When it comes to Mexican fast food some folks are crazy for California style burritos. Others enthuse over tacos, which have practically become a fetish item over the last few years. I’m down with both, but my particular weakness is for the torta sandwich. The premise of a Kaiser roll smeared with refried beans, stuffed with taco filling, then some avocado, lettuce and onion? Maybe a little tomato, too? Great. Add some queso to make it a cemita? Even better. That’s what I want to eat.
My neighborhood go to for a torta sandwich was Roots and Vines, on Grand Street. . Theirs wasn’t the best I’ve had, but it was flavorful, generous and very close to home. I got a roast pork torta there at least once a month. Unfortunately Roots and Vines stopped making sandwiches a couple weeks ago, leaving me in need of a new local source. This proved a difficult search. Tacos and burritos are all over the place, but tortas, ubiquitous in many Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods, are hard to find on the Lower East Side. The best I’ve found yet is an unorthodox example just above Houston Street.