Tortas ahogadas, the drowned carnitas sandwiches from the Mexican state of Jalisco, have become widespread in Los Angeles, but the results are wildly inconsistent, with some bollilo rolls succumbing to sog, and other specimens packing punishing chile spice. In a Chula Vista parking lot for Toys R Us and RTA Electronics, about 10 miles from the Mexican border, Guadalajara native Ray Reed has managed to lovingly honor the unique tortas ahogadas of his youth at a truck called El Gallito Tortas Ahogadas, which he runs with wife Karina.
Reed sells tortas ahogadas, but I was more interested in his Gemma ($7), named for a famous Guadalajara torta shop, run by longtime family friends. He has chewy bollilos baked to specs from the shop’s original recipe. A creamy tomato sauce spiked with some chipotle blankets the carnitas-packed bollilo. Reed squiggles a unique sauce of mustard, cream and mayo on the drowned sandwich, taking the torta into a new culinary dimension.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.