Taqueria Durango's Torta Ahogada
I do my best not to do the standard Food Network reaction when I eat something delicious (you know the one: they take a bite, then simultaneously roll their eyes and their head in a circular motion, then say something like “Yummo!” or “holy moly, this is money!”), but there are times it just happens.
Most recently, it was brought on by the torta ahogada from Taqueria Durango, a football-sized behemoth, drowned in sauce. Which makes sense if you speak Spanish, because a tortais a Mexican sandwich and ahogada means drowned. If you really want to impress the staff, say, “Uno torta ahogada, s’il vous plaît!”
I went years without trying this sandwich, choosing instead to focus my eating on Durango’s tacos—which are some of the best in St. Louis—because I am a dumb person. Ian Froeb has talked about this sandwich for as long as I can remember, and I just ignored him. Sorry, Froeb. You were on the money with this yummo sandwich.
The oversized bolillo roll is sliced in half, filled with carnitas and grilled onions, then doused with a smoky and mildly spicy red chile sauce. This is clearly a knife and fork sandwich (does that negate it from being a sandwich? Discuss below). It reminds me of something I’d come up with late at night, drunk, using all my leftovers from the previous night’s tacos—but much better. The sauce is so good, and the way the outside of the bread soaks that up, while the inside picks up all the char and pork fat from the carnitas and onions…it shivers me timbers.
This is one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in St. Louis. Maybe even in the top 10. It is a little spicy, so if you’re a weakling, order something else.