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100 Favorite Dishes: The Lambada Torta at La Torteria

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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 cafe@westword.com.

Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2014 countdown are linked below.

No. 100: Chile Relleno at La Fiesta No. 99: Gurage Kitfo at Megenagna Ethiopian Restaurant No. 98: Cochinita Pibil at Work & Class No. 97: The Greggers Tongue Sandwich at Olive & Finch No 96: Baum Cakes at Glaze by Sasa No. 95: Goat hot pot from Viet's No 94: Head cheese from Beast + Bottle No. 93: Kettle Chips from Amerigo Delicatus No. 92: Pork Belly Confit at Solera Restaurant and Wine Bar No. 91: Tacos Campechanos from La Calle Taqueria No. 90: Biscuits from Denver Biscuit Co. No. 89: Clams and Chorizo at Gozo No. 88: Aburi Sushi at Sushi Den and Izakaya Den No. 87: Kimchi and Sausage Torta at City, O' City No. 86: Mar y Tierra Molcajete at Paxia No. 85: Crispy Pork Spare Ribs at Table Top No. 84: Chips and Dip at Euclid Hall No. 83: Chile Relleno Burrito at El Taco de Mexico No. 82: Scallop Crudo at Stoic & Genuine No. 81: Ceylon Curry Dosa at Khazana


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