Ken Harrison 5:30 p.m., Sept. 4
You Say Cubano: Bolillo Tortas
Bolillo Tortas, the new eatery at 417 Fourth Avenue in the Gaslamp, has a mission statement on their website, which reads in part, "(Bolillo Torta's) mission is to be the most important torteria in America and to be an ambassador of the true Mexican culture to a nation that is blinded by the negative aspects it sees in the news." That's a lot of pressure to put on a sandwich.
Bolillo are traditional sandwich rolls for making tortas, as are telera, the softer, round, three-scored ones. Bolillo are like short, fat baguettes, and have a thick, crunchy crust.
My choice today is a Torta Cubana ($9.75) and a cool, refreshing tamarind water ($2.50)
A traditional Cubano has pretty specific ingredients, the only real disagreement being whether you are pro or anti salami. The Mexican tribute to the Cubano is usually more liberal, and Bolillo Tortas is no exception. My sandwich, top to bottom, has mayo, chopped avocado, thin-sliced red onion, tomato, iceberg lettuce, fried egg, roasted pork, milanesa (breaded steak), cheddar cheese grilled ham, refried beans, and yellow mustard. The bolillo is nicely crunchy. This is the kind of sandwich you have to eat in sections, in one chomp you taste the sharp mustard, salty sweet ham, and cool, crisp lettuce, in the next you have rich, beefy grilled steak, melty cheddar, and creamy avocado. It's properly untidy. In other words, I let my napkin lie unused in my lap and hope no one notices my messy face.
On the sides are a grilled jalapeño, stuffed with a bit of mozzarella and wrapped in thick, smokey bacon, and a small, freshly composed romaine salad, topped with onion, sliced almonds and dried cranberries, simply dressed with an olive oil/mustard vinaigrette.
While Bolillo Tortas may not achieve world peace, this sandwich was a good place to start.
417 Fourth Ave.
San Diego, CA 92101
Delivery hours: 11am-11pm daily to all of the Gaslamp, Little Italy and Downtown areas (check map on website).
1/2 hour free parking in underground lot next door.
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