Cook’s Tortas [SGV]

Not many people know Mexican cuisine features sandwiches. This combination of old and new world influences can be seen directly with theses sandwiches – the Torta. Bakeries and flour was brought over and developed by the French in the early 1800′s. Then by using locally cured and marinated meats, the Mexicans produced wonderful sandwiches.

The Torta Ahogada is a great example of a Mexican torta – with fried pork on a thick baguette, similar to the French ones. They layer and smoother the sandwich with a thick and spicy dried pepper tomato sauce. This great, but messy sandwich is from Guadalajara, from the state of Jalisco. I have no idea how to eat it without a knife and fork, but I’ve heard people there, just pick it up and eat it, in all its glory, with messy hands.

Anyways. . . enough about the history. I was reading about different twitters, bloggers, and foursquare’rs going to this little spot in the suburbs of Los Angeles, called Cook’s Tortas. And at that time, I was going through a sandwich craze, going to Langer’s Deli for Pastrami’s, Porto’s for the Cubano, anything from Mendicino Farms, and the Beef Barchetta from Stacked Sandwiches, with disappointments from Bay Cities Deli. So I knew, I had to go to Cook’s.

I didn’t realize that Cook’s took over for the old Aloha Cafe spot on Atlantic Blvd in Monterey Park, till I got there. But oh well, restaurants come and go. After pulling in and walking in, the first thing you notice is the large ceiling to floor black board menu. I liked the coffee/cafe menu on how they explained how the coffees were made. There must have been over 20 different sandwiches. Yet I knew what I was going after . . . something pork related.

Pork . . .. pig . . . ham . .. . were the key words I was looking for on the menu. The Mojito, #151, was my pick, with roasted pork, garlic mojo, and slow cooked onions. This large sandwich with pork, garlic, and onions oozing all around was stupendous. As I consumed this bad boy, I had to be careful not to get the rich goodness on my clothes and hands. The bread was crusty on the outside, but not too hard. The inside softness soaked up the juices and grease to provide the moist base need for each bite. Not overly salty, the Mojito was just right. But after thinking about it, I could have added a little spicy pepper or sauce to enhance this experience. But actually, I was really thinking about the Ahogada, before I arrived, but I realized I only had one stomach, and the Mojito was great – so next time.

I think I remembered I had a drink and an appetizer from the menu . . .but I don’t remember it at all. . . Besides, you wouldn’t care if I didn’t write about it. The sandwich was the star. Hopefully one day, I will find a torta place in Taipei or Shanghai worthy of Cook’s.

What to Order: Mojito
What not to Order:

Rating
3 Pigs
Price Range 1 $/¥/NT

Cook's Tortas on Urbanspoon

Cook’s Torta’s
1944 South Atlantic Boulevard, Monterey Park, CA 91754-6302, +1 323 278-3536
cookstortas.com

Mambos [Glendale]

Drawn by the power of Diner’s, Drive in’s, and Dives, we knew we had to check out this local Cuban favorite. Guy Fieri, the host, makes you just want to try anything he mentions on his show.
 
Mambos was a choice out of necessity. We were on our way to the Glendale’s Americana Street Feast. Yet, as we drove past we saw the enormity of the lines and crowds, and I quickly made an executive veto decision. With haste and agile phone skills, Mambos was the plotted with our iPhones.
 
The live band created a festive feel as we jaunted toward Mambo’s door. We hungrily ordered the giant prawns, the double fried plantain shrimp salad, and the roast pork. The double fried plantains were featured on Triple D’s, so I knew one of us had to order it. I couldn’t believe how much shrimp was in the salad. We kept eating more and more shrimp – such a healthy portion. My roast pork was quite juicy quite similar to that of Versailles’s. I love anything Pork, Ham, or Pig related.
 
What turned out to be a disappointment with Street Feast turned into a pleasant one with Mambos
 
What to Order: Roast Pork and the Double Fried Plantains
What not to Order: Drinks were so-so
 
2 Pigs
$$
 
Mambos
1701 Victory Blvd
Glendale, CA 91201
(818) 545-8613