I finally ate my first torta two weeks ago - on Superbowl Sunday. My friend Kishi, who lives in San Francisco, took me to Tortas Los Picudos on 24th Street between Alabama and Harrison.
I guess it took me this long to actually try a torta because of my intense love for burritos. If both a torta and a burrito are available on a menu, I always choose a burrito. But this time, the restaurant actually had the name "Torta" in it, so I thought it would be an insult to the establishment to order anything else (although the tacos at $1.50 were tempting).
All tortas were in the $6 to $7 range and are collasal at about 8-10" lengthwise.
When my husband's Wet Torta arrived, it really hit me that we weren't in Japan anymore. This giant boat of a torta was drowning in a thick red sauce - it was seriously monotone and huge. It was the antithesis of anything served in Japanese cuisine. The sauce made the sandwich bread grow in size like those french pop-up sponges (available at Williams-Sonoma). If there was a contest for "Dish with the least care put into aesthetics," this wet torta would win.
But as soon as I took a peek inside the torta, my mouth started to water. Huge chunks of fresh scooped avocados atop pulled pork made up for its outer-ugliness. And the relatively mild insides were a perfect compliment for the spicy red sauce. This red sauce was not ashamed to be spicy, which is exactly the way I think a spicy sauce should be. It was present during the bite and a few moments after, but didn't linger persistently. It was just the right amount of kick for a crisp, cool San Francisco Sunday. I had a few bites of this torta while I waited for my Turkey Torta.
I probably shouldn't have ordered the turkey torta, but being away from America so long, I find myself opting for the following things every chance I get 1) turkey, 2) cheese, 3) mexican food and 4) cereal. This sandwich covered three of those four items so it was kind of a no-brainer. I am not complaining about what I got, but it just didn't taste very Mexican. I found myself squirting gobs of hot sauce over the sandwich, but turkey and green salsa didn't seem to be the best combo.
The bread was excellent and I was satisfied that I got to taste the sauce-saturated and dry version. The turkey was not worth elaborating on. I guess I would just prefer to eat a turkey sandwich, American style.
The next time (and I am confident there will be a next time) I think I will order a different torta off the menu. I am sucker for fish and their Pescado Torta would probably be my first choice next time.
I didn't think my husband would finish his whole torta, but I guess it was too delicious for left-overs. I ate half of my sandwich and had the other half for lunch the next day, which made it a fantastic deal at $6.50.
TORTAS LOS PICUDOS
2969 24th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110