No. 80 The Lambada Torta at La Torteria 5115 Federal Boulevard 720-855-8432
There's no shortage of good tortas in the metro area. Mexican sandwiches pop up in unlikely locations from Centennial to Cherry Creek North, and in versions ranging from little more than subs with spicy sauce to fork-and-knife ahogadas drenched in red chile. One of our favorites is a pork-packed pleaser from the tiny but aptly named La Torteria. The Lambada comes stacked with roast pork leg, chorizo sausage and scrambled eggs -- a breakfasty mix we crave all day.
See also: 100 Favorite Dishes of 2014
La Torteria specializes in all things pork: succulent carnitas, massive sheets of chicharrones, even lard rendered in-house and sold by the pound. So it's no wonder the pork leg (pierna in Spanish) is just right. Firm and meaty like loin, the pierna forms the solid foundation of the torta. A layer of tangy, spicy chorizo comes next, held together by moist scrambled eggs.
Pressed on the grill and then tightly bundled like a baby in foil, the Lambada takes on an almost other-worldly density, made even richer with slices of avocado and a slathering of butter (or something butter-flavored, at least).
The Lambada is not an overwhelming sandwich or odd combo of Mexican and American street meats; it's compact and proportional -- the telera bread doesn't overwhelm the fillings or threaten to disintegrate under the burden of too many ingredients. Spicy but not in the extreme, the sandwich is great either on its own or topped with a little salsa -- we like the salsa verde -- from La Torteria's stellar salsa bar. There's so much pork cooking in the kitchen, you'll wander out with the aroma of carnitas clinging to your clothes, wondering how soon is too soon to return for another Lambada torta.
In advance of the Best of Denver 2015, we're already loading our plates with contenders for the best dishes in the city. And over the next nine months, we'll be sharing many of them with you, counting down (in no particular order) one hundred of our favorite dishes before the the Best of Denver 2015 hits the streets on March 26. In the meantime, if there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section below, or shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2014 countdown are linked below.
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