No. 11: Chicken Milanesa Torta at Boos Voni

SFoodie's countdown of our 92 favorite things to eat and drink in San Francisco, 2011 edition.

​How big should a torta be? Should it fit in the palm of your hand, the bread griddled in spoonfuls of oil, the fillings seeping out and staining the wrapping paper chile-red? Should it have eight different fillings and weigh two pounds, like the Mexican-style cubanas you find all over the Mission? Should it be daintier, with a little grilled ham, a little avocado and Swiss, and enough lettuce to make the top bun appear to hover over the meat?

You can find one of those mammoth cubanas at Boos Voni, a D.F.-style torta shop in Crocker-Amazon with marigold-colored walls, a classic lunch counter, and a mural honoring the Aztecs. The torta SFoodie prefers, however, is the chicken milanesa. A fluffy, griddle-crisped telera the size of a large clutch is the frame for a breaded chicken cutlet enveloped in tomatoes, chopped lettuce, onions, and avocado. Smears of sour cream and crumbled queso fresco, half-melted onto the warm roll, hold the fillings in place, tart and creamy enough to avoid the need for sauce. The torta milanesa is a sandwich built for two ― divide $8.90 in half and you have quite a deal ― but wears its girth easily. It may take hours for you to realize you won't need to eat until tomorrow.

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