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A Sandwich A Day: Torta Ahogada from El Tio Pepe, Tijuana
In this great nation 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.
El Tio Pepe makes tortas in the traditional Guadalajara-style: drowned in a spicy chile de arbol sauce. The torta ahogada (36 pesos, or less than $3 US) features juicy cuts of braised pork that are stuffed into pan salado (salt bread) that's brought in fresh from Guadalajara three times per week. It's an essential component of the sandwich not only because it makes it authentic, but because of its dense, crunchy crust and salty interior that helps the bread stay firm and not go completely soggy when hot chile sauce is poured over it—something that's particularly crucial because despite the mess factor, this is a sandwich you eat with your hands.
El Tio Pepe has a long history of serving up tortas ahogadas. From 1993 until recently, it was a food stand, but has since moved up into nicer digs in a strip mall across the street from their original location. You can order your sandwich mild, medium, or "hard". For the first two options, tomato sauce added to the chile de arbol sauce to temper the heat, but if you order it "hard," there's no relief. Even at the most benign temperature, this is one hell of a spicy sandwich. A bottle of Mexican pop is a necessity.
El Tio Pepe
10755 Blvd. Salinas, on the 2nd floor of the Plaza Conquistador, Tijuana, BC, Mexico
About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her San Diego food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax