January 14, 2011
The year: 2001. The setting: southern Mexico. The diet: pure tortas.
I was nearing the tail end of a Tierra Del Fuego to Tijuana overland backpacking trip and finding as much fun in the waterfalls and town markets and hostels and tropical jungles and ancient ruins as my shoestring budget would allow.
Fortunately that budget allowed for/demanded daily (or twice daily) quesillo tortas packed with stringy, melty quesillo cheese, jalapeños, avocado and a swab of beans wedged between two perfectly fried halves of a crusty roll. They were only about 10 pesos, or $1 U.S.
The point: I love me some authentic torta.
I was pleased, then, to hear new Cabo Blue Taco Shack (920-1692) chef-jefa Chiqui Ramirez, a Michoacan native, giggling and carrying on in Spanish in her kitchen—and stoked to hear her recommendation for the best torta come without hesitation: the appropriately named "Chiquis Torta," with al pastor (you can also get it with carne asada, pollo or carnitas).
The sandwich gives me hope the place might stick in a slippery spot where Karma Cafe was the most recent to go kaput. At first blush I like Chiqui and the fact that her family runs it. The prices are affordable, particularly the big tortas.
The decor is basic but reflects an attention to details and simplicity, as does the inclusion of two delicious roasted jalapeños...
...and an artistically sculpted radish half with every order.
The big and better-than-average vegetarian super burrito (above, $7.75) earned appreciation from the table.
As did the pork tacos ($2.25 each), though I wouldn't recommend the chicken.
The menu also includes a 20-taco plate, the "Big Sombrero" ($39.50), a score of fresh corn tortillas with beef, chicken or pork and a truckload of fixings.
Other attractive menu items appear under "Cabo Blue Favorites" (all served with rice and beans), including three enchiladas ($10.75), pork ribs in chili sauce ($10.75), steak ranchero ($10.75) and fiesta grilled chicken breast ($10.75).