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A change of pace

March 21, 2013

Yesterday, after a week long hiatus from burrito reviews, I promised something special for my readers today. It’s still food related, and it’s Mexican food, but I will not be reviewing a burrito today. I’ll be reviewing something that could potentially be the next big thing in the world of proper fast food in Dublin.

What I’m talking about is tortas, specifically those from the (relatively) new torta shop that Pablo Picante have opened in Clarendon Market. I believe that this shop has been open since December, or thereabouts, but I’m not exactly sure when it opened. I’ve been meaning to give it a try ever since, having read about it on Twitter on more than one occasion, but I never got around to it. Until lunch-time yesterday, that is.

Before I go into my review of the torta that I ate in Pablo’s, I’ll explain briefly what a torta is. In Mexican food culture, a torta is, for want of a better word, a sandwich. But it is not, however, your everyday slice of ham and slice of cheese between two pieces of buttered white bread. A torta is a sandwich that is filled (to the brim) with the types of toppings that one would expect in a taco or a burrito. And in the case of Pablo’s, the torta bread is a large piece of ciabatta bread, although (according to an article on Huffington Post), traditional tortas are served on a bread that is called bollilos. Not being sure what bollilos bread looks like, I’m assuming that ciabatta is a more than adequate replacement!

OK, so let’s get to business; what torta did I have? And what did I think of it?

Well, I had the Tinga Torta, upon the recommendation of a manager at Pablo’s. Inside the ciabatta bread for this torta, there was some slow-cooked, pulled pork, a jalapeño alioli, a purée of black beans and some spinach and rocket. I opted to add some cheese and jalapeño peppers to the mix, too.

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A torta from Pablo’s, which I’d recommend to anybody and everybody

I was very impressed with how the torta was presented to me – on an individual wooden chopping board. It was quite rustic, and the sandwich looked phenomenal. It looked almost too good to eat, in fact. But you all know me, I wasn’t going to allow food to go to waste! It was also a large sandwich – for €6.50, you could do a lot worse in terms of value for money.

And so I took my first bite. It was magnificent – to steal the cliché, it WAS like a party in my mouth AND everybody was invited. I was (and still am) incredibly impressed at how tasty my torta was.

Despite the fact that this was delicious, my torta was very messy. Reuben, Stephen and Niamh can all attest to the fact that tortas are, much like burritos, not to be eaten by those who fear getting their hands dirty as they eat. The messiness isn’t something to slow me down – I ate it quickly but I enjoyed every mouthful.

I was glad that I went for the extra jalapeño in my torta – I was in the mood for some spicy food, and even with the extra, this was more of a mild, background heat than anything outstandingly hot. Not that there wasn’t a good flavour off of it; the fresh jalapeños really do make a huge difference in flavour when compared to the jarred, pickled jalapeños that are available in most shops. This would be perfectly safe for those who do not enjoy their spicy food.

I also have to point out the quality of the bread; the ciabatta was incredible. It was fresh, lightly toasted (just enough that it was crispy at the edges), and held the sauce from the meat very well. I’d be surprised if I found out that the bread wasn’t homemade – it certainly tasted like something they’d make themselves, in Pablo’s.

And so I finished my torta, quicker than I’d like, but I just couldn’t stop myself – it was too tasty to eat slowly. And I was quite full after it, too – it was as big and as filling (for lunch) as a burrito from Pablo’s or from many other burrito bars. And I’d recomment Pablo’s torta’s to anybody who asked, as I’d recommend burritos.

This was a good lunch, and you can consider it a fact that I’ll be back for another torta soon!

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