Torta Cubana – El Taurino – Los Angeles

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It seems to me that whenever a Mexican restaurant wants to make a really crazy sandwich, they blame it on the Cubans. There’s really no end to the things you can find in a Torta Cubana. A favorite place in South Omaha throws in a fried egg, and Tacos Por Favor in Santa Monica includes a sliced and grilled hot dog. One thing in common, though, is that they always include breaded beef “milanesa” and marinated pork leg “pierna adobada.”

The Torta Cubana at El Taurino is relatively sane by comparison with some places. Served on a unique, tasty roll, the milanesa is fresh from the frying pan, and the pierna is moist and spicy. The avocado, tomato, onion and crema are in perfect balance, and the red sauce served on the side is spicy enough to demand your attention. One of my favorite sandwiches in Los Angeles, a city known for its great sandwiches.

Even if you’re not hungry, El Taurino is worth a trip just to see the wonderful bullfighting theme decor. The walls are lined with original bullfighting posters, photos and artworks, and a couple of losing bullfight contestants are mounted on the walls.

Always a fun, tasty experience.Try the barbacoa on weekends, and there is a truck out the back to take care of weekend crowds, and late-night hours.

1104 S Hoover St, Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 738-9197

Here’s the website: http://www.eltaurino.com/

La Gorda – Guadalajara – Torta Ahogada

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I’ve always been a fan of the Torta Ahogada, the drowned sandwich, and where would be a more appropriate place to have one than in Guadalajara, where they were invented? A nice crusty roll with chunks of moist braised pork, served in a rich pool of mildly spicy tomato sauce, I had to eat it quickly, before it lost its texture. La Gorda is a nice family restaurant that started as a neighborhood food cart in 1956.

Tinga – Los Angeles – Torta de Salpicon

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Ok, I’ll admit that I didn’t know what salpicon was. Here’s what Wikipedia says: Salpicon and salpicón are terms used in French cuisine, Mexican cuisine, Central American cuisine and Colombian cuisine for preparations of one or more ingredients diced or minced and bound with a sauce or liquid. In Mexican cuisine and Central American cuisine, the term refers to a salad mixture containing thinly sliced or chopped flank steak, onion, oregano, chile serrano, avocado, tomatoes, and vinegar. The mixture is commonly served on tostadas, tacos or as a filling of Poblano peppers.

Tinga calls itself an Artisan taquería, but I was in the mood for a torta. Nobody does big, messy sandwiches like the Mexicans.

The salpicon torta at Tinga on La Brea Avenue was shredded braised beef on a beautiful, firm roll, topped with black and refried beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, lettuce and queso fresco, held together by a zesty and vinegary “salsa salpicon.” Perhaps a bit expensive at $12.25, but it was generously large, and absolutely delicious. A watermelon and lemonade agua fresca was a perfect accompaniment.

Here’s the website: http://www.tingabuena.com/homepage.php