Attention all valley dwellers. You no longer have to feel deprived because Cole's and Philippe's is downtown. The torta at Tortas Ahogadas in San Fernando is the Mexican version of a French dip sandwich, and it is delicious. A crusty roll, moist from the meat juices and the spicy tomato broth it sits in, topped with a mound of pickled onions. As good as it sounds. The other stuff looked great also. Good agua frescas to wash it down with. Price for this hearty sandwich is about $6.50. Warning: if you can't take it tongue-searingly spicy, ask for it mild.
Worth a detour for the iconic sandwich, and a lively, authentic atmosphere.
Tortas Ahogadas las originales
11541 Laurel Canyon Blvd San Fernando, CA 91340
I've been going to this place for years! No, it's nothing like a French dip sandwich. For tortas I either go here or to Gallo Giro in San Fernando. The bread at Ahogadas is a little too hard on the outside sometimes whereas at Gallo Giro it's the typically soft torta bread.
A little poetic license, but that's what it reminded me of. The meat is in chunks, rather than sliced thin like a French dip.
I like the hard bread. Makes it a little difficult to cut with a plastic knife, but holds its shape and doesn't get soggy.
Would be happy to hear any other recs you have in San Fernando/Sylmar/Pacoima. This is clearly the place for Mexican food in the valley, but nobody talks about it on chowhound.
Mark, there are tons of Mexican places in this area, mostly hole in the wall places. For slightly upscale, I recommend:
Los Tres Hermanos Restaurant
1049 San Fernando Road
San Fernando, CA 91340
14117 Hubbard Street
Sylmar, CA 91342
If you like tamales, there are several choices: Gourmet Tamales Factory on Maclay or Me Gusta Gourmet Tamales on Van Nuys in Sun Valley.
My go to hole in the wall is Carrillo's Tortilleria. They make their own tortillas and have fantastic cheap tamales as well. Try Rigos Tacos in the same mall as Gallo Giro, which is in a grocery store. Best carnitas in the area. Their tortas are better than torta ahogadas IMO.
I'd love to hear your experiences.
Went to the Tortas Ahogadas Las Originales in Santa Clarita and was very disappointed with their Molcajete. Plenty of ingredient in this bowl. One thing was seriously wrong. Way, way too salty. A few bytes and that was enough for me. Paid for my salty Molcajete, left a tip, and got out of there. Server asked if there was anything wrong. I said it was too salty for me.
Sorry, your recommendation did not work for me.