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Friday, April 27, 2012

La Chiva Torta in SA; the Standard for all Food Truck Tortas

La Chiva Torta...aka everything you knew about Tortas was wrong. 


I love tortas. I remember my very first one I had...was in an alley next to a police station in Tijuana. I remember the smell of the carne on the grill and how the cook slopped gobs of mayo onto a bun and cooked that on the grill before he added tons of meat, a slice of ham, and threw on 1/2 an avocado on top with all of the grace of a  tile guy laying spackle. Seriously a sense memory I will always cherish. I found the Torta at the Taco Factory in Tustin was good and some hit or misses here and there and Albatros Mexican in Lake Forest is always dependable.

But after numerous invitations from a friend I finally made it out to SA for LA Chiva Torta. Now these are a different type of torta then I was used to being known as "Ahogada style" or something thereof. If I had to give a crude analogy I would say a bit like a mexican version of a french dip. The most amazingly delicious mexican french dip the world has ever known that is.

In lieu of a soft torta type bun these are served on a thin baguette. And where other tortas are loaded with goodies-these guys are meat and marinated onions and sauce. Thats it. If you are expecting refried beans or cheese or anything offered at Subway you will be sorely disappointed. Then again...if you like Subway I officially request you never visit my blog again.

The Kicker here is the combo of fresh lime and a blazing hot red sauce. And when I say blazing hot I am not messing around. I was tempted to go hot as I like spicy food and can readily handle jalapenos and other spicy fare. Much attributed to my friend's cajoling I rolled with a Medium and glad I did. The sauce is not immediately hot. It is not like eating the tip of a habanero and immediately going into the fetal position while biting your own tongue involuntary curling of the toes.

No, this is a slow deceptive type burn that sneaks up on you.....but the pain is so overwhelming flavorful you find yourself longing to experience it over and over again. My first torta here left with me a red burning red around my mouth that had me looking like a second hand clown working the swap meet circuit.

Back to it, the texture of the baguette crust, the inner bread acting a sponge, the slight saltiness of the sauce, with the tartness of the lime.....hell the meat is almost a bonus. The sauce to these tortas is akin to the garlic sauce at Zankou Chicken or the Cheese Bread at Clearmans.  It is one of those things that will forever permeate the portion of your brain that associates amazing flavor with a sense of satisfaction to the point of lethargy.

The tortas here are one of those experiences where you have the first time and think "damn, this is pretty good." A week later you think "One of those tortas sounds good right about now." A couple of days later you think "How can I get out to SA for a Torta Lunch". A couple of days after that you wake and set the timer to count down how long you need to wait before getting your Torta. The next day you wake uo and think about it while making your coffee and then start to wonder how many you should get and whether or not you can start freezing them for future use.

Seriously good Tortas...La Chiva Torta-I salute you. As a matter of fact....I love you and the burning sensations you leave me.








Saturday, April 14, 2012

Trader Joes Unexpected Cheddar

Unexpected Cheddar from TJs

Was at Trader Joes and picked this up as an impulse buy to go with my Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cab....and what a pleasant surprise. As a matter of fact to say I liked this would be a gross understatement as this very well maybe the finest cheese I have ever had. Melts in your mouth with a fantastic flavor...flavorful but not too sharp with a consistency that is pure magic. 2 very large thumbs up for this one. I enjoyed it far more then I did the TJs Vintage Reserve Cheddar which was no slouch. If you are a cheese lover...this is a must buy as is the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Cab. Not that you will ever confuse it for Silver Oak or Ridge-but for a sub $10 price point it is a fine example of the varietal.