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Spotlight: Torterilla La Mexicana

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Torterilla la Mexicana in Longwood is about as bare bones as you get with a restaurant.

As we’ve been discovering, some of the better, more authentic Mexican food can be found being served in small grocery markets in corners set aside as makeshift cafes.

Here, three card tables with folding chairs comprise the dining room.

When I stopped in recently the two staff people looked at me as though perhaps I had wandered into the wrong place.

As I looked over the menu board, I spotted a handwritten sign in the corner that said the restaurant was featuring Tacos al Pastor today. Actually, the sign looked like it had been there for many, many todays, but I remembered the al pastor tacos I had in Mexico not long ago and ordered one. I also got a Beef Gordita and an order of Chicken Enchiladas, which was served as a platter with rice and beans.

The enchiladas turned out to be the best of the order. The three good-sized wraps were covered with spicy green sauce, a decorative drizzle of sour cream sauce (a la creme fraiche, though in Spanish I suppose that would be crema fresca), some shredded lettuce and crumbles of cheese. I found the spiciness of the salsa verde bright and piquant.

The taco al pastore was good, too, though it did not have the chunks of pineapple usually served with the roasted pork meat. But I liked the bits of onion and the handful of fresh cilantro on top.

By the way, I’m not sure there’s a flour tortilla anywhere in the place, so if you’re looking for signs of authenticity, there’s that.

The gordita, a small masa cake that serves as a sort of pita-like container, was delicious and tasted as house-made as it gets. There was a lot of loosely ground meat stuffed inside. Eat a few of these and you’ll realize why the word gordita translates to chubby.

And all of this was incredibly affordable (apparently the savings on the furnishings have been passed along to the customer).

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