It's hard not to love the Mexican sandwiches we get in New York: versions overstuffed with avocado and refried beans or slender but robust meat delivery vehicles; cemitas on poofy buns or griddled tortas with crisped Portuguese rolls. To add you on your own journey to Mexican sandwich self-discovery, we've rounded up 24 of our favorites from across the city.
'cemitas' on Serious Eats
A messy, yet satisfying Mexican sandwich of chorizo sausage, chipotle mayonnaise, avocados, tomatoes, lettuce, and Oaxacan cheese all topped with a fried egg.
I used to think that the best usage for beef tongue in Mexican cuisine was tacos de lengua, but that just goes to show you how little I know about tongues. Turns out I like tongue cemitas just as much as tongue tacos, if not more. A cemita is a class of Mexican sandwich with meat, avocado, white cheese, onions and some sort of red sauce, usually on a sesame seed roll. Regional variations abound.
A Mexican beef tongue sandwich with black beans, avocado, and crema.
Why do I keep going back to Cemitas Puebla? Sure, there are other truly remarkable sandwiches in town. It's just that no matter how many cemitas I've consumed—and I've had many—I always manage to be surprised by some small detail.
This hefty sandwich is packed with chunks of tongue—meltingly tender with crispy bits around the edges—layered with ripe avocado slices, crema, crisp red onion, chopped iceberg lettuce, black bean mash, and white cheese.
Good cemitas have to be masterfully stacked sandwiches; with so many ingredients piled into a seeded roll, they have to be neatly constructed in order to avoid being a sloppy, incoherent mess. At Tacos Matamoros, a carne asada cemita ($7) was done just right.
Cemitas Puebla in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago is known for their unique cemitas sandwich. You may have seen it on a certain bleach blond, spiky-haired, er, guy's show somewhere? The cemitas are served on a flat sesame-seed bun with avocado, your choice of meat (pictured here is the milanesa, the breaded pork cutlet), adobo chipotle peppers, fresh Oaxacan cheese, and, when in season, papalo, a Mexican herb similar to cilantro.
About the size of a catcher's mitt and packed with enough ingredients to stock a small bodega, the juancho cemita ($10) at Café Ollin is closer to a meal than a grab-and-go sandwich.
Of the three sandwiches offered by Estrellita Poblano III, a Mexican holdout on Arthur Avenue that caters to the area's burgeoning Latino community, the clear winner is the cemita ($6.50).
"Have you seen this cemita? Please help." More Intel All Queens Roundups » A cemita is a sandwich, and a very good one, when done well; it's from the state of Puebla, Mexico. I have eaten great cemitas in my...
Editor's note: Philadelphia food writers Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond drop by each week with Meat Lite, which celebrates meat in moderation. Meat Lite was inspired by their book, Almost Meatless. [Flickr: jlastras] Strata, or savory bread pudding, is...
Editor's note: Nobody knows the outer boroughs like our man Joe DiStefano, who takes great joy in walking the gustatory road less traveled. Last week it was guinea pig in Jackson Heights, this week it's cemitas in, well- Jackson Heights...