Mad Pambazos Toecutter (Food of the Week)

Sandwich Los Angeles

Mad Pambazos is a sandwich and taco truck from chef Bryan Kidwell and business partner Macks Collins, who previously ran a French-Vietnamese restaurant called Rouge Et Blanc in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. I had bookmarked them for awhile and Mad Pambazos finally parked within striking distance, outside Univision 34 near the 405 freeway. The truck’s website tells a bizarre tale about an apocalyptic world where pambazos rise up, “a whirlwind of looting, a firestorm of fear. The Pambazos mutated from the fallout. The Pambazos began to feed on men.” Their fantastical origin story is pretty far out there, to say the least. Thankfully, the truck’s sandwich fillings are less ominous and more convincing.

Flavors span from India to the Caribbean. Silvertongue’s Chicken incorporates tikka masala, crispy sweet potato, cashew curry aioli, yogurt, mint and cabbage salad. Blackfinger’s Jerk involves smoked jerk chicken, spicy ketchup, mint, cucumber, coconut pickled onion, cabbage, and yogurt. They also have a rotating roster of specials. Still, I’d suggest starting with the Toecutter ($11), the only sandwich that has clear ties to Mexico, the pambazo’s country of origin. Specifically, pambazos hail from Mexico City.

Toecutter features a chewy roll coated with guajillo chile sauce that’s crisped on the griddle. They make great use of the other, other red meat: goat. Juicy shreds of guajillo-braised shoulder are seared and balanced with snow-white Oaxaca cheese, crunchy, herbaceous cabbage salad, punchy pickled jalapeño, savory crumbled cotija, and cooling crema.

Toecutter has flavor to spare, but explore house hot sauces like yellow chile-beet-grapefruit, lemongrass habanero, and grilled Calabrian chile, found in squeeze bottles on an ice bed.

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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