Sandwiches are just the best. They take no effort to construct well — only a little care — and although they can avalanche into a messy pile, creating one that holds up is a refined skill. I’ll be damned if smushing meat, cheese, and vegetables between two fluffy pieces of bread and slathering them with some condiments ever gets old. In San Francisco, few sandwiches can challenge the reputation of a Philly cheese steak or a grinder from the East Coast, but there is one we do just a little better: the mighty torta.
Tortas Los Picudos on the corner of 24th and Harrison streets makes some of the best tortas in the city. With 21(!) different combinations, this place has everything from pescado to head cheese. You want fried pork? They’ve got it. Smoked turkey? No problem. If you’re feeling a little tropical, step outside the box and try the Hawaiian ham and pineapple. They’re all delicious. It’s no one choice that makes Los Picudos special, but the consistency. Every sandwich is packed with mayo, butter, cheese, sour cream, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion, and chile to accompany your choice of meat. I know this sounds like an atomic guttural explosion, but somehow the creamy layers balance elegantly with the savory, crispy meats. Although a hefty squish may be required in order to fit your mouth around this gentle giant, the pillowy white bread keeps all the insides right where they’re supposed to be. (Don’t mind the occasional drip of fatty goodness sliding down your wrist.)
These sandwiches are downright perfect for a walk to the Mission when you’ve got a mean hankering for some great Mexican food. And at only $9, it doesn’t hurt that you probably won’t need to eat for the rest of the weekend, either.
Tortas Los Picudos, 2969 24th St., 415-824-4199, no website.