Tortas El Guero: Life-Changing Mexican Sandwiches
Hey, readers, get ready. We're putting new meaning into the term "street food." For Chow Bella's latest mission -- "Eating 16th Street" -- we've employed a young woman who's literally eaten her way around the world. Alex Rodriguez has eaten borscht in Moscow, steak in Buenos Aires and a "life-changing panna cotta" in Bra, a small town in the Piemonte region of Italy. Now we've set her palate loose on Central Phoenix's 16th Street. Rodriguez will try it all, from Jefferson Street north to Thomas Road -- and report back, place by place.
Photo by Alex Rodriguez Torta al pastor from Tortas El Güero.
The Place: Tortas El Güero
The Food: Mexican sandwiches
The Backstory: Husband-and-wife owned shop.
The Price: $10.35 for a torta and agua fresca.
Before I begin, I'd just like to take a minute to appreciate my newcomer-naïveté. Of course, I did not arrive here from Miami with a list of the best place for this and the best place for that. (Well, actually, I did, but not for Mexican food.) I hadn't a plan of attack when it came to this city's best tacos, and tortas, and enchiladas - figured I could sniff those out on my own.
Photo by Alex Rodriguez Tortas El Güero interior
And then Eating 16th Street happened, thus leading me to Tortas El Güero, and changing my life forever.
I've had some good tortas in my day, but none compared to the torta de carne al pastor I had at El Güero.
I dropped in one afternoon during the week, hoping to just pick up a torta and an agua fresca to-go, and get back to work. I wasn't expecting to be milling through the menu for so long... there are easily over 15 options of combinations. Among them, a Cuban and Hawaiian torta. Indecisive as ever, I asked the kind woman behind the counter which she recommended. First she recommended the al pastor, then the Cuban.
Coming from Miami, I was nostalgic for the Cuban-style pork, plantains, and rice and beans (and don't get me started on the guava and cheese pastries). But I knew that if I ordered a Cuban, everyone following this series would throw pitchforks in my direction for straying from the theme of Mexican Restaurant Row.
So I went with the al pastor.