9 Favorite Tortas in Metro Phoenix
When it comes to making a great sandwich, served on fresh bread and piled high with ingredients, the United States (famous for its subs, muffaletas and Philly cheese steaks) has got absolutely nothing on Mexico. Mexican tortas -- sometimes made on a bolillo (a torpedo-shaped variation on the crusty French baguette) but most often made with pan telera (a flatter, softer, rounder-shaped roll with two indentations on the top) can be filled and garnished with just about anything: a variety of meats, cheese (often mozzarella or panela), refried beans, avocado, pickled jalapeño, onion, tomato, cilantro, lettuce and more.
Buchanan Torta Ahogada at Tortas Paquime
So who makes a good torta in this town? Here are nine of our favorites.
Buchanan Simple but delish Torta Paquime
Torta Ahogada and Torta Paquime at Tortas Paquime
With four Phoenix-area locations, Tortas Paquime is a solid and super-convenient go-to for a quick Mexican food meal, offering tacos, burritos, freshly baked breads, postres, ice cream, raspados, paletas, aguas frescas, and antojitos most gringos have never laid eyes on before. Obviously, the specialty is tortas, most of them made on house-baked telera. One delicious exception is the Torta Ahogada, a specialty of Jalisco given its name (ahogada means "drowned") because the sandwich is submerged in a housemade chile and tomato-based sauce that customers may ask for mild, medium, or hot. A sturdy, split bolillo is stuffed with thickly sliced pork, avocado and a smear of refried beans, drowned in rich sauce and drizzled with crema ($5.99). Also awesome, the namesake Torta Paquime, which may be ordered hot or cold (go cold), filled with pork sirloin, avocado, tomato, jalapeños, mayo and mustard. It's a simple, beautiful thing, and for five bucks, you'd be hard-pressed to do better.
Buchanan Naco Torta
Naco Torta Gallo Blanco
Doug Robson may be a self-proclaimed Gallo Blanco, but the man makes outstanding Mexican food, and nowhere is that more evident than the Naco, Gallo's signature torta which, ironically, means something like "ignorant and low-class" or, as Robson puts it, "redneck." Served open-faced on fluffy, faintly sweet telera baked by La Sonorense , it's a heady mix of juicy, ultra-flavorful rib eye (think carne asada, blackened from the grill and chopped fine), charred tomato salsa, fresh avocado and two over-easy eggs, their yolks oozing from the sandwich with every bite ($10). If there's a better torta than this one, I've yet to find it. Quality ingredients make a huge, huge difference. By the way, if the richness makes a whole torta too much, half tortas are available.