A Sandwich a Day: Pierna Torta at Panadería Chuy in Austin
Hidden in the shadow of an elevated highway in a nondescript strip mall is Panadería Chuy. This bustling bakery supplies bolillos, or torta rolls, to Mexican eateries around the Austin area. The interior is filled with overflowing cases of pastries and cookies like conchas, polvorones, and empanadas. You know this bakery is legit because, in true Mexican fashion, they provide the silver trays and tongs for helping yourself to their massive selection of baked goods.
Of course, a place known for its bolillos has an attached restaurant that makes a variety of tortas. I ordered the simple pierna torta ($5.50), which reminded me of a huge Mexican sloppy joe. One of their signature pillowy rolls was filled with chunks of spicy pork cooked in red chiles and garlic until it was completely tender but not falling apart. Underneath were layers of shredded lettuce, tomato, a little crema, and thick slices of jalapeño and avocado. The pork's red sauce coated all of the sandwich ingredients and soaked through the bread just enough to moisten it, but not so much that the sandwich was falling apart. This torta also had the spiciness I've been missing from others I've tried in Austin. I can't wait to return to try their other torta varieties and pick up one of their incredible custard-filled conchas.
8716 Research Boulevard, Austin TX 78757 (map)