Los Jalapeños - Mountain View
Taqueria with some Guadalajara specialties. Clean and bright interior. Very friendly counter service. Their al pastor tacos are great, and so are their Tortas Ahogadas. Well marinated and flavorful, with good spice choices. The meat seemed of good quality (no gristly bits).
They seem to be making things semi from scratch in the back, and only have one person at the front, so it's not a place you can just quickly walk in and out.
No liquor license, they have a decent selection of Jarritos.
Definitely worth a stop if you are in the area.
It took two tries but I finally had a chance to sample the Torta Ahogada at Los Jalapeños. I am by no means an expert on these sandwiches and I have never been to Guadalajara, but I have a good friend from there who claims she is *the* Tortas Ahogadas expert. Maria is very particular about these sandwiches and she has made them for me numerous times, always while watching futbol.
Meat - Los J fill theirs with their very good carnitas. I prefer my carnitas crispy fried and that's how Los J makes theirs. They don't skimp on the filling.
Sauce - It does taste similar to my friend Maria's sauce. Maria claims the sauce should be made from chiles, not tomatoes, and Los J's sauce tastes that way. One thing I like, they give you a little container of super fiery sauce on the side so you can adjust the spice how you like it.
Bread - Didn't seem to be quite as good as the birote rolls my friend makes. The bread (baguette?) got a little soggier and squishier than Maria's homemade rolls. To be fair, what could be better than homemade by an expert?
Condiments - The torta is served with pickled onions (cebollas encurtidas) and fresh lime, the tang from these were a nice contrast to the meaty, spicy-soaked torta.
TV - No soccer, just some dumb movie.
All in all, I wasn't blown away by the Torta Ahogada at Los Jalapeños, but it is one of the better ones I have had around here and will provide a good cure for the ahogada jones. I think next time I'll get it to go, come home, open a cold beer and watch soccer on Univision.
The first time I stopped by (no ahogadas on Mondays) I ordered their Shrimp Cocktail. Usually this is served room temp but since it was 92 degrees out they offered to chill it down for me. It was one of the best coctel's I have had. Ever. Including the U.S. and Mexico. It was a schooner goblet filled with delicious prawns and cubed avocado swimming in a soupy sauce of tomato, lime, peppers, onions, cilantro and I don't know what else. For $8.99 I got 8 sweet and plump prawns and at least 1/2 large avocado cubed. The sauce was tangy with lime, but not too sour; it was perfectly balanced with no ingredient bullying the other. The prawns were very fresh and perfectly cooked. It is served with 3 tostadas, from the package but crispy and not at all stale.
Decor could use some help, but the owner Lorena is a doll. I'll definitely be back for the shrimp cocktail, another try at the ahogada, and whatever else Lorena might recommend.
bbulkow, you've got me there, LOL! I think the good ones are few and far between. I have had what I consider to be a decent torta ahogada at 5 Spot Chivas Grill in San Jose and Tortas Ahogadas Mi Barrio in Oakland. Mi Barrio is rather plain-looking (OK, I'm being very kind here) from the outside and I would never have gone there had the place not been recommended to me. Big plus, they had a soccer game on the TV and that's how I was trained to eat these drowned sandwiches...torta ahogada, beer, and soccer, sigh. I don't find myself in Oakland very often though, and I recall they had goofy hours of operation.