If there’s one food that Mexicans make way better than Americans, it’s the sandwich.
They have completely perfected the art of a good sandwich—and increased its size.
Enter the torta. A torta is a sandwich that is made with a variety of meats on a crusty white bread called “bolillo” (beau-lee-yo) or “pan frances” which literally translates to French bread. The bread is usually circular or oblong, and typically the size of your face—HUGE! Most tortas are served with onions, avocado, pickled jalapenos, mayonnaise, and tomato. Typical meats that are served inside this delicious sandwich are ham (torta de jamon), shredded chicken, and carne asada (my favorite!).
My favorite torta comes from a little hole-in-the-wall carniceria (meat market) in Southwest Oklahoma City called Calvillito #3 (if a restaurant name is followed by a number, you know it’s good). This little market contains a panaderia (bakery) that makes some wonderful pan frances & conchas as well as a neveria that has Mexican ice cream, popsicles, aguas frescas and horchata.
On a hot day last summer, I was on a mission to find some horchata, which is an iced cinnamon rice milk drink. I stumbled upon Calvillito #3 and am I SO GLAD that I did. Toward the back of the store is a small little hot bar where a lady will make whatever you want: burritos, tortas, plate dinners, and chile rellenos. I ordered a carne asada torta and was blown away. This restaurant is right on the cusp of “I may get food poisoning” but I didn’t let my fear stop me! I now frequent the store to buy everything from chiles to Mexican imports to cane syrup. Since it is Cinco De Mayo today, I thought I would honor this legendary sandwich. Thank you, Mexico, for this incredible culinary invention—and thank you to the many wonderful people who make them!
- 4 bolillos, each split in half
- 12 strips of bacon
- queso fresco, crumbled
- yellow onion
- leafy green lettuce
- salt and pepper, to taste
- First, fry bacon in large skillet until crispy. Split each bolillo and spread mayonnaise on both sides. Drain on paper towels and let cool.
- Slice the onions (thinly), tomatoes and avocado.
- Add queso fresco crumbles to the top halves of the bolillos. Add avocado slices to the bottom halves. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the avocado slices.
- Lay tomato on top of the avocado. Add lettuce, onion and 3-4 strips of the bacon. Gently lay the other bolillo half on top of the sandwich.
I hope you enjoy this sandwich as much as I do. It felt amazing making my own torta at home. I wanted to try an American twist on the sandwich, hence the BLT combination! These bolillos are smaller than they normally are, but that was perfect for these sandwiches—normal bolillos are way too big. Keep this sandwich in mind the next time you want Mexican food! You’ll fall in love with it just like I did 🙂