Ruben’s Tacos – Torta Cubana

West Los Angeles has its fair share of taco trucks, and 3 of them routinely stop along Santa Monica Boulevard between Bundy and Barrington. I tend to go to El Paladar Oaxaqueño, partly because it’s really, really good, and partly because it’s on the right side of the road for me when I’m going home from Santa Monica. Tonight, I decided to cross the road and try Ruben’s Tacos, a bright red and green truck with flashing lights that you just can’t miss.

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I was going to go for the huarache, but just in the nick of time, spotted a picture of an outlandish-looking sandwich called the torta cubana. I have a weakness for tortas cubanas.

Whenever the Mexicans want to create an absolutely insane sandwich, for some reason I have never learned, they blame it on the Cubans. I’ve had many in my time, and each one seems just a little crazier than the last.

The Torta Cubana at Ruben’s takes the cake… and cake is just about the only thing they didn’t throw into the mix. I wasn’t surprised by the breaded beef cutlet, the “pastor” marinated pork, the sliced ham, refried beans, avocado, tomato, grilled hot dog or fried egg. I was surprised, though by the mayonnaise, pickle and yes… pineapple.

I felt like the enormously obese customer in the Monty Python sketch who orders everything on the menu, then explodes at the end.

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It was a great sandwich, and I know I’ll be returning to do it again… just as soon as I stop feeling guilty about this one.

The truck parks on Santa Monica Boulevard at Westgate. It seems to be there every evening.

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/