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Torta Ahogada

I read about this on the Los Angeles Board Digest and I want to try one:


"A torta ahogada is a classic dish of Guadalajara, "part tradition, part rite of passage," explains losangelicioustimes. "The hefty sandwich involves a thick sourdough-ish roll called a birote salado, which is filled with stewed pork and a thin layer of beans, topped with pickled onions, then literally drenched in red sauce. The last detail is the most important, as the sauce is a careful composite of two other sauces: one mild tomato and the other a searing chile de arbol salsa, which is reminiscent of Tapatio on steroids." The customers themselves decide the ratio of the sauce. Most go for "mita y mita"—a lip-tingling blend of both sauces. The masochistic may opt for all ultraspicy sauce."

I called Los Jaliscienses (Guadalajara is in Jalisco state) and I was really hoping they would have it on the menu, they have good tortas and a wide variety of meat options, too. But alas, no. They don't have the torta ahogada.

Does anyone know of any place in Austin that has this torta ahogada on the menu?

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  1. That sounds sooooo good! I haven't seen that on any menus I can think of, but Screaming Goat has flautas ahogada and tortas on their menu. Maybe you could order a torta there and get them to drown it for you?

    Otherwise, when I think tortas, I either think Habanero Mexican Cafe or Chuy Panaderia. Neither of those have an Ahogada version on their menu. But, maybe if you described it to them, they could do it.

    Habanero Mexican Cafe
    501 W Oltorf St, Austin, TX 78704

    Screaming Goat
    900 W 10th St, Austin, TX 78703

    1. What about Chuy's Panaderia? I may have my states mixed up....

      1. Thanks for the recs. I did some digging on Yelp and found that a place called Zandunga Mexican Bistro has a torta ahogada. It seems to be made with a red and green bandera mexicana saucing method, not the tomato sauce plus chile de arbol sauce described in the LA Digest post. But I'll check it out when I get a chance.

        1. I am bumping this up...does any place have this besides Zandungas? I had a torta ahogada in Alexandria, VA...I had been seeking one since the time I posted this thread. I am not in Austin right now but I just have to tell my Austin family members where to find one because it was possibly the most delicious sandwich I have ever eaten in my whole life. Crispy crusted birote salado drenched in that diabolically spicy sauce was just amazing.

          2 Replies
          1. re: luckyfatima

            Well, you've got me hungry. I guess Zandungas didn't float your boat?

            1. re: rudeboy

              No I didn't try the one at Zandungas because it is pretty far from my family home. But Austin is filled with jalisciense owned eateries so I can't imagine that Zandungas is the only place to have it. Plus, Zandungas seems kind of fancy and expensive, their online menu says the torta ahogada costs 10$ but at most of the torta places in my neighborhood (N. Lamar/Rundberg/Braker area) the tortas are like 3$. I was just checking if there were other options.

          2. As a carnitas freak this sounds like a brilliant sandwich. La Condessa has an "Ahogada De Carnitas" version that comes swimming in a guajillo broth. Sadly I haven't yet eaten it. http://www.lacondesaaustin.com/menu/L...

            I found a blogger's review about it here, I'm pretty excited to try it. Can anyone here give a review of this grub? http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/la-condesa

            1. 14 blocks south of UT for lunch was a short drive today for that bit of deliciousness I've not heard of before. 12 dollars at La Condessa gets you their Tortas Ahogada De Carnitas. I asked for the sauces on the side - Ciabatta type bread (very good and fresh) slathered with black bean puree, stuffed with pork carnitas, seasoned poblano and onions (rajas), shredded cabbage. I got a big bowl of the guajillo broth that I dunked my sandwich into, and two smaller bowls of tomatillo salsa verde and a smokier, hotter red sauce (ancho perhaps, zippy and smokey and delicious). Those two latter sauces normally come on the sandwich. I was glad to dabble mine at the doses I desired on each bite. The carnitas were a tad on the salty side, but good and porky. This is a top 10 sandwich in this town, thanks Lucky for starting the thread. Oh, and the lightly dressed bitter greens and ultrathin in house fried potato chips were decent pairings. not bad for a downtown 12 dollar lunch! The waitress was great and recommended the Hongos y huitlacoche . . . . . . . . . . . 13
              wild mushrooms, huitlacoche, yellow corn, farmer’s cheese,
              queso chihuahua, epazote, truffle oil.

              sadly and gladly, we were stuffed. next time...

              5 Replies
              1. re: slowcoooked

                Ah, genius getting the sauces on the side. I'll have to remember that. When I got the sandwich it was sitting in the bowl of guajillo broth and the bottom of the bread had literally dissolved into it. The flavors were delicious, but I remember wishing I could pick the darn thing up, I had to knife and fork it instead.

                1. re: minatalks

                  I just saw this sandwich on TV sometime within the last week. I think it's meant to be a knife and fork type of thing... could just be a difference in opinion, but sometimes I think a soggy sandwich can be a truly wonderful thing.

                  Either way, I was f***ing drooling when I watched the little segment on TV (what show it was, I can't remember. Doesn't matter). La Mexicana on S1st has a lot of tortas... maybe I'll poke my head in there sometime soon and see if they happen to have one. Meanwhile, I would LOVE if anybody happens to stumble upon a place that serves these things and posts it on here.

                  1. re: popvulture

                    Cooking Channel - Chucks Week Off might also have featured it (his Guadalajara episode).


                    I thought Foodography Mexican episode also had it, but I don't that sandwich listed in the episode description.

                    1. re: popvulture

                      Yeah, I also love a soggy sandwich, but on this one the bottom bread just kind of dissolved and disappeared into the broth, not even a hint of bread left. Of course, I do eat rather slowly so it might have been my fault. But it was very delicious! I think I should go try it again . . . . .

                      1. re: minatalks

                        Yep, Chuck's Week Off. That's where I saw it.

                2. If they use a birote salado it won't dissolve in the sauce. The place I went in Virginia makes fresh birotes on the premises. The inside got squishy but the outside stays crisp and crunchy. I had mine stuffed with chicken instead of carnitas. They nicely seasoned browned the chicken to give it a carnitas effect. They also spread a layer of refried beans on it. It came with a slice of avocado, which I read is 'not authentic' but I love avocado on anything so I didn't mind at all. Rather than have two sauces this place does a really spicy sauce that has chile, tomato, vinegar, and oregano, which is a combo of the two traditional sauces (tomato sauce and chile sauce). It was also garnished with raw thinly sliced onions which tasted great with bites of the sandwich. The torta is served with a fork and knife (although I saw a youtube vid of people eating it with a spoon) but since the birote didn't get extremely soft, I actually picked up part of the sandwich. My fingers got messy but somehow I didn't get the sauce all over me. Supposedly in Guadalajara in soccer stadiums people eat this wet sandwich with their bare hands while in stadium seats! Anyway, I love the concept and I hope the popularity and availability of this sandwich spreads in the US so that everyone can taste this amazing creation. I am now addicted and can't wait to get another torta ahogada!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: luckyfatima

                    Chicago has the Italian Beef which can be ordered 'wet' - a similar roll, stuffed with thinly sliced beef, and (in the wet version) dipped whole in the braising liquid. Various shows featuring the sandwich demonstrate the leaning stance appropriate for eating one of these.


                    R Bayless's Xoxo in Chicago has this torta

                  2. Yesterday I finally ordered the Torta Ahogada at The Taco Joint for $ 7.50. Really outstanding sandwich. I should've taken a picture. Here's what you get. A warm sliced Torta roll buttered one one side, mayo on the other side, maybe kissed with the grill, stuffed with pickled onions, cajeta cheese, and fried pork that is moist, pulled, substantial, and hot. The whole sandwich is then dunked in a really nice tomato sauce that is warm and spicy. A little more crumbled white cheese on top for presentation sealed the deal. Look out La Condessa, this Torta Ahogada rivals yours. And its bigger but costs less. I can't wait to get this again and the fact it's 4 blocks from my work makes me happy. This little taco joint continues to impress on most counts.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: slowcoooked

                      So, after a Google search, this is the place near campus on San Jacinto? I just figured I'd check, since there could very well be several places called "Taco Joint" in town.

                      Also, re: the whole thread, FYI saw a torta ahogada on the menu at La Gloria in San Antonio. I decided to get something else, so I can't say I've tried it, but everything else I've ever had there has been fantastic. So if any of y'all are ever down there and are looking for something to eat, that's a good bet.

                      1. re: popvulture

                        Pop, yep, the one on San Jacinto. I've suddenly fallen in love with these drunken sandwiches. The pambazo out at Don Marios on Hudson Bend Rd (yeah, 20 min. away) is similarly drunken but also fried. Not sure about the technique on that monster. Taco Joint's name I agree isn't particularly creative, but I guess it's better than "Fuzzy's", the new shop that opened on the drag. That's a particularly unappetizing name but maybe for college kids it works some-damn-how.

                        1. re: slowcoooked

                          Haha, yeah... Fuzzy's is pretty bad. The worst I've seen was a place in NY called "Hot n' Crusty." I don't even know what they served. ::shivers::

                          Will definitely have to go check out Taco Joint though!

                      2. re: slowcoooked

                        I had the torta ahogada at Taco Joint a couple of days ago. It wasn't like a traditional one and didn't use a birote salado as the roll, but dang that was a good sandwich. I had it with the chicken, which was browned and crispy, and I added some avocado slices for good measure. The sauce wasn't killer spicy but had a nice light heat. Definitely enjoyed that.

                      3. 400 Rabbits in the Slaughter Alamo Drafthouse has it for $9.

                        1. I tried Kerbey Lane's seasonal variation on this last night. It was a decent dish, but nothing I'd drive across town for. I mean, it was on panini bread, and the "carnitas" were really just stewed pork.