As I was waking up last Sunday after a long night of partying on the riverwalk, I was craving something to cure my hungover. I was thinking of something spicy; and as I was trying to figure out where to go and have a nice breakfast here in San Antonio, I came across with a flyer announcing a new place in the heart of San Antonio (Downtown) called RoHo, featuring Tortas Ahogadas… now, a torta ahogada is kind of a secret cure for hang overs that Tapatios have decided to share with the whole world.
This particular dish is a signature dish especially from Guadalajara, Mexico. It’s literal translation would be a drown sandwich, this sandwich is made with a particular baguette that is called (Birote Salado) a salty baguette, but it’s not just any kind of baguette, this particular Birote can only be made in Guadalajara, due to the altitude of the sea level and the type of weather and humidity in that particular zone, that is what helps develop the crunchiness of the outside and the softness from the inside of the baguette. That is what makes a torta ahogada authentic.
Now the process of making a torta is they open up the baguette, spread re-fried beans in it, stuffed it with carnitas (pork meat that has been cooked on its own lard) and finally the sandwich get submerged in a spicy tomato sauce, then its served with some pickled onions and a slice of lime on the side.
A lot of people may think, it’s just a pork sandwich with tomato sauce but you just have to try it and feel that even though the sandwich has been submerged in the tomato sauce, it stills conserve its crunchiness until the final bite. That is why a lot of people that has attempted to make tortas ahogas don’t succeed, because you need an authentic Birote salado (baguette) otherwise the sandwich will just fall apart and you will just accomplish a whole flavorless mess.
Now you may be thinking, if this baguette can only be made in Guadalajara, how does RoHo restaurant has a good torta ahogada, well let me tell you something, if you want to try a an authentic one you just have to travel to Guadalajara, but if you want to try something that comes really close to the authentic ones, you go to RoHo where Chef Jorge Rojo has brought his experience from Guadalajara to the United States southwest.
Chef Jorge Rojo day starts really early in the morning by making the baguettes from scratch, every day, after that he makes the carnitas(pork meat), the beans, salsas, everything that he has on the menu is made in house. That is the secret of a successful place, opening earlier this year in downtown, San Antonio, the establishment is packed during the weekends, morning breakfast and weekday lunch, drawing in blue collar workers and white collar crowd to munch on the authentic flavors of Guadalajara.
So have no fear and feel safe to drink the weekend’s night away and know that the next day you have a unique place to cure your hangover, but don’t think that this place is only good for hangovers… a torta is always good even just for a quick lunch. And don’t forget to have a Coca Cola with it, nothing gets better that that.
Love from Chef Robert and Nikki.