Tapas, or appetizers/small plates, have evolved into an entire sophisticated cuisine. A little bit of “investigative” work earlier this year led me to locals like Bilbao and San Sebastian Spain to check out some authentic tapas scenes. Although the food was truly fantastic, what inspired me most was the philosophy around tapas. The Spanish believe that it encourages conversation because patrons aren’t just focused on eating an entire meal laid before them. I recently sampled many of the tapas offered at The Lounge which range in variety from smoked oysters to pot roast but I was inspired to blog about the Torta Ahogada, (“drowned sandwich”); a seasoned pork sandwich invented in Guadalajara, Mexico in the early 1900s. Apparently, (and I love these stories) some guy asked for a little spicy salsa on this normal torta and the vendor accidentally dropped the entire sandwich into the salsa vat to which the customer exclaimed “you drowned it!” and then proceeded to eat it anyway. The rest is history!
Our Torta Ahogada comes on house-made crusty rolls called bolillos which are like stubby baguettes. The pork is seasoned with lime juice, salt and oregano and then slowly cooked in its own fat for 8 hrs. The salsa is made from a tomato sauce base infused with chile de árbol; a small and potent Mexican tree chile. Now, a Mexican street vendor might serve you a Torta Ahogada in a plastic baggy because, well…a pork sandwich drowned in salsa is a freakin’ mess. Fortunately, our torta is more positioned in the salsa than drowned in it so you can enjoy with as little or as much heat and mess as you prefer. Try it with the house Margarita (1921 Tequila, pineapple, grapefruit, etc.) or the Shaken (Rum, jalapeno, mango lime, etc.) if you want to feel a little tropical on a cold Pittsford night. Spy out!