Even though we now live in a city with arguably the most authentic, best Mexican food in the country, we were still excited to head down to San Francisco's Misson District to try out La Torta Gorda, a little Mexican diner.
Like the neighborhood itself, La Torta Gorda is bright and colorful, if a little worn, and very comfortable. The kitchen and serving staff welcomed many of the patrons around us like old friends. In short, it was exactly what we were looking for on our lazy Friday after Thanksgiving.
We started out with a couple of quesadillas. Our first selection was filled with flor de calabaza, or squash blossoms, which were tasty, but didn't impart as exotic as a taste as we were hoping for, given the main ingredient. Our slight disappoinment was blown out of the water by the huitlacoche quesadilla (below). So delicious for a fungus, with a great earthy flavor which paired beautifully with the sweetness of the corn.
Looking to load up on as many carbs as we could, we split a pierna enchilada, or pulled pork, torta (below), which may have been one of the more glorious sandwiches I've ever had. Piles of gorgeously tender pork, complex in flavor, along with slices of creamy avocado, were sandwiched in between addictively crunchy, flaky bread.
Because it was on the early side of noon, we ordered a breakfast dish, the tlayocos al albanil (below), which featured black bean-filled masa cakes topped with finely diced red onion, avocado slices, and perfectly fried eggs. This was not my favorite dish, mainly due to the prevalence of red onion, but it may have been Mark's, as he loved the combination of the dense (and freshly made) masa cakes, avocado and rich egg yolk.
Our final dish in our morning-after-Thanksgiving gorge was an unremarkable chicken dish (so forgettable that I can't even remember what it was), which was probably the least successful dish for both of us. While it was good, with perfectly acceptable chicken, rice and beans, and a nice smokey sauce, we weren't floored by it the way we were with our other selections. It seemed like the kind of dish we could have gotten at any Mexican restaurant (even the ones in West Hollywood).
With the exception of that last dish, even though Mexico is practically in our backyard, we experienced some of the best Mexican food we've had in recent memory by traveling 400 miles north. I don't know how that works, but I do know that next time I'm in San Francisco, I know exactly where to go for a coma-inducing lunch.