I have mentioned in previous entries that the torta is my favorite Mexican food item. I’ve said that the best tortas I know of come from a taco truck in Nampa. However, those of you who have read my Wheelers review may remember that I have also said I almost never make it out to Nampa to eat. Well kiddies, I’ve been doing this blogging thing for nearly a year now, and it’s about time I shared this hunk of Heaven on Earth with you.
Okay, so Tacos Aguililla is a truck that operates out of the Commercial Tire parking lot near the intersection of 1st Street North and 11th Avenue North in Nampa. I honestly don’t remember where exactly I first heard about them, I know was searching for information on where to get good tortas and someone mentioned a truck parked at Commercial Tire in Nampa, but that’s all I recall. I don’t think they gave the truck name or even the name of the street it was on. I was looking specifically for a Cubana style torta like the one I had seen on some travel show, and I guess I pronounced it wrong because that’s not what I got. I’m not sure to this day what it was I DID get (I was still new to all of it at the time), but it was freaking delicious. I returned not long after, ordered the carnitas version, and fell irrevocably in love with Aguililla’s tortas. Since then I’ve tried the milanesa, and I did finally get the Cubana (the prototypical “kitchen sink” sandwich, Aguililla’s even had hot dogs on it), but I always return to my beloved carnitas. As I’ve said so many times before, pork is the candy of the gods.
|The Tacos Aguililla menu|
After more than a year since my last visit (still can’t believe it had been that long), and thanks to a rapidly-expiring Groupon voucher to Northern Lights Cinema Grill, I had occasion to be in Nampa on Wednesday. I considered eating at the theater, but it had just been too long sine I’d had an Aguililla torta. Initially, we were looking for what I’ve heard is their sister restaurant just up the street, but they’re closed on Wednesdays and to be honest the look of the place put my sister off a bit. So to the truck we went, which was just fine with me. Mom was also along for the ride (well, she was actually the one driving), and we’ve been there together enough times that we have our order down: milanesa for her, carnitas for me, and a big bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola with real sugar for each of us. Sis was being difficult as to what she wanted, if anything, so I ended up getting her a chicken taco.
Now just because a place has the best tortas in the Valley doesn’t mean their tacos follow suit. I didn’t pay much attention at the time, but Aguililla sems to favor the one tortilla taco, and the smaller variety to boot. This means a three or four bite taco with not exactly the best structural integrity. Still, Sis handled it okay, and I never order tacos there anyway. As far as the chicken itself goes, it’s one of the better seasoned ones available in this style of food (the others being Campos Market and Taco Veloz).
For those of you too lazy to click the link I so graciously provided, the primary component of the Torta Milanesa is thin, lightly-breaded and fried beef. The combination of that with the lettuce, tomato, avocado, pickled jalapeno, mayo, and the amazingly soft roll (which is grilled just enough to crisp it up on the inside) is just delicious. There is, in my opinion, only one way this sandwich could be better…
|Torta with carnitas|
…and no, it’s not the addition of cheese. It’s to replace that breaded beef with the delicious fried pork known as carnitas. There’s something about the juicy, lightly crispy, perfectly seasoned bits of pork that puts the whole thing over the edge. The good people at Tacos Aguililla really make this sandwich right, and it’s hard to imagine the ingredients being in any better proportion. You can taste EVERYTHING, and nothing overwhelms anything else. The lettuce and tomato help to lighten up and balance out what could otherwise be a rather dense and possibly too strongly-flavored sandwich. The creaminess of the avocado and the mayo control the heat and tanginess of the jalapeno. Probably most importantly, the veggies and the bread keep the the pork and the inside of the roll from making the whole thing too oily. I’m not exactly sure what the pork is fried in, but I’m relatively certain butter is used to crisp up the roll since it’s the only way I know of to do it that perfectly.
It never ceases to amaze me how few people have actually tried a torta around here. Pretty much every taco truck sells them. The ones available at the taqueria in Campos Market are very, VERY good. El Gallo Giro in Kuna has them, though I’ve never tried theirs because they use the French-style roll I’m not terribly fond of. The ones at Los Beto’s are decent, though I’d recommend asking them to hold the strange frothy avocado sauce they use. Even Baja Fresh had a version available for a while, so obviously there’s something to them, right? There are some terrific tortas around, but I maintain that if you want the best, you’re going to have to make the trek to Nampa.