Torta-Landia

The Best Thing Isn’t The Sliced Bread

"I’m all for house-made ingredients—especially in cases where you can’t find a better option—but sometimes baking should be left to the bakers (If authenticity isn’t the focus here—and clearly it isn’t—I might suggest An Xuyen down the street). I don’t mean to harp on the negative, especially when there’s really a lot to like, but if Torta-Landia could get the bread locked in, they would keep me coming back.

Tortas, depending on your desired filling, go for $7 or $8. While the proteins themselves toe the party line—al pastor, carnitas, carne asada, pollo verde, pescado, chorizo, or grilled vegetables—the rest of the sandwich diverges a bit from typical taco-stand fare. All tortas are dressed with tequila-chili aioli and cilantro-lime crema, and my favorite so far, the al pastor, comes with a sweet onion-pineapple relish, tomato, queso fresco, avocado salsa, and spring greens (which, again, felt like an odd and not particularly welcome choice). While they lack the beans and jalapenos of my favorite tortas, I do appreciate Torta-landia’s balance of flavors and focus on bright, fresh ingredients.

Tacos—the other pillar of the menu—are a little more filling than I’ve grown accustomed to, and are made with excellent, albeit greasy, housemade corn tortillas. You can choose from the same lineup of meats (most of which are $2 apiece) topped with cilantro, onion, queso fresco, and salsa. One that diverges from the pack, and my particular favorite, was the fried rockfish ($3 per). It’s lightly battered and served with shredded cabbage (thankfully they didn’t “upgrade” to spring greens), queso fresco, mango salsa, avocado, and that cilantro-lime crema.

The side dishes are hit and miss. I wasn’t wild about the borracho beans ($2)—seasoned pinto beans stewed in beer and tequila—but I was big fan of both the roasted corn with chili seasoning and queso fresco ($3), and the bocadillos ($3), which are kind of a mashed potato fritter." -TONY PEREZ

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