Most people think of the typical Mexican quisine as being the taco and they are right, but I (John) am a big fan of tortas. For those that don’t know what a North American torta (please note in South American that word is a different type of food) is best described to a Gringo (you if you can only read English) as a Mexican Hamburger. It is made out of a bolillo (a big bread roll), mayonnaise, and various savory toppings. My favorite tortas are in Mexico City, but abscent a trip to Mexico’s capitol city. I can’t leave Mexico without trying to find one.
While we were in Puerto Penasco, Mexico I went searching for tortas. Outside of Mexico City good tortas are harder to find, but every Mexican city I have ever been to so far has had at least one good (sometimes more) torta shop. Puerto Penasco was no exception. I looked around quite a bit and I am declaring tortas San Luis the best tortas in Puerto Penasco, Mexico.
The first thing that made this place good was the price. A good torta is not expensive. In fact the most expensive torta (the one with everything but the kitchen sink loaded on it) cost $40 pesos ($2.5 USD). Most of the tortas we tried were $15 (about .90 USD cents). Our entire meal cost of $80 pesos ($5). That was 4 tortas (because I had to get one to go), 4 sodas, a side order of fries (because why not), and a 15% tip (10% is standard in Mexico, but we were kind of messy eaters).
The second thing that makes a torta good is the size and toppings. Tortas San Luis had kind of simple toppings: chicken, ham, bacon, and pierna (leg). The choices were simple but they put a lot of meat on the torta. Besides, after you add cheese, lettuce, mayonnaise, onions, avocado, and tomato it still bigger than most burgers you have ever seen (if you want to see something really crazy order a torta cubano in Mexico, but that is for a different blog entry).
The last thing that makes a torta is the bolillo, the bread roll it is served in. The original bolillo has French origins in that it has a very crunchy crust with a soft middle called the migajon. Also common in Central Mexico is what is called the Telera roll (a rounder bigger roll). In Puerto Penasco they had a different kind of bolillo called a birote. This was a longer skinny roll, that was a bit sweet (kind of like a crusty Hawaiian roll). It was different than what I was used to but it was still very good.
Unfortunately, the joy of the torta is a fleeting moment. Tortas are made quickly and thus made to be eaten quickly, but the food was good and my belly left full so I was happy.