating LA was kind enough to do a write up on her blog about it too...

                      http://eatingla.blogspot.com/2009/03/...

                      Anyway, if you appreciate what the girls are cooking, then you'll enjoy Cooks... the kids there are trying really hard to get the flavors spot on. :)

                      --Dommy!

                      --Dommy!

                      1. re: Dommy

                        Not that I needed convincing, but now I'm sold. Too bad I'm not east often enough.

                  2. re: ceviche

                    Most bolillos and especially teleras have the same consistency as that of a ciabatta roll, so I don't see what the fuss is about. There is a spanish word for basil as well. Also if you have ever been to a gathering of anyone who is of Mexican descent you will always find a version of macaroni salad (as I know with many many of my friends).

                  3. re: Chowpatty

                    I had Cook's Tortas yesterday for lunch for the first time and was IMPRESSED with the beef tongue torta. I wouldn't normally order tongue but the chef said it was the best, so I had to try it. It was so tender, so beefy, so perfect! My friend had the mojito pork torta, which I tasted, and was also delicious...but the TONGUE! Wow!!!
                    Also the cucumber-lime juice was out of this world.

                    1. re: junglekitte

                      Wow!! I would think Lengua would be a bit too rich for a torta... but now I want to try it! :DDD

                      --Dommy!

                      1. re: Dommy

                        Go for it! I thought it was so delicious and tender... I hope you like it!

                  4. I generally don't eat them, but have fallen for the carne asada torta at King Torta on Valley Blvd. The carne asada has good char flavor and the telera bread is soft yet toasty. The accompanying salsa roja is also good too.

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                    King Torta
                    4521 Valley Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90032

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Ernie

                      King Torta used to be really good when the torta price was $3, in the early part of this millennium. I forget how much they are now, but I just can't justify the price whatever it is now. Their bread is probably just best torta bread I've had, but I think they've become smaller and more expensive, unfortunately.

                      1. re: azibo

                        I hear what you're saying. I can still get out the door with 2 carnitas burros from King Torta for less than $10. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for 2 Al Pastor burros at King Taco whose portions are even smaller. Sometimes though I just need my Al Pastor fix there.

                        1. re: azibo

                          Wow $3 is a steal, but I think King Tortas are still worth it at current $5 price for the quality of bread and ingredients. They are not super-huge but I find one is plenty satisfying

                      2. I am a fan of Ya Ya's Burgers - they do have burgers, but they specialize in tortas - at 3202 East Gage Ave. in Huntington Park.

                        1. I second for cook's. They make their own bread. You can't go wrong with anything that has pork there.

                          1. it's true, cook's has good tortas, although not traditional, just as delicious

                            yuca's on hollywood has good ones too

                            ya ya's, it was not all that, i even tried them a second time and they just were not all that

                            i used to like super tortas years ago, but the last time i was there i was not impressed one bit

                            1. Try some of the varioous food stands at El Mercado in East Los Angeles. I fell in love with the torta milanesa and a pineapple and cocnut licquado

                              1. Are you talking about Fanny's Tortas? It was across the street from Lincoln High School. That place was really good. Just noticed that they re-opened on Main St. - not far from Lincoln Park.
                                For an amazing Torta, go to the Golondrina taco truck that parks every night in front of the Food 4 Less in El Sereno on Huntington Dr. - a couple blocks east of Eastern. It's a truck that is manned by mostly women. They have the best food and service! Even if you just order one taco, it comes on a plate w/cucumber and radish slices, chips and limes. They even have enchiladas that are pretty good.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: slowrider

                                  Slowrider, you are speaking my language. I live just down the street from there. It's on the list, thanks.

                                  1. re: ohdaylay

                                    Down the street from the Food 4 Less?
                                    Me too!
                                    I'm right behind El Sereno Elementary School.......

                                    What are your thoughts on El Taquito? Hecho En Mexico? El Aguila Bakery? El Sereno Meat Market?

                                    1. re: slowrider

                                      You're in my hood. I live on Huntington South near Soto. El Taquito is pretty good, but nothing too special. Hecho En Mexico is actually not bad, but I haven't been there in a while. El Sereno Meat Market has some of the best prepared carne asada in town. Really digging that place. If you like those places, you should also try Chanos on Main Street by the DMV. Really quality stuff for really cheap prices.

                                      1. re: ohdaylay

                                        Agree on El Taquito.......been going there since I was a kid so it kind of has a place in my heart/stomach.......their food has always tasted exactly the same.....
                                        Concur on Hecho En Mexico, I like that place......same on El Sereno Meat Market.....also check out La Tapatia Carneceria on Eastern (across from Tamale Man) for prepared asada as well.......really good....
                                        Have not been to Chano's since it moved to that new location.....(used to be in a below the radar spot by General Hospital)......I'll try it soon though.....
                                        Also, try the Chapalita taco/burrito stand next to the Chapalita Carneceria on Broadway in Lincoln Heights - it's across from King Taco, good stuff......

                                        1. re: slowrider

                                          Chapalita is good, eh? I pass that place everyday on the way home from work. I'll hit it tonight. Thanks for the tip.

                                          1. re: ohdaylay

                                            Have not been for a while, but that place was the carne asada burrito/taco place for years......
                                            last time I went I had their shrimp taco special........I think it's 4 shrimp tacos and a soda for 5 bucks........pretty good stuff. They used to have burgers that were really good too............very reasonably priced.........

                                        2. re: ohdaylay

                                          love love love El Sereno meat market. I go there for beef cheeks (cachete).

                                    2. re: slowrider

                                      That was the place. Alas, it closed.

                                      1. re: ohdaylay

                                        Fanny's just re-opened on Main St. though, check it out.......on the north side of the street between Mission and Thomas I think........
                                        I've not been..........but hopefully it's still good.....

                                    3. I'm no expert, so I don't know about the best, but there is a damn good torta ahogada in a mini-mall on the corner of E 3rd and McDonnell Ave, just down from the King Taco. I can't remember the name of the place, but it says "Tortas Ahogadas" in big letters on the side of the place. You can't miss it if you're looking.

                                      Ahogada means "drowned" and they serve the torta on a plastic lined basket/plate swimming in some of the spiciest sauce I've had in a while: it's not for those who can't take heat. It may sound soggy and strange, but the bread they use holds up to the sauce well and it is very tasty. I recommend it highly.

                                      I didn't have a chance to try anything else on the menu, but there seemed to be things I haven't seen before, so I'll be back.

                                      1. Los Cinco Puntos - known mostly for their fresh made tortillas and masa - makes GREAT tortas as well.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: maggielyn

                                          Where is Los Cinco Puntos? Fresh tortillas and masa? I'm loving it already.

                                          1. re: ohdaylay

                                            Lorena and Cesar Chavez. To call it an instituion would be to say the Statue of Liberity is a Sculpture...

                                            Also, their Tamales are HIGHLY under rated...

                                            --Dommy!

                                            1. re: Dommy

                                              Agreed, they actually won my independant tamale tasting many years ago.

                                        2. This thread calls for an all-day eat-a-thon.

                                          How many tortas do you think one carful of people could possibly try in an afternoon?

                                          Also: I need more cemitas poblanas tips, because all my hook-ups have dried up. Besides the truck on Venice and Sepulveda, I can't find my usual trucks.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Thi N.

                                            you tried the one at Pico and Fairfax? it's there in that same spot pretty consistently.

                                            1. re: Thi N.

                                              I've been eating all the cemitas my heart can take lately.

                                              For East LA, I like La Placita del D.F. on the north side of 1st between Bailey and State. I tried the milanesa and it was pretty good, but then I tried the pata de rez and DAMN, that was good. When I ordered it I could tell the girl didn't want to sell it to me. She warned me that it was, "different." I said bring it on. In a minute she surprised me by giving me a spoonful of the "meat." It was gelatinous, spicy, cold, and delicious. I think it was pickled (and I love anything pickled!). The cemita bread was toasted, so it wasn't exactly a cold sandwich, but it was freaking good; if you like that sort of strange-meat-products eating experience.

                                              Cemitas Poblanas Elvirita, also on 1st, but at Julien, makes a great cemita de barbacoa. Get it with quesillo and chipotle: awesome. The thing was stuffed with a ton of roasted lamb/mutton.

                                              The cemita milanesa from Tacos Por Favor isn't bad if you're out that far west.

                                              Sorry for the cemita sidetrack, but I've been obsessed lately.

                                              -----dobbs

                                              1. re: mistr

                                                This cemita sidetrackita reminded me...I had an EXCELLENT cemita at a truck parked in front of the Top Valu supermarket on Inglewood just north of Culver. REALLY REALLY REALLY SOLID. It felt like it was made with love. Don't really know how else to describe it. Their cabeza taco is also fantastic. I WANT TO GO TO THERE.

                                            2. Try Grand Central Market in downtown LA between Broadway and Hill. Torta city in that place.