A bakery turned taqueria? Why not? We’ve watched this place grow over the last couple of years from a small panaderia in Springfield to a much larger operation. Recently they added a taqueria to the mix and you know what? It works.
Tortas are the specialty. There are a number of varieties listed on the walls with some twists you don’t always see offered: champinones (mushrooms) chuleta ahumada (ham chops)pierna de Puerco (roasted pork leg). There is a bit of a language barrier, so after some negotiation in my poor Spanish I decide on the easiest option: Cubana. Cubana tortas are basically everything the kitchen has to offer: ham, other various pork and meat products, and cheese piled in between the torta buns. That leaves the writer left to try and figure it all out.
That first bite is an eye opener. This is a dark, rich and complex sandwich. The black beans and chorizo give it real spice. The pork is a hearty thick slice and the milinesa a tender cut of breaded beef. Topped with generous amounts of queso blanco and ripe avocado and you have quite the sandwich. The grilled bread, tomatoes lettuce, pickled jalapenos and some sort of mayo creation send it over the top.
A chivo taco provides stewed goat meat in a light tomato sauce. It’s delightfully tender, but watch out: there are still a couple of bones in there. To spice up a taco ask for the salsas. They’re not for the faint hearted. The rojo is very hot and even the verde has a nice spicy kick with the tomatillo.
Before leaving I do a little more investigating in my lousy Spanish. Would they make a custom torta without any meat? Sin carne doesn’t quite work. They think you don’t want beef. I figure the best way to do it is to include what we do want. They nod in acknowledgment but I can tell they think I’m a little loco.
So, one day we’ll be back for an adventure with the Veggie Eater. There’s really nothing else on the menu she could eat, aside from a custom torta. Sopes, huraraches, tacos and tortas: that’s pretty much it. Lengua (tongue) cabeza (beef from the cows head), chorizo, pollo, chivo and azada (steak) are about the only options. Fun for an adventure loving meat eater, but for a vegetarian? The black beans were really the deciding point. I investigated the cooking process and meat or lard did not seem to be involved. However, we must warn vegetarians that this may or may not be the case (my Spanish really stinks) and everything you eat here will be cooked on a grill fresh from the aforementioned animal parts.
If you make the trip to Springfield, check out the Azteca Tortilla Factory at 1610 Memorial Blvd. They make some of our favorite corn tortillas and you can get them hot and fresh off the press. It’s located on Highway 41 on the way to Taqueria el Oaxaco (which is just down the street on 41, take a left on Central Avenue and they are two blocks down).