A good torta requires a savory bolillo roll and tasty meat—steak, chicken, and carnitas are common choices, but al pastor, milanesa, and shrimp varieties are also common. Accompaniments might include chiles, onions, beans, avocado, and queso fresco.
Then there’s the torta ahogada, a messy version smothered in sauce that usually requires a fork and knife. Where to find a good one in the San Fernando Valley? MarkC says to look no further than Tortas Ahogadas Las Originales, a casual but lively eatery in a strip mall on Laurel Canyon. The bread here is crustier than usual, but MarkC doesn’t mind. “Makes it a little difficult to cut with a plastic knife, but holds its shape and doesn't get soggy,” he reports. The spicy sauce drenching the sandwich is delicious, as is the mound of pickled onion on top. A word to the wise, however: “If you can't take it tongue-searingly spicy, ask for it mild.” A cold agua fresca might be of assistance, and the usual suspects at Las Originales include agua de Jamaica, tamarind, and melon.
Tortas Ahogadas Las Originales [San Fernando Valley]
11541 Laurel Canyon Boulevard, San Fernando
Tortas Ahogadas Las Originales [Santa Clarita Valley]
23630 Newhall Avenue, Newhall
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Photo of Newhall location from Google Maps