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Restaurants & Bars 13

Tortas Boos Vani / torta cubana/ etc [San Francisco]

patrick | Sep 25, 200104:55 PM

In my continuing quest to find the torta cubana of my dreams, I finally made it to Tortas Boos Vani (on Mission, just south of Geneva, in SF) last sunday morning. I had been wondering about this place ever since I saw it while driving around semi-lost, back when it was called Tortas Bugs Bunny.

Boos Vani advertises "D.F. Style Tortas." Their torta menu is extensive, offering all sorts of meats, combinations thereof, and a few special tortas. The Cubana is one of these special tortas, at a premium price of $7.00. (Regular tortas are $5, and combination tortas are $6.)

Here's what Boos Vani puts on their Torta Cubana:
milanesa (pounded, breaded steak)
pierna (beef shank)
a fried egg
salchicha (fried hot dog bits)
and lettuce, tomato, queso fresco, avocado.

It's a little ridiculous. I knew this, from looking at the list of ingredients, but sometimes I'm a little one-note, so I ordered it.

The Cubana was so big that I couldn't really take a bite of it like a regular sandwich. I had to sort of nibble at the top and bottom edges. It was good, but so huge that I couldnt really taste the whole thing at once. The milanesa was a little dry. The chicken was shredded and super tender, classic "pollo deshebrado," and the pierna was really juicy and smoky. An interesting sandwich of colossal proportions, but, alas, not the torta cubana I am looking for. I managed to barely eat half of it at the restaurant. I had most of the other half for breakfast. A pretty good deal, two huge meals for seven bucks.

Holly's torta jamon y queso was a more successful affair; thick-sliced ham, a slice of avocado, some jalapeno, and a fried egg layered over a very creamy smear of queso fresco (that may have been lubricated with some crema mexicana). Easier to eat, and much easier to make sense of, culinarily speaking. Where they find ham this tender and lean, I have no idea. She ate half at the place and we split the other half, heated, as a cocktail snack last night. It reheated magnificently.

The rolls, in both cases, were rounder and bigger than I've had before. They were just slightly stale, and crusty on the outside. I don't know if this is more traditionally "D. F." style or not.

Holly remarked that I was a little fixated on the torta cubana when ordering, and that is perhaps why I missed out on the plethora of other delicious-looking options available on a Sunday morning at Tortas Boos Vani. The most interesting special item advertised was Tacos Barbacoa de Borregos, which I later determined was lamb tacos in the barbacoa fashion. They're served with a bowl of consome, which is the broth traditionally used as a steam source in the pit-bbq process. Several folks near us had the barbacoa and it looked and smelled delicious and was only three bucks.

Also on special on weekends is yummy-looking bowls of pozole, and tlacoyos (or tlacollos), oval-shaped crisp tortillas smeared with pureed beans and sprinkled with queso fresco. And they offer sopes, handmade, with either chicken or chorizo, and platanos con crema.

All of which makes me want to go back, soon, prefereably on a sunday morning, and try one or more of these rarely met delicacies.

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