This past Sunday a few fellow Chowhounds gathered to try Tortas GDL — first spotted by Melanie Wong http://www.chowhound.com/post/tortas-....
As soon as we entered the place, I noticed that the bread that they were using was not "birote" which is one of the main elements of a good Torta Ahogada.
Birote is a dense sourdough bread typical of Jalisco, harder than regular bolillo and because of its rapid absorbent qualities, it is excellent for soups or dishes that yield extra sauce.
Besides the Tortas Ahogadas and their mini versions of them, the menu included Tacos Dorados con (with) and sin (without) Carnitas, Menudo accompanied with hand-made tortillas, Lonches de Pierna, y Lonches de Jamón. And for dessert, Raspados (shaved ice) and Jericallas (egg custard).
Their drink menu consists of Agua Frescas (Jamaica or Horchata), Mexican soda, Chocomilk, Coffee, and Licuados.
The establishment didn't have yet the permit to sell alcohol, so the Chelitas and MicheChavas were not available.
Chelitas = little beer. It comes from 'Chela' which is the slang term for Cerveza in Mexico.
MicheChavas = I think they are referring to their own version of Micheladas, a refreshing drink made out of beer with lime, salt, sauces, and spices.
Here's what we ordered for the five of us:
4 Tortas Ahogadas
1 Menudo — which we couldn't try because they ran out of it, but they gave us 4 Jericallas instead.
3 orders of Tacos Dorados sin Carnitas (2 on each order)
3 orders of Tacos Dorados con Carnitas (2 on each order)
2 Aguas de Jamaica (24 oz)
2 Mexican Coca-Colas (half liter each)
1 Sidral Aga (apple soda wich is produced in Jalisco)
The total was 92.87 without tip (18.57 per person). The tip is optional, and we left it in their tip jar.
Easily, another two persons could have eaten with the amount of food that we ordered.
[Consomé de Camarón]
As a courtesy, this place serves a shot of Consomé de Camarón. I was gladly surprised by it since this gesture is more common in seafood restaurants in Mexico and not so much in Tortas Ahogadas establishments.
The consomé was absolutely delicious, not too dense not too watery, and it had a spicy kick at the end.
My expectations were very low since I know it is hard to get real birote in the US, with that in mind here's what I think.
The torta was served with a little bit of the tomato-based sauce on it. Usually, it is served without sauce so you can choose the salsa and the amount of it. The staff did provide both, the extra tomato-based sauce and the spicy sauce, but we had to order extra because the tortas were just too dry.
The tomato sauce was sweeter than what it should be. I also missed the acidity to it.
The spicy sauce sure enhanced the flavor of the torta and had a nice kick to it.
The carnitas were tender and flavorful and hand-pulled although a different kind of carnitas and pierna is used in the traditional Tortas Ahogadas.
The tortas were topped with pickled onions wich were good and lettuce which was a huge disappointment for me because, in Guadalajara, we don't eat them with it, we eat the tortas with cabbage which brings a crunchier texture and enhances the flavor of the pork and the tomato-based sauce. This same applies to the Tacos Dorados.
The Tacos Dorados con Carnitas were better than the ones without the Carnitas, and they tasted so good that I was almost willing to forgive they topped them with lettuce and not cabbage. The fillings were frijoles (beans) and papa (potato).
The Agua de Jamaica was refreshing and not too sweet. I usually put a couple of lime drops on mine for a crispier twist.
Last but not least, the Jericallas were delicious! If you like custard or flan, you should give these a try.
All in all we had a lovely time and the staff was very helpful and constantly asked us if everything was ok.
Thank you so much to everyone who showed up and let's meet up soon again!