We remembered the 24th St. torta-off being a little more of a competition, La Torta Gorda's barge-size Mexican-style panini squaring off against the very slightly smaller, somewhat grungier sandwiches at Tortas Los Picudos. They're like apples and oranges, we once thought: If you wanted a chicken milanesa, you went to Gorda; if you craved a torta ahogada, you visited Picudos. No longer.
Last week, we split a torta ahogada ($6.50) with a friend. We were excited when the beast arrived on a slippery plastic plate ― a loaf of bread smeared with refried beans and avocado, and stuffed with chunks of carnitas, a healthy pour of spicy red sauce glazing the top. After a few bites, our enthusiasm waned. The sauce tasted like chile-spiked Prego; the bread was too frail to maintain any semblance of its shape.