Ricas Tortas Ahogadas!
Outside of Northgate Market off of 4th St. in Santa Ana you’ll first notice the line. No, these impatient people are not inside the market waiting for the cashier, but outside across the street eyeing the truck with the emblazoned Chivas regalia. This is Ricas Tortas Ahogadas and –yes- there is a line everyday breakfast, lunch and dinner.
What they are waiting for is a sloppy concotion which hails from Mexico’s ‘Pearl of the West” Guadalajara. It is basically a Mexican French dip if you will. Instead of au Jus pleasingly offered on the side of your sandwich – you get a firery tomato- arbol sauce already drenched on your crisp birote salado (Mexican roll). Although you have your choice of filling – go for the traditional carnitas. The power that is carnitas can stand up in this sandwich of kings. Strwn lovingly atop are lightly pickled onions, offering a pleasing contrast. Don’t forget the minced onion, cilantro, and lime to squeeze over your sandwich.
Lucky me, standing around taking in this whole spectacle in, I asked the young woman behind me if she could help me ordering (language and a bit of intimidation hehe – it is famous) which she kindly did.
Seeing Tacos Al Vapor (steamed tacos) my favorite, I could not resist, and had one of frijoles.
I am not big on sandwiches which may stem from school age mundane lunches but these tortas are killer. In fact, if there was a list of 50 things you HAVE to eat in the LA area this would be close to the top.
I really liked the bread which they put in a little glass case for you to see. Its not a bollilo or telera but different. Still incredibly crisp in parts after the dunking, but the perfect foil for sopping up the excess sauce as well.
The carnitas – while possessing that mandatory musky taste - are not very crisp or true to traditional carnitas texture, more like little chunks. Still very delcious filling.
I really liked my little steamed taco. Tender and nice.
The level of heat started to kick in 3/4ths the way in for me. I started to get this nice rush feeling and the endorphins kick in. Beautiful sloppy sandwich.
Pictures will be posted –stay tuned