What to Have for Lunch Today: Pierna Torta at La Torta Sabrosa

Thurs., April 22, 2010

If you've spent a few days in Mexico City, you've passed hundreds of corner shops like La Torta Sabrosa, with windows covered in pictures of fruit, a high-speed juicer buzzing louder than a construction crew, and a cook assembling high-hatted, light tortas. At this Mission Street sandwich and juice shop, the pierna (pork) sandwich is painstakingly constructed: The cook sets a football-sized roll in the press grill to crisp and stripe while he dumps chopped pork on the griddle, then moves to the vegetable bar to layer tomatoes, onions, pickled peppers, and avocado on a frilly leaf of lettuce. When the pork begins to steam, he presses shredded Oaxacan cheese onto the top half of the bread and flips it over onto the grill, where it hisses and melts, and spreads sour cream on the bottom. Finally, the moment comes to bring it all together: flipping the cheese-covered bread over, heaping on the pork, lifting the lettuce raft onto the bread, pressing the top on. Your patience is rewarded with a torta as light and crisp as a banh mi.

La Torta Sabrosa #2 2859 Mission (at 24th St.), 826-5622

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