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A Sandwich a Day: Las Tortugas Oreja de Elefante Torta in Memphis
In this great country of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around the country. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana owner Pepe Magallanes hails from Mexico City and is dedicated to providing an authentic version of the torta that bears no resemblance to the offerings of cookie cutter Tex-Mex establishments. The interior walls are full of Pepe's rules and rants, explaining that good food takes time to fix, they buy fresh ingredients every day so that's why the prices are higher than Taco Bell, and then there's a complaint about jury duty and some drawings of Pepe as his superhero alter ego "Viperman".
Most of the menu items are available in either torta or taco form. For the seafood options, I prefer the tacos, but my go-to sandwich is the Oreja de Elefante ($9.95). The "elephant ear" is made from Neola Farms sirloin that's griddled with onions, roasted tomatoes, and poblano peppers. The custom-baked bread is hollowed out, filled with the grilled goodies, and topped with lettuce, slices of avocado, and spongy queso fresco. The last step involves a brief toasting in a sandwich press. On the side, you get a handful of freshly fried tortilla chips and tiny portions of thin but delicious guacamole and salsa.
There are other treats like pork tamales and elote, and you can wash it all down with a variety of aguas frescas (fresh fruit and juices blended with ice).