Words: Emily Mullen
Budge over burritos, it’s torta town now
Widely considered to be a twin pillar of Mexican food, tortas are as intrinsic to Mexican street food as tacos are. While those little bite-sized foldable flavour wraps have been catapulted into international stardom, tortas have been standing in the shadows getting cold for a little too long. Made up of bread, meat and fillings, tortas are as custom-built for Irish tastes as any dish could be.
The word torta roughly translates to “sandwich” from Spanish. Some like chef Roberto Santibañez would argue that defining a torta as a sandwich is as reductive as describing a Rembrandt masterpiece as a portrait, it’s technically accurate but it entirely misses the point.
A torta is a pretty complete meal, primarily eaten in Mexico as lunch. Tortas are typically identified by their fillings, such as turkey (torta de pavo), pork leg (torta de pierna) and pork loin (torta de chorizo). The dish is made from either a small baguette (a bolillo) or a soft roll (a telera), filled with meat, sauce and toppings like salsa, iceberg lettuce, avocado and crema. Tortas can be eaten cold or hot, grilled or toasted in a press like a Cuban sandwich.
Each region in Mexico is said to have their own version of a torta, the most famous is Mexico City’s pambazo and Guadalajara’s torta ahogada.
Tortas are taking some time to take off in Dublin, but there are some spots that are repping them in the city:
The Pablo Picante has been proud advocates of tortas for a long while now, they even have a lengthy selection of them on their menu from the chicken and chorizo Chicken Izo to the veggie Sweet Pepper. Their Chipotle Beef has to be chosen one though, made up of shredded beef in chipotle salsa, jalapeno aioli, black bean puree, spinach and rocket that’s served on a ciabatta-style roll. The team let each torta crisp up in the turbo oven for bonus crunchy bites ahead of serving. You can find Pablo Picante’s tortas on Clarendon Market (next to their Burrito Bar) visit the website for more information.
El Milagro, has been a feature of markets across Dublin over the last couple of months. The truck combines recipes from the team’s family and friends and it promises to be an Authentic Mexican taquería. The team debuted their Tortas Ahogadas as a special a couple of weeks ago and have had a hard time removing it from their menu. You can find El Milagro at Malahide Marina from Tuesday-Sunday, Merrion Square on Thursday and Herbert park on Sunday, for more information visit their Instagram.
Taking over from Café Azteca on Lord Edward Street, Agave has taken it upon themselves to fly the Mexican flag high. Their take on a Torta de Chorizo is made up of ground chorizo topped with cheese, onion, fresh coriander, refried beans on homemade bread. You can find Agave on Dublin 2’s Lord Edward Street, for more information visit their Instagram.
The food truck located in The Iveagh Market’s Dinetown, have taken leave from their taco slinging and have launched their first torta. Describing it as having “heat, mess and a bit of zing” the torta ahogado which roughly translates as a “drowned torta”. Fuppin Delish’s take on the torta has been created with a sourdough roll, stuffed with pulled pork, lemon sauce that’s been drowned in a spicy tomato sauce. You can find Fuppin Delish at Dublin 8’s Dinetown for more information visit their Instagram.
Salsa Authentic Mexican Food have a good selection of Torta fillings, from Al Pastor (spit-roast pork), Barbacoa (shredded slow-braised beef), Chilli Beef (spicy ground beef) or a Veggie sweet potato, mushroom and red pepper number. These are filled up with refried beans, grilled onions, guacamole and Chipotle cream salsa which amounts to what the team say is a “finger licking dish”. You can find Salsa Authentic Mexican Food in the IFSC’s Custom House Square, visit their Instagram account for more information.
Elsewhere on District: Signature Dish, Pickle’s Goat Keema Curry