5 must-try Tortas Ahogadas in Houston

Around 1930, a street vendor in Guadalajara, capital of the Mexican state of Jalisco, accidentally dropped an entire torta into a vat of spicy salsa. According to Don Ignacio “Nacho” Saldaña, the assistant to the salesman, the customer announced, “You drowned it.” – Then he ate it anyway – and the Torta Ahogada (the drowned sandwich) was born. The seller was Don Luis De La Torre and his son still makes the torta in his own shop in Guadalajara today. Soon, torta sellers across the City of Rose were dipping sandwiches into their own versions of the fiery red chili de árbol salsa, some thickened with pumpkin and sesame seeds while others used roasted tomatoes, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, and vinegar . The searing chili sauce wasn’t for everyone – – Another definition for ahogada is “suffocating” – – so milder versions were developed. At the Cake drowned El GüeritoSaldaña’s restaurant, a spicy and a mild version, are both popular.

The bread of a real Torta Ahogada is a Birote Salado, a salty, crispy bun with a soft inside. The bread stays crispy despite being soaked in sauce and is the choice of the purists. However, it is very common to see the hoagie roll style bolillo used in Houston. These makes for a softer sandwich with a texture similar to a chopped barbecue beef sandwich.

Regardless of how they are prepared, many napkins are recommended. In Guadelajara, the traditional filling is borrego (lamb). Carnitas are most common in Houston, but fajita meat, chicken, chorizo, black beans, sour cream, avocado, radishes, pickled onions, or any combination are also popular.

In recent years, the sandwich has grown in popularity in cities across the country. Last year, José R. Ralat from Texas monthly explained the Torta Ahogadas Birotes drowned cake in San Antonio for some of the best Mexican dishes of the year. Robert Rosenburg, AKA Chef Bob and former food writer for the Public news, Its Facebook feed predicted the torta ahogada would be the most copied Houston dish of 2021. “It’s a fantastic carnitas in a roll that is saturated with a spicy tomato sauce that is served with lots of pickled white onions and radish slices. It’s a delicious mess, ”he enthused. He recommends the version below Proverbs Taqueria on Wayside as a perfect example. Houston has other great versions of Tortas Ahogadas and some notable variations on the theme. One is that Cake in mole of Michelada’s fruit ideas, that is A torta with an assortment of meat fillings that is smothered in mole.

Despite its popularity in general, tortas ahogadas are still a rare find in the Houston area, but wWe’ve rounded up a few key spots to help find this elusive and decadent sandwich. Do you know one that we missed? Please let us know in the comments.

Torta with charred pepper salsa in Cuchara. Courtesy photo.

spoon 214 Fairview, (713) 942-0000: This Montrose restaurant has been honoring Mexico City’s street food since 2012. Two types of drowned sandwiches are available during Saturday and Sunday brunch. The traditional one drowned cake is a bolillo filled with carnitas and topped with a charred pepper sauce, and Her Majesty: Pambazo, that is Bread fried in guajillo pepper, filled with potatoes, chorizo, chilled beans, lettuce, cheese and cream, then covered with spicy green salsa. There are even more options on weekdays like salpicón de res, a homemade tostada dish made from shredded beef with tomatoes, olives, pickled peppers, cotija cheese, avocado and crispy corn stadas. The Ensalada de Pétalos de Rosa combines rose petals, pears, peaches, pistachios, mixed greens and cranberries with a vinaigrette of orange and guajillo. The Negro Mole is a bathed turkey breast is a rich 34-ingredient mole (and served with a handcrafted wooden turkey that can be purchased for two dollars).

Drowned cakeExtra spicy sauce at Dichos Taqueria. Photo by Staci Davis.

Proverbs Taqueria 614 South Wayside, (832) 742-5669: This location is popular for its local Mexican food and convenient transit. It is Torta Ahogada Guadalajara Style comes filled with pork carnitas on a soft bolillo roll that is coated with black beans. A mild tomato sauce soaks everything, but the radish and onion garnishes and a spicier arbol sauce come on the side. Do you need a starter? The Ceviche, Filled with fresh fish cooked with lime and pico de gallo, this is a good take-away item. The breakfast menu is extensive and contains rarities such as Eggs with mole, a sunny-side up egg draped over a sincronizada (a ham and cheese quesadilla), and Veracruzanas Enfrijoladas These are essentially breakfast enchiladas, filled with eggs a la Mexicana, served with bean sauce, chorizo, and sour cream. Don’t forget to pick one up fresh water Horchata and melon juice have always been at hand since Jamaica.

FreshwaterAguas Frescas in Saids Taqueria. Photo by Staci Davis.

Fabian’s Latin American flavors 301 Main, (713) 227-0440: Every Wednesday guests from the city center can try this drowned cake On the open terrace of one of the last Victorian buildings in Houston, built in 1889. The torta has chilled black beans, carnitas, queso fresco, and guacamole and is dipped in a rich carnita sauce. The menu reflects favorites from Latin America like Puerto Rican Tostones, Plantains that have been pureed and fried into a crispy chip topped with prawns in a garlic sauce and queso fresco, and Paisa traywhich some consider the national dish of Colombia, consisting of rock steak, homemade Colombian chorizo, chicharron, fried egg, white rice, pinto beans, avocado, and relish.

Drowned cakeTorta Ahogada on the terrace at Fruit Ideas Micheladas y Taqueria. Photo by Ben DeSoto.

Michelada’s fruit ideas 12625 Market, (713) 637-4166: This Birrieria (Birria vendor) and Michelada bar in Jacinto City features colorful murals and quirky decor. There are two – sometimes three – versions of the drowned sandwich here. The classic version contains a mild chili de arbol sauce, sour cream, avocado, a bolillo bun and meat of your choice. The Drowned d ‘Borrego is filled with Borrego lamb, mozzarella and queso fresco. The Mole cake is soaked in mole with a choice of fajita, borrego, chicken or carnitas. Birria, A spicy jaliso dish, consisting of lamb or beef, steamed in fragrant tomato sauce, comes in many forms such as Birria tacos, Birria ramen and Birria by the pound. The drinks are dazzling and adorned with shrimp, ceviche, beef dried meat, fruit, chamoy and chilli-lime spices and are available in endless variations from juicy to healthy. The Camarochela is a michelada that comes with six prawns, cucumber, jicama and chamoy. Soft drinks like that Champurrada, an atol-based (corn-based) hot chocolate and hot horchata are perfect for refreshing meals on the terrace.

Carnita Torta AhogadaCarnita Torta Ahogada at Papparucchos. Photo by Jose Pineda.

Paparruchos 3055 Sage, (713) 212-3177: This lively bar near the Galleria is a favorite for Latin music and margaritas, two things that go well with flavorful pork sandwiches. cook Jose Pineda Pour a mild sauce onto a pork carnita filled bolillo, then add a spicier sauce. On request, you can get your Ahogadas-style tacos. Select for fajitas Lemon Pepper Chicken or Ribeye fajitas served with rice and salad or french fries. On the lighter side is that Pina Colada Salad comes with chicken strips or coconut prawns and salad-coconut dressing with pineapple dip on the side. You can dine al fresco and enjoy the hookah with disposable tips.

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