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SF & San Pablo – Tortas Los Picudos – If a pannini and a D.F. torta fell in love ...

rworange | May 1, 2006 12:19 AM

... this torta would be the child.

Los Picudos, a SF torta shop, just opened a second location on San Pablo Road in San Pablo. They are a few blocks from Albertson’s in the Adobe Plaza where La Strada is located.

The Contra Costa Marketplace magazine had a picture of Los Picudos on the cover, and an ad inside mentioned Los Picudos sold tortas estilo D.F … sandwiches made in the Mexico City District Federal style.

I was so there.

Once I got over that this wasn’t the small tortas of Mexico City, I sat down to do some serious enjoying and major eating, this is a LARGE sandwich, but not sloppy, big and tasteless like most tortas in the Bay Area.

It is an excellent sandwich and probably the closest I’ve had to a D.F torta in this area. It stirred up delicious memories, and didn’t disappoint.

The roll is buttered and toasted in a press. I chose the beef milanesa, a thin, lightly breaded beef steak. It was pleasantly chewy. The fillings were not overwhelming, but balanced nicely with the bread and meat … a little mayo, crema, chile, thin tomato slices, restrained use of romaine lettuce, thin red onion slices and avocado.

Really, order the Mexican cheese (queso fresco) on your sandwich. The cottage cheese like texture makes this sandwich.

The sandwich was too large for one sitting, and when I had the rest for dinner, the cheese had melted into the other ingredients giving the sandwich a creamy wonderfulness.

The location in SF has some enthusiastic Chowhound posts. People elsewhere on the web like it too.

The sandwich section of the menu is the largest with other standard Mexican items like tacos.

The thin-cd sized tortillas for the tacos are house-made using a tortilla press. I had the small tacos which are topped with onion and cilantro.

The salsas are house-made and a little juicy as are some salsas that start with fresh tomatoes. The hot salsa with cilantro had a nice jalapeno burn that matched the deep roast pork flavor of the carnitas taco. The mild salsa matched the fruitiness of the al pastor.

The taco meats are kept in a steam table.

Other meats include: carne asada, pollo asada, higado (liver) and cueritos (“pickled pork skin, which has a firmish jelly-like texture.” Melanie Wong in a post linked below)

During the month of May you can get a free aqua fresca if you mention the ad in the Contra Costa Marketplace magazine. Of course, today is the last day of APRIL. They did offer a free re-fill.

The jimica is probably the best in the East Bay and not overly sweet.

An old post about their SF location said they make a “mean agua fresca and those fantastical over-the-top bacon-wrapped hot dogs.”

Melanie Wong had the Mexican hot dog last year at the SF location and a link below has a description and a picture.

Fresh fruits are on the counter ready to be juiced to order for plain juice, licuados or smoothies. Fresh fruit salad is available too.

I watched while a juice drink called Vampiro was made – into the juicer went a whole fresh beet, a stick of celery, fresh pineapple, orange and a carrot. Nothing is frozen here.

They also have torta ahogada described on the menu as a “a wet torta with our special red spicy sauce”.

They have four ‘home-style’ (caseras) enchiladas with red or green sauce.

Burritos and quesadillas are available. The sopes are described in the SF Magazine review below as “Each of these dense masa cakes is hand-pinched to order, tossed on the grill, and piled high with … meat, refried beans, crisp lettuce, and a dollop of sour cream.”

In addition to the basic Vampiro, juices include vampira tropical, carrot, orange, and pina colada.

You can up the licuados, a Mexican drink of milk and fresh fruit, by adding ice cream. Flavors include: strawberry, banana, coconut, walnut, chocolate, papaya, mango and mamey. Here’s a link if you are unfamiliar with mamey:

I read on the web that in SF, the coconut licuado is served in a fresh coconut shell that is shrink-wrapped to-go. I’ll have to check this out next.

Smoothies are papaya, mango, strawberry or your choice of fruit.

Desserts include flan and tres leches cake.

For breakfast there is:
Huevos rancheros
Chilaquiles Divorsiados
Omelettes: ham & cheese, veggie or sausage.

The sandwiches can be as Mexican or American as you would like them. In addition to the Mexican cheese, there is a choice of American or Swiss. The sandwich really does remind me of a pannini.American fillings include ham, pastrami, roast beef, salami and turkey.

Mexican type of meats include:

Queso de pueroco – head cheese
Salchica – listed as sausage, but probably a hot dog
Pierna – smoked pork
Carnitas – fried pork
Pescado – fish
Chorizo – Mexican sausage
Chorizo con huevo – sausage with egg
Pollo Milanesa – thin, breaded chicken breast

They also have a Hawaiian and a Cubano torta. Mexican Cubanos are not the same as Cuban Cubano sandwiches. There’s a link below explaining the difference.

The restaurant has that strip mall look – it is bright and clean, nothing fancy, with tables to eat-in.

I am guessing that Los Picados is translated as billfish or striped marlin. Since this site says that Mazatlan is the world capital of Billfish, I wonder if there is any influence from that region in this restaurant. If you click on “Version en Espanol” the link below will translate

The only other translation is a type of weevil, which would not be a good thing to name a restaurant after.

In an old 2002 Chowhound link, I was looking for D.F. tortas. Someone recommended I try Los Picados in San Francisco and let them know what I thought.

So Patrick, wherever you are, here’s the answer four years later … Los Picudos tortas are not the same as the D.F. tortas I tried, but these are good … very good … possibly addictive … and if I move, I’ll probably be looking for tortas Los Picudos-style.

Tortas y Taqueria Los Picudos #2

13830 San Pablo Avenue
San Pablo, CA 94806


Hours: Daily 8 am – 8 pm EXCEPT MAY 1st. CLOSED 5/1/2006

Tortas Los Picudos

2969 24th Street @ Alabama
San Francisco, CA 94110



Mon-Sat: 8am-8pm
Sun: 7am-8pm

San Francisco Magazine on Los Picudos

Previous Chowhound posts

A torta Cubana is NOT a Cubano sandwich





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